Course Overview

Banner image credit to brilliant Robert Torok Photography

Spinnaker University builds on the skills we cover in Spinnaker School, in order to continue developing your spinnaker handling skills to suit a wider variety of yachts, conditions and demands. Please check the pre-requisites prior to registering to make sure you’re ready to get the most out of this intermediate course.  

In Spinnaker University, we focus on the skills necessary to handle a symmetric spinnaker on a larger boat using both sheets and guys. We train students on executing clean dip-pole gybes, discuss the theory behind handling the spinnaker in stronger winds, and introduce some additional methods for dropping the huge kite under control.  

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!  Students are welcome and strongly encouraged to join our spinnaker workshops more than once (repeat registrations received a discount!) to really perfect their skills across a variety of positions on board... and with some additional experience, students can ‘graduate’ to Spinnaker Grad School!  


Must have substantial sailing experience including at a minimum 4 races using the spinnaker and training equivalent to Spinnaker School.  Contact us if you're unsure.


Maximum of 6 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 cover:

  • A refresher on theory and terminology

  • A discussion of heavy air spinnaker tactics, including how to avoid a round-up or broach

  • How to rig a large symmetric spinnaker with sheets and guys

  • Running tapes effectively for a bag hoist

  • Hoisting (including how to deal with twists or an hourglass)

  • Trimming the spinnaker on different points of sail

  • Dip pole gybe

  • Leeward dousing techniques: standard, floating douse, spiking the tack

  • Basic windward douse technique


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 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 our home port in West Vancouver at 5750 Eagle Harbour Road. 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 at Eagle Harbour Road.  5 minute walk from the bus stop to the club.

By Car
Free parking on the street around the corner from the club lot.  Please do not park in the club parking lot as it is reserved for members 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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