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Learn to Sail: Adult Sailing Programs

Sailing is a lifelong sport that is unique in its ability to both exhilarate and relax at the same time. 

Our goal in offering these courses is to educate boaters and in so doing make our waters safer. If you are looking at joining the Boat-2-go program and do not have the necessary qualifications check out our Basic Cruising course.

  • Introduction to Keelboats
    • Introduction to Keelboating

      A 2-day course on Weekends in August

      Hi, we are pleased to welcome you on board and introduce you to keelboating! The goal is that, in a fun weekend, you get all the basics from the Sail Canada Standard to become an active crew member and develop a new passion. The approach is calm, precise and efficient.


      This workshop aims to give the Sail Canada certification Introduction to Keelboats to the members of the West Vancouver Yacht Club and to the citizens of the area of Vancouver. It provides an affordable and easy access to a first time on board while providing quality education in a beautiful environment, The Strait of Georgia. The perfect training to feel comfortable on board and reaffirm a passion for sailing. This certification will take place weekends in August starting on August 10th. It is a 16 hour workshop split into two days with no night on board. 3 people maximum on board at a time for 4 weekends which makes a total of 12 participants maximum. It will be on Saturdays and Sundays from 9 am to 5 pm. The participant will go over the basic knowledge to become an active crew member on board. No experience is needed.

  • Basic Cruising
    • The Fall session for 2019 has completed! All sailors have passed and received their Basic Cruising Certification!

      The course is offered in the spring and again in the fall.

      WVYC will be continuing its very successful “Flexible Basic Cruising Course”.  There are a total of 8 places available for the course. This is a Sail Canada course and the first step on the ladder towards owning your own boat.  You will learn to sail a keelboat in light to moderate winds in the waters around West Vancouver. The course includes anchoring, mooring, docking, crew overboard, motoring and all the points of sail plus loads more. You need to attend the classroom sessions and the on water sessions. The spring course will start in Late April/Early May. The fall course usually starts late August/early September. Classroom sessions usually run at WVYC from 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm or at the instructor's premises.  Each week your instructor will email you with the options for sailing that weekend (weather dependent). The first 4 of 8 students to respond positively will sail that weekend (usually only one day of the two).  If you can’t make it – don’t worry, there will be plenty of opportunities. 

      Each student can take up to 5 days on the water and on the last day you will be tested for your “afloat” skills.  There is also a written test to take when you feel ready.  If necessary we will run a classroom teaching session to review the topics for the test. The cost of the Sail Canada Basic Cruising course will be available when registration opens plus the cost of the PCOC registration.  It will include a set of PowerPoint slides to help you with the Basic Cruising test, the PCOC test if you don’t already have it, the sail Canada logbook, on water time, classroom time, and the PCOC registration if you don’t have it.

      Our program is designed to introduce you to the world of sailboats, wind, and water in the scenic waters of Howe Sound. Our courses are ideal for beginners or those who wish to improve their skills. You will be sailing as part of a group on a stable keelboat. 

      This course can be used as the prerequisite for joining the Boat-2-go program, or if you are a WVYC member, accessing the J22 sailboats.

      All of our instructors are certified by the Canadian Yachting Association and are committed to providing you with the most professional, positive, and proactive sailing experience possible. Select the programs below for more great options:

  • Sail Canada (CYA) Coastal Navigation
    • Once you know how to sail in local waters within sight of your home port, you should take the Coastal Navigation course and learn how to navigate around the beautiful BC coast - up to Desolation Sound, over to the Gulf Islands or down to the Orcas Islands. Coastal Navigation is a six evening classroom course which teaches you how to use charts, how to plot a course or check your drift, the meaning of all the symbols in Chart 1, detailed understanding of all the safety and informational buoys at sea and using tide and current tables for passage planning and anchoring. This course is required by most charter companies to charter boats for overnights. The course requires several hours of homework each week to build your charting skills up to the necessary level and is quite numbers based. The exam on the last night involves written and chart work.

      Course Name

      2020 Dates


       Coastal Navigation      
      Six evenings
      TBA 6:30 - 9:00


      Non-Members and Members $425.00

      Click here to Register Online / Check Availability

      * Adult cancellation policy information can be found here

      For additional course information, please contact sailingdirector@wvyc.ca
  • Club J22 Usage
    • Have you've completed your Basic Cruising (or have equivalent years of experience), or Level 1 of the Private Lessons, and are you keen to keep sailing but don't want the hassle and cost of buying and maintaining your own boat? The WVYC's J22s might be just what you're looking for.

      The J22 allows approved WVYC junior, intermediate, associate, and active members access to the 2 club-owned J22 keelboats for day use. Approved Junior and intermediate members can use these boats at no cost but must commit to helping twice per year to haul and clean them and do small maintenance on them. Associate and Active members can use these boats at a small cost, and the proceeds go towards maintenance of the boats and supporting the Junior Sailing Program. For more information or to book one please contact the sailing director at sailingdirector@wvyc.ca or (604) 921-7575 Ext 231. If you are new to sailing check out our Private Lessons for learning how to sail one of these boats.


      WVYC Associate and Active Members qualified to take them out: $25 an hour

      Conditions of Use:
      Each and every usage of the J22s must be approved by the Sailing Director in advance as these boats are used for our summer programs, the North Shore Sailing Team, Private Lessons, WES racing and other members. Just because they are not being used at the moment you look does not mean they are necessarily available. If you wish to use a J22 on the weekend you must pre-arrange with the Sailing Director to do so by 4 pm Friday. There are limitations to capacity these boats can carry safely, and therefore you must present a list of all persons who will be onboard prior to use. Boats must be left ship shape and the sails must be rolled and stowed neatly at the front of the boat so they stay dry. Lines must be left neatly stowed on deck so that the companionway can be completely closed to prevent rain from getting in. All rules for boat safety apply. If you get stopped by the coast guard and are found to not have the proper equipment on board it is your fault. Any underage drinking or drug use will result in the permanent ban from ever using these boats again.

      All damage must be reported to the sailing directory by email within 24 hours. Damage, caused by misuse or outside of the bounds of normal wear and tear is the responsibility of the user.

      Level 1

      This course allows sailors to learn the basics of sailing a small keelboat (22ft). Boat handling, safety, and sail trim are a few of the many components taught in a no stressed environment. Level 1 can usually be accomplished in 10 hours. Requirement: PCOC

      Level 2

      With additional sessions, sailors will refine their basic skills as both skipper and crew. Sailors begin to understand how to make boats sail quickly and efficiently. Sailors generally require at least 10 hours of training to complete the Level 2 skill set. Requirement: Level 1 completion.

  • Learn to Race
    • In this course you will race a series of races in a J22 with an experienced racer/instructor. This is an excellent chance to develop your understanding of sailboat racing in a positive and safe environment. Please watch the club calendar for upcoming dates.

  • Private Lessons
    • Have a specific skill you want to master? Looking for individual attention? WVYC offers private lesson aboard our fleet of J22s. Whether it's because you want to learn something right now, optimize your racing skills or simply consolidate your current skill set, our experienced instructors will help you get there.

      Lessons are bookable in 2 hour blocks on days throughout the week.

      Private lessons:

      Monday 5 pm - 7 pm

      Tuesday 5 pm - 7 pm

      Thursday  5 pm - 7 pm

      Friday 5 pm - 7 pm

      and as long as there is no Jr. Sailing Regatta

      Saturday 4 pm - 6 pm

      Sundays 10 am - 12 pm, 4 pm - 6 pm
      *subject to availability


      WVYC Members: $25 an hour, $200 for 10 hours. Price includes boat and instructor

      Non-members: $40 an hour, $300 for 10 hours. Price Includes boat and instructor

      Level 1

      This course allows sailors to learn the basics of sailing a small keelboat (22ft). Boat handling, safety, and sail trim are a few of the many components taught in a no stressed environment. Level 1 can usually be accomplished in 10 hours. Requirement: PCOC

      Level 2

      With additional sessions, sailors will refine their basic skills as both skipper and crew. Sailors begin to understand how to make boats sail quickly and efficiently. Sailors generally require at least 10 hours of training to complete the Level 2 skill set. Requirement: Level 1 completion.

      Please contact the Sailing Director to discuss a package that best suits your need and your schedule.

Other Courses 

Other Courses offered to complete or compliment your cruising program include: Pleasure Craft Operator Certificate (PCOC), VHF Restricted Operators Certificate (ROC) and Safety at Sea. Please watch the club calendar for upcoming dates.

  • Pleasure Craft Operator Certificate (PCOC)
    • The PCOC is a one day course that is a Department of Transport requirement for anyone operating a boat with an inboard or outboard engine. You MUST carry your PCOC with you whenever you are on the water. The syllabus includes rules of the road (sea), buoys and signage at sea, safety equipment requirements and the Law. The course is a classroom course taught in our Sailing School with a short (multiple choice) exam at the end.

      For a listing of current courses, taught by the Canadian Power squadron, please visit: 

  • VHF Restricted Operators Certificate (ROC)
    • If you have a VHF radio on board your boat and want to use it for anything other than a Mayday call you must have a VHF ROC. We teach you the whole syllabus and allow you the opportunity to try out your skills in a short day course based in our Sailing School classroom. With a short (multiple choice) exam at the end.

      This course taught by the Canadian Power Squadron.  Click on the link below for upcoming courses and for online registration

  • Safety at Sea
    • The BC Sailing Offshore Personal Survival Course (Safety at Sea - Sea Survival) is for experienced sailors who are participating in distance and offshore races and passages. The course includes classroom and practical sessions. Topics covered include safety equipment, storm sails, weather forecasts, heavy weather, man overboard, emergency signals and communications. Practical sessions include inflating and using lifejackets, life rafts and other safety equipment in a pool environment. The course is Sail Canada - ISAF Approved. Participants who successfully complete the course receive an Offshore Personal Survival Course certificate, valid for five years. The International Sailing Federation (ISAF) specifies personal survival training requirements in section 6 of the Offshore Special Regulations, and outlines a model course in Appendix G of those regulations. Click here for additional information and upcoming course dates.