Captain Dan Presenting


Benicia, California

Basic Keelboat


This is the full standard course to give sailors a complete hands-on introduction to sailing a small keelboat (sailboat with a fixed keel). We will be using the US Sailing Basic Keelboat textbook. Upon completion, the sailor should have a working understanding of the sailboat, how to operate it, and have initial experience at the basic procedures.


The activity and sport of sailing provides an enormous variety of experiences on the water. There is a great spectrum between casual sailing to performance racing to weekend cruising to long-distance open-ocean cruising. Weather varies greatly in many ways. Navigation among geographic and other boating traffic can present great challenges. The experiences can be beautiful, exhilarating, adventurous, and they can be terrifying. It is of the utmost importance to maintain safety and to operate the sailing vessel with competence and knowledge. Organized, formal education is the very best way for sailors to achieve the knowledge and skills necessary to be competent and safe.

Prerequisites: None

Who is this course designed for:

1. Those with some sailing experience and want to get a solid understanding and hands-on experience with a sailboat.

2. Experienced crew who want to establish full understanding of what’s going on around them on the race boat.

3. Sailors and skippers who want to fill in the gaps of their knowledge and skills. This course is perfect to helps identify the blind spots of knowledge that occurs naturally when learning how to sail casually.

4. Youth who are ready to begin their mastery of sailing and skippering, and enter a sport of fun and adventure.

The Course Includes:

1. Course text book, “US Sailing Basic Keelboat”

2. In-Classroom training: approx. 10 hours

3. On-The-Boat training: approx. 20 hours



Class Size:

Maximum, four students per session.




Signing Up:

Click the link at the bottom of this page!



100% money back guarantee if not satisfied with your experience


Absence Make-Up Policy:

If you are unable to attend any part of the course, you may make arrangements for make-up learning, such as offline lessons or attending the applicable segment of the next session.


Cancellation Policy:

100% money back if cancel within 5 days of the beginning of the session


Course Schedule:

This course includes five 2-hour evening classroom sessions, and four 3-hour and two 4-hour on-boat sessions.
Specific schedules will be posted in January.


Course Outline/Syllabus:


1. Sailing Concepts

Understanding the boat, parts, functions, rig

Understanding Sails, how they work, how to operate

Sail Trim: Basic understanding of sail shape

Basic sailing directions: Upwind, Downwind, Points of Sail

Changing direction: Heading up, heading down

Turning: Tacking, Jibing

Sailing Vocabulary


2. Preparing to Sail

How to dress for the weather, warm, cold, windy, wet

Understanding the Wind

Sails: Further understanding, parts, functions

Sails: Lines (ropes) connecting to sails

Sails: Hoisting and lowering

Sails: Controlling the sails when under way

Knots: Introduction


3. On the boat

Leaving the dock

Crew position

How to steer the boat

Sailing: starting and stopping

Jib and Mainsail trim

Turning: Tacking

Turning: Jibing

Stopping the boat: Heaving to

Returning to the dock

Tying up to the dock


4. Further Sailing Skills

Adjusting sail shape

Depowering the sails

Sail Balance

Tacking angles

Jibing angles

Wind shifts

Sailing upwind and wind shifts

Leaving and returning, more situations

Knots and lines

Line handling, coiling

Line handling, heaving

VHF Radio


5. The Sailing Environment


Onshore and Offshore Winds

Tides and Currents

Basic Navigation Rules: Right of Way

Nautical Charts


6. Safety and Emergencies

Hypothermia & Heat Emergencies


Electrical Hazards

Physical Fitness

Overboard Rescue Methods

Shortening/Reducing Sail

Running Aground

Anchoring Concepts

Safety Equipment

Signaling for Help


About Captain Dan

Captain Dan with wife Cosi


Dan Carnahan was introduced to sailing on his uncle’s race yacht in Long Beach in the 1960s, and he has been sailing ever since. Dan completed nearly the full course catalog at Club Nautique Sailing School, Alameda, in the 1980s-1990s. For three years in the 1990s, Dan organized and skippered weekly sailing trips out of Alameda and Benicia. In the early 2000s, for another three years, Dan served as crew, foredeck, in the Benicia Thursday night races. Dan started racing his own boat, a Santana 22, starting in 2013. Dan took over the management of the races, as Race Chair, in 2017 and is still serving that that position. In 2018-2019, Dan earned his USCG captain’s license, and during 2019 he was employed as a professional captain for a pleasure cruising charting company in Alameda.


Dan’s experience in leadership, teaching and coaching began during high school years, serving as a YMCA camp counselor, then as Assistant Scoutmaster for his Boy Scout Troop. He was employed by his church, serving as Youth Counselor during college years. In Benicia, Dan has served as head of the Men’s Ministry at his church, and he served professionally as Youth Pastor. Dan has served as an adult volunteer with Benicia’s Boy Scout Troop 8 since 2000 and continues still. He served several years as Scoutmaster, and several more years as Committee Chair. Today, through his professional coaching business, Dan helps entrepreneurs and business owners in a coaching/accountability capacity to achieve their business goals.


Dan helps those who are learning to feel supported and understood. He is calm and patient. His students feel comfortable and safe, not only physically, but emotionally as well. Dan knows that everyone begins their learning from the beginning, as he did. And Dan’s love for being on the water and with others provides for a very happy experience for everyone.

Benicia, San Francisco Bay

Many people love the picturesque setting that surrounds the bustling little town of Benicia. It lies on the Carquinez Strait of the San Francisco Bay Area, has an active boating community and yacht club. Seeing the sailboats out on the glistening water gives many the inspiration and desire to be a part of the sailing activity. But, until now, there has been no organized method for people to become involved. Dan has a heart to help create the way to bring people to the water and to the boats. Dan is now in the perfect position, as Race Chair, and as an experienced teacher and coach, a sailboat owner, and licensed captain, to make it a reality. Captain Dan’s mission is to provide the pathway for anyone to gain access to the exciting world of sailing.


Captain Dan School of Sailing


Dan Carnahan:, 707-319-5706
Mailing Address: PO Box 1074, Benicia CA 94510
Classroom: 701 Southampton Rd, Suite 101, Benicia CA 94510
Boat: Benicia Marina, F Dock, Santana 22 “Sail la Vie”

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