Frequently Asked Questions


Sailing Classes

Do I have to know how to swim?

  • No. We sail in keelboats that don’t tip over so you should never be in the water.  Of course knowing how to swim is always recommended for people spending time around the water.
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What do I wear?

  • Clothing:    Comfortable clothing, but think of layers. Often it is cooler in the morning and warmer in the afternoon. Any clothes you peel off can be stored below on the boat.
  • Jacket:        A water-resistant or waterproof jacket to keep you dry. Not always needed but nice to have in case the weather kicks up.
  • Shoes:         Soft soled, non-marking shoes, like tennis or deck shoes. No sandals or open toe shoes.
  • Misc:           A hat and sunglasses are recommended as well.  Also a safety strap for glasses is advised.
  • Gloves:       Sailing gloves are not required but recommended –  We do have them available at the Sailing School office.
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Do I need to bring anything?

  • Sunscreen.
  • Lunch – You will have 1 hour break for Lunch so you have the option of either going out to grab something or bringing it with you. Waters and soft drinks are available on site.
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What is included in the class?

  • Class Materials which include Textbook and supplemental handouts, appropriate tests for certification,  ASA logbook for certification stickers and endorsements (BKS), 1 year ASA membership (BKS), classroom and on the water instruction.
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How many people are there in a class?

  • There is a maximum of four students to a boat class. Some classes may run with as few as 2 students.
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What happens if I have to miss a class?

  • We can schedule makeups whenever there is a space available in another similar class. There is a $25 fee for each makeup class.
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What is the cancellation policy?

  • We require at least a 7 day notice to cancel a class at no charge. Less than a weeks notice and there is a 50% cancellation fee. No refund for those who don’t show or don’t call to cancel or reschedule a class.
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Is certification good everywhere?

  • ASA is recognized worldwide. ASA certification enables you to charter boats to various sizes around the world.
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Sailing Club

Why should I join a sailing club?

  • Joining a sailing club provides you access to boats, activities, and much more. It’s an affordable alternative to owning your own boat. After learning to sail it’s important you continue to sail to refine your skills and develop self confidence. Being a member of the Sailing Club makes it easy.  You can go as fast or as slow as you need but you can always be sailing and refining your skills.
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Are there reciprocal privileges at other charter bases?

  • Yes. Our club members enjoy discounts at other sailing clubs around the country. Ask us for a list of current reciprocal clubs.
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Do I have to join for a whole year?

  • Yes. Our club memberships run for 12 months from the date of initiation. Monthly payments are available to spread the annual membership fee out over 12 months.
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Do I need to have certification to join the club?

  • No. Joining the club provides you with opportunities to sail on club sponsored activities including afternoon and evening sails, attend seminars, socials, and more.  If you are looking to skipper a boat yourself then you will need to have certification or equivalent experience. A checkout sail with one of our instructors can satisfy the charter requirement.
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Can I put my club membership on hold during the winter?

  • No. Once you’ve joined the club your membership runs for 12 months without interruption.
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What happens if I move?

  • We have no effective way to pro-rate unused months of sailing during the year.
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What happens if I have an accident on one of your boats?

  • Anyone chartering a boat with Spinnaker Sailing is responsible for the deductible on the insurance policy of the boat. This limits your exposure to a fixed amount. Charters are also responsible for the cost of any lost or broken equipment up to the maximum of the deductible amount.
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Can I take a boat out for more than one day?

  • The club program is designed to give everyone equal access to the fleet of boats so we ask that you only make reservation for one charter at a time as part of the unlimited use memberships.
  • Multiple day charters are allowed and club discount rates apply. See Charter Rates sheet for details.
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Sailboat Chartering

Do I need certification to rent boats?

  • Having the appropriate level of certification can enable you to charter boats on your own.  Without certification you will have to take a competency test to demonstrate your knowledge and skills to safely operate a boat here on San Francisco Bay.
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What kind of boats do you rent?

  • We have sailboats from 25  to 40 feet.  Please see our list of charter boats!
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Is insurance included with the boat rental?

  • Yes, and the cost is built into the charter fees, however you are  responsible for the deductible on the insurance policy which will not be charged unless there is damage or loss equipment.
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Sailing Vacations

Do I have to know how to sail?

  • You don’t have to know how to sail to join us on one of our overseas sailing vacations, however, having some sailing experience usually makes the experience more enjoyable.
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What do I need to bring?

  • A list of recommended items are provide for each of the trips. Please see flyers for info.
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Can I go diving?

  • Yes. Most of our vacations in the Caribbean and South Pacific are ideal locations for diving.  It is an activity that you can elect to include on various parts of the trip.
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Kid’s Summer Sailing Camps

What ages are the sailing camps for?

  • 12 – 16. Recommended for kids between the ages of 12 – 16.
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Do they need any prior experience?

  • Most of the kids who take the Basic Keelboat course have had little to no previous sailing experience.
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Is certification included?

  • Certification is optional for students in the Summer Kids program. These classes are intended to give kids a fun learning experience without the pressures of testing. Anyone wanting certifications can however pay an additional fee and we will administer the written exam and the on the water testing. Upon successful completion of the exams they will receive ASA certification.
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What about lunch?

  • Parents are responsible for providing kids with lunch. We do have a refrigerator and microwave in the classroom to store or warm up food.
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Can they rent boats when they are finished?

  • You must be at least 18 years old and have a Basic Coastal Cruising Certificate or equivalent experience to be able to rent boats from Spinnaker Sailing.
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Public Skippered Charters

Do I need to know how to swim or sail?

  • You do not need to know how to swim.
  • Our skippers can handle the boat by themselves, but we encourage all those on board to take part in sailing the boat. We’ll let you help trim sail, and steer.
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Will I get seasick?

  • Very few people get seasick on the Bay, but for those who are prone to seasickness we recommend taking Bonine the night before.
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How many people can I bring?

  • Our boats can accommodate up to six people maximum per boat.
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Can I make my own dates and times?

  • You can charter a boat with a skipper for your own private charter any day. See our charter rate sheet for more info.
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Can I bring food and drinks?

  • Yes. You are free to bring whatever you like.
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Are there bathrooms on board?

  • Port-a-potties are available upon request on the smaller boats, but generally for short sails they are not really needed. The 27 foot boats and larger normally have an inboard head with holding tank.
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What is the cancellation policy?

  • 72 hours notice is required to obtain a refund prior to any scheduled sail unless canceled due to weather.
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Do I need to make a reservation or can I just show up?

  • Reservations are required and boats are filled on a first-come first-served basis.
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How safe are my payments to you?

  • Your payment and personal information is always safe. Our Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) software is the industry standard and among the best software available today for secure commerce transactions. It encrypts all of your personal information, including credit card number, name, and address, so that it cannot be read over the internet.
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Can I get a refund?

  • We require at least a 7 day notice to cancel a class at no charge.
  • Less than a weeks notice and there is a 50% cancellation fee.
  • Must have proof of purchase receipt.
  • No refunds available once the scheduled class has started.
  • Cost of books and materials may be deducted if used by the student or missing.
  • Refunds available only for purchases made at Spinnaker Sailing School in Redwood City.
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Is my information safe?

  • We respect and are committed to protecting your privacy. We may collect personally identifiable information when you visit our site. We also automatically receive and record information on our server logs from your browser including your IP address, cookie information and the page(s) you visited, although this information does not identify you personally, just generic visitor data collected by Google. We will not sell your personally identifiable information to anyone.
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What happens if I miss a class?

  • Make-ups are done on a space available basis. If you fail to make a class, for whatever reason, you can re-take that class for $25 per day as long as there is an empty space available.
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Learn to Sail Guarantee

What happens if I don’t pass the class?

  •  Our Learn to Sail guarantee enables you to retake the Basic Keelboat or Basic Coastal Cruising class if you fail to pass them, provided you have attended all your class dates as scheduled.  You must also complete the required class with 30 days from start to finish. For Basic Coastal Cruising, you must have completed the Basic Keelboat Sailing class within 30 days of beginning Basic Coastal Cruising.
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What happens if I miss a class?

  • If you know you’re going to miss a class and give us a 7 day notice, we can reschedule it for you at no charge.
  • If you know you’re going to miss a class and give us less than 7 day notice, we can reschedule it for you for $25 per class on a space available basis.
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Missed Cruises

What happens if I don’t show up for a skippered cruise?

  • We can reschedule your cruise with 7 days notice at no additional charge.
  • Less than 7 days notice – 50% credit towards another cruise of equal or greater value.
  • If you don’t give us any notice, there will be no refund or credit given.
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Class Cancellation

What happens if my class gets cancelled?

  • A class may be cancelled if there are not enough students to run or due to bad weather.  Students who’s classes are cancelled may request a refund , reschedule to another date or apply the amounts paid to private instruction.
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