Tiller and Kites is an International Yacht Training certified sailing school based in Phoenix, Arizona. International Yacht Training is considered by many (especially charter companies) as the gold standard in sail boat training.
Our school has the largest and most diverse fleet of boats in Arizona - dinghys, catamarans, race boats and cruising boats. You do not 'learn to sail' a boat - you learn to sail all types of boats.
The courses and training are designed to create Competent, Confident and Capable sailors.

International Yacht Training Worldwide

Tiller and Kites teaches primarily 'location specific'courses as well as Internationally recognized certifications. Lake sailing has its own unique challenges and demands that are different to coastal or open-water sailing. We teach and train specifically to your location as well as open water and coastal sailing.
ABOUT ICC (International Certificate of Competency) - it is now mandatory to hold a recognized International Certificate of Competency (ICC) if you wish to charter a boat in certain European countries. It is generally required for the inland and coastal waters of Mediterranean countries. In Northern Europe and Scandinavia the ICC is generally not required, but it is strongly advised you check with any European, Scandinavian, or Eastern European country that you wish to charter in before you leave.
Tiller and Kites does teach and certify the following IYT courses:
Dinghy 4 levels
Youth Sailing - Dinghy and Keel Boats
IYC Day Skipper/Crew - Keel Boat
International Bareboat Skipper Sail and International Crew / Sail
International Yacht Racing/High Performance
Small Powerboat & RIB Master
VHF Marine Communication
ICC Certification SAIL and POWER
Specific 'skills' courses, including spinnaker sailing and race training
Personal Water Craft (Jetski)

what we offer


Learning HOW things work on a boat is not that hard. Understanding WHY and how to use that knowledge gets you closer to the true art of sailing.


There may be more ways than one to get from A to B. Efficient and intelligent technique gets you there safer, quicker and comfortably. Learn how.


Achieved through repetition and time on the water - at the helm, trimming, on the bow. Learn every aspect of mastering and commanding a sailboat with confidence and safety always in mind.

Get to know Tiller and Kites

What You Should Know About Us

  • We use several different classes of boats: C15 dinghy, J/24, NACRA cats, Capri 37 as well as other boats in the fleet as needed.
  • Classes on Lake Pleasant and Tempe Town Lake.
  • The boats are the definitive example of their class.
  • All boats are impeccably maintained and race-ready at all times.
  • The boats are easily recognizable by their distinctive hull color.
  • Tiller and Kites is an International Yacht Training certified sailing school.
  • Learn at your pace, go as far (and fast) as you want to!.

Our Courses

Introduction to Sailing - Dinghy

High Performance

Day Sailing


All year

Although we concentrate on "keel" boats (larger sailboats) we do keep a fleet of Coronado 15 performance dinghies ready at all times. There are occasions where refining skills on a smaller boat make perfectly good sense. Plus, small boats are extremely reactive to the smallest changes and make a great platform for precision sailing.

All year

Our 'school' boats are the world renown J/24. We have a fleet of 12 J/24s. The J/24 is one of the most successful keel boats ever made and are still extremely popular and competitive today. If you can sail a J/24 well, you can pretty much sail any boat well. On occasion, we may also use a Flying Tiger 7.5m. The opposite however is not true! The J/24 demands that you take control and sail it brilliantly! Nevertheless, it is a tough yet forgiving boat. The HIGH PERFORMANCE sailing course is an advanced course recommended for students who have already completed our IYT Day Sailing course. Theory is put into practice and all the finer points of sailing are covered extensively. With each session the rig is tuned to the conditions, sails changed as needed and most of the time is spent sailing the boat as close to 100% of its and the student's abilities. The spinnaker is used extensively.

All year

Our Day Sailing course is designed to give you all the skills to sail safely, quickly and competently. We use the J/24's for this course but may switch to other boats as well to broaden the experience. The course was designed to provide students with the knowledge, skill and ability to command and master a sailboat in varying conditions. It also prepares the student for boat ownership, care and control. Most importantly, upon completion, a student will have the confidence and experience to sail safely and intelligently. The course includes reading material but most of the time is spent "hands-on" and on the water.

Most of the year

We use two NACRA catamarans - The NACRA 5.8 is a high performance 19 foot catamaran. It is fast, powerful and demanding. We also use a NACRA 5.0 that is less challenging to sail. We do offer an "Introduction to Catamaran" class - (this is not an IYT course) - if you want to try something really different, or planning a vacation where beach cats are available, spend some time on a NACRA and then sail a resort's Hobie Wave like a rock star! .

Our Courses and Rates

Hop on board the finest and most exciting fleet of sailboats in the Southwest. No heavy weight cruisers, no compromises, no abused or worn out equipment. Tiller and Kites takes a slightly different approach to teaching sailing. Yes, you must complete the course material; yes, you must pass exams where applicable; yes, there is reading and studying. BUT - that is where the 'structure' ends.

Sailing is a sport for life and is as colorful and varied as the people who participate. Tell us what your goal is and we will get you there. Do you want to cruise and enjoy the water? Do you want to go hardcore racing? Do you want to hop on a resort hotel Hobie Wave during your next Caribbean vacation and look great sailing it? What you want is what we will concentrate on.
We offer the following IYT courses:
Dinghy - Bronze Level - Start Sailing
Dinghy - Gold Level - Independent Sailing
Dinghy - Platinum Level - Perfected Sailing
Dinghy - Silver Level - Safe Sailing
Instructor Training - International Flotilla Skipper Sail
Instructor Training – Dinghy
Instructor Training – Senior Dinghy
International Bareboat Skipper Sail
International Crew Sail
International Watchkeeper Flotilla Skipper Sail
IYT Day Skipper Crew Sail
Learn to Sail / Introduction to Yachting
MCA ICC 10m Power Coastal
MCA ICC 10m Power Coastal and Inland
MCA ICC 24m Sail, 10m Power Coastal
MCA ICC 24m Sail, 10m Power Coastal and Inland
Small Powerboat & RIB Master
VHF Marine Communication Master SRC


Before signing up for an IYT COURSE, please first register as a student with INTERNATIONAL YACHT TRAINING.

Weekdays are TUE-WED-THRS-FRI.
Weekends are SAT-SUN.

course price order

"TRY SAILING" Intro to Small Boat/Keel Boat Sailing

A very immersive One Day course for those with none or some sailing experience but want to learn the proper basics of sailing.
This keelboat course is on board one of our J/24s.
This is our only ‘small group’ course.

$225.00 per person (Min 3 people)
$275.00 per person (Min 2 people)
1 day, Lake Pleasant


IYT Day Skipper/Crew course

Our most popular course, the IYT DAY SKIPPER/CREW course was designed specifically for Capable, Competent and Confident sailing as both helmsman and crew.
Some classroom time- lots of sailing usually aboard one of our J/24s (or similar keelboats)

Beginner: 3 Days $750 per person.
Some experience: 2 Days $600 per person
IYT Day Skipper/Crew course certificate $58.00


IYT Small Powerboat/RIB Master

Learn how to properly and safely operate a powerboat up to 10 meters. This IYT course covers basic and advanced powerboat operation and is needed to obtain your powerboat ICC (see below) Can be combined with VHF sand ICC for the complete certification. This course is online and in-person.

$800.00 per person (plus fuel) 2 days and includes VHF certification
IYT Small Powerboat/RIB Master certificate $60.00

IYT International Certificate of Competency (ICC) Sail

The most sought after and internationally accepted ICC certificate is the IYT-ICC. The ICC-Sail course is for experienced sailors wanting to rent/charter especially overseas.
Course ITY-ICC <24m Sail, <10m power COASTAL

$600.00 per person (weekdays)
$700.00 per person (weekends)
2 days
IYT ICC certificate $85.00


IYT International Certificate of Competency (ICC) Power

The IYT ICC course and certificate for up to 10 meter powerboats. As with sail, this is a course for experienced power boat operators wanting to rent/charter overseas. NOTE: You may also need the Small Powerboat/RIB Master certificate in certain countries. These courses will be combined.

$800.00 per person (weekdays)
$950.00 per person (weekends)
2 days
IYT ICC certificate $85.00


IYT VHF Radio Operator/Marine Communications

Generally combined with the more advanced Keel Boat courses, the IYT VHF certification can also be obtained as a stand-alone certificate.

$200.00 per person (weekdays)
$250.00 per person (weekends)
1 day
IYT certificate $33.00


IYT 11 Day Bareboat Skipper. Mediterranean

The 'ultimate' sailing certificate to be able to charter most anywhere in the world: The IYT Bareboat Skipper certificate can be combined with ICC Sail, VHF, Small Powerboat/RIB courses.

$Varies by location and season
Please inquire
This course is offered mainly in summer in the Mediterranean. Please visit www.sailgrandcrew.com and CLUB AYR

IYT 7 Day Flotilla Skipper. Mediterranean

One level below 'Bareboat' the Flotilla Skipper allows you to command a vessel while the skipper is not at the helm.
The Bareboat Skipper course also available for well qualified sailors. This is an advanced course.

$Varies by location and season
Please inquire
This course is offered mainly in summer in the Mediterranean. Please visit www.sailgrandcrew.com and CLUB AYR

Sea Miles Builder. Lake Pleasant

Qualified/Certified sailors can ‘add miles and time’ to their logbook sailing the boat they trained on – the J/24.
Minimum: Day Skipper/Crew certificate is required.

$400/per day, minimum 2 on board.

Sea Miles Builder. Mediterranean

Sea Miles builder is also a lead to the Bareboat certification. Each mile with you at the helm counts towards your bareboat certification.
Get a combined 200 hours of Sea Miles is a great place to start.

$Varies by location and season
Please inquire
This course is offered mainly in summer in the Mediterranean. Please visit www.sailgrandcrew.com and CLUB AYR

Tiller and Kites Intro to CATAMARAN sailing (MAY-OCT)

Catamarans require a slightly different 'skill' set when sailing fast in any point-of-sail.
They are agile, light and accelerate like no other boat.
Our 1 Day catamaran experience will show you what it takes to start mastering two hulls.

$350.00 per person (weekdays)
$500.00 per person (weekends)
1 day
NACRA 5.0 or NACRA 5.8 High Performance catamarans (1 or 2 plus instructor)


Tiller and Kites "BIG BOAT" experience

The Capri 37s are the largest and most powerful race boats on Lake Pleasant. Over 12,000lbs of pure sailing pleasure! Big deck, big sails, big fun.

$1000.00 per day (weekdays)
$1200.00 per day (weekends)
1 day
Up to 8 crew plus instructor


Race Charter/Race Crew – Watership Down Series

Do you want to race one of our boats in the Watership Down Series? You can choose from 4 types Coronado 15, J/24, Andrews 26 or Olson 30.
Or.. if you want to improve your sailing, crew with us on one of our boats.

C-15 (Portsmouth) $150.00/day
J/24 - $450.00/day
Andrews 26 - $550.00/day
Olson 30 - $650.00/day
Crew with TandK $125.00/per person


Note: A 3% service charge may be added to online payments