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Your sailing journey starts here.

CA-1 is a 4-day course designed to transform you into a competent,

confident, bad-ass sailor. 

Our mission is to bring you closer to your sailing dreams... whether that's getting your first vessel, crewing on bigger boats, or getting involved in your local sailing community.   

Tahoe City | California

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How does wind work & local weather forecasting tools



How we harness the wind & points of sail



Learn crew roles of helming, working the sheets & navigating. Become experts in the tack & gybe.



Importance of working as a team & how to be the best crew possible



Learn to communicate about boats like a true sailor



Get the tools to prepare yourself for docking



Get he tools and general knowledge to prepare yourself for anchoring



Learn the most commonly used knots, a sailor's best friend



How to stay aboard & keep all your fingers intact



Get your own waterproof handbook with the CA-1 Curriculum, certifications, notes & nautical mile logger

What will I Learn?


will I 


Is CA-1 right for me?

who is this

Is CA-1 a good fit for you?

This Sailing Fundamentals Course is designed for people who have never set foot on a boat and sailors who want to spend time on the water, deepen their understanding, and sharpen their intuitive sailing skills.

The minimum age for this course is 14 years old. If you are between the ages of 14-17, a guardian must participate in the course with you. We plan to open kid-specific courses in our second tier of bookings.

If you are a more seasoned sailor but still want to participate, you're welcome to join us. We've had many experienced sailors and racers join and share that they still got a lot of knowledge out of the course! If you are more interested in ocean sailing, check out our offshore cruising course which may be a better fit for you. 



CA Instructors

CA-1 courses are taught by Brady Trautman, Austin Long, and a combination of other hand-picked, experienced instructors.


Brady & Blue have spent over a decade living on sailboats and sailing around the world with many ocean crossings under their belt. As Cruisers Academy grows, we are including new instructors in the CA-1 program. We can guarantee that all Captains provide the same caliber of expertise.

Read more about the CA CREW here.

If any instructor is sick, a trusted and qualified instructor will stand in. 

Why Lake Tahoe

why lake

Lake Tahoe, the perfect place to learn!

You may be surprised to see us excited about lake sailing, but this is not your average lake! Famous for its crystal clear water, Tahoe is the largest Alpine lake in North America, sitting at an elevation of 6,225 feet. Its water is 99.994% pure and reaches a depth of 1,644 feet. Lake Tahoe is surrounded by the captivating Sierra Nevada Mountain Range, where alpine forests tower above the lake's turquoise blue waters. In the summer, it truly is a tropical mountain paradise.


But the best part is its sailing conditions! Its "afternoon zephyr," a steady 12-18 knot wind from the Southwest, creates the perfect sailing playground. Smooth sailing never made a skilled sailor, and Lake Tahoe also presents challenges, like the katabatic winds that build and swirl down from the numerous valleys surrounding the lake. This 28 x 12-mile body of water is considered a Federal Waterway with its own Coast Guard station, navigational aids, and federal charts. Due to its size, Lake Tahoe can build ocean-worthy swells, localized squalls, gale-force winds, and occasional lightning storms. Easy days and demanding conditions create the perfect blend of conditions for a classroom of aspiring and experienced sailors. 



What's included?

The cost of the course is $1400 USD per person.

50% of the cost is due upon booking with the option of diverting the other 50% to be charged within 15 days of the course start date.

The majority of this 4-day course will be spent ACTUALLY SAILING! We value hands-on experience more than anything and think of the Catalinas as the perfect learning boat. There will be a maximum of 8 students per course, 4 students per boat. 

You will receive a waterproof Cruisers Academy 'Sailors Bible' on the first day of the course to take home with you. 

*Price does not include airfare, hotel, transportation to/from the airport or classroom, food, drinks or recommended items to bring.
About Catalinas

tell me

Catalina Sailboats

This course is taught on our Catalina 22' sailboats. These boats are nearly identical, each with a sloop rig (one mast & one forestay) an outboard motor, and a small cabin. We think of these Catalinas as the perfect template boat: everything you learn onboard can be adapted onto bigger and other smaller boats.

Daily Schedule


12:00 pm

Meet at the Boat Works Mall in Tahoe City for ~2 hours of sailing theory lesson in the classroom. We pride ourselves on our curriculum and have had many students share that this ends up being their favorite part of the course!

1:30-6:00 pm

Head out to the dock at Tahoe City Marina and hop aboard one of our Catalina sailboats to spend the remainder of the day putting the curriculum to use on the water. Each boat will have 4 students and 1 instructor. The instructors will rotate throughout the 4 days.

6:00-6:30 pm

Dock boat and wrap up with recap from the day. 


Each day will vary a bit depending on weather but this sample schedule gives you an idea of what to expect.

Traveling to Tahoe



Traveling to Tahoe via Plane?

The closest airport is (RNO) Reno-Tahoe International Airport (50 miles away). The North Lake Tahoe Express provides a shuttle service via the Red Route to Tahoe City. Private Taxis can also be secured via Mike at Alpha Transportation 775-339-1036 (tell him Cruisers Academy sent you).​ Keep in mind, Uber/Lyft is scarce in the Tahoe area.


Be sure to book all travel in advance; it is your responsibility to get to the lake.


Do I need to rent a car?

The Tahoe basin has much to offer and we strongly recommend renting a car to explore the area. However, if a student is flying in, utilizing the shuttle/taxi, and staying within walking distance of the Boat Works Mall in Tahoe City, then renting a car is not needed. There is also an app called "TART Connect" that is basically "free Uber" for those staying within the Tahoe City limits. Cruisers Academy can provide transport from the classroom to the boat and vice versa for those who don't have their own vehicle. 

There are several restaurants, grocery stores, and beaches in Tahoe City that are within walking distance. 


Live locally or driving to Tahoe?

Awesome! You may want to bring a bike with you to avoid summertime traffic and take advantage of Tahoe's many bike trails to get around.


where can

I stay?

Need accommodations? 

These hotels are within easy walking distance to the Boat Works Mall in Tahoe City:

As well as the campground across the street:


is ca 


Cruisers Academy is self-accredited just like all other sailing schools. 


Taking a sailing course with Cruisers Academy is not just about memorizing vocabulary and passing a test. After 10 years of sailing around the world, logging over 100,000+ nautical miles, and crossing every ocean, we've opted to create our own curriculum to teach what we find to be the most valuable information in an engaging and practical style. We reated Cruisers Academy to kick start YOUR sailing journey.

By the end of CA-1, you will be competent, comfortable, and safe sailing a small keelboat. As we continue to add advanced courses, CA-1 will be the prerequisite to move forward to the next level. 

What to Bring?

should i

Recommended Items

Being out on the water means we are subject to LOTS of sun at a HIGH ELEVATION which can be intense! Typical summer weather is 60-80°F. The following items will make your time spent with us the most enjoyable.

1. Sunscreen! Please avoid spray-on sunscreen as these make the boat slippery/dangerous. We ask you to use a "reef-friendly" sunscreen to help keep Tahoe Blue.

2. A hat that will stay on in the wind.

3. A swimsuit, towel, and long-sleeved rash guard/UV shirt.

4. Water bottle and lunch. There are plenty of places nearby to grab food to go, the day of. We will also have a cooler with ice on the boats.

5. Shoes that are easy to slip on and off, as we put shoes away while on the boat. 

6. Sunglasses to protect your eyes and help you see wind lines on the water. Polarized lenses work best.

7. A light rain jacket in case of rain and a warm jacket in case it cools off in the evening.



Cancellation Policy

  1. ALL cancellations will incur a 3% charge to cover processing fees plus a $50 admin charge for all instances below. 

  2. If a participant cancels 60 or more days before the first day of the course, they will receive a 100% refund.​ (Ex: If $1400 is paid, $1309 would refunded). 

  3. If a participant cancels within 30-60 days of the first day of the course they will receive a 50% refund on their deposit amount. (Ex: If $1400 is paid, $970 would be refunded). 

  4. If a participant cancels within14-29 days from the first day of the course, they will receive a 50% refund of payment if they paid in full and no refund if only the deposit had been paid. 

  5. If a participant cancels within 14 days from the first day of the course, no refund will be issued.



Hear from our Alumni! 

From Amanda...

"Taking CA-1 was the single best thing I did to prepare myself for moving onto a sailboat! I dreamt of sailing around the world but didn’t have much experience other than being a charter guest. The Cruisers Academy 4 day course was the perfect introduction to sailing and I gained the practical knowledge and tools to be a safe and competent crew member. Aside from basic sailing theory, I also learned about weather and trip planning, differences between day sailing and cruising, and most importantly, how to be a valuable member to any boat. A few months after the course I joined a sailboat leaving on a circumnavigation and now have over 1,300 nautical miles of sailing experience and am looking forward to my first ocean crossing!"

From Sean...

"The Cruisers Academy was an awesome experience! We started as land lubbers who knew next to nothing about sailing and graduated as novice sailors. I am actually shocked at how much we were able to learn in such a short period of time. I think this is largely attributed to Alex and Brady's teaching style. They do an amazing job of making sure you get real hands-on experience by making you do the vast majority of tasks while sailing (they intervene of course when you are about to do something potentially destructive!). They also did a great job of actively quizzing us while we were sailing and providing us with good educational resources to further our understanding of sailing in our free time.

Aside from the educational experience, which was fantastic, there is something to be said about the beauty of the looming mountains and crystal clear water of Lake Tahoe. I actually froze the first time we set out on the boat and I looked up realizing my surroundings.

Would I recommend someone else do CA-1? Absolutely. You get great instruction, get to experience Lake Tahoe, and get to meet some really interesting people!"

From Miles...

"Cruisers Academy is an amazing sailing course. Brady, Blue, and Sean are excellent teachers. They explain the basics of sailing in a fun and understandable way. You’ll get to meet people who have similar interests and spend four awesome days on the water practicing the skills talked about in class. You get one on one instruction when you're in each position on the boat, and the instructors make sure to answer any questions.

Also, there is no better place to take a sailing class than Lake Tahoe. Not only is it beautiful, but the SW winds make for a great learning environment. The town/surrounding area allowed us to hike, swim, and enjoy beautiful scenery in the mornings before class.
I highly recommend taking a course with cruisers academy!!"


From Tony...

"Brady and Blue are super chill, extremely patient and knowledgeable teachers. I came to this class having sailed a little on my own, but also knowing I needed to connect some dots and I was not disappointed. I learned so much, both in the classroom and out on the water. Even if you have sailed some before, if you want to really level up, this is where I recommend you start. I met fantastic people who also love to sail, got a great education and had a fantastic 4 days on the water."



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