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CanSail I/II courses are now complete for this summer.

CanSail III course will be offered starting in July. 

Learn to sail in downtown Toronto with St. James Town Sailing Club this season! We offer adult sailing lessons for sailors of all skill levels - from total beginner ("how do you get in the boat?") to racers (race training clinics).

Learn to Sail


We offer members essential Sailing Lessons covering CANSail 1 and 2 curriculum, as well as a more advanced CANSail 3 course. Before you register for a course, please make sure to join. All sailors must be members.

Our instructors are all certified by the Canadian Yachting Association (CYA) and have years of experience teaching adults to sail in a safe, fun environment. 

In addition, we frequently run skill-building clinics, weekly racing-skills sessions, Laser sailing workshops, and Nacra catamaran sailing lessons. Watch for announcements as dates are set.



Our Learn to Sail programs can take you from “never sailed, but always wanted to learn” to competent sea-dog in as few as 10 three-hour classes.


($100 + membership fee)

CANSail  1&2 will provide you basic sailing skills, boating safety, and familiarity with our fleet of Albacore dinghies. On successful completion, you'll be CANSail level 1 & 2 certified, and able to sail the club's Albacores in winds up to 10 knots.

Our instructors are certified by the Canadian Yachting Association (CYA), and our course is based on the new CANSail standard set out by the CYA. The course provides safe instruction for recreational and competitive dinghy sailing.

Dates and Times

We offer several Learn to Sail courses from late April through July. For a complete schedule including dates and times check out our Events Calendar page! All CANSail I/II courses are now complete for this summer. If you're interested in learning next summer, please check back here in early April 2023.

Course Format

Each course consists of an introduction plus approx ten class units of three hours each. Weekday classes consist of one unit and run 6 to 9 pm with dinner from 9 to 10 pm. Weekend dates are two units and run from 9 am to 4 pm*, with lunch from 12 to 1 pm.

The first date of each course is an on-land introduction. The club board members will be there to introduce you to the club, answer any questions, and show you how to set up the sails on our Albacores.

The first two on-water classes introduce you to sailing. You'll be paired with an experienced sailor from the club - an "Old Salt," as we like to say. You'll get a chance to control the sails and gain a feel for steering.

All lessons follow the same basic format (a weekday evening is assumed):

6:00 - 6:15 pm: Arrive, setup and put the boats in the water
6:15 - 6:45 pm: In class instruction
6:45 - 8:30 pm: On water instruction
8:30 - 8:45 pm: Put the boats away
8:45 - 9:00 pm: Lesson debriefing
9:00 - 10:00 pm: Dinner and socializing

We pack a lot into each class, so it's essential that participants arrive on time and are able to attend the majority, if not all, of the scheduled classes. Missing more than 6 hours (two classes) of course time puts your graduation in jeopardy!           


Food is a delicious part of J-Town. After each class, the group prepares a shared meal: 3-4 students volunteer to supply dinner for everyone (appetizer, main course, and dessert). The cost of the meal is shared by everyone in the class.



Have you completed the CANSail I/II or the Old Salt Test but still looking to take your sailing up a notch? An intermediate course may be just the thing.  

There will be a CanSail III course starting July 19, 2022 for members. Please sign up here.

CANSail 3 Course
($120 + membership fee)

This fun and challenging 10-session course runs twice each year, and teaches more advanced boat handling and sail trimming skills to those confident in their Learn to Sail skills.

Specific skills covered include:
  • Sail trim for a balanced helm
  • Roll tacking
  • Stopping and starting
  • Backwards sailing
CANSail 3 is a fantastic experience for members interested in participating in racing, or those who simply want to push their skills to the next level.


New to J-Town but already an experienced dinghy sailor? If you prefer to skip our Learn to Sail course we offer the option to take our Experienced Sailor Test or, as we like to call it, the Old Salt Test.

Tests are conducted in our Albacore dinghies. You will be asked to demonstrate the following:

  • Basic sailboat and sailing knowledge
  • Departing and returning to our docks
  • Tacking and gybing
  • Good sail trim on all points of sail
  • Man overboard drill
  • Capsize recovery
If you haven't sailed for many years, have sailed but not in a dinghy, or you're due for a refresher in any of the above skills, we strongly recommend you take a Learn to Sail course.

Think you'd like to jump straight to the test? To arrange an Old Salt Test, contact us at education@sailtoronto.com


Learned to sail? Polish your skills by racing! For many members, racing is an integral part of the J-Town experience.  It is a great way to improve your sailing skills and get to know more sailors both at J-Town and the surrounding clubs.  

Once you have completed CANSail 1 & 2 or equivalent, consider coming out and crewing on Friday nights, attending Race Training/Skills Building on Monday evenings, participating in Team Racing Thursdays, or otherwise finding out more about racing.  If you have raced before, come on out and join in!

We're very lucky that the Toronto Inner and Outer Harbours are home to a diverse group of dinghy sailors and some very competitive Albacore, Nacra, and Laser fleets. We've also been known to travel en masse to race against fleets in other locales. Many J-Town members regularly place strongly at national and international competitions.