Smooth Sail Vermont Complete Sailboat Assistance~
 Instructions, Lessons,
 Launching, Maintenance, Repairs, Rigging, Trailers, Companion Sailor program


Receive guidance and tips from a quiet, calm, experienced instructor  who's patient, courteous, respectful, and encouraging.

Gain the confidence to sail your boat safely and swiftly. 
 If you've ever had a "rough time" before-
we can instruct you to be a better, more skilled and confident, sailor,
 for your safety and the security of your family and friends.

If you desire to be "in the race" instead of following the fleet- we can show you how.
John Townsend is ASA Certified for lessons in:
  • Small boat sailing
  • Multi-hull / Catamarans (beach launched)
  • Basic Keelboat
  • Coastal Cruising
  • Bareboat Chartering

25 years' experience teaching people how to sail on Lake Champlain.

"My instructor was John Townsend. In a word, he was great.
We started with a discussion of my experience and goals for the course. I was immediately encouraged by his flexibility in terms of the things I knew I wanted to try, as well as his recommendations for things I hadn't thought of, but which interested me as soon as he suggested them.
    On the water, John was unflappable and great fun to sail with. His experience was obvious from the start, but he was also able to explain things at whatever level I wanted.
    I enjoy learning a bit about the physics of what's going on, and John always had a ready answer.
    More importantly, he would temper theory with practical qualifiers based on the real-life conditions of the sail, wind and boat.

    John would encourage me whenever I wanted to try
  things by myself, even knowing (I suspect) that I was occasionally biting off more than I could chew.
    Some of his exercises were really novel to me- sailing with my eyes closed, sailing backwards, feeling the wind on both sides of the sail at different points etc.- and were also fun.
    He explained everything very patiently, without condescension, and he has that 
ability among good teachers to break complex ideas down into digestible bits.
    He tempers much of his instruction by his sense of humor, which I very much enjoyed, and which goes a long way to relaxing the student when it's blowing hard and one seems to always be a hand short.
I also learned a great deal- everything I'd set out to learn, and a good deal more besides
 (including a lesson about changing wind patterns before a thunderstorm that John was able to illustrate with a practical demonstration. I don't know how he arranged it !)
    When (not if) we return, I'd definitely want John as my Instructor again."
Barry G. - North Adams, MA

 On your boat (19'-47') you can LEARN TO:
  •  properly prepare your boat for a sail
  •  leave (and return) a mooring under sail power
  •  leave (and return) a mooring under motor power
  •  leave (and return) a dock or slip under power 
  •  tack smoothly
  •  jibe safely
  •  adjust the sail controls for optimum stability and speed
  •  learn when and how to reduce sail quickly to respond to changing weather
  • "read" weather  - including important tips on avoiding thunder/ lightning storms!!
  • improve your anchoring techniques
  • become confident with how to deal with a "Man overboard" situation
  • understand the different systems on your boat (engine /fuel, electrical, plumbing, rigging)
  • understand navigation charts and navigation techniques.
Private lessons on your boat-
 (19'-37' )
  $50 per hour (1or 2 students) $25 per hr. for 3rd student

38' - 48' Boats
$50 per hour 1st student, $25 per hr. each 2nd/3rd

We love smaller sailboats too!

 Experienced in sailing, rigging, trailing, launching and repairs on
Catamarans, day-sailors, dinghies,

Off the beach or off the trailer- Learn how to-
  • rig your boat
  • raise the mast
  • hoist the sails
  • rig the rudder
  • get the boat launched safely off the beach or trailer
  • tack smoothly
  • gibe under control
  • position skipper and crew for stability and speed
  • avoid capsize
  • techniques for righting your boat after a capsize
  • return to shore in all wind directions (on-shore or off-shore)
  • haul your boat out
  • lower mast
  • proper loading on the trailer
Rates for sailboats up to 18'
$50 per hour (1 or 2 students), $15 per hour for 3rd student.

Special lessons for-
  • spinnaker flying - on catamarans too!
  •  race techniques

      "I sailed in small boats as a kid, and did a lot of windsurfing as an adult. When I bought a larger boat keelboat, I took a series of lessons with John to help me make the transition. His lessons gave me the confidence and skills I needed to handle the larger boat. More recently I went back for a 3 hour session with him and benefited from a constant stream of great advice, know-how and very useful tips."
Peter - Middlebury, VT

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