Experience Sailing and a Local Brew!

$55/person, 2 hour sail, maximum 4/session

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Fairhaven Special!

Want to try sailing? Love local beer? Enjoy a land and sea program in partnership with our neighbors at a local brewery. You will be introduced to the experience of keelboat sailing on Bellingham Bay in the afternoon and walk/bike/drive over to a local brewery to enjoy a tasty local post-sail beverage, and to recount your experience on the water with your new crew members.

Must be 21 to participate in after-sail brewery visit.

2019 Experience Sailing and a Local Brew Dates

Custom dates available upon request!

Sunday  5/26, 2pm - 4pm

Friday   6/28, 6pm - 8pm

Friday   7/26, 6pm - 8pm

Basic Keelboat Sailing Part I

$275/person, 12 hour class, maximum 4-8/class

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The CBC's Basic Keelboat Sailing Part I is great for people interested in learning basic sailing skills that can lead into cruising and/or racing. Students learn the wind clock, how to tack, jibe, and tiller steer, how to rig J/24 keelboats with a main sail, jib, and genoa, and how to execute crew-overboard recovery.

Keelboats are a heavier, bigger style of sailboat with a weighted keel. These boats are sturdy under high winds, and carry momentum. Our keelboats do not have motors, which means students learn how to sail to and from a mooring buoy. This class is great for people interested in cruising and/or entering racing. Successful completion of this class also makes you eligible for keelboat rentals!

Prerequisites: None

Next Step: Basic Keelboat Sailing Part II

Class Content Includes:

  • Rigging a boat
  • Rules of the road
  • Person overboard procedure
  • Upwind and downwind sailing maneuvers
  • Sail trim
  • Tacking and jibing
  • Safety procedures
  • Approaching and leaving a dock or mooring
  • Securing boat to a mooring or dock

Required Reading: We use US Sailing's Basic Keelboat book in conjunction with our classes, and any studying you are able to do before the first class will help us to spend that much more time on the water. You can buy a copy of Basic Keelboat from us or find it online, at the library, etc.  We request that you read at least Part 1 (Sailing Concepts), Part 2 (Preparation), and Part 3 (Your First Sail) before the start of class.

2019 Basic Keelboat I Class Dates

Custom dates available upon request!

Saturday/Sunday   5/11 - 5/19  10am - 1pm

Saturday/Sunday   5/25 - 6/2  10am - 1pm

Saturday/Sunday   6/22 - 6/30  10am - 1pm

Monday/Tuesday   7/8 - 7/16  6pm - 9pm

Saturday/Sunday   7/20 - 7/28  10am - 1pm

Saturday/Sunday   8/3 - 8/11  6pm - 9pm

Saturday/Sunday   8/17 - 8/25  2pm - 5pm

Women's Basic Keelboat I Dates

Thursday/Friday  6/6 - 6/14, 6pm - 9pm

Saturday/Sunday   8/3 - 8/11  2pm - 5pm

Basic Keelboat Sailing Part II

$275/person, 12 hour class, maximum 4-8/class

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Our Basic Keelboat Sailing Part II course is intended for students who have a firm grasp on the concepts and skills presented in our Basic Keelboat Sailing Part I course. In the Basic Keelboat Sailing Part II class, students will hone their sailing skills in various weather and wind conditions, learn increasingly advanced skills, and further develop their boat handling abilities. By the end of this course, students should feel comfortable sailing in most weather conditions.

Prerequisites: Basic Keelboat Sailing Part I or equivalent experience

Next Step: Intro to Keelboat Racing

2019 Basic Keelboat II Class Dates

Custom dates available upon request!

Saturday/Sunday  6/8 - 6/16  2pm - 5pm

Saturday/Sunday  7/6 - 7/14  10am - 1pm

Saturday/Sunday  8/31 - 9/8  5:30pm - 8:30pm

Women's Basic Keelboat II Dates

Monday/Tuesday   6/17 - 6/25  6pm-9pm

Thursday/Friday  7/18 - 7/19 and Wednesday/Friday 7/24 & 7/26, 6pm - 9pm

Beginner Dinghy Sailing - Get into a RS Quest!

$275/person, 12 hour class, maximum 4-8/class

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Our Beginner Dinghy Sailing course is great for people interested in learning basic sailing skills that can lead into cruising and/or racing. Students learn the wind clock, how to tack, jibe, and tiller steer, boat rigging, and capsize recovery.

Dinghies are lightweight sailboats that have a drop down centerboard that is not weighted like the keels of larger vessels like our J24's.  The sailors in a dinghy use their own weight and skills to keep the boat upright making for a responsive sailing experience that provides the best feedback for fast learning of basic sailing. This class is great for beginner sailors that are willing to get wet and have a ton of FUN! Successful completion of this course makes you eligible for dinghy rentals!

Prerequisites: None

Next Step: Intermediate Dinghy Sailing

Class Content Includes:

  • Rigging a boat
  • Upwind and downwind sailing maneuvers
  • Person overboard procedures
  • Sail trim
  • Tacking and jibing
  • Safety procedures
  • Approaching and leaving a dock or mooring
  • Capsize recovery

Required Reading: We use US Sailing's Learn Sailing Right: Beginning Sailing book in conjunction with our classes, and any studying you are able to do before the first class will help us to spend that much more time on the water. You can buy a copy of Learn Sailing Right: Beginning Sailing from us or find it online, at the library, etc.  We request that you read Chapters 1 through 13 before the start of class.

2019 Beginner Dinghy Sailing Class Dates

Custom dates available upon request!

Saturday/Sunday - 5/11 - 5/19 2pm - 5pm

Monday/Tuesday - 5/20 - 5/28 6pm - 9pm

Saturday/Sunday - 6/8 - 6/16 10am - 1pm

Saturday/Sunday - 6/22 - 6/30 2pm - 5pm

Saturday/Sunday - 7/6 - 7/14 2pm - 5pm

Monday/Tuesday - 7/22 - 7/30 6pm - 9pm

Saturday/Sunday - 8/17 - 8/25 10am - 1pm

Intermediate Dinghy Sailing

$275/person, 12 hour class, maximum 4-8/class

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The CBC's Intermediate Dinghy Sailing course is for sailors who have a firm grasp of the concepts and skills covered in our Beginner Dinghy Sailing course. In Intermediate Dinghy Sailing, students hone their sailing skills in various weather and wind conditions, learn increasingly advanced concepts, and further develop their boat handling skills using our RS Quests. By the end of this course, students should feel comfortable and confident sailing in most weather conditions.

Prerequisites: Beginner Dinghy Sailing or equivalent experience

2019 Intermediate Dinghy Sailing Class Dates

Monday/Tuesday  6/3 - 6/11  6pm - 9pm

Saturday/Sunday   7/20 - 7/28   2pm - 5pm

Monday/Tuesday   8/19 - 8/27   6pm - 9pm

Keelboat Refresher/Intro to Keelboat Cont.

$150/person, 6 hour class, maximum 4/class

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Class Content Includes:

  • Rigging
  • Upwind and downwind sailing maneuvers
  • Tacking, jibing, and hand exchange
  • Approaching and leaving a dock or mooring
  • Leaving and returning to a mooring or dock
  • Safety procedures, such as person overboard

Have experience sailing but need a little extra time with an instructor before venturing out on your own? Our Keelboat Refresher course returns to the basics of sailing, orienting students to the CBC's fleet and the skills needed to sail to and from the mooring line, and helping students to build the confidence and knowledge needed to sail on their own. This two-part class uses the same curriculum as our Introduction to Keelboat Sailing course but at a faster pace with emphasis on safety and boat control. If students have completed our Introduction to Keelboat Sailing class and would like more time with an instructor on board, or it has been a year or two since a student has been on the water, this class is a great continuation of introductory sailing education. Each Keelboat Refresher session is geared toward the particular needs of students in that session, and can be tailored to focus on the group's objectives and skill level.

2019 Keelboat Refresher Class Dates

Custom dates available upon request!

Saturday/Sunday - 6/1 & 6/2 2pm - 5:30pm

Monday/Tuesday - 7/1 & 7/2 5:30pm - 9pm

Introduction to Keelboat Racing

$275/person, 12-16 hour class, maximum 6/class

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*Race Class Ready checkouts are scheduled between instructors and students based on a schedule that works for each. Primary skills our instructors look for are familiarity with the wind clock, ability to tiller steer, ability to tack and jibe boat with or without crew, and understanding of boating terminology. Cost is $30 and can qualify you to rent keelboats as well. Checkout will last roughly an hour.

Introduction to Keelboat Racing is an entry to intermediate level class - prior knowledge and experience of sailing is required, however, this class is an introduction to racing. This four part course gives students a foundation of racing knowledge, as well as experience in the different roles of crew aboard a race boat. Instructor to student ratio is low to support students through the potentially stressful circumstances encountered while racing. Intro to Keelboat Racing is for students who are interested in advancing their sailing experience, joining a crew to race on Thursdays, or who have some experience racing and crave more knowledge and time aboard a boat.

To enroll in this class, students must have taken our Basic Keelboat Sailing Part II, a US Sailing or ASA Basic Keelboat class, or complete a Race Class Ready checkout with one our instructors*.

Prerequisites: Basic Keelboat Part II or equivalent experience

2019 Intro to Keelboat Racing Class Dates

Monday/Thursday - 9/2 - 9/16 4pm - 8pm

Private Lessons

Keelboat & Dinghy: $60/hour, +$40/hour for additional student

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The Community Boating Center offers private sailing lessons for all ages during the operating season (April through October). Private lessons can be a perfect solution for skill refinement after taking a sailing class, refreshing forgotten maneuvers, practicing person overboard drills, or simply getting the extra nuance and customization of education only private instruction can provide. All lessons take place on Bellingham Bay and depart from the Fairhaven public boat launch next to the Boating Center. 90 minute minimum per lessons. Lessons are scheduled around your schedule and instructor availability.

For more information or to schedule a private lesson, contact the Programs Manager or call 360-714-8891.

Planning & Preparing

This class is taught using US Sailing standards. At the end of the class, your instructor will assess your sailing skills and determine if you are safely able to rent our sailboats. Please note that you can only be checkout on the vessel you learned on, either a dinghy or keelboat. If at the end of the class you still need more practice, a private lesson is a great way to get one-on-one experience with an instructor.

Class location:  Class will meet at the Community Boating Center: 555 Harris Avenue, Bellingham, WA 98225. The Boating Center is located immediately next to the public boat launch in Fairhaven. Parking can be found next to the railroad tracks in front of the Boating Center or along Harris Avenue if no other spaces are available. Please do not park in the Port of Bellingham's trailer parking lot as this requires a paid launch permit.

Time:  Please arrive 15 minutes before your class' start time. Sailing is entirely dependent on the wind. Too much or too little can prevent us from doing much on the water, but there are always drills and concepts that can be practiced on land or tied up to a dock.

Preparation: Any studying you are able to do before and during the class sessions will help make the most of your money and class time. For keelboat sailing, we teach using the US Sailing Basic Keelboat book. For dinghy sailing, we teach using US Sailing Start Sailing Right! book. Both of which can be purchased directly from Amazon, a bookstore, or checked out at the library.

What to Wear and bring? Please remember to look at the weather forecast and dress accordingly. You should come to class every day prepared to get wet or even go in the water. This means you should not wear cotton and you should have a spare set of clothes to change into. Wearing layers is a great way to remain flexible to weather conditions.
You should bring:
  • Water & snacks.
  • Non-cotton insulating layers (polypro, capilene, wool, etc)
  • Rain gear
  • Shoes you can get wet and non-cotton socks (deck shoes or any pair of old tennis shoes are fine. Chacos, Keens, and other water sandals are ok)
  • Hat for sun protection (a warm hat is strongly suggested on cooler days)
  • Other miscellaneous items to bring:
  • Sunglasses with safety strap
  • Sunscreen
  • Chapstick with SPF
  • Any medications you might need

For more information, visit our What to Expect page.