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Learn to Sail in Vancouver

The joy of sailing on English Bay

Learning to sail on English Bay

For members new to sailing we offer introductory sail training on the best-maintained fleet of vessels out of Jericho Sailing Centre. How much experience do you need? We recommend an introductory sailing course such as CanSail 1 and 2 and then we can provide you with a chance to grow from novice to experienced sailor on a variety of boats.  We do accept a number of new members with no previous sailing training or experience as well.

Our Novice classroom and beach training includes:

  • Two classroom sessions focusing on sailing terms and basic concepts, safety, and equipment
  • Beach training with hands-on rigging and launching instruction
  • Scheduled one-on-one sailing lessons on double-handed Tasar dinghies with experienced club members who have a Senior rating
  • Opportunities to pair up with Senior members for additional training time if needed once the formal training period ends, usually in June.

All new members start as Novices and upgrade their rating with experience and by demonstrating competency in our training curriculum. The club has three dinghy ratings: Novice, Intermediate, and Senior.

We also offer regular training days for our sailboards and kayaks to all members, and on catamarans and Lasers to all sailors who have achieved their Intermediate rating. Be aware that a life jacket / PFD is necessary in all Viking dinghies.

Novice Training


Your first steps to becoming a competent sailor begin in the classroom. Classroom sessions are conducted on a week night beginning in early April.

Here you will learn things like the parts of a boat, language of sailing, personal gear you will need, sailing manoeuvres, points of sail, right-of-way, how to safely handle a capsize, and knots you’ll need (eg. bowline, reef note, figure-8, clove hitch).

Even if you are an experienced sailor, we encourage you to attend these sessions. You will meet new friends and potential shipmates as well as learn how to do things the Viking Way, a necessary requirement to maintain our fleet in shipshape condition and to upgrade your rating.


Next, you will spend time in the Jericho compound familiarizing yourself with the Tasars and learning how to rig them. Tasars are the club’s training boats. They are double-handed dinghies sailed by a helmsman and one crew member.

On the Water

Getting a Tasar ready to go with a senior

Getting a Tasar ready to go with a Senior

You will then go out on the water as crew with an experienced Viking Senior who will help you bridge the gap between classroom knowledge and practical experience.

On-the-water training sessions begin in May and are held through out the week, with Prime-Time Spots on Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings and Saturdays. Formal Novice training usually ends in late June.

As part of your training, you will also:

  • be trained and tested on various sailing knots
  • learn to properly rig, launch, and return to the beach
  • be trained and tested on wind direction and points of sail
  • be trained and tested on ‘rules of the road’
  • receive Viking clubroom and Jericho Sailing Centre orientation

The length of time it takes for a Novice to achieve Intermediate and Senior ratings depends on your previous sailing experience, time on the water, and participation in the club. Working to upgrade your rating is entirely up to you.

Check out the Viking Sailing Club Training Curriculum Checklist below for complete details of what your training includes and the experience you will gain.

Training Curriculum

Rigging Training

Rigging a Tasar

The skills you will learn in your Viking training are:

  • rigging and derigging
  • sailing to and from the beach
  • crewing
  • tacking
  • gybing
  • helming
  • sail trim
  • sailing without a rudder
  • sailing a figure eight
  • crew overboard drill
  • capsize recovery
  • assessing weather conditions
  • boat and sailor safety

In general, to sail our fleet and upgrade ratings, you train, practice, and then demonstrate competence in the above skills to the rating level you want to sail at, in the category of boat you want to sail, to the training director (Vice-Commodore) or their designated Senior trainer. Progress is at your own pace and depends on the time you put in and what you want to achieve.

Find out more