Learning to sail brings boundless possibilities for exploration


Who among us has not thought of hopping aboard a boat and cruising out into the sunset in search of fun and thrills?

Doing so is not as farfetched as it may seem, and those who take up sailing gain the skills to embark on any number of coastal trips in destinations far and wide, seeing them from a new perspective on the water.

“Sailing offers adventure, freedom and the thrill of exploration and discovery,” said Tim Geisler, lead sailing instructor at Nautilus Sailing School, which offers weeklong beginners’ sailing courses against a backdrop of several gorgeous locales.  

“Most of our students yearn for the sense of adventure, escape and unforgettable moments with loved ones,” he says of the decision to sail.

Learning to sail includes being at the helm and steering the ship. Image courtesy of Nautilus Sailing School
Sail away

Learning to sail may not be the easiest hobby to pick up, but those who take the chance end up with the skills to see the world by water, whether it leads to buying their own boat or chartering and sailing a yacht for a holiday.

“Students are immersed in a whole new world of language, terminology, unfamiliar skills and new concepts, all happening in an unfamiliar environment,” Mr. Geisler said.

“It can be overwhelming, but for flexible, adventurous people that are excited to learn something completely new, they will be rewarded with a once in a lifetime experience,” he said.

Plus, with the right school, the education part can be half the fun.

At Nautilus, newbie sailors live aboard one of the company’s vessels for a week, learning the ropes in Mallorca, Croatia, the Bahamas, Mexico, Tahiti or the Grenadines.

By the end of the week, students can earn multiple American Sailing Association certifications, from Basic Keelboat Sailing and Basic Coastal Cruising to Bareboat Cruising and Catamaran Cruising.

“We firmly believe that people will become confident sailors and successfully be able to embark on their own sailing journeys by living on a sailboat, exploring a beautiful cruising ground and immediately applying all of their new knowledge and skills,” Mr. Geisler said.

Sailors get to put down the anchor and explore the waters beneath the boat. Image courtesy of Nautilus Sailing School
Captain and crew

The skills necessary to sail with success include navigation and using electronic charts, anchoring, mooring, docking, steering, running and troubleshooting issues with the engines and other systems on board and, of course, manning the sails – all learned in one of Nautilus’ courses.

“Students will come away knowing how to use and trim the sails for all points of sail, reef the sails in heavy weather and enjoy the thrill of learning to get the yacht from one place to the next on wind power alone,” Mr. Geisler said.

Nautilus sailors-in-training will also get a chance to work all of the various crew positions including the captain or skipper running the crew and ensuring safe operations, the navigator charting the course, the helmsman steering the boat and the trimmers in charge of the sails.

“Every student gets the opportunity to be a ‘captain for a day,’ in charge of everything aboard the boat, from checking all the systems, plotting and navigating a course, delegating responsibilities and ultimately running the boat with the crew’s help to sail to a new destination,” Mr. Geisler said.

After sailing between islands all day, the anchor goes down and the crew gets a break, “whether that means snorkeling a pristine reef, diving for lobster, paddle boarding a lagoon, strolling a deserted beach or grabbing a rum punch at a local beach bar,” Mr. Geisler said. “This is why we sail!”

Sailors can man a boat all over the world, such as Tahiti. Image courtesy of Nautilus Sailing School
The journey

Finding adventure is a major reason many take up sailing, and those who complete a live aboard course will be able take themselves on any voyage across the sea they choose, especially with the option to charter their own yacht from over 60 destinations.

“Sailing is an incredible escape and can be the ultimate platform for your adventures and passions,” Mr. Geisler said.

“Sure, you can hire a boat, captain and crew to wait on you, but this does not compare to being able to charter your own yacht, bring your friends and family and be the captain of your own epic adventure.”