Sailing Lessons

If a retired Colonel and Marine Corps Aviator can take up sailing, then you can learn too! sail

MainSail Charters & Research, LLC (MSCR) offers a number of different courses of instruction to either introduce you to the world of sailing or to improve your current sailing abilities.

the dreamcatcher"Your Personal Boat Instruction"

Sailing on your personal boat, our Instructors provide you with knowledge and the ability to allow you to learn your boat.  We will work with you to help you to gain confidence and knowledge of your boat, how it sails and how it feels underway.  MSC&R can provide you with instruction using our Introduction to sailing program package, or working with you, we will develop a course of sailing instruction that is best suited for your particular need. 



The following Courses of Instructions are also offered for those wanting to sail a larger vessel.

"Beginning Sailing" - For the novice who has never been on a sail boat or who has but has only been weight on board and is tired of that role and wants to learn what sailing is and how to go about doing it. Course coverage includes:

  • Learning the parts of the boat
  • Points of Sail
  • Use of the Wind to make the boat go
  • Boat handling under sail
  • Boat handling under power


"WOW!! That is a Big Boat"

The WOW! That’s a Big Boat charter is a learn as you go Chartered sailing trip aboard Mainsail Charters and Research sailing vessel “DreamCatcher”.  Designed for those who have sailed small boats, this charter takes you through the intricacies of a large sailing vessel as you charter sail the Chesapeake Bay from the Rhode River on the western shore  of the Chesapeake Bay. To see what is involved, click here for a copy of an outline of the course of instruction. The complete course may be viewed here.

Working together as a crew and communications among the crew,

  • Basic sailing terminology that is used on the boat, as well as some non-sailing terms which can substitute for that new language you are trying to acquire 
  • Reviewing parts of the boat
  • Rigging
  • Boating safety - at the dock and safety at sea 
  • Leaving the dock or mooring
  • Points-of-Sail
  • Going from point A to point B to point C and doing so no matter what the direction or condition of the wind. 
  • General knowledge of the rules of the road
  • Navigational Markers
  • Piloting and Navigation
  • Man overboard procedures will be taught as well.
  • Practical and written exams are given during the course


"Navigation and Piloting" - In this course, using charts only, you will learn basic navigation and piloting skills so as to be able to plot your course as you are proceeding to a number of different destinations around the bay in daylight hours. The course is part class room instruction and then practice of practical on-the-water piloting and navigation skills. You will learn basic piloting skills and plot a course or courses in the class-room environment. Thereafter you will then sail/motor that course while navigating and recording your course on charts so as to compare with your original plotted course.

NOTE: This is not a full and complete navigation class. Uses of sextants are not covered. GPS skills are not covered (hey - when the satellites go down, GPS won't be around).


For More Information, call or write:

Captain Bill Ganzer, (USCG OUPV License, MRN - 2756950)
MainSail Charters & Research, LLC
1216 Travis View Court
Gaithersburg, Maryland 20879

Tel: 240-401-4464


"Your Personal Boat Instruction":  $100.00 per hour

"Beginning Sailing": 2 Days - $450.00 per person - Maximum of 6 students per class 

"WOW! That’s a Big Boat":  2 days - $450 per person - Maximum of 6 students per class 

"Navigation and Piloting": 2 days - $550.00. Maximum of 4 students per class 

MainSail Charters Payment Schedule:  When you sign up and are scheduled for your charter or sailing course, you will be asked for a 50% deposit at the time. The remainder of your balance is required 5 business days prior to the start of your course. You may pay by check or through PayPal for both the deposit and the full rate. In the event that you must cancel, you will receive a full refund provided that you notify us 7 days in advance.

To ensure availability, All Sailing Courses, if possible, are requested to book at least two weeks in advance.  A tour of the sailing vessel DreamCatcher may be arranged.  All courses require a deposit equal to one-half the total fee. Deposits are to be received one week prior to taking a course and are non-refundable except in exegent circumstances. 

Discounts of $50.00 on all rates are given to Military, EMS, Police and Fire Service Personnel and College Students.



2014 Edition "WOW!!-That is a Big Boat" Course

Waiver of Liability Form

Policy and Procedures Statement

Directions to Holiday Hill Marina



The effectively and safe operation of a larger sailboat requires that people work together - i.e. it takes teamwork. MainSail Charters & Research, LLC is now offering a two day team building opportunity aboard the sailing vessel DreamCatcher. Attendance is limited to six individuals. The course is designed to develope further team skills which demonstrate the needs and requirements to rely on other individuals inorder to get a job completed. Successfully completed, students will have learned the need to rely on others and take away skills that can be used elsewhere in the business community. Communications - both written and verbal is stressed. Participation is open to any individual and is not limited to those who already know how to sail.

Participants will be required to bring their lunches. Water and ice is provided on the boat.

Costs: $500.00 per person - minimum of 4 people



If you are coming in from out of town and want lodging or a place to stay or some places to see before or after your sailing insturction aboard DreamCatcher, then click here.



Want to Pay by PayPal? When using PayPal, please select from below for payment to MainSail Charters & Research, LLC.  

For additional information on these courses specifically and in general click here: Additional Course Information



Mariner Sailing School

Learn beginning sailing on the Potomac River at the largest full time Sailing School in the Washington, D.C. area. Instruction is taught aboard the Flying Scot 19, and has an Instructor to Student ratio of 1 to 3 (i.e. 1 Instructor/3 Students. Mariner Sailing School is owned and operated by sailors who want others to get into the sport..