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Learn to Sail

Learn to Sail

DSA Victoria is a member of Canada’s National Sailing Authority; Sail Canada. We are a CANSail accredited site. We have three types of Learn to Sail classes running throughout the summer:

Contact the head instructor to book a group of three sessions. Please note that sessions may be canceled due to weather concerns

What is CANSail?

Sail Canada CANSail

The CANSail checklists and rubrics are based Sail Canada’s Long Term Sailor Development with additional suggestions and adaptations to better evaluate the skills of sailors who have disabilities. The Disabled Sailing association of B.C. Victoria Branch offers learn to sail lessons to individuals seeking to expand their knowledge of sailing and learn to sail independently. Our Sail Canada certified instructors will provide the one-to-one lessons in the Martin 16 or the Access 303. Participants may strive to achieve their CANSail levels.


Learn to Sail: CANSail 1 & 2 (Beginner-Intermediate) 

Candidates will learn to sail following the CANSail Para 1 & 2 curriculum, which covers steering, controlling the sails, tacking, gybing, stopping, accelerating, and direction. Upon completion, candidates will gain their CANSail Para 1&2 certification and be eligible to advance to Learn to Sail: Intermediate.

Cost: $45; class includes three sailing sessions and CANSail Certificate (Sail Canada Seal) if level is achieved. 

Learn to Sail: CANSail 3&4 (Intermediate-Advanced) 

Eligibility: Completion of CANSail Para 1&2 certificate, or completion of successful instructor assessment.

Candidates will continue their progression from CANSail Para 1&2 into CANSail Para 3&4, refining their skills in steering, sail trim, maneuvering, and direction. Candidates will also learn basic rules of sailing, strategy, and sail controls.

Upon completion, candidates who demonstrate the necessary skills will be  eligible to participate in Learn to Race practices.

Cost: $45; class includes three sailing sessions and a CANSail Certificate (Sail Canada Seal) if level is achieved.

Learn to Sail: Kids! 

Learn to Sail: Kids! is a new program based on our increased numbers of children under 18 in our sailing program. Children will learn to sail in our Access dinghies, with a buddy or independently. They will learn how to  steer, control the sails, and work towards sailing independently. During the course, Learn to Sail: Kids! the sailor will work towards achieving their CANSail 1 Level. 

Cost: $45; class includes three sailing sessions and a CANSail Certificate (Sail Canada Seal) if level is achieved.

Learn to Race

Individuals wishing to pursue Learn to Race must be able to manoeuvre the boat safely on their own in varying wind conditions. 

Sailors will acquire more applied sail training, and experience a heavier focus on racing and competition. Sailors will work on perfecting their racing skills and seek opportunities to race competitively.

  • For further information on racing opportunities, click here.
  • Click here to view Sail Canada’s Long Term Sailor Development model.

Independant Sailors 

We want to encourage sailors to work towards independance on the water. Independant sailors must be able to consistently demonstrate safe  sailing and boat handling skills in various conditions. This will be evaluated by the Head Instructor and is at their discretion.  Sailors who have achieved this designation may book individual unaccompanied sails using the Martin 16 or the Access Dinghy. These sails may be booked during regular programming hours (as we attempt to minimize the increased risk by having a safety boat on the water)and are subject to regular fees.