Adult Sailing Classes

Are you ready to get your feet wet? We have amazing coaches to teach you the basics so you can be confident to take a boat out the water with no worries.

Which Class Is Best For You?

First Sail

The textbook, Learn Sailing Right, is included in the Beginning Adult Sailing class.

This two-hour course is designed to introduce a new sailor to the very basics of sailing, including basic boating safety, principles of sailing, and basic boating equipment. The sailor will take a short sail with an instructor. This course is also for the former sailor who'd like to refresh skills in a short form. Ideal for people who want to try sailing before making a bigger commitment of time and money.

Beginner Classes

These classes cover the primary skills of sailing: identifying wind direction, rigging and de-rigging, knots and lines, rules of the "road," launching and landing, steering, safety positions, tacking, points of sail, jibing, capsizing, overboard recovery, getting out of irons, upwind sailing, and on-the-water safety. The goal of beginner sailing is to enable the sailor to rig up, launch, sail out and back, and then land and store the boat without incident.

Intermediate Sessions

Adult intermediate sessions are designed to make sailors more comfortable with the skills covered in beginner courses. General seamanship, boat equipment, rigging, maintenance, navigation, and emergency procedures are all covered in greater depth. Weather, water current, and wind are all discussed as they relate to small boat sailing. Intermediate sailing is taught with a greater emphasis on the sailor's self-reliance; once the course is completed, the sailor can rig, launch, sail out and back, land and store the boat completely without assistance and with confidence and efficiency.


All sailing classes and lessons and hosted regattas are held at the Old Dominion University Sailing Center in Norfolk, Virginia.  Please see the Driving Directions page.


The sailing lessons are taught with a focus on active, hands-on training on shore and aboard the ODU Sailing Team's fleet of Collegiate FJs, 420s, and Laser sailboats.

The Classes

All classes follow US Sailing course guidelines and instructional material.  All head instructors and coaches are US Sailing certified instructors.  

Refunds and Cancellations

Under certain circumstances, cancellations and refund requests are necessary. The Big Blue Sailing Academy policy states that requests for refunds must be submitted in writing at least 3 days prior to the first day of camp. There is a non-refundable fee of $50.00. Refunds will only be processed after camp has ended.

What to Bring

Bathing suit, clothes and shoes (no flip-flops) that can get wet, sunglasses with leash strap, sunscreen, towel, dry clothes to change into, and a water bottle. The Old Dominion University Sailing Center discourages the use of single-use water bottles. Please bring your refillable bottle. Shoes must be worn at all times.

Swimming Requirement

All participants must be proficient swimmers, capable of swimming 100  yards unassisted and able to tread water for 5 minutes. Life jackets are provided and must be worn at all times on the water. Sailors may bring their own lifejackets.