Frequently Asked Questions

I just registered for a CanSail session, what should I expect?

Our sessions include brief, on-shore sailing theory discussions, but are mostly packed with hands on experience and on the water practice time. Along with enthusiasm for your new adventure, you will require sun screen, a hat, a well-fitted PFD and clothes appropriate to the weather (eg. a wind breaker & leggings or wetsuit if it is windy) - remember, it is always cooler on the water than on shore!

We have broken our CanSail course offering down into four modules, as described on the Program Details page. These modules outline of the topics we will cover and present them in a rough progression of skill and knowledge. And while we will try to lead each student through this progression, individual skill, group experience and the day's weather may require our instructors to adapt and improvise to keep the group engaged and on track.

Rest assured, that each student will be given the opportunity to demonstrate the skills outlined in the module list, but keep in mind it will take you 2 to 4 lessons to complete the entire list!

We would recommend booking at least two sessions to get your sailing started, ideally within a few weeks of each other.

What do I really need to bring?

It’s critical that you bring a change of clothes that can get wet, a dry change of clothes, a PFD, a hat, sunscreen, and a lunch. Here is the full list of things to consider:

Must haves

  • Canadian Government Approved Personal Flotation Device (PFD) & Whistle

  • Bathing suit (base-layer), plus shorts/leggings, UV-shirt (over-layer) that can get wet

  • Change of clothes; Towel

  • Sunscreen!

  • Cap or hat

  • Eyeglass retainer strap

  • Lunch

Cold days

  • Wetsuit (optional but preferable when < 15C)

  • Windbreaker or rain jacket

  • Sweater or warm layer

  • Water shoes (should be soft-soled)

Other considerations

  • Water sport helmet (recommended for beginners)

Do I need to buy a manual or study before the course?

The more you’ve read about sailing the better your experience will be. We recommend “Basic Sailing Skills” by Sven Donaldson. One of the best dinghy sailing books out there is “Go Sail with Live-Action DVD Coaching” by Steve Sleight. It gives you an overview from beginner to advance and is focused on dinghy sailing. If you have a lot of time on your hands “Sailing for Dummies” is also a good read.

I want to buy a wetsuit, is there one type that is good for sailing?

A wetsuit is a good investment, especially if you are involved with other water sports. The best kind to get for sailing purposes is a “shorty” which has short sleeves and is cutoff just above the knee. This will provide more than enough warmth to any summer sailor. Each May Costco brings in shorties at a great price.

I know I want to get into sailing, what kind of gear should I buy?

Before considering what type of “gear” you’ll need to be a sailor, decide if you want to sail in the colder seasons like spring and fall. If you just want to sail during the summer you likely won’t need as much equipment (clothing). For all sailors I suggest a pair of wetsuit booties (soft-soled shoes), a pair of gloves, a good PFD that doesn’t have a collar or doesn’t extend too far down the torso (sailing or paddling PFD), a set of wet weather gear for rainy days (doesn’t have to be expensive), a favorite sailing hat & a dry bag to bring along snacks (definitely optional).

I don’t want to buy any gear, what should I bring for sailing lessons?

You should bring a set of sailing clothes that can get wet. Depending on the weather I would suggest the following:

Sunny day – shorts, t-shirt or tank top, hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, old running shoes (no hard-soled shoes), PFD

Cloudy/Rainy/Windy day – rain jacket and rain pants, hat, soft-soled shoes, PFD, sunscreen (you can get a nasty sunburn on a cloudy day), possibly thin gloves, light toque if it’s windy.

Cold day – LAYERS! A base layer, mid layer and outer layer to repel the weather, wetsuit, wetsuit booties if possible, toque, gloves, PFD, sunscreen

I forgot my lunch… where can I get food around here?

At Wabamun Sailing Club: Lakeside diner (in the town of Wabamun ) for hot food (quickest & easiest), it’s attached to a grocery store as well.

At Edmonton Yacht Club: Near RV Camping ground there is a little diner. It’s great for cold weather food. There is also a grocery store in the Village of Seba Beach.

I know sailing is the sport for me, how do I buy my own boat?

It’s always best to buy a used boat first. There are so many types of boats out there that you want to be able to sell it if it’s not the best fit for you. Ask your instructor to give you some advice on what type of boat would be best for you. There are lots of used boats for sale during the summer time and most of them will sell for between $1000 - $4500 depending on if it comes with a trailer or not. Look for hull damage like stress fractures (spider cracks) by pushing on every square inch of the hull. Run your fingers under the gunwhale to see if the hull is separating. Inspect all the working parts and sails for rips & tears. Some tears can be irreparable so watch for tears by the bolt rope at the head of the sail.

Where do I find boats for sale?

The sailing clubs in the area & province usually have a buy and sell on their webpages. Check our "For sale" page, the Alberta Sailing Association and local boat dealers like Boatcraft or Glenmore Boats. Members of sailing clubs will post boats for sale on a bulletin board at the club, so a drive out might do you good.

Now I have a boat, where can I keep it?

If you aren’t blessed to have lakefront property to enjoy your new hobby, the best way to get good use out of your boat is to buy a membership at a local sailing/yacht club. Your boat will always be near to the water with all your equipment on site. Otherwise, you will likely tire of transporting a boat & all its gear to and from public beaches quite quickly. Don’t underestimate the time it takes to step a mast if you’re just heading out for an afternoon sail. Membership offers many perks including the company of other sailors with loads of experience in fixing boats, sailing boats, and racing.