Dinghy sailing courses are co-ed hands on courses taught on RS Quests (Basic & Intermediate Dinghy) and Lasers and RS Visions (Advanced Dinghy).

Each class meets a total of eight times at the dock (weather permitting).

Good attendance is strongly recommended in order to achieve best results.

Satisfactory completion allows you to move on to the next class and achieve higher levels in our Sailing Club.

Students learn the basics inside the protected Santa Cruz harbor, then venture out on beautiful Monterey Bay for further practice.

Enroll online, or show up at the first class meeting at the entrance to the East Field House on Campus (not at the harbor), for Fall, Winter and Spring Quarters.

You must be at the first class meeting in order to retain your spot.

Students have priority over the community during Fall, Winter and Spring, however, non-students may enroll in classes that are not full at the first meeting on campus.

Enroll online for Summer Session classes. The first class meets at the harbor.

Beginning Dinghy Sailing

Beginning sailing uses RS Quests,  which can hold 2-3 students per boat.

No experience necessary!

Students Learn:

  • Rigging
  • Nomenclature
  • Sailing theory
  • Proper boat handling
  • Basic sailing knots
  • Rigging for strong vs. light wind conditions
  • Departing and returning to the dock
  • Balancing the boat
  • Sail trim
  • Tacking and Jibing
  • Stopping and starting on the water
  • Safe boating practices
  • Self-resuce techniques
  • Rules of the road
  • Wind and ocean conditions

Intermediate Dinghy Sailing

This course begins with a review of the skills that were covered in the Beginning Dinghy Sailing class.

After the review the class shifts towards further development and refinement of small boat sailing techniques.

Satisfactory completion meets prereq for Beginning Keelboat and Advanced Dinghy Sailing classes.

Students Learn:

  • Right of Way 
  • Detailed discussion of rules of the road
  • Points of sail
  • Sailing in stronger winds
  • Improvement of boat handling skills
  • Hiking out
  • Sail theory
  • Sail trim
  • Powering up vs. depowering
  • How to and when to reef
  • Heaving to
  • Backwards sailing
  • Blind folded sailing
  • Intro to racing

Advanced Dinghy Sailing

Advanced dinghy is an introduction to higher performance racing dinghies, with an emphasis on boat control and speed. 

Wetsuits are required!

Students Learn:

  • Rigging the Lasers and Visions
  • Self rescue techniques
  • Dry capsizes
  • Boat handling
  • Sail trim
  • Sail shape and adjusting controls
  • Upwind vs downwind sailing techniques
  • How to effectively hike
  • Establishing and maintaining a plane while sailing
  • Racing techniques and rules
  • Sailing with an asymmetrial spinnaker