NEWPORT BEACH— Orange County is a sailing hub. The coastline is dotted with several beachy towns that fit the laid-back California aesthetic and beautiful coastal waters within an hour of most residents.
With such easy access to the coast, it is no wonder so many people look to get out on the water and test out their sailing skills.
And one of the best ways to learn a new skill is to take a lesson or two from experts. Orange Coast College School of Sailing and Seamanship offers several accessible classes for sailors, whether they are just learning or looking to improve their skills.
While the school also offers college credit for some sailing courses and career programs for those interested in careers out on the water, they also offer courses open to the community.
“We offer a comprehensive program of sailing, powerboating, and seamanship classes for our community,” said Sailing Program Coordinator for OCC Mette Segerblom. “From beginning sailing to offshore cruising, powerboat training, navigation, and more. We also have a program for professional mariners working to build job skills or obtain a Coast Guard License.”
Classes take place in two locations, at their waterfront campus from the Sailing Center on the bay side of Pacific Coast Highway, and the school also works with Newport Beach to utilize Marina Park for lessons.
Classes are a mixture of short classroom sessions paired with on-the-water lessons. They utilize Lido 14 and Harbor 20s at the waterfront campus and 14-foot Quests and J/22s at Marina Park.
“Students will learn basic sailing skills and gain confidence through dockside lectures and hands-on experience sailing either the Lido 14 dinghy or Harbor 20 keelboat,” said Segerblom. “Topics will include sailing theory, points of sail, basic terminology, tacking, gybing, safety, knots, and docking.”
Several courses are offered for students like a Beginning Sailing course taught on a Lido 14. This is a 16-hour course split into four or five class meetings in a group of up to 20 students. Two students take to a boat and are coached by an instructor from a coach boat following along.
There is also a Harbor 20 level one course which is 15 hours split between three to five class meetings. The class has a maximum of three students, and the instructor is on board with the students during the lesson.
Aside from sailing, OCC also offers an intro-level powerboat course which lets students learn about basic powerboat handling and get their California Boater Card.
Whatever the level, there is something there for everyone to learn how to get on the water safely.
“We are happy to talk to students about their prior experience and help them find the best class option for them – our office phone number is 949-645-9412,” said Segerblom.
For more information about OCC’s sailing program or to register for classes, visit their website at https://occsailing.augusoft.net/index.cfm.