Let our skilled instructional skippers teach, coach, and guide you as you achieve your goals and learn in some of the best, most challenging waters anywhere in the world. Master the strong currents, high tidal ranges, and ever-changing weather conditions of B.C. and learn to successfully charter anywhere in the world. Gain certification through our unique combination of courses and certifications – both Canadian Recreational Yachting Association (CRYA) and International Yacht Training (IYT) – and take courses for Power and Sail from Crew through Yachtmaster Ocean.
Our boating and yachting school’s certification programs range from basic to advanced and include a Yachtmaster Offshore course with Celestial Navigation that circumnavigates Vancouver Island~ Our school teaches Canadian Recreational Yachting Association, (CRYA) and International Yacht Training (IYT) courses.
Nanaimo Yacht Charters & Sailing School offers a range of sailing course accredited by the main industry sailing bodies, the bodies we work with are:
Canadian Recreational Yachting Association is dedicated to the training of both sail and power operators on the water with an emphasis on safe boat handling and the skillful use of pleasure craft while having fun.
Canadian Recreational Yachting Association Courses Focus On Safety and Fun Canadian Recreational Yachting Association (CRYA) trains students interested in sail and power boating from Competent Crew to Coastal Advanced. CRYA courses are designed to teach competence and safety, whether your goal is weekend sailing with family and friends or offshore cruising to far off lands.
Our most popular offering from CRYA is our Coastal Navigation Course, which allows students to learn at their own pace with a self-directed workbook and local chart for students seeking certification to bareboat charter as a bareboat skipper.
IYT sets the standard for maritime training and certification. We teach sail and power courses from International Crew to Yachtmaster Ocean in group and private course settings.
IYT yachting courses are recognized by 25 different Governments worldwide for commercial use including the British Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA). From International Crew to Yachtmaster Ocean. IYT courses will take you anywhere you want to go around the globe.
Our highly-skilled instructional skippers specialize in teaching each student to the highest standards, preparing each one attain competence and skill in some of the most challenging and beautiful cruising grounds in the world. Whether it’s your first time on a boat, you wish to charter internationally, or you wish to embrace the challenges of circumnavigating Vancouver Island, we can help you gain the skill and confidence necessary to take the helm wherever the wind blows.
Perfect for those at the beginning of their sail or power boat career. Let us help you gain skill and confidence.
Our 5-day/5-night ‘Cruise and Learn’ courses teach you alongside other students for an all-inclusive price. Or create your own 7-day/7-night Custom Courses and enjoy private instruction or an educational holiday with your family and friends.
Learn to bareboat charter a sailboat or simply gain greater skills to improve your confidence as a skipper.
Our 5- to 7- day courses take you through the Gulf Island or the Sunshine Coast on courses that will help you achieve Flotilla, Bareboat Skipper or Advanced Coastal Skipper Advanced courses.
Our ‘Cruise and Learn’ courses teach you alongside other students for an all-inclusive price. Or create your own 7-day/7-night Custom Courses and enjoy private instruction or an educational holiday with your family and friends.
Are you an experienced sailor who wants to take things to the next level or gain advanced certifications? These courses are for you. Choose one one of our 7-day Coastal Skipper Advanced courses or join us on a 14-day circumnavigation of Vancouver Island. Prices vary depending on duration and format. Contact us for availability and dates.
Here at Nanaimo Yacht Charters & Sailing School, we are honoured to work with a team of fantastic, experienced and fun instructional skippers for our Sailing Season!
Ian MacPherson’s life at sea, as a worldwide yacht delivery skipper and the manager of one of the largest charter companies in the world, began when he as a boy. While still in his 20’s, he launched ‘Baraka’, a 40′ Endurance Ketch he built in Durban, and set sail with his wife Shari for a ten-year world cruising adventure they shared with their four young daughters. Over the course of his career, Ian managed charter operations in the Caribbean, Greece, the Eastern Mediterranean, and now British Columbia – expertise he shares with every client and yacht charter owner at Nanaimo Yacht Charters & Sailing School. He rates B.C. as one of the finest cruising grounds in the world. He shares his offshore sailing and Celestial Navigation expertise annually during our Fall Circumnavigation of Vancouver Island.
Andy Den Otter is one of our most passionate, fun, and enthusiastic instructional skippers. Many students appreciate his calm demeanor while instructing, docking in tight marinas, setting in challenging anchorages, and handling exciting sea conditions.
Andy is a skilled monohull and catamaran sailing skipper and instructor. He teaches introductory courses up to Yachtmaster Offshore and Ocean plus Celestial Navigation. Andy has sailed everything from windsurfers up to 55 foot ocean cruisers on the Caribbean, Pacific, Mediterranean, and Atlantic for the last 30+ years. He truly appreciates the varied cruising grounds along the beautiful British Columbian coastline. Often chartering with friends and family, Andy loves introducing new sailors to the excitement and energy of the sea.
Dave Martin has sailed thousands of Ocean miles and is an experienced power yacht Instructor. Dave holds a Yachtmaster Sail Instructor Evaluator Ocean and Coastal Skipper Power designation. He is the Instructor Coordinator for the Canadian Recreational Yachting Association and has trained numerous instructors in both sail and power categories.
As one of our most experienced Instructors in British Columbia, Dave has taught courses for Nanaimo Yacht Charters since 2002. Whether you are wanting to learn to sail, operate a powerboat, master Coastal Navigation or practice Celestial Navigation, Dave can meet every requirement. He creates a safe, comfortable, and skill-testing environment for his students to practice practical skills and learn the essential theory required to skipper a vessel.
Gillie Hutchinson has extensive sailing experience both locally and internationally. For nine years, Gillie owned and operated Ladysail, a private sailing school, and offered skippered trips on her 36ft Catalina along the coastline of British Columbia. Gillie trained and certified more than 200 sailors, inspiring many of her students to live the sailing dream – whether that means buying a boat, sailing off-shore, or becoming an instructors themselves.
Her passion for empowering other women in sailing has always been a goal, believing that women teaching women is a good fit. Her motto: “it is never too late to reinvent yourself” is part of her own life as we began her sailing career at the age of 50. Gillie is bi-lingual and enjoys instructing in both French and English. Gillie is a very thorough instructor who firmly believes in incorporating coastal navigation in her course work given the diverse waters of coastal BC. She plans to keep calm and carry on sailing!
Henry Tkachyk has cruised the West Coast for over 20 years in sail and powerboats. He has extensive knowledge of the West Coast and can take you from the most secluded bays and beaches of Desolation Sound to the busy and warm waters of the Gulf Islands. Henry believes that sailing is a lifestyle and his approach to instructing is to find a balance between learning and cruising.Sailing with Henry includes as much focus on the enjoyment and lifestyle of cruising as on learning how to sail safely and effectively.
Originally from Alberta, Henry has always been the happiest on the water – racing, sailing, fishing and cruising with family and friends. As a resident of Nanaimo, his local knowledge can to help you plan a sailing adventure that will be remembered for a lifetime. Henry is available as a skipper and instructor on monohulls, catamarans, and powerboats. Henry can provide both courses for certification, as well as learning vacations with families and friends.
Jack Dale is a seasoned instructional skipper acquiring over 50,000 miles of coastal and blue-water sailing since he began cruising the Salish Sea in 1984.
As a delivery skipper, his passages include an Atlantic Crossing from Cape Town to Brazil, Victoria to Maui, the BVIs to Panama, the Northern Atlantic, and Southern England. Jack’s avid racing activities include many Swiftsure Races, the Van Isle 360 and racing on Galveston Bay. Jack is a qualified sail instructional skipper for CRYA up to the Yachtmaster Ocean Instructional Evaluator level, a Coastal Power Instructional Evaluator. He also instructs with IYT as a Yachtmaster Sail Coastal Instructor.
Marla Hedman grew up on the lakes surrounding Hudson’s Bay and has been boating her whole life. Upon moving to Vancouver, Marla found a drop-in recreational racing club and started working with a charter company to build upon her skills. Marla charters monohulls and catamarans all over the world and taught sailing on the West Coast of Canada for over 20 years.
She formed a tribe of sailors who follow her on flotilla sailing events to Turkey, Croatia, Sardinia, Corsica, the British Virginia Islands, and the Sea of Cortes as well as several long ocean passages. Marla’s extensive charter experience informs her teaching, which she describes as a focus on creating a “conscientious skipper” who is a happy and safe charter client. Marla shares endless gratitude for the work she does and the boating industry. Her passion for sailing is evident in all she does. Marla also enjoys sailing on catamarans and is certified to teach cat courses with her IYT catamaran instructor endorsement.
Kurt Wege has spent the last eight years sailing B.C.’s coastline as a charterer, student, crew member, and instructor. He instructs courses from basic to Offshore level plus Celestial Navigation. He considers the coast of B.C. to be some of his best and most challenging sailing experiences.
Kurt has a passion for navigation and teaches his students the importance of this practical skill to safely operate a sea-going vessel. Kurt enjoys both the calm and excitement of sailing. The long days, brilliant sunshine, strong currents, fog, Orcas, pristine landscapes, isolation, floating debris, Humpback whales, celestial navigation, constant pursuit of weather reports, camaraderie of family and crew, remote communities, and fantastic meals are all a part of a sailing adventure. You can get it all when sailing in British Columbia.
Edith Eaton has 40 years of experience as a sailing instructor who currently manages the RCN SAIL program and teaches as its head instructor. Her extensive experience as an instructor and racing coach, including coaching for the Van Isle 360 and Swiftsure races, brings an unparalleled depth of expertise to her instruction.
Her cruising experience includes the Bay of Fundy, Broughton Archipelago, Desolation Sound, Barkley Sound, the Sunshine Coast, the Puget Sound, Puerto Montt, Chile, Laguna San Raphael, and Patagonia. Edith appreciates every day at sea and loves sharing her passion for sailing.
Bruno Verde was born and raised on the north-coast of Britanny, France, Bruno started sailing the English channel at a young age. By his twenties he was a windsurf and dinghy instructor. He spent the next three three decades traveling the world and working in a different professional field, but he never quit sailing.
Bruno has experience cruising and delivering boats in the Caribbean, Mediterranean, and North Atlantic. Bruno instructs Crew and Bareboat Skipper certifications with IYT and is certified by the British RYA and the French Sailing Federation.
He is a true lover of the sea, and has added scuba diving instruction to his sailing qualifications. He is a passionate and enthusiastic teacher. Nothing can make him happier than a long swell, salted sprays, and delighted students.
Tracy Sarich sails extensively throughout Puget Sound and the Southern Coast of British Columbia, including the West Coast of Vancouver Island on her own 54’ cutter sloop.
She is currently the co-owner of a 54′ cutter sloop, which she skippers alongside her husband, John Chase. Her nearly 20 years of sailing experience includes offshore boat deliveries between San Francisco and Seattle, the Baja California Peninsula, and South Florida. Tracy’s teaching focuses on advancing women in the sport and leadership development for building strong teams and confident, capable skippers. You are sure to have a fantastic, fun and meaningful sailing adventure aboard a sailing course with Tracy.
These customer-driven instructional skippers are ready to empower safe boaters and sailors while growing the future of bareboat chartering.
Nanaimo Yacht Charters & Sailing School is privately owned and unaffiliated other charter companies.
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Setting Sail While Staying Safe