Basic Skills

Basic Skills

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Objective By the end of this course you will be sailing on your own in light wind conditions 
without assistance from your instructor.
Previous knowledge / experience  You will be expected to be able to demonstrate the skills and knowledge included 
in the Start Sailing course
Types of Boat  This course may be completed in any type of sailing dinghy, small keel boat or 
catamaran. Your certificate will show what type of boat you used. When this 
course is completed in single handed boats the sections relating to crew or those 
marked with an asterisk may be omitted
Duration 4 - 10 days
Assessment Assessment is continuous throughout the course. However, your instructor may 
also choose to use a formal practical assessment of boat handling skills and a 
short written paper or oral interview in assessing your level of background 
  By the end of this course you will be able to do the following:
Clothing & equipment 
  • Decide what to wear before you go sailing.
  • Equip a sailing boat for use.
  • Check that your sailing boat is safe to use. 
  • Identify all of the parts of the boat, rigging & sails.
  • Rig a boat for use and according to the weather conditions.
  • De-rig a boat and secure / care for hull, foils and sails.
  • Reef a boat while ashore.
Keelboat sailors will be able to reef their boat while on a mooring. 
Ropework Tie the following knots and describe when to use them:
  • A bowline
  • A clove hitch
Launch & recovery
  • Launch your boat and sail away from shore.
  • Sail back to shore and recover your boat.
  • Keelboat sailors will be able to identify different methods of launching a keelboat and describe how to launch a keelboat from a trailer using a slipway. 
Sailing techniques & manoeuvres
  • Paddle or row a boat around a triangular course and come alongside.
  • As both helm and crew, in light winds,
  • Leave and return to a beach or slipway in the prevailing wind direction
  • Describe how to land on a beach or slipway when the wind is offshore, crosshore and onshore

Reach across the wind
Sail up wind
Sail down wind
Tack the boat
Gybe the boat
Pick up, and leave a mooring
Come alongside a boat, pier, pontoon that is head to wind
Come alongside a pier or pontoon that is not head to wind
Recover a man overboard
Heave to
Sail under jib only* 

  • Catamaran sailors will be able to use a trapeze if carried.
  • Keelboat sailors will be able to change a headsail.
Capsize recovery
  • Right a capsized boat.
  • Describe what to do if you are caught under an inverted boat. 
Sailing knowledge
  • Describe how a sail and centre / dagger board works.
  • Tell if risk of collision exist between two boats.
  • Describe what should happen when:
    • A motor boat and sailing boat meet
    • Two sailing boats on the same tack meet
    • Boats are being overtaken
Coastal Knowledge
  • Identify when high and low tide occur using local tide tables.
  • Describe how to estimate the rate and direction of the flow of tide and describe the effect that this might have on a sailor.
  • Describe how wind speed, wind direction, visibility and temperature are measured and how these may affect a sailor.
  • Obtain a weather forecast for your sailing area and describe how it might affect your planned activities
  • Explain why it is important tell someone where you are going and when you will be back.
  • Describe how to use and care for distress flares.
  • Describe how to care for someone who is very cold.
  • Explain why it is important for a sailor to have some training in first aid.
What next… 
  • Describe how to continue sailing and develop your sailing skills and knowledge.

Course Information

Course Date 01-07-2024 10:00 am
Individual Price €335.00
Location Courtown Sailing Club

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Contact number for Courtown Sailing Club is 089 4941404.