Sailing-school choices typically include those associated with either US Sailing or the American Sailing Association. These two organizations provide certification that's broadly recognized by bareboat-charter companies and yacht-management operations all over the world. Other reputable schools do operate independently of these two groups, but check first to see that a school's certification process is accepted by the charter company with which you intend to sail. Many schools offer courses designed specifically for women, and some schools offer courses for women only. The nonprofit National Women's Sailing Association provides women with news and links to sailing schools, outdoor and sailing organizations, conferences, and manufacturers of gear and clothing.
Contacts include the American Sailing Association (310-822-7171, www.asa.com), Coming About (877-235-9172, 832-476-8736, www.comingabout.com), the National Women's Sailing Association (401-682-2064 or 866-631-6972, www.womensailing.org), Offshore Sailing School (888-454-8002, www.offshore-sailing.com), The School of Sailing and Seamanship, Orange Coast College (949-645-9412, www.occsailing.com), Sea Sense (800-332-1404, 727-865-1404, www.seasenseboating.com), Sistership (284-495-1002, www.sailsistership.com), US Sailing (401-683-0800, www.ussailing.org), Womanship (800-342-9295, 410-267-6661, www.womanship.com), and Women Under Sail (207-865-6399, www.womenundersail.com).
America's Cup racer Dawn Riley and the Chapin Company (866-888-8682, www.chapin company.com/inf-riley.htm) are the forces behind a line of sailing gear designed expressly for women and bearing Riley's name. Team One of Newport, Rhode Island (401-847-2368, www.team1newport.com), has compiled a catalogue of gear designed for women by Chapin, Gill, Musto, Patagonia, and other manufacturers. Shegear (866-GOGIRLS, www.shegear.com), which started as an Internet-based venue for women's sailing and watersports gear more than seven years ago, has added a retail shop in Newport, Rhode Island. The company researches equipment to improve women's performance in sailing and other water- and land-based sports.