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Old 26-09-2009, 17:22   #1
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Puget Sound-Area Schools?

Hello, I'm just starting to learn about sailing and want to get some input on where I might find the best classes around the Seattle Area. (I live in Eastern Washington actually).

I've come up with a couple of sources so far from google. The primary one I'm leaning towards is PSSI (Puget Sound Sailing Institute). They seem to cost a bit more than the other 2 I found, although I'm not sure why its so much more?

The other 2 are Seattle Sailing Club, and Island Sailing School (Kirkland). Island Sailing School has a much larger selection of dates available for classes..although do I want to go sailing in November?

I'm wanting to get some basic training under my belt before I purchase a boat, although its tough to not just go out and buy something!

If anyone has any other ideas I'm open to suggestions?

If anyone wants to have someone tag along on a day sail (Ill bring the food/beer!) I'd be happy to come along.

Thanks in advance!
-Kyle
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Old 29-09-2009, 14:20   #2
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I've done courses with PSSI and Island Sailing. They're both good, Island Sailing does their courses mostly on Lake Washington, PSSI on the Sound where there is more reliable wind - probably wouldn't be a big difference in November.

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Old 30-09-2009, 14:04   #3
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Whats the weather link on the water in November/December? I've never really been around the sound that time of year?
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Old 30-09-2009, 17:53   #4
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Kyle- there are lots of smaller schools/instructors who rent boats and teach. I would say that the most important thing is how you relate to the instructor and NOT the rep of the school. I found that out the hard way. Ask around, do searches and find the good instructors on the sound.
BTW- November can be real nasty. Might want to go to a smaller body of water, or look for instructors down south. We did our basic in Texas during that time period, and it was OK.
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Old 30-09-2009, 18:07   #5
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You might consider Windworks on Puget Sound at Shilshole Marina. October and November are a couple of the best months of the year for sailing on the sound IMO, as you will likely be reefing and shaking out reefs more than you would in summer. As someone else mentioned its all about the instructor and how you get along. Windworks provides weather gear">foul weather gear for their students use, very nice feature for sure. It is your best interest to be your own advocate, making sure you are getting the instruction you contracted for. That applies where ever you go for instruction.

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Old 24-11-2009, 00:58   #6
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Kyle,
I'm "in the same boat". I'm considering the "intro to sailing" course at Windworks. It's only $55. I'm assuming that winter sailing would be less enjoyable and I want to experience the bad before I buy a boat.
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Old 24-11-2009, 13:34   #7
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It is funny that people who want instruction go for the cheapest. I did that when I learned to dive. Then when my wife learned ( she was afraid to put her head under water) I shopped around and got the best instructor I could. In a short while she was diving better than I, who had been diving for 3 years. I have some other friends who got bargain classes. They have rarely been diving since, because they are terrified of it. Sailing is such an art. Get the good stuff- you will be miles ahead of the bargain both in ability and experience.
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Old 24-11-2009, 14:41   #8
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It is funny that people who want instruction go for the cheapest. I did that when I learned to dive. Then when my wife learned ( she was afraid to put her head under water) I shopped around and got the best instructor I could. In a short while she was diving better than I, who had been diving for 3 years. I have some other friends who got bargain classes. They have rarely been diving since, because they are terrified of it. Sailing is such an art. Get the good stuff- you will be miles ahead of the bargain both in ability and experience.
If the cheap quote is in reference to the Windworks introduction class...

I don't think Windworks is cheap at all. Conversely pretty expensive. I believe the class for $55 is a drive around the sound for a few hours with others on board. A call to WW could quickly verify that. They are a US Sail school. I have no interest in the outfit. I have gotten some instruction there. After going thru their basic cruising class I bought a 39' boat and having been sailing happily since. They are probably as good as anyone on PS that does group lessons.

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Old 24-11-2009, 18:56   #9
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I didn't think $55 would get a certification, but maybe a taste to see what my interest really is. I think it would be fun to cruise, but maybe speed is my thing. Just a few minutes with some explanation of the principals and practice would probably be enough to shove me in the right direction.
Of course, if anyone is going out this weekend and could use a hand and is willing to put up with a scurvy green-horn....
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Old 24-11-2009, 20:12   #10
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I'm assuming that winter sailing would be less enjoyable and I want to experience the bad before I buy a boat.
You will surely get that down here by the water. Nov, Dec & Jan are the coldest, wettest months that anyone could possibly find for sailing. Even the power boaters with heaters stay at the docks.

I'd rather sail in Alaska this time of year then here. Ones hands go numb within minutes even with gloves. Imagine someone dumping ice water on you constantly while trying to handle the sails.

March thru June would be the best time for a "less enjoyable experience" without a total discouragement. The air is cold and the wind is good but the rain (ice water) has let up for the most part.

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Old 24-11-2009, 22:46   #11
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Cowchip, my Valiant is in Bellingham, I would love to take you out! But alas, I am a ways away from my second wife right now...
I do agree with Delmarrey ...its kinda miserable out there right now.
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Old 29-11-2009, 16:56   #12
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I was living in Eastern Washington as well when we started to get into sailing, Spokane, WA to be exact. I had lived on the west side most of my life, so knew the Puget Sound well. I had shopped around extensively for schools, the best value for the money is Bellhaven, website: bellhaven.net/ , an ASA school/charter. They were awesome to deal with. We were placed on a newer Hunter 320. They usually have 4 students per class, but it ended up being just my fiance and I, so it worked out perfectly. We had the boat to ourselves, plus our great instructor. Bellingham is a beautiful place to sail, being the gateway to the San Juan Islands. I'd continue to sail through them had I not moved down to Florida! But I give them my highest recommendation. Sandy, the lady in charge, is very nice.

Good luck!
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Old 05-01-2010, 11:29   #13
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Windworks runs a membership based charter business. The boats are mostly 3rd party owned and maintained / brokered by Windworks. They are at Shilshole marina in the same building and using the same dock as Seattle Sailing Club.

$55 gets you a couple hours on a boat to help decide if you really want to lean to sail. For those that think they want to sail, but have never been on a sailboat before. (talking with some of there teachers, it's surprising some of the people they meet)

Beyond that they use the US sailing course materials for the classes. And I haven't compared prices closely, but I think they are about average with most others.

The beginning class (US sailings basic keelboat) is taught on Catalina 25's. Classes beyond that are taught on there larger boats. I just completed the second US sailing class and it was all done on 3 different Dufors (3 day class). And I've taken the lessons in February and November. If you can dress warm enough it's a great time, cause you are guaranteed to be sailing, we were out in the class with 25 knot winds.

And I've thought the instructors have all been pretty good. They seem to all teach the classes a lot and get a lot of experience teaching.

And if you join with a membership they have regular small 4 hour training on various things, some races and group charters (i.e. 4-6 members share the price of a charter for an overnight, or a day to join a local race).

I've also heard good things about Seattle Sailing Club also. They use ASA training for there classes, and people have told me it's pretty similar to US sailing. I believe they use J-boats for their classes, J-24 or similar, that's what I see tied up to most of there docks.
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Old 05-01-2010, 17:38   #14
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I've been considering Windworks. I'm going to wait till it warms up a little, first. I have a business associate who (just found out), has his own race boat and asked me to crew for him before I buy anything (sounds like a win-win).
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