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~ A Cut Above ~

We received this letter from Vijay Nilekani which he wrote to a sailing magazine. Vijay  has taken several levels of training with us.


I got interested in sailing about 5 years ago. I was already a licensed airplane pilot and the similarities between airplanes and sailboats were so many that I decided to explore the sport further. The ability to live aboard the latter and travel long distances with the nominal use of hydrocarbon fuel, only made the thought more alluring! I first attended a set of Coast Guard Auxiliary classroom sessions to understand the basic principles and terminology of sailing. I then began to seriously research the Chesapeake Bay area sailing schools to begin on-the-water skills and advance my training further. I also signed up with the American Sailing Association as a member and researched their resources as well. 

I discovered the Maryland School of Sailing and Seamanship at Spring Cove Marina, in Rock Hall Maryland. It was conveniently located, just an hour and a half from my home in Wilmington, DE. I met with Tom Tursi, who runs the school and came away, very impressed with his attitude and his credentials. Tom has sailed across the three major oceans. He has a practical, conservative approach to safe sailing and runs a sailing school oriented towards serious sailors with Ocean sailing aspirations. The school offers the entire gamut of ASA certification levels, from a neophyte who is learning port from starboard, all the way up to the blue water sailing certification. Prospective students can meet all their training needs to the extent that they want to advance their personal knowledge and skills. The school has an impressive web site (www.mdschool.com).  All classes are live aboard sessions on Island Packet yachts, ranging from 4 days to 11 days per certification level, depending on the curriculum being trained to. There are also classroom only offerings that teach Coastal Navigation and Celestial Navigation that Tom Tursi personally teaches. Tom’s knowledge and insights really make this a ‘must attend’ class for anybody who wants to soundly understand the principles of navigation and the various resources available to do so competently. Every instructor at the Maryland School is a US Coast Guard qualified Captain. Students come from all over the U.S., some even from Canada and Overseas! 

I am a little over half way through the ASA program.  I am slowly working towards the Norfolk, VA to Bermuda Atlantic sailing trip in the next year or two. It has been a learning experience and is slowly but firmly orienting me towards achieving my aspirations as a cruising blue water sailor in the coming years.  I can confidently recommend the Maryland School of Sailing without any reservations to anyone interested in learning to sail proficiently, regardless of how far they want to advance the art and craft of the sailing lifestyle.

Vijay Nilekani


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