VSC101 Qualified Keelboat Crew Certification Standard

General Description:

Candidates learn-to-sail a boat 24-36 feet in length as Skipper and Crew in light to moderate winds and sea conditions. Ability to demonstrate safety is first, getting underway, raising the sails, points of sail, sailing the triangular course, man overboard recovery (MOB), modern sailing terminology, knowledge of the International Rules of the Road and emergency safety procedures.


A healthy body and inquisitive mind. If you have not been boating before, we recommend VSC100 Introduction to Sailing  or English Bay Afternoon & Evening Sails . 

Vancouver Sailing

A VSC101 Certified Sailor has demonstrated his or her ability to:

Sailing Terminology

  1. Parts of a Sailboat:
  1. Backstay
    Boom Lift


  2. Functionality of the following controls:


    Mainsheet Rudder Tiller & Wheel
    boomvang Boom Lift Jib and Main Sheets
    Halyard Winch Fairlead
    Downhaul Outhaul Cunningham
    Stays & Shrouds Shackle Telltails
    Spring & Breast lines Fenders Cleats


  3. Define the following terms:


    port starboard skipper
    helmsman crew forward
    aft tacking gibing
    running rigging standing rigging heel
    ahead abeam astern
    windward leeward beam


  4. Identify the following:


    mainsail jib storm jib
    spinnaker genoa hanks
    battens batten packets bolt rope
    luff leech foot
    head tack clew


  5. Explain the following:


    in-irons head to wind luffing
    close hauled close reach beam reach
    broad reach running starboard tack
    port tack windward boat leeward boat
    heading up heading down / bearing away sailing by the lee
  • Apply the Navigation Rules (International and Inland Navigational Rules for prevention of collision) by means of diagrams in the following situations and identify the sailboat or powerboat that is the "stand-on" and "give-way" boat.
    • port tack and starboard tack sailboats
    • windward and leeward sailboats
    • overtaking situation
    • boat on the right (danger zone)
    • boats meeting head-on
  • Apply Rule 5 (Look-out Rule) contained in the Navigation Rules (International and Inland Navigation Rules for prevention of collision)
  • Describe the actions to be taken when sailing in the vicinity of commercial shipping (Rule 9. Nav. Rules)
  • Define hull identification number.
  • Describe the difference between planing and displacement hulls.
  • Describe proper means of waste disposal including penalties for improper disposal and means for Notification of authorities in the event of oil spillage.
  • Describe how and when to file a float plan.
  • Describe registration numbers and how to display them.
  • Describe a capacity plate, where to find one and the information which is contained on the plate.
  • Describe an alternate means of determining a boat's passenger capacity.
  • State the federal standards for determining intoxication using Blood Alcohol Content (BAC).
  • What is the BAC of the state in which you sail?
  • Give 5 situations which may be considered negligent operation on the part of boater.
  • Describe when and to whom boating accidents must be reported.
  • Describe under what circumstances an operator must render assistance to another boater in danger.
  • Describe the information an operator should acquire before operating his/her boat in an unfamiliar area. Local Knowledge.
  • Describe sources of the information in the item above.
  • Be able to identify lateral aids to navigation by color, shape and numbering.
  • Be able to identify Safe Water, Information and Regulatory Markers by color, shape and numbering.
  • List required safety equipment for recreational vessels between 23 and 40 feet.
  • Describe procedures for safety trailering and launching a boat.
  • Describe sound signals used by recreational vessels and their meanings.
  • Identify the location and color of running lights used by recreational vessels.
  • Describe common anchor types and anchoring procedures.



    A Certified Sailor has successfully demonstrated his or her ability to:


  • Select and properly use a personal flotation device.
  • Select proper clothing for sailing.




  • Hoist the basic sails, set appropriate luff tensions, and coil and hang halyards and other lines.
  • Without an Instructor or direction, act as helmsman / skipper and crew on a sailboat using proper commands and responses while sailing away and back to a dock and mooring under various wind directions. Sail a windward / leeward course while performing successful come about and gybe.


    Inportant Commands:
    "ease sheets" "easing sheets"
    "heading-up, sheet in" "sheeting in"
    "ready to tack" "ready"
    "tacking" "hard-alee"
    "ready to gybe" "ready" "gybe-ho"


    • Lower, fold and stow sails properly.


    • Describe and demonstrate the actions to be taken by a helmsman / skipper when sailing from the time a person falls overboard without warning until the crew member is safely recovered.
    • Speed is secondary to safety in performing this procedure.
    • Describe how to get an exhausted person aboard.
    • Steer a sailboat by the lee for 100 yards without gybing.
    • Steer a sailboat moving backwards for 20 yards with sails backed.
    • Secure a sailboat to a dock so as to ensure limited movement and set out fenders properly. 


    • Describe the function of and tie the following knots without assistance :
      • bowline (in less than 20 seconds)
      • figure eight (in less than 15 seconds)
      • cleat hitch (in less than 15 seconds)
      • reef / square knot
      • clove hitch
      • 2 turns &  two half hitches


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