Sail Ontario Sailing School

The ONLY American Sailing Association Affiliate School on Lake Ontario

Basic Keelboat Sailing

Completing our American Sailing Association 101 course provides you worldwide recognition and the ability to skipper a sloop-rigged keelboat of approximately 20 to 26 feet in length by day in light to moderate winds (up to 15 knots) and sea conditions. This two day, 18-hour course is structured around two pillars: knowledge and skills.

Knowledge: Basic sailing terminology, maneuvers and points of sail, navigation rules, aids to navigation, safety gear and procedures, sailing (hoist/set sails safely and correctly to obtain proper sail trim), crew overboard, return and secure, and knots. 

Skills: You'll practice basic sailing vocabulary, tie and retie the basic knots necessary to feel safe and comfortable on the water, identify the different directions that the wind hits the boat (‘points-of-sail’), and practice two different ways to turn the boat through the wind – tacking and jibing. You'll practice leaving the dock using the dock lines, motor out of the marina, raise the sails, and take the helm.  You’ll sail the boat at different angles to the wind, learn the correct language to use with your other crew members, and how to turn the boat using proper commands and technique, and you'll put all those skills to the test as you execute the Person Overboard Drill to perfection. On return, you’ll enter the marina and dock the boat and learn how to stow sails and secure the boat.

Method: Our 18-hour course is broken down into four sections, each about four to five hours long. Each section begins with very brief book review and discussion (no more than 45 minutes) and the remaining time is spent on board, touching and grabbing lines and winches and blocks and stays, tying and retying knots for fenders and cleats and sheets, rigging and derigging sails, hoisting and dousing sails, and oh yea...SAILING! This method allows maximum time under sail for practice, multiple opportunities to depart and return to the dock, and ample time for review and to redo skills that need work. The course culminates with a multiple-choice certification exam that takes about an hour to complete.

Free Bonus! After you've successfully completed the 101 course, return for 2 free half-day boat rentals on either of our Daysailers (Catalina 22' or Dufour 24') to practice what you've learned.

ASA 101

$395.00 plus books and cert fee​

ASA 103

Basic Coastal Cruising

With Basic Sailing Skills BK 101 as a prerequisite, you will sail aboard our 26' and 32' cruising sailboats with two to three other students aboard. Completing this course will enable you to skipper a sloop-rigged auxiliary powered (inboard or outboard engine) keelboat of approximately 25 to 35 feet long by day in moderate winds (up to 20 knots) and sea conditions. Like our 101 course, this two day, 20-hour course is built on the two pillars of knowledge and skills.

Knowledge: After a brief review of basic sailing terminology and points of sail, we add the more advanced topics of cruising sailboat terminology, basic boat systems, auxiliary engine operation, docking procedures, intermediate sail trim, navigation rules, basic coastal navigation, anchoring, weather interpretation, safety, and seamanship.

Skills: You practice your sailing vocabulary with others on board as you take command and prepare to sail (each student will command the vessel multiple times). You'll put hands on and learn how to use the head and the onboard water systems, how to prepare the auxiliary engine for use and perform preventative maintenance, how to refuel, how to write and then sail a sail plan accounting for current weather conditions, how to set and retrieve anchor, and how to tow/stow and use a dinghy.

Method: Our 20-hour coastal cruising course is broken down into two sections (Day 1 and Day 2), each about 10 hrs long. Day 1 begins at 8 a.m. with a quick review of the prep homework you'll be given upon registering to put everyone on the same page. We then move to our pocket cruiser, either a wheel steered Cape Dory 25' or a tiller steered Luger Tradewinds 26'. We'll spend a few hours learning boat systems and reviewing sailing fundamentals before we depart the dock for the lake. The remainder of the day is spent on board either under sail, anchoring, or dockside at a port of call. Day two follows the same agenda but on our larger, wheel steered Ericson 32'. Day two returns to the marina by 4 p.m. allowing two hours for the multiple choice certification exam. 
Make sure to bring snacks, drinks, and lunch; we'll be eating together while underway! And if you want to stay aboard for the night, it's only $50/night single occupancy or $75/night double occupancy.

Free Bonus! After you've successfully completed the 103 course, return for 2 free 4-hour boat rentals or a full day rental on any of our small pocket cruisers: Cape Dory 25', Chris Craft 26', Lugar 26'.

Prerequisites: ASA 101

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$475.00 /pp plus books and cert fee

ASA 104

Bareboat Charter Certification

This three day, fully immersive liveaboard course aboard our 32' Ericson or larger yacht is designed for students who have already achieved the ASA 101/Basic Keelboat and 103/Coastal Cruising Certifications. Here, students are provided with a hands-on introduction to bareboat chartering. Linens and provisions for onboard meals are provided. Students can also enjoy on-shore dining options on their own at one of the ports of call. All of the skills and requirements for ASA 104/Bareboat Cruising certification are covered in this comprehensive course. 

Knowledge and Skills
Larger boat handling and seamanship, trip planning, packing and provisioning, meal preparation and sleeping aboard, maintenance procedures, passage making and standing watches, basic coastal navigation using dead reckoning and taking a fix, speed, time and distance calculations, making landfall, and mooring and anchoring. The class also covers fresh water, fuel, sewage, and electrical systems; through-hulls, entry into foreign ports, and finally diesel engine maintenance & troubleshooting.

Method: We don't waste much time in this extensive onboard experience. Bright and early on Day 1, we'll load provisions and gear, review the weather forecast, and chart the course to our first stop. Upon departure from the marina, our student crew will begin crew rotations on the helm, the deck, and in the galley. All meals are prepared on board both under sail and at anchor. We'll stop multiple times each day in different conditions to build familiarity with and confidence in anchoring and docking. Following an evening meal, we'll spend several hours working together on the textbook to prepare you for the written and practical testing later on Day 2. Day 1 culminates with a night sail to and retrieval of a secure moorage. Day 2 begins with maintenance, recovery, and breakfast. After planning the days sail, time is spent considering dinghy management and students practice different methods of dinghy storage and use. Lunch is again under sail prior to returning to anchorage for the certification test. Day three is a fully run student cruise and return to Navy Point.

While provisions cover lunch and dinner on Day 1 and breakfast and lunch on Day 2, make sure to bring any of your favorite snacks and drinks. 

Prerequisites: ASA 101 and 103

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$875.00 /pp plus books and cert fee 

​​ Coastal Navigation Certification

During this two day, 16-hour, students will learn about and be able to demonstrate the navigational theory required to safely navigate a sailing vessel in coastal or inland waters. There is no sailing component to this course so the focus is entirely on text and chart work. Day two of the course is just a morning session, leaving the afternoon free for the completion of the ASA 105 exam.

Knowledge and Skills
This course takes all variables in navigation into account. Multiple ways of establishing a fix, estimated position, and plotting a course, while taking into account set/drift/leeway are all covered. Chart reading/updating, useful publications to the navigator, and tide & current predictions are taught. Compass deviation, magnetic variation, GPS, and other electronic aids are used to create cohesion between paper and electronic navigation.

Method: Classroom instruction is put to good use in this course, with a balance of lecture, discussion, practical exercise, practice quizzes, and sample charting problems. The course runs from 9a.m. - 5p.m. on Day 1 and from 9a.m - 1p.m. on Day 2. The remaining 4-5 hours is used for the completion of the ASA 105 Coastal Navigation Certification exam.

**Alternately, this course can be completed via home study on your own time and we'll make the test available and administer it at your convenience. This option is only $220 plus materials and cert fee.

ASA 105

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$345.00 plus materials, cert fee