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Gimli Yacht Club

Learn to Sail

The Sail Canada CANSail Program is designed to provide a solid introduction to sailing. Our program is taught by certified Sail Canada instructors who have life saving and first aid certificates. Emphasis is on safety, fun and a great learning experience.



Can Sail 1-4 lessons:

Sailing Optimists (Ages 8 to 12 - mornings)
Lasers (Age 13 and up - afternoons)
5 days (Mon-Fri), 3hrs/day - from $210 per person

Lake Winnipeg Discovery Camp

Sail and Science
Optimist Sailing in the morning, Science in the Afternoon
Lunch included
Ages 8 to 13
A partnership with the Gimli Yacht Club, Gimli Kiwanis Club, and the Lake Winnipeg Research Consortium

Club Racing Team

Join the club race coach and guest experts and learn to race
6 weekends from late June to early August
Practice on Saturday, Race on Sunday
Requires CanSail Level 2
Students should also be registered in at least one week of Learn to Sail Lessons



  • 9am-1pm every Thursday/Friday & Saturday/Sunday from Jun24-Aug 20 inclusive
  • Typically adult lessons are done in this format with 2 students in each class
  • 2 days of instruction 4 hours/day
  • Please book with us on the Thursday or the Saturday for your 2 day class
  • 8 hours - $210.00 per person




  • 2-4pm every Sat and Sun from Jun24-Aug 20 inclusive
  • Dinghy Sail Boat or Albacore
    (Instructor will choose the correct sail boat for Discovery Sail)
  • A two hour introduction to sailing
  • Maximum of 2 people, per booking (Book Separate)
  • Age 8yrs or Adults
  • Ages 3-7 must be accompanied by an adult in the same booking
  • Note: Type of sailboat used will vary depending on age of participants and boat availability, but expect to get wet. This is a water sport.
  • $39.00 per person


Our Boats

Optimist dinghies

Are used for ages 7 to 13

Laser dinghies

are used for ages 12 and over


are a two or three person dinghy, suitable for youth to adult

CanSail Levels

  • CanSail 1
    Introduction to sailing

    CANSail 1 teaches students the fundamental sailing skills including basic sheeting, steering, and boat handling on all points of sail. Students can sail within defined boundaries set by an instructor.

  • CanSail 2
    Basic sailing

    CANSail 2 teaches students to adjust their bodies and boats for changes in direction and wind speed while sailing, and to perform boat-handling maneuvers in a controlled manner while in a controlled setting.

  • CanSail 3
    Intermediate sailing

    CANSail 3 teaches students to integrate the fundamental boat handling maneuvers and balance with basic tactics and strategy as well as applied sail trim. Students are exposed to a greater variety of conditions and participate in a club race or club training camp.

  • CanSail 4
    Advanced sailing

    CANSail 4 teaches students to perform advanced boat handling maneuvers in a variety of conditions. Students can successfully execute maneuvers in competitive settings and for tactical and strategic purposes. Sailors participate in a one to two-day local regatta.


  • CanSail 1 & 2 - most students will require approx. 24 hours of instruction to obtain a level. CanSail level 3 & 4 often take additional time depending upon the student’s opportunity to sail outside of lesson time.
  • Sailing is a very weather dependent sport. If the wind is stronger than 10 knots (white caps are just starting) CanSail levels 1 & 2 are unlikely to go on the water by themselves.

    The instructors will keep the students busy with other sailing related activities such as tying knots, theory and whiteboard discussions and circle games. Should the participants not be on the water for 2 out of 5 days, we will provide a credit for future lessons.

  • While we accept 7 year olds into our sailing program, we recommend age 8 as an appropriate age to begin the CanSail Level 1 program.
  • All young sailors are required to wear helmets in our program. If you do not have your own, we have hard shell helmets designed for water use.


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Learn to Sail a Dinghy at Gimli

Frequently Asked Questions

What will you need?
  • Notebook and pen (Laser and Albacore classes only)
  • Hat, sun block, rain jacket, swim suit and towel
  • Change of clothes and shoes (one pair of shoes must be close toed and able to get wet)
  • Bottled water
  • DOT approved life jacket (A life jacket will be provided if a participant does not have one.)
  • Optional: chapstick, snack and sunglasses
Sailing Instruction Manuals
  • Optional workbooks that align with the CanSail programs can be ordered when registering for lessons.
  • Workbook for CanSail 1 & 2 $13.00
  • Picturebook for sailors under 8 $11.00
Bad Weather

Sailing is dependent upon the weather, especially for new sailors. If the lessons do not make it out onto the water for at least three days of the 5 days, the student will receive a credit for future lessons.

CANSail Requirements

All areas are assessed based on further development required by the student or they are performing the task consistently.


  • Sail using the correct body positioning/posture
  • Adjust body to keep boat flat

Sail Trim

  • Trim sails accurately while sailing to a point
  • Luff tell tales fly more than 50% of the time
  • Luff sails to depower
  • Trim sails for a close hauled course for 5 minutes


  • Steer to keep tell tales flying while sailing
  • Sail within defined boundaries
  • Control steering with intentional movements
  • Identify and sail within 3 boat lengths of a point
  • Man oeuvre to avoid boats and hazards

Head Up

  • Head up to close hauled from any point of sail
  • Trim mainsail using double handed sheeting
  • Steer boat smoothly while heading up
  • Keep boat flat while heading up

Bear Off

  • Bear off from a close hauled course
  • Ease sails while bearing off
  • Steer boat smoothly while bearing off
  • Keep boat flat while bearing off


  • Check for other boats before tacking
  • Communicate tack to sailing partner/other boats
  • Tack from gunwale to gunwale
  • Crew switches jib as front 1/3 of sail backs
  • Cross boat facing forward with aft foot first
  • Helm sits on new gunwale and straightens out boat
  • Helm switches tiller after tack is complete


  • Check for other boats before gybing
  • Communicate gybe to sailing partner/other boats
  • Crew switches jib as it backs
  • Helm pre-gybes the tiller extension
  • Helm straightens course as boom crosses boat
  • Cross boat facing forward with aft foot first
  • Helm switches tiller after gybe is complete
  • Gybe boom as wind crosses leech of main


  • Stop boat intentionally by easing sails
  • Stop boat intentionally by steering into irons
  • Slow boat while sailing downwind


  • Trim sails to accelerate from a stop
  • Skull to close reach from irons


  • Launch a boat safely out of the sailing facility
  • Dock or land a boat safely at the sailing facility
  • Rig sails, foils, and control lines on training boat
  • Identify wind direction while sailing
  • Right a capsized boat
  • Select appropriate clothing and PFD for sailing
  • Receive and secure a tow line and tow behind coach boat

Physical Literacy

  • Store a water bottle in training dinghy each day


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