Basic Keelboat Complete (24 Hours)

Prerequisite: None

Regular Price: $645

Optional US SAILING Certification Fee: $75
Included text: US Sailing Basic Keelboat

Free 2015 Fall membership with any Basic Keelboat Complete course purchased and taken before October 31, 2015

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When your goal is to become a competent, confident sailor with a solid understanding of the basics, this is the course to take.  At the end of the two-weekend class, most students are ready or almost ready to skipper one of our Rhodes 19 keelboats on their own.  Your instructor, who will always be in the boat with you and up to two fellow students, will guide you through the sailing fundamentals, combining short chalk talks and extensive on-the-water coaching to help you develop and reinforce new skills.  You’ll learn all you need to know to rig and unrig your boat, leave and return to the dock safely, adjust your sails and rudder to make the boat go where you want it to go, and tie some important knots (always a good way to impress your non-sailing friends!).

It’s a lot of work, but by the completion of the course, most students are ready for a Red or Yellow Flag skipper rating , which means they can safely skipper a small keelboat in light to moderate conditions without an instructor. Students who earn a Yellow Flag rating can also take a written test to obtain their US Sailing Basic Keelboat certification, a standard recognized throughout the U.S. and in many other parts of the world.

Basic Keelboat Complete courses take place over two consecutive weekends, Saturday/Sunday/Saturday/Sunday from 10-4:30 each day, with a half hour hour lunch break.  A new course starts almost every Saturday.

Below is an overview of the knowledge you will gain:

Practical Skills

  • How to use weather forecasts to evaluate sailing conditions
  • How to board a sailboat, do a safety check, and prepare to sail
  • How to rig, derig, and secure the boat to the dock
  • How to safely leave and return to the dock
  • How to safely maneuver the boat: starting, stopping, controlling speed, steering, tacking, jibing, getting out of irons, etc.
  • How to handle control lines and trim sails
  • How to depower sails if the wind picks up
  • How to safely recover a crew overboard
  • How to read a nautical chart of Boston Harbor
  • How to apply the Rules of the Road
  • How to recognize and navigate around Aids to Navigation 


  • Sailing nomenclature
  • Basic sailing theory
  • Points of sail
  • Basic Navigation Rules