Prepare to Explore the Salish Sea
and the World

Open your horizons on the Salish Sea and Beyond.  These are some of the world's most spectacular cruising grounds, and also some of the most challenging.  Shearwater University specializes in providing the level of skill development training to meet these challenges and to enjoy the Salish Sea with safety & confidence.

Taught by a professional educator with a lifetime of maritime experience on the Salish Sea & Inside Passage. Train on the Salish Sea under expert tutelage, and be ready to cruise anywhere in the world.

All Classes include US Sailing cruising certifications for the skills and credentials you need for charter cruising anywhere in the world.

Basic Cruising on Ardenna:  The Ardenna Flagship Program

For those who want to leap to a larger cruising sailboat, you can earn your Basic Cruising and Bareboat Cruising Certificates in this thorough program on the Salish Sea.  Ardenna is a Sabre 402, an exquisite sailing and cruising vessel.  Earn exclusive Graduate access to sailing and cruising Ardenna on the Salish Sea and beyond.

View Details on the Ardenna Flagship Program Page

Basic Cruising on the Nancy Lee

Students who learned Sailing Essentials on the Nancy Lee, as well as those who learned to sail elsewhere, can start cruising the Salish Sea, and earn access to unlimited affordable cruising on your training boat.  

The Nancy Lee is a Pearson 323 - a legendary design/build ideal for the varying conditions in the San Juan Islands.  Just over 32 feet long, she is easy to handle, safe and forgiving, both while sailing in light or strong winds, or while maneuvering and docking under power in the close quarters of a marina.

  • Earn the US Sailing Basic Cruising Certificate
  • Qualify for unlimited, affordable independent cruising of the Nancy Lee in the San Juan Islands

Topics Include:
  • Planning and executing routes and courses through the islands.
  • Applying navigation and piloting skills (see Navigation School)
  • Provisioning and operating and living aboard the cruising sailboat
  • Anchoring securely
  • VHF communications
  • Going in and out of unfamiliar marinas
  • Safety and emergency preparedness, including crew overboard recovery under sail, under power, and on deck
  • Four days on the Salish Sea, including 2 nights out in the islands, mooring in an unfamiliar marina, and achoring in a cove.
  • All students live aboard the Nancy Lee for the class
  • Call or email now to custom  schedule your own class
  • Mixed-group classes to be scheduled as spring approaches and the pandemic outlook becomes more clear

    For Your Covid-Safe Pod:

    • 2-3 person group = $3,600 for the group
    • 4 person group = $4,800 for the group

    Individual Class Sign-Ups:   $1,200 per student  (Schedule TBD)

    Includes the internationally recognized US Sailing Basic Cruising Certificate

    Group Size Limitations:

    • 3-person classes must include at least 2 persons sharing a bunk
    • 4-person classes must include two pairs sharing 2 bunks

    Individual Sign-Ups:

    • Scheduling TBD, or
    • Grab a friend or two and call to schedule your group, or
    • Get in touch to seed a Covid-safe shared class

    Bareboat Cruising

    Bareboat Cruising involves larger cruising sailboats and farther horizons. With Shearwater University's advanced instruction, and your US Sailing Bareboat Cruising Certification, you will be qualified to cruise the Salish Sea and Inside Passage, and to charter cruising sailboats anywhere in the world.

    Bareboat Cruising on Ardenna
    Go to the Ardenna Flagship Program Page
    Bareboat Cruising: Your Boat
    Go to the Your Boat Training Page

    Additional/Custom Days

    • Add days to your certification class for more/deeper instruction & practice.
    • Elect a day or two to develop specific skills such as docking, anchoring or crew overboard rescue.
    • Let us build a custom curriculum to get you from your current skill set to your goals.
    • Tuition for custom days include up to 4 students on the boat.
    Your Instructor

    Phyllis Woolwine, AKA Captain Wooly, is a US Coast Guard licensed Captain, US Sailing Certified Keelboat Instructor, and National Board Certified Teacher.  She has spent her life on the sea, sailing all parts of the Inside Passage.  Captain Wooly is also a career professional educator. For over 30 years - both on and off the water - she has taught all types and ages of learners, in the classroom, on the sea, in the wilderness, in universities, high schools and private settings.