Sail Training

Have you ever wanted to learn how to sail, but not sure if you’re ready for a full commitment?  Well now you can!

Interested in learning how to sail? Take the First Sail Experience to see first-hand why sailing is one of the most exhilarating activities on Earth!


The unique on-the-water opportunity is designed to provide a memorable experience that also gives access to online training that prepares beginners for their first time sailing.


  • 2 hours of sailing fun, $50 per person. Family rate is $150 for up to 4  people.
  • Minimum of 2 participants per class.
  • Dates & Times:  Please email for availability and scheduling.


First Sail is a nationwide initiative developed by US Sailing with support from sailing schools, community sailing centers, yacht clubs and other sailing industry organizations around the United States. The goal of First Sail is to educate the public on the benefits of sailing as a fun and exciting recreational activity for people of all ages and abilities and connect them with opportunities to get involved. First Sail offers a pathway to participation through resources and information on how to get started and find a place to go sailing.


What is the First Sail Experience?


The First Sail Experience is a two-hour lesson offered to anyone through a growing list of First Sail Locations, comprised of community sailing centers, sailing schools and yacht clubs around the country.


This unique opportunity offers beginners an introduction to sailing in a casual setting and is designed to provide a memorable experience that will motivate newcomers to continue sailing.


Participants will get out on the water with an instructor in a keelboat provided by the First Sail Location. The First Sail Experience features basic sailing hands-on learning that will cover topics such as, how a sail works, parts of a sailboat, points of sail, and important safety guidelines.


Additionally, all First Sail Experience participants will have access to Chapter 1 of Basic Keelboat Online, a US Sailing online training course designed to prepare beginners for their first time on the water.  Go to Basic Keelboat Online and create an account to sign in. The first chapter is free, and you do not need to pay for the course unless you decide to continue with the full on-line course. Chapter 1 will teach you some of the basic terminology and concepts, putting you in a better position to learn on your First Sail.


Topics included in US Sailing’s Basic Keelboat Online (preview) course:

  • The parts of a boat
  • The parts of a sail
  • How a sail works
  • What it means to trim a sail
  • The different points of sail


Topics covered in the on-water session:

  • Sail controls and basic sail trim
  • Slowing the boat under control
  • Raising and lowering sails
  • Overview of departing & returning to the dock
  • Line handling safety including halyards, sheets and winches
  • Tacking & Jibing including boom control
  • Team building – tacking & jibing

Adult “Learn to Sail” Classes


Columbia Sailing Club offers this unique on-the-water opportunity designed to provide a memorable experience that will motivate newcomers to continue sailing. CSC J22 (22-foot sailboat) is perfect for learning to sail or brushing up on your skills.  Our Adult “Learn to Sail” program was created to teach adults how to sail through group classes of 2-4 people or private 1 on 1 lessons, depending on which learning style you prefer.  Each class is designed to be 3 hours long with 2+ hours on the water and 45 minutes of rigging, chalk talk and derigging.



Participants that have completed the program have really enjoyed the experience and love that they now feel completely comfortable sailing on their own or with friends.

Private Lessons



Would you like to see if sailing is for you?  Are you looking for a refresher or time to supplement courses you have already taken?  Do you want to target specific skills until you  have mastered them?  Have you recently purchased a boat, and would like help getting familiar with her?  Have you owned a boat, but never felt fully confident in certain situations?

If you have answered yes to any of the above, than a private lesson might be exactly what you are looking for!  Every session will be structured to meet your individual needs.


ABOARD OUR BOATS (3 hour minimum)

Pick a boat type, and one of our US Sailing Certified instructors will help you reach your goals!


  • $100 per hour for up to three students aboard our J22 with a three hour minimum.
  • $150 per hour for up to three students aboard a O-Day 34 with a three hour minimum.


ABOARD YOUR BOAT (3 hour minimum):

A large part of promoting sailing in the Midlands area is helping new and existing boat owners develop their skills.  We specialize in all aspects of maneuvering under sail, docking techniques, tight quarters boat handling (under sail or power), anchoring techniques, crew overboard recovery, and much more! 


  • $75 per hour for up to three students, $25 per hour for each additional student
  • $35 per hour travel time for anything over a 30 minute drive.


Dates & Times: Please email for availability and scheduling.

For more information, please contact David Van Cleef at