Schools Sailing with WWS


Our Schools Sailing program started in 2018 & our “Fair Winds” Graduates have gone on to…

…and they had fun getting there!

Program Schedule

1 x 3 hr Session per week for 5 weeks in Autumn & again in Spring

Cost: €150 per season (5 x Session block)

Who? All School Years

It’s all about Progression

Our sailors follow the Irish Sailing Syllabus, moving to a new level each year, & working towards the QQI Qualification with the Improving Skills Certificate.  We run our courses on J24 Keelboats with our instructors onboard for total safety & instant coaching. Altogether on the boat, its great craic & by the end of the the first block, our sailors will be skilled in:

  • Rigging the boat
  • Launching and Return to a Mooring
  • Tacking and gybing (steering the boat around)
  • Sailing upwind, downwind and 90° (across) to the wind.
  • Man Overboard Maneuvers

As the sailors progress, the difficulty of tasks increases, ensuring challenges all the way.

Everything we teach refers back to the fundamental principles… the “4 Essentials of Sailing”

  • Boat Balance 
  • Sail Set
  • Boat Trim
  • Course Made Good

As our students progress through the levels they understand & develop a feel for these fundamentals.

Developing the “4 Essentials” each week with WWS

What are the 4 Essentials of Keelboat Sailing?

These principles of sailing a boat both well and efficiently include sail set, good balance and trim of the boat, as well as choosing the correct course the boat will travel on.

Everything we teach relates back to these simple yet essential disciplines.

Week One: Sail Set-Reaching across the wind

Week Two: Boat Balance – Upwind Tacking

Week Three: Boat Trim – Downwind Gybing

Week Four: Course Made Good – Triangle and Race Course

For us at WWS, its about building good habits from the start!

Training pathways to gain further marine qualifications will be explained to students.

  • 5 days instruction on J24 race boats

  • 5:1 skipper to student ratio

  • Irish Sailing Certification

  • Craic on the water!

Sailing Fosters Positive Change

  • Self-Discovery – we can do more than we expect of ourselves

  • Resilience – Success & Failure are both important to build confidence

  • Collaboration & Competition – value friendship, trust & team work

  • Diversity & Inclusion – ideas, creativity, ability, & respect for others help us accept ourselves

  • Responsibility for Learning – directing our own personal and collective learning

  • The Natural World – forces greater than ourselves guide us

  • Service & Compassion – through acts of service to others we learn the value of friendship

Top 9 Health Benefits of Sailing

The many activities involved in sailing, like pulling and hoisting of sails to maneuver a boat or a yacht, adds to your muscle strength for your shoulders and back.

Being out on the water puts you in a good mood not just because of the calmness of the water but because of the salty air. The saltiness of the sea air is composed of charged ions that aid in the body’s oxygen absorption, which in turn balances serotonin levels. The more balanced your body’s serotonin levels are, the happier you’re going to be.

Sailing can also improve your cardiovascular health and reduce the risk of hypertension, obesity and other heart illness. This is because of the large amount of oxygen uptake that happens when you engage in intense activities.

The swooshing and splashing of water, the rhythmic movement of the yacht and the sound of the wind in the sails can all affect brainwave patterns. This relaxes and soothes a busy and highly stressed-out mind.

The various tasks associated with sailing also help improve your flexibility and agility. Activities like pulling lines or hoisting sails can significantly improve your hand-eye coordination and motor skills.

Because many people today are chronic multi-taskers, they should develop a deep sense of concentration. With the ultimate goal of staying safe while on board, sailing enhances a person’s ability to focus even with multiple tasks at hand.

To effectively control a boat, the captain and his crew must act as a unified unit. To do this they need to learn how to communicate effectively, especially through non-verbal means. Everyone on board has a crucial role to play in order to keep the ship afloat.

Sailing requires the participant to be aware of the dimension of the boat along with the space required for the maneuvering of the boat. By sailing, you can have an increased understanding of how much space something requires; this skill translates to skills required on land as well such as driving.

Being on a ship requires that everything be kept in “shipshape.” After being exposed to this mentality, other aspects of your life begin to reflect this standard. You will become more organized in your personal life, which will boost motivation to eat healthier, exercise more and increase your quality of life.

Girls at Work | Wild West Sailing | Co. Sligo, Ireland | Coastal Skipper Course | Wild Atlantic Way

Wild West Sailing

Based in Sligo, on the rugged Wild Atlantic Way

Wild West Sailing is Ireland’s newest sailing and powerboat school. Established in 2016 by Sligo native David O’Connor, Wild West Sailing specialises in adventures and training, with sailing voyages for education, challenge and pleasure.
Wild West Sailing works extensively with vulnerable youth groups through the Safehaven and Sailing into Wellness projects.

The Wild West Sailing team just completed the Volvo Round Ireland Race, raising money for the Northwest Hospice along the way.

David O’Connor (Chief Instructor & Principal)

David grew up sailing in Mullaghmore, Co. Sligo, but his career first led him to work with many media and technology companies in Ireland. He began racing yachts in New Zealand and became a professional sailor there, an experience which inspired him to pass on what he has learned. After many trans-oceanic voyages in the Atlantic and Pacific, David spent two years in the Offshore Seismic Exploration Industry in Asia.

Five years ago, Wild West Sailing was born and David is delighted to be back in Sligo doing what he loves, sharing his skills, experience and passion.