Skipper Small Sailboat | Online Sailing Course

Lifetime access
Rating is 4.92 (based on 912 reviews).

Learn to Sail Small Keelboats

This interactive online course equips beginner to intermediate sailors with the knowledge and theory to confidently handle 18 to 25ft keelboats in moderate conditions. Covering topics from outboard engine operation to sail trim and leadership, you'll learn to sail, maneuver, and dock your boat confidently. Recognized by the US Coast Guard as meeting the American National Standards for sailing training – theory portion.

Estimated Time: 10 - 15 hours
Price: $45  $39

Enroll in this course to learn how to sail small sailboats (keelboats) up to 25ft. This comprehensive Skipper Small Sailboat online sailing course is designed to teach you all the theory, knowledge, and strategies necessary to safely and competently sail small sailboats (keelboats). Optional practical training is available through our international instructor network. If you are a beginner sailor, or new to small keelboats, then simply you should learn the theory and knowledge to sail small keelboats; including sail trim, basic navigation, electronics, outboard motor operation, docking, and emergency procedures.

Whether you are a beginner or intermediate sailor, you will gain the skills and knowledge necessary to confidently handle a small keelboat in moderate conditions. By the end of the course, you will be able to confidently navigate inshore, maneuver, and dock your boat, as well as respond to any emergencies that may arise.

This course is recognized by the US Coast Guard as meeting the American National Standards for sailing training - theory portion.

Topics covered in the Skipper Small Sailboat (Keelboat) Course

  • Weather and Sea Conditions
  • Electrical and Mechanical Systems
  • Rigging
  • Rules of the Nautical Road
  • Maneuvering in the Marina
  • Sailing
  • Communications
  • Navigation Introduction
  • Anchoring and Mooring
  • Coping with Emergencies

We guarantee both your satisfaction AND Lifetime access to any sailing course you buy from us!

This course, when combined with practical on-the-water training and assessment at any of our qualified NauticEd schools, is officially approved as meeting the On-Water Recreational Boating Skills Standard - SAIL developed by the United States Coast Guard. It is the only course in the world approved to this high standard.

The NauticEd Skipper Small Keelboat course is for those wishing to successfully master the skills needed to sail a boat in the 18 to 25-foot range. The course covers everything from the outboard engine and maneuvering skills to sail trim and understanding how to be a true leader on a small keelboat.

More about the Skipper Small Sailboat Online Course

  • Available immediately online and offline on our iOS App
  • Extensive and essential knowledge for sailing at the beginner / intermediate levels
  • This Sailing Course takes approximately 10-15 hours of total time to complete
  • Take as long as you need to complete
  • Return as many times as you like to review
  • You may take the tests anytime and as many times as you like online via browser or offline via our iPad/iPhone testing app. See our sailing apps page
  • Adds the Skipper Small Keelboat course endorsement to your Sailing Resume
  • Optional Practical Training available through our international network of instructors
  • Learn to sail small sailboats with this comprehensive online sailing course.
  • View Skipper Course excerpts
This is an ONLINE course and tests viewable in your browser window. You will also be able to view offline on your iPad via our iOS App.
Not convinced yet that online sailing courses are cool? Visit our fully interactive and completely free Basic Sail Trim Sailing Course. You'll see why online e-learning is SO MUCH BETTER than a boring old Book.

Upon completion of the online course, you will feel confident that you know the theory of what to do when in command of a sailboat. And if you're new to the fun of sailing, you'll look like a pro in front of your hands-on instructor. Upon successful completion of the associated practical training with a NauticEd American National Standards Instructor, and subsequent logging of two days of training in your free electronic logbook you will receive a sailing certificate displaying the United States Coast Guard VERIFIED COURSE badge.

Are you ready to "get your feet wet" and feel the exhilaration of sailing? Then let's get started!

The test is reasonably simple as long as you have read the material. You can take the test as many times as you like to pass or improve your score without any extra cost. Once passed, the NauticEd Skipper Small Sailboat course will be added to your online sailing resume. And the great thing, once you've registered, you can log back in for life for FREE to review the material and brush up your skills. We're constantly updating the course and adding information on new technologies as they emerge, so for just $39 - you'll always be up to date.

If you still have questions about NauticEd, the courses, and/or the sailing certifications, just contact us via email or phone we're happy to help. Otherwise, register for the Skipper Course now!

Learn all the theory of sailing in the comfort of your home at your own pace with NauticEd. Register for the Skipper Course now!

Instructor Grant Headifen
By Grant Headifen
NauticEd Global Director of Education


View Skipper Small Keelboat Course excerpt

Student Reviews

David J.
2024, 28 May. 19:33

It helped clarify certain doubts and also repeated/reinforced previous material helping me to feel more familiar with concepts and terminology

Lance C.
2024, 19 May. 20:13

Great test of knowledge and understanding!

Michael P.
2023, 11 Dec. 01:54

Great 2nd step up from basic and/or dinghy sailing course, preparing a student for a day or weekend on a small keelboat

James F.
2023, 01 Nov. 02:11

its delivery method is simple and easy to understand

Gisle H.
2023, 17 Aug. 18:48

Did this after passing for Captain so it was good repetition :-)

Gary S.
2023, 22 Mar. 14:10

A great course layout with the ability to be flexible and base your learning around your life. You can also go back and repeat it as often as you'd like to refresh your knowledge.

Dan W.
2022, 08 Nov. 23:50

Was a while ago, but all of these courses were challenging to me and I appreciate that

2022, 22 Oct. 13:32

Good info

Joe K.
2022, 27 Aug. 15:46

I love the intuitive way the courses have been created. The fact that the material is available to view again later is very useful as a refresher when it's been a while since the course was taken. The explanations on the test as to why you got an answer wrong is very helpful in correcting your understandings.

Hugh Texas M.
2022, 05 Aug. 21:56

Great course on sailing small keelboats!

Steve M.
2022, 30 Jul. 18:55

Online, good user interface, knowledgeable course writers, humor. Thank you!

Rich C.
2022, 01 Jul. 17:32

comprehensive and helpful

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Showing 1 - 12 of last 19 reviews.
List Price: $45.00 Price: $39.00 You Save: $6.00 (13%)

Excerpt from the course

Expand Excerpt from the course


Apparent Wind

Apparent wind is the result of the true wind and your boat speed. Here is an explanation that you easily grasp because it relates to something you experience almost every warm summer's day.

Play with this animation by sliding the slider to speed up the car. Then read the below text and replay this animation.

NOTE: This is best viewed in Firefox, Chrome, or Safari


Put your hand outside the window of your car traveling at 60 miles per hour on a still-warm summer day and your hand will feel a 60-mile-per-hour wind coming from the front of the car. That’s apparent wind yet the true wind is zero. What if the car was driving into a 20-mile-per-hour headwind? Your hand would feel 80 mph. Or if the wind was blowing from behind at 20 mph, your hand would feel 40mph.

Now, what about a crosswind of 20 miles per hour? Well, we need to do a little Pythagorean theorem work on this. What is the square root of the sum of 60 squared plus 20 squared? Your hand would feel 63.24 mph and mostly from a direction in front of the car. If the car accelerated to 100 mph your hand would feel 102 mph, again mostly from the front. If the car decelerates to 10 mph your hand would feel 22 mph mostly from the side of the car and if the car stopped you’d feel the full true wind of 20 miles per hour from the side of the car. Whatever your hand feels is the apparent wind. The apparent wind equals the true wind when your car is not moving.

When determining the direction of the apparent wind, the faster the car goes the more the apparent wind direction comes from the direction of travel of the car. Again imagine the crosswind. At 1 mph forward speed in your car and a 20 mph crosswind, the apparent wind feels almost like the true wind from across the car. As the car accelerates the wind feels more and more like it is coming from the front.

This is similar to a boat. The faster the boat sails into the wind, the more the apparent wind speed increases and the more it feels like it is coming from the front of the boat.

So now that you understand the difference – let’s put the practical application to work for you on a sailboat.


Collapse Excerpt from the course

Sea talk testimonials

Thanks for your quick reply. I like your approach based on sound theory and emphasis on the practical skills (my approach too in my area of work). Thanks for the link to the article and for the time you take to answer my questions. Be assured that I will recommend NauticEd far and wide (and also to our local sailing school).

Roger A, Student

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