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 a large fleet of boats - 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 Comptent, Confident and Capable sailors.

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
Adult Learn to Sail - Keel Boats
IYC Day Skipper - Keel Boat
International Bareboat Skipper Sail and International Crew Sail
International Yacht Racing/High Performance
Small Powerboat & RIB Master
VHF Marine Communication
ICC Certification

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 three different classes of boats: C15 dinghy, J/24 Keelboats and NACRA 5.8 as well as other boats in the fleet as needed.
  • Classes on Tempe Town Lake and Lake Pleasant.
  • 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 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 15 foot performance dinghy 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 two identical ones. 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. 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

The NACRA 5.8 is a high performance 19 foot catamaran. It is fast, powerful and demanding. 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.


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

2018-2019 RATES

Intro to Sailing

$300.00pp (weekdays)
$375pp weekends
3 days

A very immersive course for those with some sailing experience but want to learn the basics sailing .

  • Class and on the water
  • Introduction to sailing
  • Theory/Practice
  • Safely operate a boat
  • Lots of sailing time
  • C15 Dinghy, J/24, other


IYT Day Skipper

$475.00pp (weekdays)
$525pp weekends
3-4 days

An IYT Course designed specifically for the "Day Skipper"

  • Learn to sail a Keel Boat
  • Safely operate in daylight hours
  • Learn helm, trim and bow positions
  • Complete skipper and crew training
  • J/24 Keel boat (4 plus instructor)
  • IYT Certfication


High Performance (Min 3 people)

$500.00pp 2 (full) days for all crew

Advanced and high performance sailing, racing, spinnaker..

  • Technical (all on the water)
  • After "Day Sailing' course
  • Advanced sail and hull management
  • Sail safely in all conditions
  • J/24 Keel boat, (4 plus instructor)
  • IYT Certification


Catamaran Sailing

$300.00PP 1 (full) day

One full day crewing and at the helm of a high performance catamaran.

  • Advanced course
  • Learn the intricacies of multihull boats
  • High performance, very fast!
  • Rig, setup and use the trapeze
  • NACRA 5.8 Catamaran
  • 1 (or 2) plus instructor


Race Crew

$100.00PP Per day (time varies)

Learn to race and crew during an active race

  • One day Race Crew
  • Any position you like
  • Put everything you know in action
  • Race Season or Regatta crew
  • J/24 Keel boat (4 plus instructor)

contact us

Spinnaker Trimmer/Foredeck

$150.00PP Per day (approx 5 hours)

One full intese day 'on the bow' - Usually in conjunction with another class.

  • One day intense training
  • Learn 'the bow' position
  • Master spinnaker jibes
  • Trim and 'fly the kite'
  • J/24 Keel boat (4 plus instructor)


Race Day/Regatta

$100-$300.00pp Per day (depends on event)

Prepare and then race in a Regatta.

  • One day intense training plus
  • Race in a sanctioned Event
  • Race in a sanctioned Regatta
  • All positions on board
  • Choose: C15, J/24 or NACRA 5.8

contact us

ICC Certificate

from $475 Certification (varies by experience and course)

For qualified sailors only - your International Certificate of Competency.

  • Sailing or Powerboat Check
  • Class work
  • IYT examination with VHF
  • Offered in AZ
  • J/24, Olson 30, SeaRay265
  • IYT Certfication