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Home / Opportunities / Education
Home / Opportunities / Education


OWSA offers a variety of classes for sailors of all levels. Our courses cover sailing basics, motoring, docking and anchoring, racing, cruising, and introduction to spinnaker handling. OWSA's experienced instructors create a supportive atmosphere where women can learn to sail, become confident and competent, and establish friendships while experiencing sailing teamwork. Join us for hands-on fun in a supportive learning environment.

Classes are held in the spring, so everything learned in the classes can be experienced on the water from summer through fall, and through winter for those die hard sailors. A list of classes that have been offered year over year are described below.

To register for an OWSA education class, please create a login, login to and go to "Book Events" to register for classes for the upcoming year.

All available classes are online and available for registration now.

101 Sailing Basics

Learn or review the basics of sailing in a fun and supportive classroom atmosphere. This 7-class course explores terminology, knots, points of sail, weather, tides, boat maneuvering, basic navigation rules and charting Each week's topics culminate in a final charted mock cruise. Plan to attend each class. You and your crew mates use and share your knowledge to plan, share and mock-sail a multi-day cruise atop a paper chart, tacking and jibing an itty bitty sailboat to lovely destinations! Includes Basic Keelboat text by US Sailing. Optional Saturday Sails!

102 Basic Sailing Short Course (two classes in 2018)

This is simply a condensed version of the 101 Basic Sailing course. It takes place in four sessions instead of seven sessions.Four evening classroom sessions provide an overview of the skills and knowledge needed to enhance your next sailing experience. This sailing short course introduces you to the boat, the water and the wind. Class includes Basic Keelboat text by US Sailing. Topics include sailing terms, keelboat parts, and points of sail, maneuvering, safety, knot tying, rules of the road, and crewing. There will be an optional Saturday Sail.

103 Cool Maneuvers

Learn the skills you need to get the boat out of the marina. This two-night class prepares you for driving a sailboat, setting an anchor, docking, using VHF and understanding water and wind influences on a boat. When you've completed both nights of class, sign up in class for the optional Maneuvering Practical (on-the-water) scheduled for a Saturday. Prerequisite: Any basic sailing class or instructor approval. Includes Basic Cruising text by US Sailing.

104 Spinnaker Handling Basics (two classes in 2018)

This comprehensive course provides an introduction to spinnaker handling. It includes terminology, sets, drops, jibes, trimming and sailing angles for both symmetrical and asymmetrical (including cruising) sails. The morning session is in the classroom followed by dockside sail-handling in the afternoon.

Prerequisite: Basic sailing knowledge and terminology recommended.

105 Racing Tactics (not scheduled yet)

Prepare for the racing season with this look at winning strategies and tactics for Columbia River sailors.

106 Women's Basic Racing Clinic (not scheduled yet)

Intermediate level course designed to give women with solid, basic sailing skills an opportunity to learn and race with an all-women crew. The course stresses the Racing Rules of Sailing and how they are applied to racing tactics. Participants will be asked to document their previous sailing experience to help with crew placement and to facilitate the learning experience. Class begins with one evening Chalkboard session and continues Mondays in June with on-the-water clinics and racing. Class members participate in the OWSA Women's Regatta.

107 Women's Cruising Class (not offered in 2018)

Learn the basics for over-nighting on the river in this student-led class. Through small group investigation, this interactive class covers safety, provisioning, radio operation, navigation, and other issues related to cruising. Students may practice what they've learned in an optional fun-filled weekend cruise. (Cruise depends on demand and boat availability.) Includes Bareboat Cruising text by US Sailing.

108 Women's Regatta (not scheduled yet)

Come out and get hands on sailing experience in the women's regatta where all skippers and crew are women sailors of various experience levels.

109 Beyond the Basics (not offered in 2018)

Learn rigging in depth and study hull, keel & rudder designs and impact to boat handling. Practice hands-on rigging. Discuss hank-on vs. roller furling, travelers, back-stays and more. Everything you need to know about sails - sail selection, jib and mainsail controls. Optimizing sail trim - fine tuning sail shape for various conditions. We will review safety and rules so you understand what you need to know to keep you & your crew safe on the water. We will learn how to optimize sail trim on the water. You will have the opportunity to practice what you learned on a sailboat.

Contact our Education Chair with any questions about classes, class schedules or volunteer opportunities.

Download the Terminology doc here terminology.pdf

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