With a little more than five weeks to go until the official sail-racing season, there are still a couple of opportunities to pick up some valuable pointers to use on the course this year or to refresh winter-stale knowledge with lively discussion.
Among the courses of interest are the Naval Academy's annual Safety at Sea Seminar the first weekend of April, and the Chesapeake Bay Yacht Racing Association's annual Performance Racing Seminar.
The racing seminar is set for March 27-28 and will cover topics from starting tactics to boat handling and helmsmanship in a two-day format from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. both days at the Annapolis Ramada Inn on Jennifer Road.
Saturday's curriculum centers on tactics, and Sunday's session will focus on sail trim and boat speed.
Produced by Gladstone Sailing Services, the course will be taught by Bill Gladstone, author of Performance Racing Technique and a noted teacher of sailing and racing for 20 years. Dave Flynn of Sobstad Sailmakers and Jim Cullen of Haarstick Sailmakers, both of whom also are accomplished and respected teachers as well as top-flight racers, also are involved.
The course also includes a copy of Gladstone's book, a 300-page, heavily illustrated volume.
Cost of the seminar is $100 for the weekend, or $60 per day.
Lunch is available at $10 per day.
Those who can't attend the seminar may purchase the course book for $25.
To register, or for more information, call CBYRA, (410) 269-1194, or contact Gladstone Sailing Services directly, P.O. Box 1169, Evanston, Ill. 60204, phone (800) 34 SAILS.
CSS April navigation classes
If piloting is on your agenda, the Chesapeake Sailing School offers in April a four-day course, which leads to national-level American Sailing Association certification of successful graduates as Coastal Navigators. The course will be held April 3-4 and 10-11. Time is 9:30 a.m. to approximately 4 p.m. each day.
The first two days will cover basic piloting skills, and the next weekend will involve review of more advanced intermediate-level piloting skills and the administration of the ASA Coastal Navigator's exam. Another session is set for May 1-2 and 8-9.
The class may be taken on consecutive weekends or, by prior arrangement, separately.
All work is hands-on in the classroom. For those with no on-the-water piloting experience, CSS recommends taking the basic piloting class before the intermediate level with its ASA Coastal Navigator's test.
In addition to the piloting courses, another repeat session on celestial navigation has been set up in response to popular demand.
A one-day course designed to familiarize the student with the sextant and teach how to take day time sights to verify location. The celestial course may be taken May 1 or 2.
Courses will be at CSS headquarters at Port Annapolis Marina, 7074 Bembe Beach Road in Annapolis.
Costs are $95 for the basic piloting weekend course; $125 for the intermediate piloting weekend, including cost of the ASA exam; and $135 for the celestial navigation course.
For more information, or to register, call Chesapeake Sailing School, (410) 269-1594.