Contact us for friendly informal advice about a sailing holiday suitable for you.


Schooner Trinovante sailing in Norway.

At SchoonerSail we have over fifteen years experience teaching people how to sail and be part of the crew on our schooner Trinovante.

The style is informal. The focus is on teaching good solid seamanship skills whilst visiting some of the best sailing areas in the world. Every voyage is an adventure.

We particularly suit those looking for something a bit different to standard yachting courses or wanting to add a extra, new dimension to their yachting knowledge. Sailing a larger traditional boat and being part of the crew requires specific skills and techniques.

Learning To Sail should be fun and rewarding.

Although we take our sail training for adults seriously, it is absolutely not a boot camp. You will go home feeling a sense of achievement but you'll have fun and eat well too . Don't take our word for it see what our crews have written about our Sailing Holidays

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So what can you expect to learn when you sail on a 'Taster Weekend' or sailing holiday with us?

For starters you are definitely going to learn some nautical words!

Initially most beginners feel quite daunted - that's normal. From the moment you step onboard you will be totally immersed in the world of sail and the sea.

On a multi masted schooner we need you, our guest sailors, to be involved in everything. From hoisting sail and steering to dropping the anchor.
It's actually in our interests to teach you as much as possible. The boat sails better, we get competent crew,, you enjoy the sailing more. There is always a mix of abilities on board from beginners to experienced sailors so whatever level you're at you won't be alone.

Jump to 'OK - as a beginner what voyage should I choose?'

Rope handling

You will get plenty of practice coiling ropes and cleating them off on the pin rails when we hoist sails. There are five basic knots to learn - the reef knot, clove hitch, round turn and two half hitches, bowline, and figure of eight. Many people know one or two of them already.
Trinovante has winches for the jib sheets but all the sails are hoisted with ropes and blocks - it's an efficient mix of traditional and modern.

Trying to learn the flying bowline - not a beginners knot. Halyards hanging on the mizzen pinrail, the white cliffs of Dover are in the background.

Set sail

Everyone gets involved in sail hoists. By the end of a week you will have a pretty good idea of how to hoist, trim, lower and furl a gaff sail.
Our schooner also carries a selection of jibs, the powerful fisherman topsails which are set flying and light weather canvas as in the photo at the top of this page.
Learning the names of the different sails and the parts of the sails comes naturally as you get used to handling them.

Standing your watch

On passages we operate on a watch system. Everyone stands their watch taking it in turns to steer, trim  the sails and keep a good look out.
One of the real delights of offshore sailing is to see the sun come up on the early morning watch.

Feeling the wind

It's amazing that we can sail into the wind. On land we hardly notice the wind – at sea on a sailing vessel we notice every tiny change in direction and speed. What is it doing now, what is it going to do next in 12 hours or 5 days?  Understanding why we tack or gybe or sailing the best course to windward are all part of the ongoing learning experience.

Steer by the stars (or compass)

There's no shortage of opportunity to steer and learning to steer a compass course or the best course for a particularly wind direction is an important core skill you can master.

The Shipping Forecast

Be warned you may become a keen listener!

Anchoring and mooring alongside

We do a lot of anchoring under sail. It's something not many boats do these days.  How much chain do you let out, how do you know your anchor is holding, how do you choose your anchorage in the first place?

Read 'learn to sail articles' written by the skipper about sailing on and off anchor below.
When we go alongside there is always a job for everyone.
Then it's time to explore ashore or just chill out onboard.

As a beginner what type of voyage should I choose?

Some people like to try one of our taster weekends first before committing to a longer sailing holiday but there is no obligation to do so and many first time sailors go straight for something more challenging.

If you are not sure what any of our voyages will involve just give us a ring on 07977 594649.

Learn To Sail A Schooner And Other Articles

This a set of learn to sail a schooner Articles below are beyond beginner level and we think it's much better to 'learn by doing' and to read these after you have sailed onboard not before.

Learn To Sail A Schooner No.1 spacer gifGetting Under Way From Anchor Under Sail
Learn To Sail A Schooner No.2spacer gif Anchoring Under Sail on the Run
Learn To Sail A Schooner No.3 spacer gifDocking And Undocking Using A Spring
Learn To Sail a Schooner No.4spacer gif Sailing Away From A Quay
Learn To Sail a Schooner No.5spacer gif Sailing Away From A Quay with the Wind Aft
Learn To Sail a Schooner No.6 spacer gifShort turning away from a quay
Learn To Sail a Schooner No.7spacer gif Tacking

How To Tell A Ketch From A Schooner