Portland Sailing Center

Portland, Oregon
(503) 281-6529

Portland, Oregon • (503) 281-6529


Sailing Courses

Portland Sailing Center offers basic through advanced sailing classes for casual recreationists, ocean-bound cruisers, and everyone in-between, but no short-cuts. There are no substitutes for time on the water under sail, working on basic skills and learning new ones, trying new things and different boats. With time and practice come confidence and grace.

Basic 1 is great fun and introduces the skills that serve any sailing life. Beyond Basic 1 students progress at their own pace. You can take Revisted or Basic 2, rent a boat from us, or try the big boat classes.

If cruising or chartering is your aim a solid sailing resume' is required. Build as much experience as you can. We recommend, at a minimum, Basic 1, Revisited, Basic 2, and one or both of the big boat adventures, Bonneville or Sea Trials

Click here for schedule information. Email portlandsailing at gmail dot com (use the normal format) for a link to our direct signup page.

PSC Basic 1

  • 15 hours — Online payment $449; check or cash $435
  • 10% discount for pre-assembled groups of four
  • No prerequisite
  • Includes textbook, logbook, and practice rope

Whatever your sailing goals there are no skills of greater value than basic sail and wind management, basic maneuvering, boat operation and terminology. Virtually everything we do derives from these basic skills. Experienced sailors simply do these things very well.

Basic 1 is taught on ballasted keelboats from 22 to 24 feet in length with four students per boat. Instructors emphasize safety and fun which puts casual students at ease while allowing the eager to flourish. Classes meet six times spread over several weeks, so you'll have time to absorb material, and you'll see a variety of conditions. Course is mostly boat time and includes, among other things:

  • Boat preparation
  • Choosing and setting sails
  • Fundamental sailing maneuvers
  • Steering by wind and sails
  • Setting sails for speed and comfort
  • Using wind for power and control
  • Safe practices
  • Introduction to the life and rhythms of the Columbia River
  • A few knots: Cleat hitch, bowline, square knot, figure eight, round turn with two half-hitches

Click here to link to the schedule/sign-up page.


  • 15 hours — Online payment $369 per person; check or cash $359
  • Prerequisite: Basic 1

Revisited is simply taking Basic 1 again! It's a great idea and the best option for most Basic 1 grads who want to continue sailing. Revisited students say they learned SO much more the second time through. You will see how far you have come, and your mates will benefit from your experience.

PSC Basic 2

  • 15 hours — Online payment $449 per person; check or cash $435
  • Prerequisite: Basic 1 and Revisited

Most Basic 1 grads are not ready for Basic 2, so don't plan on it. Basic 2 will add some new content, but it is mostly about execution, not introduction. Students are encouraged to take responsibility, make decisions, and test their judgment, and each will present a topic of their choosing to the class.


  • Overnight round-trip — Online payment $375 per person; check or cash $360
  • Prerequisite: Current or recent PSC student
  • Minimum three, maximum five students
  • click here for video of a trip to Bonneville.

This is a scenic adventure and introduction to river piloting and sailing aboard Messenger. And we get to sail the famous winds and waters above Bonneville Dam — there is hardly a better place in the world for a sailboat. Like all PSC classes, students run the boat most of the time: driving, navigating, and sailing.

We'll leave PSC's dock on a Saturday morning and watch as the Gorge opens up. We'll make Bonneville Locks in six or seven hours, lock through, pass under Bridge of the Gods, sail around some and tie up at the Port of Cascade Locks. Whew!

Enough of the day remains to eat on the boat or go into town.

Sunday we'll sail for a few hours before locking through again and heading for Portland, now with the current in our favor.

Sea Trials

  • Two nights, three days — $539 per person; $525 check or cash, plus food: Each person brings one or two meals for all.
  • Prerequisite: Basic 1 (so pay attention, don't come to Sea Trials without a clue!)
  • Minimum three, maximum four students
  • Ten percent discount for pre-assembled groups of four

With fair conditions, yes, we'll sail over the famous Columbia River Bar, and it is that experience that draws people to Sea Trials. But this trip is about much, much more. There are 218 miles of river to transit (round trip), and there are challenges at every turn. The action is nearly non-stop, though we do have to stop twice for sleep. You will be amazed by the things you see and do on Sea Trials.

Among other things, course includes:

  • Working with nautical charts and aids to navigation, day and night
  • Identifying ships, day and night
  • Bar crossing, working with tides and currents
  • Practical VHF radio usage
  • Interpretting weather and sea forecasts
  • Fuel and water planning, food provisioning
  • Boat mechanical and life support systems
  • Safety with fuel and cooking
  • Large boat handling

Go to the Sailing Adventures tab for more about Sea Trials.

Call 503-281-6529 or email to portlandsailingatgmaildotcom (use normal format). Please include your phone number.

Portland Sailing Center
3335 NE Marine Drive
Portland, Oregon 97211


portlandsailingatgmaildotcom (use normal format)

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