General Information Safety @ Sea Fun Stuff Resources

 

Learn to sail on the beautiful San Francisco Bay

 
  • Fully licensed captain
  • 30-foot Sabre sailboat
  • Relaxed, low-key instruction
  • Great prices

Enjoy easy sailing lessons on the 30-foot Sabre Excalibur (or on your boat). Classes comprise 4 students maximum, and are tailored to meet your individual needs after we cover the basics. Classes last two to four days, and workshops are typically 4-6 hours. The captain holds a US Coast Guard Masters 100 GT with Near Coastal to 100 nm license with sailing and towing endorsements.

We want to get you on the water if at all possible. SailNOW is accepting Private Cruises and Lessons only for now, due to the Covid-19 virus situation. Our primary goal is safety, and we're not willing to risk your or our health until the situation is resolved. We strictly enforce the wearing of masks and disinfecting surfaces during our sails.

Please email with any questions.

Customer comments

Check out SailNOW on Yelp

  There are many places around the Bay to learn about sailing or sharpen your skills, but Sailnow and Jonathan Ganz is in a special category. Jonathan focuses on all the proper fundamentals and builds these into as advanced a sailing session as you can handle. Jonathan has a US Coast Guard license (100GT) and an encyclopedic knowledge of boats and the bay.

My wife and I have been sailing for many years but decided to spent a day on the water with Jonathan to sharpen our docking and anchoring skills. I have completed a US Sailing bareboat certification class and done a couple weeklong trips in the Caribbean, but wanted to practice close-quarters maneuvers, docks and anchors. After acquainting us with all aspects of his (well-maintained) boat, Jonathan took us out and gave us a good day of practice and instruction. We anchored for lunch, navigated the docks and marina, and got lots of practice with docking, propwalk, dock lines, etc.

I would recommend Sailnow and Jonathan for any level of sailor who wants to learn more. There may be many choices for people who can teach you the basics, but only someone like Jonathan and Sailnow can help you build your skills up to become a truly serious sailor.

Philip

My wife and I and another couple got a 2-day sail lesson with Jonathan.

Jonathan was very very knowledgeable, fun and really let us all participate in sailing the boat. He let all of us take the helm, trim sails and even dock the boat. It was a lot of fun and I would recommend it to anyone who wanted to take a basic sailing lesson.

Chris

Lessons
Quick Links

Get to know sailing

This is a hands-on, one-day lesson that will introduce you to the basics of sailing, lasting approx. four to five hours. We'll cover the following items.

No previous experience needed. Two-person minimum, four-person maximum.

There are typically fewer classes during the winter months. Let me know if you have specific dates in mind.

Please email with any questions.

I strongly suggest you get a copy of either ASA Sailing Fundamentals or USSailing Basic Cruising books. (Please ask me first before purchasing either of these books.)

Basic Cruising Class

This is a two-day class, approx. six hours each day. We'll cover the following items.

  • Sail dynamics, including balance, Center of Effort, Center of Lateral Resistance, Weather and Lee Helm
  • Basic Rules of the Road for Sail and Power
  • Lights at Night (running and anchor)
  • Knots to live by, including the bowline, coiling and heaving, cleat hitch, reef, sheet bend, rolling hitch, figure eight and monkey fist, and the round turn and two half hitches
  • Reefing, when, why, and how
  • General navigation and buoyage
  • Tides and currents, including the concept of set and drift
  • Big boat electrical systems, including AC/DC and bilge pump operation
  • Head operation
  • Engine tour
  • VHF radio procedures, including Mayday, Pan Pan, Securite
  • Safety equipment and USCG requirements
  • Docking and using the engine and prop-walk, including back-and-fill and how to back up in a straight line.
  • General boat handling skills, including hoisting, reefing underway, sail trim, tacking and jibing review, points of sail, and heaving to
  • Crew Overboard (COB)
  • Anchoring

Two-person minimum, four-person maximum. Mimimum requirement is previous sailing experience or knowing which end of the boat usually goes first.

There are typically fewer classes during the winter months. Let me know if you have specific dates in mind.

Please email with any questions.

I strongly suggest you get a copy of either ASA Sailing Fundamentals or USSailing Basic Cruising books. (Please ask me first before purchasing either of these books.)

In addition, you should review the handout prior to class.

Night time Crew Overboard Workshop

One of the most dangerous things that can happen on sailboat is someone falling off the boat. And, as a result, the COB drills are part of a standard lesson plan. Even more dangerous is falling off at night, yet this is hardly ever planned for beyond the admonition to not fall off the boat.

In this workshop, we'll practice retrieving a target at night. We'll explore the traditional Figure Eight (or Quick Turn) maneuver and the LifeSling recovery technique. The workshop will have approximately three hours underway, plus some dock time discussion.

Two-person minimum, four-person maximum. Minimum requirement is previous sailing experience.

Please email with any questions.

Day time Crew Overboard Workshop

One of the most dangerous things that can happen on sailboat is someone falling off the boat. And, as a result, the COB drills are part of a standard lesson plan. But, we all need more practice

In this workshop, we'll practice retrieving a target in moderate wind conditions, which are typically higher in the afternoon. This is beyond what we usually cover in the regular basic cruising class. We'll explore the traditional Figure Eight (or Quick Turn) maneuver and the LifeSling recovery technique. The workshop will have approximately four to five hours underway, plus some dock time discussion.

Two-person minimum, four-person maximum. Minimum requirement is previous sailing experience.

Please email with any questions.

Night time Cruising Workshop

It's not all about danger and being careful; It's a also about having a great time while sailing safely at night. Different from the Night time cruise, this is a hands-on class.

We'll cover the essentials, such as:

  • Night time navigation aids
  • Local knowledge, landmarks, and hazards
  • Recognizing other vessels

And, we'll have a nice cruise, taking in the sights and the restaurant smells, all in about three hours (or more), depending on the conditions.

Two-person minimum, four-person maximum. Minimum requirement is previous sailing experience.

Please email with any questions.

Heavy Weather Sailing Workshop

Heavy weather can be the norm rather than the exception on the SF bay. Be prepared to handle winds over 25 kts. The class is approximately four hours, depending on conditions.

Two-person minimum, four-person maximum. Minimum requirement is previous sailing experience.

The general curricula for the workshop is:

  • Boat preparation for weather (discussion and practical)
  • A review of what drives a boat
  • Basic reefing techniques (while under sail)
  • Heaving to
  • Docking issues

Please email with any questions.

Docking and Boat-handling Workshop

Docking and general boat handling is one of the most challenging skills to learn as a new sailor. Sailboats with a single prop handle a lot differently than a powerboat with a single prop. This workshop gives you the skill and confidence to get your (or someone else's) boat in and out of a slip with the minimum amount of hassle and stress. In addition, you'll learn how to turn the boat around in the absolute minimum amount of space (typically not much more than its own length) and maneuver in tight/close quarters.

Two-person minimum, four-person maximum. Minimum requirement is some boating experience (not necessarily sailing).

The general curricula for the workshop is:

  • Basic theory (including understanding prop-walk)
  • Boat and line preparation
  • Formulating a backup plan
  • Line handling techniques (including spring lines)
  • Stern-to and bow-to techniques
  • Inboard engine techniques
  • Logical crew assignments
  • Cast off and docking practice

Please email with any questions.

Team Building!

This is an ongoing, full half-day event (six hours) that will give you and your team an excellent opportunity to build group cohesiveness in the typically challenging North San Francisco Bay environment.

Upon request, this event can include a sunset sail.

Two-person minimum, six-persons maximum. No sailing experience is required.

Please email with any questions.

Deposit requirements

If you want to make special arrangements for a private charter, a deposit will be required to hold your reservation. I will give you instructions about how to go about this. Sending a deposit without first signing up means I'll be one step closer to retirement. If you'd rather send a check, let me know and I'll tell you how. and you will be placed on the list.

Canceling or not showing up

If you need to cancel or postpone, please let me know at least two weeks in advance. (I'd prefer even more notice, if possible.) Emergencies come up. Let me know if that happens. Depending on your situation, I may offer a partial or full refund.

If I cancel (e.g., equipment issue or illness), I will offer you a refund. It's also possible that I may have to postpone the class or charter due to special circumstances.