May 18, 2024



Please use the following information as a guide when choosing from the classes below:

Beginner (B): You haven’t been on a sailboat before or you’ve been a guest on other people’s boats. Your experience is limited to following directions. Your knowledge of terminology is basic. Little or no helm time. You’ve been sailing with others, but do not adjust anything without direction.

Intermediate (I): You’ve been sailing with others. You know fundamental terms and equipment and can prepare for and execute maneuvers with brief commands. You are familiar with basic trim of jib and main, and know when and how to adjust the sails. Helm time is limited, but can read telltales. Know that there are rules of the road, but don't know them. Have been exposed to navigation but have limited practice.

Advanced (A): You can hand, reef, and steer and know what each means. Understand navigation terms, and recognize all aids to navigation, but may have limited charting practice. You can direct a beginner in sail trim. Can use secondary trim controls. Have flown a spinnaker. Can maneuver in close quarters under sail or power.

911 Sail Repair • Mickey Nielson

You’re underway and your sail tears. What do you do?  We will cover what to have in your sail repair kit, repairs the sailmakers don’t like to see you do, and how to complete emergency repairs for various materials.  We will also review some canvas repairs as well.  (B)(I)(A)

Advanced Sail Trim • Kristin Pratt

So you already know what all the controls for sail trim are and how they shape the sail. Do you know how to fine-tune the trim for max performance? Whether we need to get to the next port before the storm or we are trying to win the race, that extra few tenths of a knot can make the difference. This session will take an in-depth look at the sail controls for the mainsail, head sail (be it a jib or genoa), and spinnaker. We will also talk about working as a team in our sail trim. (A)

Aids to Navigation and Chart Reading Basics • Jane Larson

What do those lights mean? Why is that sign red and green? Why is that thing making noise?  Where is the map? Learn about the various aids to navigation including lights, shapes, colors, sounds, and how you use them as you navigate. Explore hands-on chart reading using your new knowledge and learn how to apply this while sailing to reach your destination safely. (B)(I)

All About AIS • Debbie Huntsman

For more than 20 years AIS, an Automatic Identification System, has proven its value in the commercial marine industry. Many recreational sailors now have access aboard to a version of what supertankers, cargo, and cruise ships have long used to avoid collisions and to help make a rescue at sea more likely. Learn about how this important electronic innovation can also serve recreational sailors. (B)(I)(A)

An Unforgettable 6,000 Mile Journey:  America’s Great Loop • Shelly Johnson

Embarking on America's Great Loop is an incredible journey, filled with challenges, triumphs, and unforgettable experiences. Living on a boat brings a unique perspective to daily life. We’ll delve into the intricacies of boat life, including insights on maintaining relationships in close quarters, navigating the Loop's diverse routes, managing finances while embracing the freedom of the open water, and a look at the logistics of Looping. Shelly will share her transformative adventure, where the camaraderie of a women's sailing group intertwines with the empowering narrative of completing America's Great Loop. (B)(I)(A)

Basic Sail Trim • Sarah Pederson

Take a look at the next step in sail trim of your mainsail, jib/genoa, and spinnaker.  Do you ever wonder how that thing-a-ma-gig (cunningham), or whatchamacallit (outhaul) can be used to enhance your sail trim, and in turn, increase your cruising and racing performance?  The goal of this session is to review the sail trim controls and how to use them to your sailing advantage. This session is for novice and intermediate sailors. (B)

Basics of Boating ― Rules of the Road • Anne Keel

Want to learn the basics of navigational rules on the water? Maybe you are an experienced sailor and never really understood or knew the rules of navigation. Maybe you are brand new to boating and want to gain insight into the world of right of way and other issues. This class will go over some of the most basic and important rules at sea and cover them in a fun and interactive way. With 20 years of Coast Guard experience including prime navigator on two Coast Guard ships at sea, Anne will walk you through these rules in a simple way that sailors of all experience levels will understand. (B)(I)(A)

Docking on the Water Michele Bartlow

For this fun, fast paced, small group, on-the-water class, bring your deck shoes and gloves and be prepared for May weather. We'll take you and your crew of 3 (max) through docking and undocking a 35’ SailTime keelboat.  You'll learn the engine controls, about prop walk, line handling, and how to safely step on & off a bucking boat. Explore how to prepare for docking by evaluating the wind, current, traffic and even dock conditions as the helmsperson. Take your turn in crew positions and learn where and how to set fenders and position dock lines. With your plan and the instructor as your guide, execute the docking and undocking maneuvers (spoiler alert: slow is pro). Students will rotate positions for maximum actual docking experience. (I)(A)

Important notes: This is scheduled as an on-water class. If weather conditions do not allow us to safely maneuver, we will adapt the curriculum. Participants must be able to step off a boat safely, even if you have a slight impairment. All class members must wear deck shoes. Lifejackets will be provided. 

Cruising the British Virgin Islands • Hazel Penn, Dominique Wright

Learn about the joys of a yacht charter vacation in some of the most famous cruising grounds in the world. Known for their direct line-of-sight sailing, fun beach bars, and incredible weather, The BVIs are the perfect place to stretch your sea legs. We'll discuss how to build a cruising itinerary, what you need for your yacht charter, common mistakes to avoid, and tips and tricks for this destination. Plus overcoming the transition from monohull sailing to handling a catamaran. (B)(I)(A)

Fiberglass & Epoxy • Jeannette DeFriest, Emily Joachim
Do you have a hole, crack, or dent in your fiberglass boat? Learn to fix it yourself. Over both afternoon sessions, you'll gain hands-on experience doing simple repairs with fiberglass and epoxy. We will cover material selection, preparation of your project, techniques, and trouble shooting. Refresh your skills or learn something new. Note: When registering, be sure to sign up for both sessions. They are two parts of a whole. (B)(I)(A)

Fitting Out Your Toolbox • Phyllis McDonald
Onboard, there are limits to space and weight. Phyllis will give you her criteria to decide which tools make the cut and what to leave in the dockbox. There are specialty tools and multitaskers, tools in standard sizes and those for tight spaces, and even a few inventions. There will be much to see and handle. (B)(I)(A)

Haul Out to Launch • Phyllis McDonald

It may seem like it is easy to put the boat to bed in the autumn and splash it in the spring. No such luck. The jobs list can be long! Phyllis will talk about the love/hate relationship with winterizing your boat, how to pick a winter project, and when to start the prep for launch. Preventative maintenance is key to a happy boat and it never ends. Sorry. (I)(A)

Introduction to Sailing • Terri Schmidt

Whether you are new to sailing or need a refresher on the basics, this class is for you! Topics will include points of sail, tacking and jibing, crew positions, boat parts and equipment, and safety on the water. Learn about the unique experiences of women entering the sailing world and how to find your perfect sailing “fit.” Resources will be offered to help you continue learning after the class is over. Get your questions answered. Consider all the possibilities. Feel prepared for your next great adventure! (B)

The Knots We Use Every Day • Robin Jimenez
We expect to cover square knot, reefing knot, bowline, figure-8, cleat hitch, and clove hitch. Also learn parts of the line and some knot vocabulary. This class is for all level sailors. Beginners will learn how to tie commonly-used knots. Intermediate and advanced sailors get a refresher on how to quickly and correctly tie the knots you will need once the season starts. (B)(I)(A)

Morale on a Race Boat • Angela, Elizabeth, and Kate Hayes

Join three passionate racers to discuss the importance of teamwork and positive morale on and off the water. This seminar is for the captains, crew, and race-curious who want to explore strategies for building a culture that prioritizes communication, clear goal setting, and growth. Hear from a mother/daughters trio who made it through the teenage years by racing together. (B)(I)(A)

Race Protest Simulation • Betsy Alison, Jennifer Steffler

Have you ever wondered what is the best way to “conduct” yourself in a race protest meeting? This class will be divided into three sections. The first will focus on the responsibilities of the protester, the protested, and the US Sailing judge, including how to decide if the protest is valid and an overview of the protest form. Section two will give you, as part of a team of four people, a chance to review and dissect a scenario that you may be faced with on the race course. Section three is a presentation of your scenario by your team in a simulated protest meeting.

Class is limited to 16 participants. The small group format will allow you to have an opportunity to interact with our presenters and seasoned racers. (I)(A)

Safety Equipment Show & Tell: A Hands-On WorkshopEliz Greene
Whether you own a sailboat, crew on another vessel, or are considering stepping into either world, this class is an essential step in your journey. You'll dive into the critical aspects of personal safety and flotation, learning the best practices to stay aboard and how to safely retrieve someone who has gone overboard. This class is both show & tell and hands-on experience that promises to be as informative as it is enjoyable. It's a blend of vital knowledge and practical skills tailored for both experienced and newcomers to daysailing, racing, and coastal cruising.

  • See and touch the inner workings of an inflatable PFD and walk through rearming 
  • Participate in a Lifesling deployment and retrieval and repack the Lifesling
  • Handle and practice using different equipment to get someone back aboard
  • Discuss which type of PFD is the best for various sailing activities

Setting Yourself Up for Racing SuccessAngela, Elizabeth, and Kate Hayes
Do start lines stress you out? Not sure what side of the course to pick? Racing requires making decisions: deciding what to plan; deciding how to implement that plan; and deciding what to do when the plan goes out the window. Come talk about the many forms of tactical decisions in racing with three inshore and offshore racers. We’ll discuss course geometry, strategies for success, and the communication skills needed to adjust on the fly.

Winch Cleaning • Robin Jimenez

Work with a partner to take apart and clean a winch. Learn about parts of the winch as you clean them. This hands-on class will require working with grease and a solvent (likely mineral spirits). Nitrile gloves will be provided, but half-face masks will not be provided. Feel free to bring your own. This event will take place in the garage with doors open to allow for airflow. (B)(I)(A)

Yoga for Sailors • Heather Myers
This session focuses on incorporating yoga into your onboard life. Yoga’s benefits and practice parallels sailing and magnifies the experience – both physically and mentally. Attendees are invited to participate or sit back to observe a mini meditation, asana poses (the movement practice of making physical shapes with your body), and a breathing practice (pranayama). No experience or equipment needed; we will practice right where we are with what we have. This fully accessible, interactive session will offer tips for starting and keeping up a yoga practice while cruising, using the spaces on a boat to your advantage rather than letting it limit your practice. You will leave  feeling good, inspired, and prepared to apply the joy created on a yoga mat into every moment of your life, even with wind in your hair and waves crashing against the hull. (B)(I)(A)


Tel: 414.522.7764

Midwest Women's Sailing Conference
P.O. Box 1099
Milwaukee, WI 53201-1099


Milwaukee Community Sailing Center
1450 N Lincoln Memorial Dr.
Milwaukee, WI 53202

lat/long: 43.045746, -87.886805

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