Adult Sailing Classes






What We Do:

For Adults (ages 16+), we offer a hands-on

group classes for beginner and intermediate

adults. This is a great way to try out sailing

and master essential skills. Whether you are

just interested in trying sailing for the first

time, giving the gift of sailing lessons to a

family member, or want to get back into

sailing after many years away from the helm,

LWSA can help you meet your goals. Many of

our adult group participants are new boat

owners of small sailboats and find this the

perfect way to safely gain confidence. Others

want to brush up on skills before getting involved

in the yacht racing scene on Lake WInnipesaukee.

2021 Schedule

Scroll down to see the this year's courses and schedule. Useful in planning your summer!

Please note that all dates, classes, and prices are subject to change. Registration opens April 1st.  Contact us with any questions!

Early Bird Discount

  Register before May 1st and save $15 per class.


Adult Course Descriptions


501: Adult Learn-to-Sail Level One

Ages 16+ ; Four 3-hour classes; Fee: $345
click for Schedule or click to Register

This course is for adults with little or no sailing experience. It will be taught in small groups in a stable and comfortable 23-foot Sonar keelboat and a 26-foot J/80

In this hands-on course, students will learn to rig the boat, handle sails and steer the boat. Emphasis will be on safety and on all aspects of boat handling, including leaving and returning to the mooring, man overboard procedure and how to manage safely in strong winds. 

Please contact us to discuss your specific needs and goals. 

502: Adult Learn-to-Sail Level Two

Ages 16+ ; Four 3-hour classes; Fee: $345
click for Schedule or click to Register

This course is for adults with some sailing experience. It will be taught in small groups in a stable and comfortable 23-foot Sonar keelboat and a 26-foot J/80

In this hands-on course, students will gain the skills needed to explore local waters with confidence. You'll learn to handle a boat with auxiliary outboard motor, and the refined sailing techniques to get where you're going quickly and comfortably. Topics covered include balance and sail shape, tuning, spinnaker handling, docking and anchoring under power, use of marine radio, and daytime navigation.

Please contact us to discuss your specific needs and goals.


Summer 2021 NEWS

While COVID will still be with us this summer, we have developed a plan to get more kids on the water while still keeping everyone safe.

Last season was tough on everybody, as we operated on a very limited basis with fewer students and a limited course selection.  Thanks to parents, staff, kids, and the whole community for all of the support last summer. 


Our plans for 2021 will bring the sailing school experience a lot closer to normal!

Registration is OPEN

Please scroll down for this season's new schedule, and course descriptions.

Adult sailing with LWSA on Lake Winnipesaukee
LWSA Dave Adams Memorial Sailing Center on Smith Cove Gilford

Adult Classes Schedule - 2021




as a


Adult Full Prices.jpg

Read Ahead Lessons

Welcome, this material will be helpful to review before your lesson, it is not mandatory to read and understand it all before the first lesson.

Safety: (What If my boat flips or I fall out?)

  • Capsizing in a small boat is very easily avoidable but if it does happen It’s ok, It’s common and you have nothing to worry about if you follow these steps. Righting a capsized boat is a relatively straightforward process and is very clearly explained in these two videos.​​

  • Non-Capsizers: Good news! If you plan to sail a boat with a “keel” such as an O’Day Day Sailor, or nearly any boat longer than 15 feet you’re in luck! These boats all have a weighted keel which means no matter how windy it is they will never tip over. If you need a trailer to take your boat out of the water or if it doesn’t flip over when you and your friend both stand on one side of the boat, then there’s a good chance your boat has a keel.

    • But first! not all boats can capsize. In fact, Nearly all boats longer than 15ft  will never capsize. Here is how you can tell.


  • Capsizers: Small boats such as sunfish, 420s, and lasers are designed to be capsized and safely righted. If you have a buddy use the (scoop method) to help yourself and your buddy to get back into the water.

    •  If you are sailing a small boat without a buddy, be sure that you are capable of getting back into the boat by yourself in deep water. If you cannot get back into your boat without help it is probably not a good idea to go sailing alone on windy days. (Note: Any time you go sailing with or without a buddy it is a good idea to have with you life jackets, a whistle, and a phone or radio to communicate with shore in case of an emergency. (VHF radio channel 16 to hail Marine Patrol in an Emergency)

Parts Of The Boat

  • You may want to reference this image as boat terminology will be referenced constantly throughout these lessons.

Parts of Boat.gif

The Basics: (How the heck do I get started?)

Here we will cover the fundamentals of finding wind direction, and getting the boat moving for the first time.

Identifying Wind Direction

  • The wind is always present and always changing. Sailboats are very sensitive to changes in wind direction so it’s important to always be alert.

  • Why Wind Direction: The wind is your engine so it’s important to be aware of where the wind is coming from at all times. Until you are comfortable there are several ways you can check.

  • Flags on shore, Wind arrow on top of the mast, small ripples on the water, a piece of yarn tied to the boat shroud, moored boats always point into the wind.

Points of Sail

  • Now that you know where the wind is coming from you’ll need to know at what angle your boat can and can’t sail. You’ll also need to know what position your sails should be at (in or out) in order to move most effectively. 

  • Tip: to ensure your sail trim is correct you can let your sail out until it flaps and then start pulling it back in. The moment it stops flapping you have perfect sail trim.

  • Tip: any time you move your tiller you also need to move your sail.

Points of Sail.jpg

Intermediate Skills: (We're starting to get the hang of this)

Now that we've covered the basic material, you are more than ready for your first lesson! This intermediate section is the next step once you've tested the basics on the water. You will get the most out of this section if you have already spent time in a boat and you understand the basics of sail trim and wind direction.

Tacking Upwind

  • The only direction you can’t sail is directly into the wind. So how do we get there? We have to zig zag back and forth on a ‘close hauled’ point of sail.

  • Why tack: When zig zagging up wind your sail will automatically swing across to the down wind sides of the boat (tack).  You’ll want to know how to safely do this maneuver to get upwind efficiently.

Jibing/Gybing Downwind

  • Jibing is the opposite of a tack where the boom swings across the boat as the stern crosses through the wind.

  • Why Jibe: The swing of the boom of a jibe can be fast and sometimes dangerous. It is important to know when it will happen and how to do it safely.

How to Stop Your Boat ‘Safety Position’

  • Why Safety Position: This is a very simple yet important thing to know. Boats don’t have brakes so you need to know how to slow down and stop your boat in a controlled way. Otherwise, your boat may spin around and gybe without warning.

  • Tip: To stop your boat all you do is

  • 1: Let go of your sail

  • 2: point your tiller toward your sail the sail flaps.

Sailing Up To A Mooring 

Approaching to a Dock or Mooring

  • Why mooring under sail: One of the most important skills for a boat owner is getting on and off your morning or dock gracefully. What happens when you’re motor dies or you run out of gas, you’ll want to safely make it to your dock or mooring.

  • Tip: When you reach your mooring barely moving, drifting up wind, with your sails flapping (make sure you have enough speed though).

Sailing Up To A Dock 

Anchoring Under Sail Power 


  • Under motor, anchoring is much like a motorboat. But under sail power it’s a bit harder to go in reverse.

  • Why Anchor: For lunch.

Anchoring Under Motor Power 

Advanced Boat Handling: (Mastering the art of sailing)

Up to this point, we've covered the necessary skills to safely sail a boat. Hooray! The mastery of these skills is critical for being a responsible boater. We will now dive into more advanced boat handling skills that will help springboard us into more exciting areas such as racing, navigation, and a variety of other advanced topics. 

Understanding Tell Tales 

Using Tell Tales

  • These are small pieces of yarn attached to your jip to help you know if you are sailing perfectly as far upwind as possible.

  • Why tell tales: These are important because sailing upwind is not very fast so you want to make sure you are pointing as high into the wind as you can. Even if you were to point 15 degrees too low or too high could take you 2-3 times as long to get to your destination.

Tell Tales When You Are Too Low or Too High 

Under Sail 

Person Overboard

  • This is a very similar technique as approaching a mooring

  • Why Person Overboard: Safely recovering a sailor in the water is an extremely important safety procedure.

Under Motor 


A sailor is only as good as their knots

This called a ‘stopper knot’ and should be tied at the end of all of your lines (job sheets, halyards, etc.) to prevent them from slipping through.

Eight Knot

Square Knot

This knot is for tying the ends of two lines together.


The Bowline is for making a loop that can be tied around anything (anchor, bow line, sail). This is a great knot because it is very strong and very easy to untie.

The cleat hitch is what you use anywhere you use a cleat, such as on a dock.

Cleat Hitch

I'm a Frayed Knot.png

Coming soon advanced moduled on racing, advanced seamanship, and the art of boat maintenance.