Sailing Instruction by Sailing Strong

Sailing Strong is an independent and fully accredited sailing instruction, coaching and provider of skipper services.  With the ability to work with sailors of all levels, from beginners to bareboat charter masters, our goal is to help you build your boating confidence and get you out on the water!  Our founder has a particular passion for bringing more women into the world of sailing and has developed programs specifically to achieve that goal.

Located in Western Lake Ontario, we regularly service the Greater Toronto Area, Mississauga, and the Golden Horseshoe.  We also provide skipper and chartering service in the Caribbean and Mediterranean.

Meet Merilee – Sailing Enthusiast and Lead Instructor

Nothing beats that moment when the sails are up, and I turn the engine off. Feeling the sun on my face and the power of the wind filling the sails, all while surrounded by water, is pure joy – a joy I want to share.

I’ve been sailing since 2003 and have owned my own boat since 2008.  As an active racer and cruiser, I typically sail more than 50 times a season, with some bonus time in the Caribbean. Being so active allows me to continuously develop my skills, teach others, build racing crews, and actively support women in sailing.

The many great crew members I’ve led over the years say that as a skipper, I provide thorough and clear explanations and directions, I’m patient and calm, and I have an empathetic and supportive spirit. They say I inspire them to learn more and help them feel empowered on the water.

Becoming a certified sailing instructor was a natural evolution that combined my passion for the sport with the finely tuned leadership and coaching skills I developed in my previous career.

The more I learn about sailing, the more I love it and want to share it. I look forward to getting you on the water watching your confidence, knowledge and love for sailing grow!

Merilee’s Sailing Experience and Credentials

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What Our Students and Clients Say

Rated 4.9/5  October 2023 – Bareboat Charter Master Rank & SLC Practical Assessment

Read Meet Sailing Instructor Merilee Wright ›

Could not ask for a better instructor and mentor to facilitate this accreditation. An absolute delight to sail with and be assessed by. Cool, calm, and collected she has a gentle hand to help guide your assessment along and can read how you might be feeling under all the weight of the testing.

Joel Y.Toronto, Ontario Canada

Rated 5/5  July 2023 – Bareboat Charter Master & SLC Practical Assessment

Read Meet Sailing Instructor Merilee Wright ›

Merilee did an outstanding job with our on-the-water assessment!

Michael DBerkely, MI, USA

I am absolutely delighted to share my personal experience having been taught to sail by Merilee Wright. She is truly a remarkable woman with a wealth of experience and knowledge. Her passion for teaching is evident in every lesson, and she takes great pride in imparting her wisdom to students like me.

One of the things that sets her apart is her patience and ability to make complex sailing concepts easy to understand. She has a unique talent for breaking down intricate techniques into simple steps, ensuring that you grasp the fundamentals with ease. Merilee’s teaching style is both engaging and effective, making the learning process enjoyable and rewarding, and she goes above and beyond to provide great insights and practical advice that go beyond the textbook.

As a sailing instructor she is a true gem. Her talent, experience, and knowledge are matched only by her passion, patience, and warm personality. I wholeheartedly recommend her to anyone looking to embark on a sailing journey or deepen their existing skills.

Heidi T - MIssissauga, OntarioOctober 2023

I had been sailing for 15 years before I met Merlilee, and all that time had been pretty much winging it. Although I had taken other sailing courses, I barely knew sail trim or the rules of racing – and I was helming my boat!

Merilee first recommended a really good sail trim book, which we referred to while practicing under different conditions. She recommended that we read the racing rules, and memorize the key ones. She sent me sail trim videos that explained the intricacies of the sport. Three years later, and a much better sailor, I can now jump on any sailboat and feel confident in my sailing skills.

Her ability to communicate calmly and clearly, and explain sailing concepts is amazing. I am now able to easily change a furling jib, properly trim a main sail with little guidance, and dock a CS33 (backward). I strongly recommend Merilee’s beginner and intermediate sailing courses.

Anne D.Etobicoke, Ontario

Sailing Instruction and Certifications

Sailing Strong’s training is unique in that it focuses on helping you achieve your personal sailing goals. Sailing instruction is limited to at most 4 students, meaning that each student receives instruction needed to become competent – tailored to each student’s goals and past experience.

Sailing instruction - sail canada logo

Established in 1931, Sail Canada is the national governing body for the sport of sailing. We are committed to excellence in performance, developing our leaders and training our sailors. The pursuit of Olympic success fuels our focus not only on our Team athletes but also on Canada’s next generation of performance sailors, and all the partners, clubs and coaches who support them.

NauticEd - 21st Century Sailing Education

We partner with NauticEd because of NauticEd’s commitment to U.S. and International standards as well as a shared training philosophy that’s focused on student goals and competency – gained from knowledge, skills, and experience. With best-of-class multimedia online courses, professional sailing relationships around the world, and standards that exceed USGC requirements: we partnered with NauticEd to offer our students the best resources and global community available in modern sailing.


The American Sailing Association was founded in 1983 with a simply stated mission: to teach people to sail safely and confidently. To achieve that goal, the ASA set out to establish standards against which to measure a sailor’s level of knowledge and skill, the first such unified standards in the U.S. to apply to sailors in keelboats.  Today, the ASA is an association of sailing schools, charter companies, professional sailing instructors, and sailors, with over 400+ affiliated sailing schools located throughout the U.S., as well as in the Caribbean, Europe, Central America, and Asia. These accredited schools offer ASA certification to individuals who meet the requirements for a given level. To date, ASA schools have certified over half a million sailors!

IYT Worldwide is the trusted standard of excellence in yacht training, maritime certification and safety around the world.      

IYT has achieved the highest level of internationally recognized and sanctioned best practices (ISO 9001:2015) certification through the Government of Canada’s “Canadian General Standards Board”.

IYT’s founders represent 40 years of seafaring and yachting leadership and experience. This expertise has been adopted and endorsed by the world’s leading regulatory authorities (MCA, USCG, The Marshall Islands, PADI), representing the gold standard for professional and recreational marine training and accreditation.

4 Easy Steps to Sailing Instruction

Start by discussing your sailing goals with Sailing Strong

Contact Us to discuss your sailing goals, past training and experience – so that we can tailor the training to you.

Begin the NauticEd online knowledge-theory courses immediately!

Online knowledge-theory courses have been proven in education and business to be more effective than traditional means, and NauticEd’s online courses are best-in-class in sailing. A big advantage is that you can begin immediately, giving you more time to prepare and most importantly more time to train practical sailing skills.

On-the-water training

Sailing Strong’s on-the-water training is focused on the application of knowledge-theory and skills building.  The training is unique in that we only works with up to 4 students at once (typically 2 – 4), which gives each student not only personalized attention but hands-on sailing experience in a variety of roles and responsibilities.

Assessment & Certification

Certification is optional and includes a thorough assessment of the students skills, safety and overall competence for each level – using a Rubrics system that keeps the assessment transparent and objective. Typically we assesses during the training and while instructing, but students can request to be assessed separately for any certification.

Get Your Two Free Online Courses & Sailing Logbook Here!