Learning to Sail Flying Scots


This on-the-water group course is the foundation of Inverness Yacht Club’s adult sailing program.  If you want to learn to sail, this program is a great way to begin for both adults and kids. The five-day program introduces the sport of sailing to students with skill levels from beginner to intermediate in organized daily lessons.  Classes are conducted with the goal of participants learning the fundamentals, and are taught by qualified club members eager to share their sailing experience.  If you’ve never been on a sailboat, the group learning environment will make you feel safe and supported.  If you have experience and want to hone your skills, the interactive lessons will give you the feedback you need to improve your abilities as a sailor.  

IYC offers a two-weekend adult sailing program that is open to IYC members and the public. This year's program is scheduled for September 16-18 and 24-25

The program using Flying Scots which are versatile and stable 19-ft sailboats used for pleasure boating and racing.  With a maximum of three students per boat, participants take turns performing all of the tasks required to handle the boat. The instructor rides in the sailboat, or observes nearby from the dock or a safety boat. Classes include dockside “chalk talks”, but most of the time is spent rigging the boats and practicing sailing on the waters of Tomales Bay. 

If you want to participate in the program, please read the following Registration Instructions:

  -  Click on the REGISTER button below. Members must log in to the IYC website to receive the member price.

  -  On the SIGN UP page, click either "see more" in the Adult Sailing Lessons box or the "  Click for registration help/notes " at the bottom of the page.

  -  Then follow the instructions to download, complete and email the Application and Participation Agreement/Waiver. There are a limited number of spot available in the program. You must complete the Application and Participation Agreement/Waiver to reserve a spot.

Detailed information about the program can be seen below.  If you have questions, please contact the program director Ned Congdon at or 925-984-6835.

All events

Flying Scot Adult Sailing Lessons Program 


Day 1: Introductions, Preparations and Rigging

Discussions on the dock will cover a variety of topics including boating safety, wind direction and strength, points of sail, sailing terminology, useful knots, and a review of sailors’ personal equipment including personal flotation devices, clothing, footwear, and sun protection. You will begin to learn how to rig the boat. 

After these discussions, you will learn how to roll the boats onto the dock and how to operate the hoists that lower them to the water. 

Lunch and questions

Sails raised, rudder and centerboard lowered, boats will set sail. Each person will take turns performing basic steering maneuvers, including heading up, falling off, and reaching.


Day 2 - Upwind Sailing and Tacking

Review of previous day’s work and reading, Q&A. Practice knots, both tying and untying.

Overview of wind awareness and reading puffs. Introduction to upwind sailing and tacking technique.

Rig boat and hoist sails. Practice reaching and tacking on the bay.

Lunch and discussion of morning’s work.

Continue reaching/upwind sailing techniques, with an emphasis on tacking. Sailors will take turns as skipper. Drop and store sails and undo rigging.


Day 3 - Downwind Sailing and Jibing

Review of previous day’s work and reading, Q&A. Introduction to downwind sailing and jibing technique, and “heave-to” maneuver.

Rig boat and hoist sails. Practice heave-to maneuver, downwind sailing and jibing.

Lunch with a discussion of the morning’s work.

Practice downwind sailing technique with an emphasis on jibing. Sailors take turns as skipper.


Day 4 - Sailing with Reduced Supervision; Man Overboard Procedure

Review of previous day’s work and reading, Q&A. Discussion of docking procedures. Instruction in “man” overboard procedure.

Sailors rig Flying Scots and hoist sails, then take turns in the roles of skipper and crew. 

Emphasis on students practicing what they have already learned, this time with minimal guidance from instructors.

Lunch and discussion of morning’s practice.

Continuation of morning sailing activities. Docking drills. Sailors will practice recovering items floating in the water. Drop sails and rigging and put away boats.


Day 5 - Refine Skills; Introduction to Right-of-Way Rules

Course review. Instruction on “rules of the road” and right-of-way. Instructors give a status report to individual sailors and identify what they need to work on. Rig boats and hoist sails.

Sailors launch the boats and take turns practicing their skills.  Right-of-way drills.

Lunch and discussion of morning’s practice.

Capsize recovery review followed by practice on the water.

Drop and wash sails; clean and put away boats and equipment.

Debriefing and celebration!


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