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David Luckenbach passed away in February 2010. Please contact Alison for suitable replacement sailing instructors.

The Young family, Rob and his son and daughter, took the class late October 2004. The Young family class has a webpage all it's own
October 2004 sailing class

Some of the trophies David and his 1965 Flying Scot won. This was the same boat used in the classes until June of 2005. A 1987 Flying Scot replaced #637, but David always had a soft spot in his heart for Too Much Fun and hated to let her go.

The Lamb family took the January 2nd and 3rd sailing class to be the first students of 2004. Lucky to have temperatures in the 70's both days!
Jan 2/3 sailing class
The Khataw family, three generations, took first place in the August 9, 2003 sailboat race during their sailing class!

Mom, Dad and three daughters rented three Sunfish for the day of August 2. A quick lesson from David had them sailing all over the lake.

The Wallace Family finished the July 17/18 class by sailing the 4 sunfish together. Mack and Melanie gave their sons Trey and Jack a family vacation they'll remember
the rest of their lives.

Dave Rodowick flew over from France for the June 4/5 class

Pasha, Tammy and Dwayne enjoyed a brisk wind during a May class

Jen and Steve were such fast learners they had time to take Jen's parents for a ride during the May 3-4 class!

Bruce and Jane loved the April 29-30 class and are ready to enjoy their new Catalina 25

Sailing Class April 12/13, 2008
Hi David,
I made it home about 8 pm monday nite. I really enjoyed the time I spent with You, Alison and Stan over the weekend. It's one thing to read about sailing and quite another to really experience it! Our first day with 20 to 25 knot winds and a few good gusts to 30 was exciting and educational. Thanks for so much time on the water and for such great drills, the figure eights were fun and at times REAL exciting! The man over board was fun and really great for experience, poor fender nearly drowned though. On the way home during a couple of breaks I was rereading your syllabus and everything meant so much more and was clearer. After 2 days of instruction and many hours in the boat on the lake it all started to make sense. I am encouraged and excited by what I received during your class and looking forward to the next time we can go sailing together.
Thanks for all you patient and encouraging instruction!!
Sailing with David is the best!!!
I'll try to stay in touch, you do the same! Good sailing and may the creator of the universe bless all your endeavors.
Don Alexander
Wichita, Kansas

Sailing Class June 1/2, 2005
Just wanted to thank you for the marvelous sailing experience last week. First day you taught us the way to get around in light winds. The next we learned to enjoy 15 mph winds. Since we had no previous sailing experience, your beginner's class was a revelation. We both learned enough that we now feel confident that we can get around in our own 23' boat. Thank you so much for the enjoyable instruction.
We checked the trip meter when we got home - 1100 mile round trip. Worth every mile of the drive.
Fred and Joanie McNutt

What does it mean to be a sailor?
Let me try to explain. We humans are tool users. We use a hammer to drive a nail, without the hammer we cannot drive a nail, but with one as an extension of our arm we can. Our tools allow us to do things that we cannot do with our body alone, they are "extensions" of our bodies. A moving airplane extends our body quite a bit, allowing us to fly. A moving bicycle allows us to travel over 30 mph, a tool that is fitted exactly to our bodies that allows us to travel faster than with our body alone.
Hand trucks and forklifts are tools used by moving companies so that we can move things more quickly and efficiently than we could without them.
A sailboat is also a tool, an extension of our body, that allows us to fly through the air AND glide through the water AT THE SAME TIME. You can think of it as a combination of a airplane and a boat, but it is more than that. A sailboat can be a very large machine, and yet be controlled by one human. It can be small, and weigh less than you do! When you learn to sail, you "become one" with the sailboat, it becomes an extension of your "self", your "being", and increases your capabilities immensely, and your pleasure.

Like any tool, to learn to become one with a sailboat is not just memorizing some facts. It will help if you tap into the knowledge base that we humans have already learned. Read books, take lessons from those who have spent years sailing and teaching, and join a sailing club! To sail WELL, to be a GOOD sailor, requires not just facts and practice, it does requires time. Time spent at the tiller, and time spent thinking about the time at the tiller. To sail well is an art, with some science mixed in. The ability, and the joy of sailing, increases with knowledge, practice, and communicating with other sailors. It is not a sport that you tire of, because there is always more to learn. Sailors are always ready to share their knowledge. Take some lessons, with more than one instructor, you will learn different skills with each one. We humans have been sailing AGAINST the wind for only a few hundred years (it is said that the first to sail against the wind were burned at the stake as witches), and we are still gaining knowledge about how to do it well. Come share in what we sailing humans have learned so far, and be part of the increase in sailing knowledge!

Chris Strobel took David's class May of 2008, and he described the class much better than I can in this letter he sent afterwards:

Hi and thanks for the info. First off, let me say thanks for two of the most intensive and educational days of sailing I could have ever asked for. Starting with day one, I immediately knew I had made the right decision in attending your class. The total amount of information presented could have easily become overwhelming, however, your practical approach to subjects made your "see and do" plan of action relatively easy to follow, although at times, I wondered if I was ever going to "get it". I especially liked the way you would present problems or tasks and then let me think through the process to find the solution.
In our first conversation, I told you that I had already had some sailing experience. I didn't realize how little I really knew until I had time to digest these last two days. My goal was to gain more information about how to become a lot better at sailing. Instead, I came away with a wealth of knowledge that includes a good, solid base of "why" things happen and what I can do to successfully solve problems should they arise. Therefore, instead of just becoming a more informed sailor.....I now have the tools and more importantly, the potential to become a much "better" sailor.....and I thank you for that!!
Chris Strobel

The two day course included:

1: Sailboat safe operating procedures.
2: Texas safety requirements.
3: Knots and how they are used.
4: Types of ropes and lines, how they differ and why different ones are used for different things.
5: How to properly secure your boat to the dock.
6: Right of way rules.

How to sail
How to tack well and gybe safely.
HOW sails work, and WHY you can sail against the wind!
How to get where you want to go.
How to leave and return to the dock safely without a motor. We sail without a motor, every time. When your motor conks out, this is a very useful skill.
How to heave to.
Man overboard recovery.
Using the sails to steer, and setting the boat to sail a course on her own.
How to sail a sailboat backwards, with light wind even backwards against the wind! (This is not possible on all sailboats, but the Flying Scot sails backwards well when set correctly, and this can be a very useful skill.)

Some classes get to fly the spinnaker if time, conditions, and student capabilties permit. The spinnaker is on board and ready during all classes.

David bought his first sailboat with paper route money in the early 60's, and taught 5 brothers and many many cousins how to sail, and taught people how to sail ever since. He taught windsurfing, sailing, math, physics, and computer science at Southwest Missouri State University in the 1980's.

He was a certified American Sailing Association Instructor but decided to specialize in how to actually sail instead of the other very important navigation, anchoring, motoring, etc that ASA and US Sailing teach in their classes. If you want to charter a boat, getting a certificate from ASA or US Sailing is a good idea.

David Luckenbach passed away in February 2010. Please contact Alison for suitable replacement sailing instructors.

Quotes from David:

Rob Young brought his son and daughter for my class fall of 2004 (top left pic). When we broke for lunch the first day, he told me, "I have learned more in two hours with you than I did in 6 years of windsurfing." I asked him a week later if it was ok to use his quote on this webpage, he replied, "The quote from me is correct, and I do mean it, so use it as you see fit."

Seriously, I get feedback like this all the time. I teach you how to make the boat go where you want it to go. I teach you how to use the sails to the best advantage, and how it all works. I teach you how to sail forwards, backwards, and even sideways. I try to teach you to UNDERSTAND what is going on while you sail. This is NOT trivial, it is NOT easy, to use the wind well for power is NOT easy, but it sure is FUN!

"Something about sailing a boat brings so many senses and sensations into play that it's very difficult to pinpoint what it is, specifically, that makes me like it so much: the sight of sails and sheets overhanging the water; the foam and spray flying as the bow cuts the water; the motion of the boat; the physical and mental ballet necessay to handle the boat correctly. A sailboat might just be the most beautiful, sensuous, and intelligent blend of man/machine/elements that exists in the world today. The relationship between the three is the most harmonious I have experienced so far. Besides, you can have a beer while you do it."
-Quote taken from the 'net!

Click for free Sailing Class

To see a bit of what the class was like, view the How to Sail videos in the Video section.

The Learn to Sail section of the Sailing Texas bookstore has the learn to sail books I like the best. We humans use teachers and books to pass on our knowledge, you should use past generations. You should read at least one how to sail book before you take a class. Check your public library, they may have several.

To get an idea of how the sail propels the boat check out the National Geographic Sailing Simulator. Watch the speed change as you adjust the sail. While this doesn't explain how it works, it is really very good.

To learn the racing rules of sailing, go to the International Sailing Federations new animated casebook and callbook. It is WELL worth the time to learn how to use it. When you look at a case, it will list the rules above, just point at a rule's name with the mouse to read it. Seeing the boats moving really brings the rules to life!

When I find other places that give sailing lessons, I list them on my Sailing School page. If you are far away, you can find instruction closer to home, and if you want "certification" there are many schools listed there that offer it. I recommend you take sailing classes from more than one instructor, every instructor will teach you more.

A question you can ask youself came from a book by Ferenc Mate
Where and when in the world do you feel wildly happy? Or truly free? Or fiercely alive, or at peace, or even just content?
I feel all these things when sailing, when the wind is howling I'm fiercely alive and sometimes wildly happy. When the wind is calm I'm at peace or content, yet truly free. Sailing is a good sport for me, find out if it is for you.

"The sail, the play of its pulse so like our own lives: so thin and yet so full of life, so noiseless when it labors hardest, so noisy and impatient when least effective". - Henry David Thoreau

Thanks David for teaching us how to sail. Our weekend of sailing (October 2 & 3, 2004) went by fast. It was everything I hoped it would be. Nancy and I are both very comfortable now when we get to sail.
Again...the lessons were terrific. You didn't skip any opportunity during the two days to reach us some aspect of sailing, tying knots, preparing a boat for the water or the trailer, etc.
Look forward to seeing you again on the high seas.
Peter & Nancy Dossing

During the April 1/2, 2006 class I accomplished something I thought might be impossible. Sailing backwards is hard enough, but the Flying Scot can be sailed backwards, even against the wind. However I was unable to tack while going backwards until this class.

Hi David,
I just wanted to write and thank you for the wonderful time and valuable knowledge that I gained in your class. Sylvia and I had a great time and look forward to applying what we learned as we sail our new Hobie Getaway. Your class was thorough, and complete. As I drove home I was thinking to myself, " Was there anything else he could have taught me or that I could have asked?" I couldn't think of a thing. I look forward to meeting you again someday soon and hope that you can make it down to sail the Scot in the Laguna with us someday. If you ever need a crew for a regatta or race just email me and I will be there.
Also, this is for you. Put it on your website if you wish.
I, Randolph Ashley, do hereby attest and affirm that on April, 2 in the year 2006, that David Luckenbach did accomplish the feat of sailing his Flying Scot backward for a distance of no less than 1200 feet, or a quarter mile, and in this distance accomplished the feat of tacking the Scot not once but twice while sailing in the backward direction. I swear and attest that this feat was accomplished by the application of my hand to this note.
Randolph Ashley

Just a note to let you know that your sailing lessons were extremely good. I can highly recommend you to those of us who need information about sailing. Your coverage was complete along with a good balance of theory and practice.
Yours truly,
John P. Stahl, 2002 Graduate, Ohio

Phil, Johnny, and Carolyn after completing the class, tired but happy.
Families often register for the class, treat your kids to an experience they'll never forget. My favorites are families, where the parents and their children learn to sail at the same time, together. Often the parents learn something from their kids, and the kids learn something about their parents that they never suspected. But always, "Remember that weekend when we learned to sail together!" will be a part of your family conversations and will bring you closer to your children. I don't just teach how to sail, I throw in some "how to teach" lessons too. I teach sailing because I love to teach, and I love to sail, so I decided to make "teaching sailing" my life. It is a grand life, come join me.

Class graduate Dan sailing his newly purchased Catalina 22

Here Dan has set the sails to maintain a steady course and walked to the bow, there is no one at the tiller.