philip silvestre

I have a dream – to be able to sail from the Marina CDC to Catalina Island for a romantic picnic – and to make it back alive. So having mulled this idea over for the last few years, I recently took the first step in making this dream a reality – by setting sail on a J24 with expert instructor Franco of the CDC sailing school.

The adventure started behind a desk at the school – where we had a quick introduction to the basics – the names of the different parts of the boat and some other important information about wind direction… all of which was promptly forgotten in the excitement of scrambling on board and getting the wind in our sails!

Once Franco had safely steered us out of the Marina and the sails were hoisted – it was my turn to take control. At which point, what Franco made look very easy, I quickly discovered was not so easy at all – which only added to the thrill! However, with the sea breeze whipping through my hair and my faithful companion (Rebecca Hughes – editor of TODO) squealing and taking photos, I somehow developed a feeling and understanding for what I was doing – and managed to keep the J24 on a somewhat steady path at a steady speed – and we even managed to do a turn!

Returning back to the Marina Casa de Campo I realised that my sailing dream could one day become a reality – even if in the distance future!

Sports rates and information: Sailing

The Casa de Campo Sailing School located at the entrance to the Marina Casa de Campo, offers classes daily from 9:30am to 12:30pm and 2:30pm to 5:30pm. All courses can be done on consecutive days or over a series of weekends.

Contact: (809) 523-2739,

J24 sailing courses
A J24 sailboat is a 24-foot racing boat – they’re fast, fun and it’s quick and easy to learn how to sail one! Available for adults and children over 12 years.

  • 6 days (or 3 weekends): US$340
  • 1/2 day rental with instructor (9:30am – 12:30pm): US$150
  • 1 day rental with instructor (10am – 4pm): US$240

Dinghy courses
“Dinghys” are small sailboats designed for one person, courses are available for children aged 6 years and up – making them a fun activity for all the family!

  • 6 days (or 3 weekends) (ages 6-12): US$240
  • 6 days (or 3 weekends) adults: US$270

Room and board
The Sailing School has 8 guest bedrooms for those taking full-time sailing courses. This mini-hotel facility, also has a communal living area and kitchen and all guests have access to push-bikes for getting around.

  • Double room: US$35 per person per night