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Basic Keelboat

Our Basic Keelboat certification package is a comprehensive lifetime preparation course that is a place for participants to learn how to sail. It is designed both for students who have no sailing experience and for those who have experience, but want to be sure they learn to sail the right way, from the ground up.

With an emphasis on practical training and experience learning to sail, you will learn all the essentials of sailing quickly and more thoroughly than you thought possible. You will be at the helm - learning to sail - on the morning of your first class, and in command of the boat through all of the fundamental maneuvers by the next afternoon. While you learn about sailing using practical training, you will enjoy several short classroom sessions sprinkled throughout the course.

Successful completion prepares you to:

  • Skipper 18' - 27' boats in protected waters with light to moderate conditions.
  • Learn how to sail and crew on similar-sized yachts in open water and more challenging conditions, like San Francisco Bay.
  • Qualify for OCSC's Basic Cruising course.

  • Nautical terminology

    The critical job of clear communications.
  • Sailing theory

    Why sails move a boat forward, even into the wind.
  • Safety on the water

    It's always more fun when everyone is and feels safe.
  • Basic knot tying

    Learning the art of knots is a gratifying part of your training.
  • How to properly rig a sailboat

    Preparedness is the key to a successful sail.
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  • Docking and departing from a slip under power

    To ensure the beginning and end of your sails are easy and dependable.
  • Safe marina procedures

    How to enter and depart any marina safely and confidently.
  • The four basic maneuvers of a sailboat

    Tacking, gybing, heading up, and bearing away.
  • Points of sail

    Names for angles of the boat to the wind when you are steering straight.
  • Sail trim

    Sail trim is vital to your boat speed and control. You’ll learn how to adjust your sails to the best advantage.
  • Crew overboard recovery procedure

    Learn to quickly recover a crew who has fallen overboard.
  • Reefing

    Learn how to reduce sails to control the boat in higher winds.
  • Right-of-way rules

    What to do when near other vessels to ensure you avoid collisions.
  • Equipment regulations

    Learn what equipment is required by the Coast Guard and how to use it.
  • Tides and currents

    Precisely forecast the speed and direction of currents throughout the Bay and elsewhere, as well as determine how to compensate for them while sailing.
  • Aids to navigation

    Sign posts of the sea. Learn how they help you stay in deep water.
  • Nautical chart reading

    Charts are like maps, only much more precise and detailed for the challenging nautical environment. Know how to use them to stay aware of your location.
  • 5
    Five-Day Option

    Five weekdays (Monday - Friday) 9am–4pm each day

  • 4
    Four-day Option

    Two full weekends of your choice. 9am–4pm each day.

  • Textbook, binder, manual and logbook

    Included with the class are a US Sailing Basic Keelboat textbook, a Basic Keelboat manual, and binder to keep all your materials together. Additionally, once you are certified you will receive a US Sailing logbook. The logbook contains your certifications and includes an area to log your experience as you move forward and sail on your own.

  • Additional Training in Seamanship and Navigation Study Halls

    Basic Keelboat also includes two seminars: Navigation I and Seamanship I. Each study hall is given alternately on Tuesday evenings and Saturday mornings. Each study hall is three hours and covers aspects of sailing vital to safe boating. Subjects covered include topics such as reading a nautical chart, right-of-way rules, and more.

  • Free Use of Spray Gear

    OCSC is the only school in the Bay Area that provides you with waterproof gear to make sure you stay dry and comfortable while learning without having to add a few hundred dollars in gear to the expense of learning to sail. We loan you waterproof pants and jacket along with a comfortable, Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device in every course you take with us.

  • Guaranteed Certification

    After completing Basic Keelboat, at least half of our students need more coaching and practice to meet our certification standards. When you purchase the Basic Keelboat package, we will provide that additional training for you at no cost for 60 days from the day you start classes. We will train you in targeted coaching sessions aimed specifically at the skills you need until you can meet the Basic Keelboat standards set by OCSC and US SAILING.

  • Personal attention

    With OCSC, you receive more instruction and personal attention than in any other beginning sailing course. You learn in a supportive environment with others of equal ability. We limit the classes to three students and one instructor per boat, the smallest student-to-instructor ratio you'll find in any commercial sailing school. This ratio of three students to an instructor is much more than simply more time for each of you to sail. All students need to stay in a positive learning state, emotionally and intellectually. You do this by spending the majority of your time participating in the operation of the boat. Students also need brief intellectual breaks, where they get to watch other students’ efforts, reflect on what they have just done themselves and get prepared for the next time they are asked to try something. With only three students sailing the boat, you stay completely involved and at a high learning state without the waiting that occurs with four, five or six students. In addition, the curriculum is more thorough than any you'll find anywhere: 34 hours of instruction (41 hours in the week-long option), including six hours of study halls in Navigation and Seamanship

Study Halls Included

This Course Prepares You For

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    Basic Cruising

    This course is designed specifically to prepare you to skipper a sailboat in the challenging conditions peculiar to San Francisco Bay.

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    Night Sailing

    Sailing after dark requires a different set of skills. Night Sailing introduces you to the challenges and rewards of sailing at night!