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Learn to Sail at J-Town

Learn to sail in downtown Toronto with St. James Town Sailing Club this season! We offer adult sailing lessons for sailors of all skill levels, from total beginner ("How do you get in the boat?") to seasoned racers (race training clinics).

At J-Town, we do not compromise on safety. While anyone is welcome to crew, all members need to have sufficient skills to helm (be responsible for taking a boat out). To helm our albacores, you either need to successfully pass your CANSail 1&2 course at J-Town or be an Old Salt . There are additional requirements to helm lasers or catamarans (see corresponding pages).

We offer members beginners' Sailing Lessons covering CANSail 1 and 2 curriculum, as well as more advanced CANSail 3 & CANSail 4 courses. All these classes are taught on Albacores.


Beginner's course is called CANSail 1&2. It is offered between May and August. 

Old salts are needed to helm albacores during the first sessions of each course. If you are available to do so, please sign up using the Old Salt 4 CANSail Sign up spreadsheet.

The 2024 fee for CANSail 1&2 courses is $130 (no tax), plus membership fees.

Click here for more details on beginner courses, including schedule and registration links.


More advanced sailors can follow the more advanced CANSail 3 and CANSail 4 courses. They are offered once or twice a year.

The 2024 fee for CANSail 3 and CANSail 4 courses is $150 (no tax), plus membership fees.

Click here for more details on intermediate and advanced courses, including schedule, fees and registration links.

Cansail Instructors

All of our instructors are certified by the Canadian Yachting Association (CYA), and our course is based on the CANSail standard set out by the CYA.  The CANSail 1&2 certification awarded at the end of a successful course is recognized nationally by the CYA.

Our two lead instructors are George Chenery and Claire Shenstone-Harris.

George has taught sailing at J Town since 2011, and been involved with the club since long before he could drive. He has a passion for getting people on the water, from first timers who have never been in a boat to avid racers looking to hone their technique. George is also a Learning Facilitator who trains instructors for the CYA and has seen many thousands of capsizes, so you should never feel embarrassed on that front. When he's not on the water George can be found playing upright bass in several bands, making board games or training for marathons in the snow and ice.

Claire grew up sailing on Lake Ontario, began racing in her teens and has been a sailing instructor to both children and adults for eight years. She is passionate about the community at J-Town and has come to call J-Town her favourite place in the city. Claire is an actor by trade and in her spare time loves the torture of marathon running, and creative pursuits including publishing a board game with fellow instructor George. 

in addition to our two awesome instructors, we are always looking for new, motivated instructors. If you already are a certified instructor or if you are a member interested in teaching sailing, consult our teach sailing page and reach out to education@sailtoronto.com.

Laser and catamaran CLINICs

A few times a year, we run Laser  and catamaran clinics, which are required to sail those boats, on top of CANSail 1&2.

The 2024 fee for laser clinics is $90 (no tax), plus membership fees.

Catamaran clinics are free.

Click here for more details on Laser training

Click here for more details on Catamaran training


Learned to sail? Polish your skills by racing! For many members, racing is an integral part of the J-Town experience.  It is a great way to improve your sailing skills and get to know more sailors both at J-Town and the surrounding clubs.  

Once you have completed CANSail 1 & 2 or you old salted, consider coming out and crewing on Friday nights, attending Race Training/Skills Building on Monday evenings, participating in Team Racing Thursdays, or otherwise finding out more about racing.  If you have raced before, come on out and join in!

Race training is held every Monday evening between May and September. It starts with an on-shore briefing starting at 6 pm, followed by on water practice. The training is typically done by a seasoned racer, either from our club or a guest.

We are very lucky that the Toronto Inner and Outer Harbours are home to a diverse group of dinghy sailors and some competitive Albacore, Nacra, and Laser fleets. These sailors are happy to share with us the skills that they learned over the years.

For any question or concern about sailing courses at JTown, contact our Education chair.

Julien Meyer

2024 Vice-Commodore & Education Chair, JTown