Frequently Asked Questions
If you don't see your question answered below, don't hesitate to reach out!
When do you offer classes?
All of our classes are by appointment only. We do not have a weekly or monthly schedule. Our season generally runs from June - September, but it does vary a bit from year to year. We offer classes on both weekdays and weekends to accommodate as many schedules as possible. Weekends tend to fill up the most quickly, so if you are not available to sail on a weekday, try to book your course with as much advance notice as possible to ensure your first choice of dates.
How do I schedule with SPSC?
To schedule a class, rental or charter, please call or email to speak with a staff member. Having a few specific dates in mind before contacting us helps the process to go faster. Please keep in mind that if you would like to take an ASA course, we have a two person minimum per class. If you are taking the class as an individual, you may be placed on a standby list until we can match you with another participant with the same availability. Any activity booked more than 30 days in advance requires a 50% deposit to hold the date. Events booked within 30 days of the date must be paid in full.
What is your cancellation policy?
If you need to reschedule your class prior to 30 days before the start date, you may do so after contacting SPSC staff. If you reschedule within 30 days of your class date, you will incur an additional rebooking fee of $150. Textbooks may be returned for a full refund of their price only if they are unused and in new condition with no visible signs of wear or damage. If you cancel of your own accord within 30 days of your class date, you forfeit any deposit paid. If you booked within 30 days of the start date and need to cancel of your own accord, 50% of the class total will be refunded to you. In the unlikely event that SPSC needs to cancel a class due to weather, instructor illness, or other unforeseen events, students may rebook at no cost, or receive a full refund.
Can my child(ren) take ASA classes or private lessons?
Traditionally, the ASA classes are geared toward adults. There is a written test required for certification and a certain degree of physicality is needed to maneuver the boat, trim sails, etc. Parents should consider these things when deciding if an ASA course is right for their child. Private lessons would most likely be a better fit for children 10 -14. Children under the age of 10 would probably be more successful in a program that is dedicated specifically to youth sailing, and would have boats more manageable in size for smaller children. Children 16 and over may take classes independently. Children 15 and under must be accompanied by an adult that is responsible for them for any activity booked through SPSC.
How should I prepare for my ASA class?
Once your ASA class is confirmed, we will send your textbook(s) to you to study the material. You by no means need to be an expert when you arrive, but it is very important that you are familiar with the concepts and terminology in the book. The ASA classes are only a few days and are meant for mostly hands on practice with a captain. Students need to pass both a written test and an on-the-water skills test in order to qualify for certification through the ASA. Coming to class prepared helps students to be successful in both of these aspects. Study guides will be provided via email to students upon registering for an ASA course.
Should I tip the captain?
Gratuity is not required, however if you feel that your captain did an excellent job on your class or charter, feel free to offer them a tip. It's always appreciated by our staff.
What should I bring?
All classes are advised to dress in light layers that are appropriate to the forecasted weather conditions. Temperatures tend to drop as you get farther out from land, so having a light jacket or sweatshirt is a good practice, even in the summertime. While sailing, it is always possible that you may get a bit wet, so wear clothes/shoes that you are comfortable with getting damp or salty. You will be moving around the boat, so footwear with some traction is important. Non-marking soles are preferable, but athletic shoes are also fine. Sunblock, sunglasses, and hats are highly recommended. Bringing water, sports drinks, or other beverages to keep you hydrated is also encouraged. Each boat has space down below for you to store anything you would like to keep dry and safe. If you are taking an ASA course, please bring a lunch with you each day, as well as your textbook(s).
Where will we sail?
We sail in Casco Bay, out of Portland Harbor. This area of Casco Bay offers the experience of sailing in tidal waters while still being much more protected than offshore sailing. Introductory classes will stay closer to shore while more advanced classes will venture farther out in Casco Bay.
What if there is inclement weather?
Unfortunately, there are times when the weather or wind do not make for good sailing conditions. Classes will need to rescheduled, if possible, in the event that wind speeds do not create an effective learning environment for new sailors or the captain does not feel that conditions are safe. Classes will be held in light to moderate rainy conditions, so be prepared to sail even if it is not a bright, sunny day.
I've completed my ASA course(s) and don't own a boat. How can I keep sailing?
Great question! Sailing is a lot like algebra in that if you don't use it, you lose it. If you are new to sailing, it is important to put as many hours in on the water as possible, so you can commit your new skills to memory. If you take a course this season and don't sail again until next season, there is a good chance you will forget some of what you've learned. We offer several options for new sailors to hone their skills. Private lessons are a way to receive additional. individualized time with a captain. These lessons can be tailored to your specific needs. Day Rentals are also available for qualified students. You will be able to take a school boat out in Casco Bay, without a captain. Most new sailors will not be able to solo sail, so making friends with your ASA classmates is encouraged. We may also be able to connect you with others hoping to rent a boat. A third and new option that we are adding for the 2018 season are regularly scheduled group lessons. These lessons will be offered in an after-work weekday format, and a weekend day format. Keep your eyes on the calendar and inquire with the SPSC staff about classes.This will be a great opportunity to to connect with others who enjoy sailing and to become better sailors.