Gulf Islands Cruise & Learn - Courses & Mileage Builder

As a sailing destination, there are few places in the world that match the beauty of British Columbia's majestic mountains, quiet coves, friendly ports, pristine Provincial Marine Parks and the abundance of coastal sealife. 

2020 Cruise & Learns and Mileage Builders:

  • July 18-22 or 24 Vancouver
  • July 25-29 or 31 Vancouver
  • August 1-8 Vancouver Aug 24-28 (or 30)



Each day following a healthy breakfast prepared by the Student Crew, your instructor leads you through:

  • the morning Gulf Islands sailing lesson focused on seamanship and the Skippers duties
  • Prepare and file our Sail Plan- "Safety is First"
  • 2-3 hour late morning sail led by Student Skipper and Student Navigator
  • lunch afloat often hove-to for a BBQ in a quiet cove- review of seamanship lessons learned that morning
  • 2-3 hour afternoon sail, passage completing the days Sail Plan
  • late afternoon anchoring, mooring or docking lesson - review of Skippers lessons learned
  • yacht and dinghy maintenance focused on rigging and equipment
  • preparation of the Sail Plan by Acting Skipper and Navigator for next day
  • Course knowledge, seamanship and boat-handling skills objectives are posted for next day

South Gulf Islands:

Day 1 - Vancouver- orientation and preliminaries and sailing English Bay, across the Straits of Georgia, Gabriola Passage, anchoring Pirates Cove- dinner BBQ.

Day 2 - Pirates Cove- Trincomalli Channel, mooring at Montague Provincial Marine Park Marine Park, Galiano Island- dinner at Hummingbird PUB.

Day 3 - Montague Harbour, Galliano Island- circumnavigation, Captains Passage, docking Ganges, Saltspring Island- dinner and entertainment Treehouse Cafe.

Day 4 - Ganges, Saltspring Island- Half-day sailing lesson on Captains Passage- back to Ganges for a bike/hike and music  the Oyster Catcher Restaurant- evening sail to Bedwell Bay, Pender Island- swimming pool and breakfast at Poets Cove Resort.

Day 5 - Bedwell Bay, South Pender Island -  complete circumnaviation of North & South Pender Islands, Navy Passage to Port Browning ancrage

Day 6 - Port Browning, Pender Island- -Satellite Channel, Trincomali Channel, Saltspring Island and Wallace Island anchoring in Clam Bay, Thetis Island for BBQ and swimming

Day 7 - Clam Bay, Thetis Island- Bareboat Charter Master Check-out, Porlier Pass, Point Grey, English Bay, and False Creek docking before 4pm

Gulf Islands Sailing

VSC Cruise & Learn includes:

  • NauticEd cloud-based LOG Book and Sailing Resume

  • Mediterranean Anchoring and Mooring Endorsement 

  • All aboard meals are supplied by the VSC Bosun and prepared by the student crew, snacks and non-alcoholic beverages are included

  • Fresh linens/ sleeping bags, towels and facecloths

  •  Use of CCG Type 5 inflatable Personal Flotation Device ( life jackets), tether and harness

  • Personal preparation for what to wear, bring with you and study by your Cruise & Learn Instructor here at our Vancouver sailing school.

  • Use of 2 Kayaks and 8HP RIB Dinghy

  •  Fuel and moorage fees are included

Your Instructor:

Carl Richardson, Chief Instructor, Vancouver Sailing Club

Instructor Credentials- RYA Yachtmaster Cruising Instructor, RYA Professional Practices & Responsibilities, NauticEd  Captain Rank Instructor and SLC Examiner, CCG ROCM VHF Radio Instructor & Examiner, ASA206 Advanced Coastal Cruising and ASA214 Cruising Catamaran Instructor. 

Professional Sailing Certifications- RYA Yachtmaster Offshore (MCA), NauticEd  Captain Rank Level 5, ASA206 Advanced Coastal Cruising, ASA214 Cruising Catamaran, Marine CPR AED First Aid, Industry Canada SVOP, IC Marine Emergencies ME3, ISAF (WorldSAILING) Safety at Sea.

"Sailing is all about the joy of harnessing the power of the wind, making friends in new places and discovering the world by-the-sea. With over 47,000 NM logged under sail and a full- time professional sailing Instructor for the past 15 years, I have had the privilege to assess, instruct, examine and certify more than 1650 students on cruising keelboats 24-52 feet and cruising catamarans 38-48 feet. My lesson plans use proven teaching methods that assist my students in acquiring sailing knowledge, seamanship, operational vigilance and practical boat-handling skills for all conditions. My favourite C&L destinations are BC's West Coast , the Inside Passage including Howe Sound, Gulf Islands, Desolation Sound and the Discovery Islands. I also enjoy Instructing Cruise & Learn adventures in Greece, British Virgin Islands (BVI), the Grenadines, Antigua and the Turks & Caicos Islands- 67 weeks in the past 12 years. My international cruising and racing plans for 2019 will take me to St Lucia and the Grenadines and Toronto.

Student Testimonials

Enrolment Fees

$3,500 per person for 7 days, $2975 pp for 5 day Military, Group and Private rates are available on request

Aboard one of our gulf island cruise and learn sailing adventures

"Sleek as ClaraALLEGRO is, it is not the boat; not the gorgeous waters; or that adventure that comes in hand, but that comfortable and confident attitude that comes with the skills you impart. Damn, that was fun. You will certainly see me again for the Advanced Coastal Cruising"

- Marc Hess, Fredericksburg, Texas, NauticEd Certified  Bareboat Chartering Master  



"One year ago I had to start from ZERO. A few weeks ago I sailed a 36 ft sailboat from Nanaimo to Vancouver in 20 knots of wind with "my" crew and me at the helm in a completely comfortable and safe way. An unforgettable feeling and I owe it all to Carl Richardson (VSC Instructor)."

-Wim Arits, VSC204 Bareboat Cruising Master and VSC504 Competent Keelboat Racing Crew Certified


In addition to our Gulf Islands sailing schedule of 5+ hours per day you are encouraged to take our RIB dinghy and to shore for seaside hiking, and snorkelling. We also have 2 kayaks for your use.


Our meals are designed to be healthy, delicious and light. Safe cooking aboard is taught in our galley complete with gas stove & oven, refrigerator-freezer and deck mounted barbecue:

  • Breakfast is continental with fresh fruit juices, cereals, muffins, tea and coffee

  • Lunch includes soup or salad and sandwiches with variety of teas, soft drinks or milk

  • For dinners we alternate between local PUBS/ Cafes or students assisting aboard in preparing barbecued fresh turkey, salmon, chicken, lamb or beef served with baby vegetables, pasta and salads. Desert is a locally sourced sweet surprise.

Sightseeing and Cruising the Gulf IslandsSleeping and Living Aboard

Each of the three private cabins include:

- hatch & fan ventilation

- forced air heat for spring and fall sessions.

- two (2) salon couches can also be used as berths

- fresh laundered color- coded sleeping bags, towels and face cloths

- non-allergenic soaps and body lotions are included

-  FILTERED  hot & cold pressurized water for sinks and shower to keep the crew comfortable


Our yacht we use when sailing the gulf islands

It is requested that your personal gear is stowed in one duffle or soft walled bag. Bring enough clothing for 4 days only as we will be stopping at full service marinas equipped with washing machines. We recommend that you bring your own personal care products in an easily stored kit. For recommendations on clothing to bring please see our RESOURCES  link.

"Carl was a fantastic (VSC) instructor for the entirety of my 7 days sailing with him. He made sure to allow me to put my skills to practice with minimal intervention, unless it was required. His instructional methods are very well developed and leaves a student with a great dealof confidence. He is very approachable, and entirely professional. I would recommend Carl for anyone who is interested in learning to sail, or those who simply want to improve their skills with an experienced sailor."

- LCdr. Derek Walter. Winnepeg, Manitoba, NauticED Certified Bareboat Charter Master

Gulf Islands Cruising

Learning to Sail at the Vancouver Sailing Club is rewarding:

  • CONFIDENT, RESPONSIBLE and PREPARED - our focus is developing your sailing knowledge, seamanship and boat-handling skills for personal competence and safety in the context of having F U N and A D V E N T U R E.
  • Progress at your own pace - each course includes a NauticEd eLearning pre-course study that can be completed anytime and anywhere where you have Internet access or an iPad or Android device- the on-the-water practical instruction and certification is provided by Vancouver Sailing Club's flexible year-round sailing schedule from our downtown Vancouver docks, the British Virgin Islands (BVI) and new international cruising grounds.
  • RECOGNITION - Cruising Course Certifications and Coastal & Ocean Mileage Builders are respected qualifications for international Bareboat Chartering and Yacht Insurance Companies worldwide

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