Course Overview

Spinnaker School is a short workshop dedicated entirely to that big, colourful parachute-like sail that powers boats sailing downwind.  We teach you all the basics from the theory behind spinnakers through to hoisting, flying, gybing and dousing them cleanly and efficiently.  

This course is really beneficial to anyone wanting to learn all about using spinnakers, or to improve on certain parts of sailing with spinnakers. While we teach the course with a focus on preparing you for using the spinnaker on a race course, the course is suitable for anyone with some basic sailing experience looking to build their skills with the spinnaker. 

All instruction takes place on board to maximize the time spent sailing and developing practical skills.  No classroom time, just active learning and fun sailing!  Spinnaker School students are welcome to join our workshops more than once to really perfect their skills... and with some additional experience, students can ‘graduate’ to Spinnaker University and even Spinnaker Grad School!  


Must have some basic sailing experience.  Competent Crew, Quicker Crew or equivalent experience is ideal.  Contact us if you're unsure.


Maximum of 4 students. 
This course is open to ages 16 and up.  We offer a 20% discount for ages 16-25.  Please contact us for this pricing.

5% GST added at checkout for Canadian customers.

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Course Objectives

Students will understand the basics of spinnaker use, with a focus on a racing environment.  We cover:

  • Theory and terminology

  • Symmetrical vs asymmetrical spinnakers

  • Running tapes effectively

  • Rigging a symmetrical spinnaker with sheets only (for small boat use)

  • Hoisting

  • Trimming the spinnaker on different points of sail

  • Gybing the spinnaker with end-for-end pole

  • Dousing the spinnaker on the leeward side


This unique curriculum gives you plenty of fun and useful experience.  This is not a formal certificate course.  Mileage gained on the course can be added to your logbook and signed off by your instructor.

If you are looking to learn how to sail more generally or to start getting sailing certification, you may want to consider our Start Sailing course which follows the globally-recognized Royal Yachting Association curriculum, providing much more detail on all the essential sailing skills.

What to Bring?

Please bring your own lunch for weekend day courses.  For weeknight courses, please either eat before joining the boat, bring substantial snacks, or be prepared for a late dinner after sailing.  Please review the required and recommended items listed for day sailing on our FAQ page here.



We start and finish each day at Thunderbird Marina on Marine Drive in West Vancouver. You will be sent directions specific to your course within 2 weeks of your course start date.

By Public Transit
Bus #250 between downtown Vancouver and Horseshoe Bay offers access with a stop right outside Thunderbird Marina.

By Car
Free parking on the street across the street from the marina lot.  Please do not park in the marina parking lot as it is reserved for moorage customers and you will be towed.

By Bicycle
Marine Drive is a popular cycle route although does not have much of a shoulder on many parts of the road.  There are plenty of secure locations to lock your bicycle while sailing.  

What's Next?

You are invited to join the Sea to Sky Sailing Race Team for drop-in sailing on Wednesday nights, big racing events throughout the year, and discounts on any other programs with Sea to Sky Sailing.  You can also have a change of pace and join us for our in-depth Royal Yachting Association certification courses, giving you the full arsenal of skills to become a great sailor.

More questions? Contact Us!

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