Your Cruising Sailboat on the Salish Sea

World-Class Skills for a World-Class Yacht on the World’s Greatest Cruising Grounds

No matter your background, you can train to the high standards of the Ardenna Flagship Program, then enjoy cruising her on your own or with other graduates throughout the Salish Sea and the Inside Passage.

Ardenna is a coveted Sabre 402 - with quality and maintenance well above the norms of charter and club boats.  Exclusive to Ardenna Flagship Program Graduates, this is your cruising sailboat on the Salish Sea, with increasing permissions as you train through the three levels.  Membership in this "Graduate Program" commuity is based only on your training; there are no initiation fees or dues.  Just pay one flat low daily rate for your cruising days.

Three Levels • Solid Skills • Expanding Horizons

In a culture that favors instant gratification and easy access, the natural world is uncompromizing.  The Salish Sea and the Inside Passage are some of the most challenging cruising grounds in the world.  Skilled cruisers are rewarded by spectacular wilderness and wildlife.

The Ardenna Flagship Program is designed to provide the skill development needed for anyone to meet these challenges and access these experiences safely and with confidence. There is a higher level of cruising joy that comes with real abilities to operate in the highly dynamic geographical, weather, tide and current environment of the Northwest.

Ardenna Flagship Program:
Accomplishing Skilled Cruisers

Level 1: Cruising Sailboat Foundations

Four days of in-depth knowledge & skill development which lay the foundation for operating and sailing the larger cruising sailboat.  Includes:

  • Understanding & Operating Cruising Sailboat Systems
  • Maneuvering & Docking the Cruising Sailboat
  • Sailing the Cruising Sailboat

Level 1 Prerequisites:

  • Sailing Essentials (Basic Keelboat Certificate) or equivalent training
  • Ample sailing practice, having acheived the core sailing skills

Level 1 Permissions:

After completing the Foundations class, you will spent time enjoying & practicing these skills on Ardenna before you embark on Level 2.  After this class you can indepedently, and with other Graduates:

  • Enjoy local day sailing on Ardenna
  • Practice your docking skills in Cap Sante Marina
  • Stay overnight on Ardenna, dockside
  • Further your study & exploration of the boat systems, dockside


  • 4 full days of immersive learning aboard Ardenna. Plan to stay on the boat each night.
  • Sign up individually for a pre-scheduled class or contact us to custom schedule a class for your family or group.
  • Additional instructional days available if needed.


  • $1,200 per person, all inclusive, for individual sign-ups
  • 3-4 students per class (group of 5 by special arrangement)
  • 2-person classes available by adding the third tuition ($1,800 per student)
  • Need more instruction & coaching?  Additional instruction days available for a group rate of $900/day for up to 4 people.

Level 2: Cruising the Salish Sea Under Sail

Five days of cruising and training in one of the world's most spectacular, yet challenging, cruising grounds.  We will be immersed, island-to-island in the San Juan Islands while you enjoy rigorous training in:

  • Navigation & piloting through the islands under sail and power
  • Adapting cruise plans for tides & currents
  • Docking in an unfamiliar marina
  • Selecting, evaluating, and anchoring overnight safely in a bay
  • Picking up and over-nighting on a mooring ball
  • Deepen your understanding and application of sail theory and sail trim for safe and efficient sailing while cruising
  • Heavy weather sailing tactics
  • VHF communications training
  • Emergency preparedness & procedures
  • Crew overboard recovery training
  • Earn the US Sailing Basic Cruising Certification

Level 2 Prerequisites:

Level 2 Completion Permissions:

  • Cruise Ardenna independently in the San Juan Islands.
  • At least two Level 2 graduates, and bring up to two guests.
  • Cruise with up to 6 Shearwater University Graduates from any class.

Level 3:  Bareboat Cruising - Salish Sea & Beyond

One continuous week immersed in advanced cruising skill development in the San Juan Islands and the Canadian Gulf Islands.  Once you have completed this final level, your horizons truly expand.

  • Seven full days of cruising and training on both the US and Canadian Salish Sea.
  • Apply your Coastal Navigation skills skills to the very real challenges of the Salish Sea.
  • Advanced sailing, piloting and mooring skills to prepare you for extended cruising in the Salish Sea and the Inside Passage
  • Earn the internationally recognized US Sailing Bareboat Cruising Certificate, qualifying you for charter cruising throughout the world.

Level 3 Prerequisites:

  • Ardenna Level 2 Program completion
  • Cruising experience aboard Ardenna sufficient to prepare you for the advanced level of extended cruising
  • Coastal Navigation Certificate or equivalent training

Ardenna Flagship Program Graduate Permissions:

  • Ardenna is now your cruising sailboat for all the horizons of the Salish Sea and the Inside Passage.
  • Explore the Canadian islands - even Alaska!
  • At least two Ardenna Flagship Program graduates must be on board, and bring up to two guests
  • Up to six Shearwater University Graduates from any class

Ardenna Flagship Program Crossover Option

For those with prior cruising skills and experience who want to join the Ardenna Flagship Graduate Community, this is your custom crossover option.

  • Designed for those with well-established sailing and cruising skills.
  • An immersive 7-day training cruise takes us over the border for advanced skills challenges & development in the Canadian Islands.
  • This class builds on your sailing/cruising background, ensuring that you know the boat & its systems and meet all the Ardenna Flagship Program skill requirements.

Scheduling & Registration

  • Registration is by permission
  • Contact us for interview and scheduling options

Additional Instructional Days

For any of the skills you need more help on, outside of the scheduled class days, just add one or more days.

This is a group rate, inclusive for up to 4 students on the boat.

Ardenna Flagship Program Rentals!

Ardenna is your cruising sailboat on the Salish Sea and beyond!  

The Ardenna Flagship Program Graduate Rentals give you access to cruising the Salish Sea aboard the vessel you train on, applying your growing skill set while you enjoy exploring one of the most spectacular cruising grounds on earth.  It is a simple, pay-as-you-go community program.  As an Ardenna Graduate, Shearwater University and the Ardenna Community trust that you will care for her as if she were your own while you are cruising.  This is the premise upon which we can provide such a superb performance cruising yacht at the rates you earn access to through your skills development.

There are no initiation fees (other than your initiation through high-quality SU training on board), and no annual dues.  There is just one refundable $500 damage deposit while you are in the program.

Individuals and couples are encouraged to join with others in the Ardenna Graduate Community to share skills, crewing, and expenses for cruises, especially as you are gaining experience and expanding your skills.

Rental Basics:

  • Each individual graduate participating in rentals must have a damage deposit on file for the duration of their rental program participation.  This deposit will be equal to 1/2 of the current insurance deductible for the boat.
  • At a minimum there must be two Ardenna Flagship Program graduates on board for each rental, with qualifications equalling or exceeding the permissions requirements for the type of cruise.
  • Up to 2 untrained guests may be included on the rental cruise.
  • Up to 6 Shearwater University Graduates of any sailing program may be aboard for a cruise, so long as at least 2 of them are qualified for the cruise type.
  • A current Ardenna Flagship program rental agreement is required on file prior to rental for each graduate.

Division of Labor:

  • Shearwater University commits to maintaining Ardenna in top functional and aesthetic condition for all of her systems.
  • Shearwater University pays for all moorage, insurance premiums and routine maintenance for outstanding performance of the vessel.
  • Ardenna Flagship Program members care for Ardenna during rentals "as if she were your own".  That means treating her with pride and TLC during your cruise, bringing your own provisions, linens, and other cruising luxuries, and cleaning her thoroughly after your cruise (including pump-out and fuel-up).

Ardenna Flagship Rental Fees:

Daily Rental Fee:  $450 per day (plus tax)

That's it.  For a day or a week or more.