Downwind Clinic

Laser sailing and the way champions sail downwind has changed a lot in the last 15 years and there are still massive gains to be had in most sailors’ downwind technique. 

In our most popular clinic, we’ll tow 11 miles up the coast in the morning and sail downwind in warm, champagne sailing conditions all the way back to ISA every day for 6 days. That’s more downwind practice than your average sailor gets in a decade!

You’ll work on downwind strategy/tactics, crucial body positions for all wind conditions, sail setup and sheet tensions, capsize prevention, positive and negative flow, pressing, rocking technique, wave catching, surfing, sheet timing, light wind best practices, staying legal/rule 42, wave skew identification/technique, roll jibes, lee to lee jibes, heavy air jibes and more.

The All-Inclusive Package Includes:

Monday through Saturday begins with a daily briefing/theory lesson, followed by two to three hours of on-water training, and finishing with a video analysis based debrief.

Boat Charter
Add a “Pro Kit” and simply travel with your sail and battens. Otherwise, a standard boat charter comes with blades, spars, a hiking strap and mainsheet block.

Plan your trip so Sundays are arrival and departure days. Sailor housing resides in a gated community, just a 5 minute walk down the beach from our boat park. Master bedrooms are available for sailing couples or if you’d like to bring a non-sailing guest.

Two meals are served daily, Monday through Friday, and brunch on Saturday. We can accommodate any diet, dislike or allergies.

Enjoy a one hour, private group yoga class, taught by one of our resident yoga instructors. Classes are held at one of our sailor houses, Monday through Saturday. Most of our instructors also provide massage services which you can schedule with them separately for an additional fee.

Click on the tiles below to read the full FAQ!

Clinic Price:
$2799 USD
*Fees & tax included

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Sailing at ISA


What days should I book my flights for?

You’ll sail Monday through Saturday. Sundays are your travel days.
On the Sunday you arrive, you may check into your room after 2pm. On the Sunday you leave, please check out of your room by 11am, so that we may clean and prepare the rooms for the next clinic.
You may arrive earlier and leave later on Sundays, and are welcome to use the common areas and facilities in Punta Pelícanos.
We are sometimes able to accommodate you for an early arrival or later departure date. Please check with us to ensure we have availability for any extra nights.

What is a typical day like at ISA?

Our daily thermal breeze will allow you to have a very structured training day.
Morning: Wake up at your own leisure and help yourself to coffee and fruit at the house in Punta Pelicanos. Use the morning to relax, walk down the beach, swim in the pool or take part in a pre arranged activity like yoga, surfing, mountain bike riding or horse back riding. Some guests choose to head to the gym in the morning.
8:30 am: Get loose for your day of sailing with our private yoga class, lead by our in-house yoga instructor.
10:00 amJoin us at CASA ISA for morning brunch prepared by the ISA chef. During brunch we’ll talk about a plan for the on water segment of the day and prepare you with a briefing.
12:00am: Walk down to the ISA boat park in the marina for rigging.
12:30amBegin on water training.
4:00 pmHead to Casa ISA for a post sailing recovery snack.
5:00 pmDebrief the day of sailing, typically with video analysis.
6:00 pmDinner will be ready by the time the debrief is over or sometimes we’ll eat beforehand. Enjoy your wonderful meal with other sailors after a fantastic day of sailing!

What coaching will I get?

Ever wanted Olympic caliber coaching? At ISA, you’ll be under the watchful eye of one of our top coaches every day you are on the water.
On shore, you’ll have a daily briefing and theory lesson, along with an explanation of the day’s drills. We can help review your rigging and boat set up, and are happy to suggest customized improvements.
If you’ve selected our coaching video package on your registration, you’ll take home clinic coaching videos which include the coach’s commentary loaded on a USB drive provided by ISA.
On the water, you’ll sail with your group and the coach will give you instruction often while shooting video. At the end of each day you will see a detailed video analysis of the day and be able to participate in the discussion and ask questions.
What sets us apart from other training centers is our ability to put 100% focus on your sailing improvement.  You’ll find it extremely beneficial that your daily routine is not distracted by transportation, shopping, cooking and cleaning.

How much sailing experience do I need to attend ISA?

Whether you’re an Olympic medalist, looking to start racing the Laser, or anywhere in between, we can help you improve. If this is your first time in a Laser, please contact us ahead of booking and we can make sure you are in a group suitable for your ability.

What is included with a boat charter?

This is what comes with a your boat charter, as part of your all inclusive package:
  • Full Rig & Radial Bottom Section
  • Aluminium Top Section
  • XD Hiking Strap w/bungee
  • Water Bottle Bungee
  • Daggerboard & Rudder
  • Harken Mainsheet Block
  • LP Cleat Base & Deck Plate w/ Harken blocks (for outhaul & cunningham)

Can I buy gear on site?

Yes! You can find some necessities in the ISA shop. There is also a Laser Performance dealer right in town.  They stock good lines, blocks, tillers, gear and anything you need.

Can I rent gear?

Here are our rental options, which you can select on your registration form:
Pro Kit | Use the same rigging as olympic champions: Harken T9 Carbon Blocks, Marlow Excel Control lines, Rooster Clew Strap, Harken vang with FSE line & handle, a mainsheet, and carbon tiller w/ extension, and a daggerboard bungee.
Carbon Tiller & Extension | The best tiller and extension available today for maximum stiffness and precision control is provided. This tiller maintains an ultra low profile to keep your traveller outboard where it belongs (NOTE: This is included in our Pro Kit Rental – so if you’ve already selected the Pro Kit, there’s no need to also select this option). Forget (tiller related) luggage fees and travel hassles when you select this option!
Carbon Top Section | Enjoy the latest major upgrade to the Laser and sail your clinic with a carbon top section. Stiff, light and responsive, the carbon top section is the most modern way to sail a Laser. Sail the same carbon rig you use at home, or take this opportunity to try it before you buy.

What are the conditions like?

You’ll love the conditions we have here in Banderas Bay during our windy season (November to May). Whether you’re a club racer, Masters sailor or Olympic hopeful, you’ll find that the conditions here are very similar to where you would race in many venues around the world.
Conditions vary throughout the season and generally get windier as the season goes on, culminating with May, our windiest month. Earlier in the season you can expect 6-12 knots, whereas later on you’ll typically see 16-22 knots.
You will not see glassy, dead light conditions or survival conditions, meaning every day is a productive training day!

What sailing gear is appropriate?

Bring hiking pants and a thin warm weather rash guard that provides good sun protection. You’ll want to dress for sun protection, not cold protection. The average air temperature is around 28 C (85 F) and the water temperature stays above 23 C (73 F) all winter.

What is your policy on youths?

We welcome youth sailors. We do not provide chaperoning, and our policy states that sailors under age 16 must be accompanied by an adult, unless the parent gives them explicit permission to travel alone and makes all necessary arrangements for them to arrive at our facility. Chaperones and parents are welcome to join their children in accommodation and meals – just choose “non sailing visitor” when you sign up.

What is the Royalty Package?

We named this package after Sir Ben Ainslie – his coach did all his rigging for him during his campaign so he could focus on one thing: sailing well. An ISA team member will completely rig and prepare your boat daily, and after sailing we’ll rinse your boat, de-rig, and put her away. Add the ultimate in convenience to your sailing vacation when you register, and eliminate rigging errors and late launching due to slow rigging.

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What are the accommodations like?

You’ll be staying in one of our large houses in a gated community next to the marina. Relax in style with wireless internet, 3 outdoor pools and jacuzzis, a tennis court, laundry, maid service, 24/7 security and beach access.
You’ll love winding down here after a great day on the water!

How close is the housing to the ISA facilities?

You can get to the ISA shop & boat park in less than 5 minutes walking down the beach.

I'd like to bring my spouse or family, is this possible?

You can definitely bring your spouse, family or friends! Couples are given the master bedrooms with private ensuite bathroom. Your companion is more than welcome to join us in our meals.
Alternatively, you can stay at a local hotel. We recommend the Villa Amor del Mar as it is right next door to us.
If you choose to stay offsite, let us know in the sign up form and the cost of housing will be deducted from your package.
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What are the meals like?

You’ll love the nutritious meals our own ISA Chef cooks up. You’ll well fueled for a day of sailing and we accommodate any diet, dislike or allergies. Just let us know on your sign up form!

What meals are provided?

Wake up and enjoy hot coffee and fresh fruit, followed by a large brunch. After your sailing session, return to the house to enjoy cold drinks, a hearty recovery snack and a plate of fresh vegetables. Then, enjoy a great dinner with your new sailing friends in an incredible tropical atmosphere.

What can I eat on the water?

You are welcome to put snacks, bars or gels, as well as water and other drinks on the coachboat each day.

We sell energy gels and hydration tablets in our retail store.

What other options are there for eating?

If you’re still hungry after our provided meals, or want to explore some local fare, there are plenty of convenient options. Walk into town (5-10 minutes) and try out one of the many dining opportunities, from delicious street tacos to high end Italian restaurants and everything in between. Ask us for suggestions or check out some reviews here.

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Things To Do

What is the area like?

When you first arrive to Puerto Vallarta you’ll be taken aback by the perfect weather, a blue ocean met by majestic mountains, and welcoming people. Puerto Vallarta is quickly becoming one of the top tourist destinations in the world and truly offers something for everyone. The Banderas Bay is truly a magical place to explore and sail!

I have a spouse, friend or family member who wants to learn to sail, does ISA offer introductory or development courses?

Yes! With our amazing conditions and great facilities, ISA is able to provide Learn to Sail Clinics or daily instruction here in the bay. Visit our keelboat page, and discover more about our Colgate 26 program.

What can I do in the area?

Banderas Bay is a great place to be active.… or not. You’ll find everything here from great shopping to cultural experiences and plenty of ways to stay active. Or, enjoy lounging by the pool and soaking up some rays.

Through local operators or with your own gear, you can go hiking, paddle boarding, surfing, kiteboarding, windsurfing, big boat sailing, mountain biking, whale watching, scuba diving or snorkeling, or work out at the local gym. Let us know what you’re looking for and we’ll be happy to point you in the right direction! If you want to book an activity, we’ll get you set up with the best local contacts.

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Getting Here

Where do I fly into?

You’ll fly into Puerto Vallarta International Airport (PVR), which is only 20 minutes away from the ISA facilities.  You can fly here direct from almost anywhere in North America, or from almost anywhere in the world with just one layover.

How do I get from the airport to ISA?

Once you land in beautiful Puerto Vallarta, hop in a cab and in about 20 minutes arrive at ISA. Upon booking, you’ll receive a detailed arrival packet including instructions to give to your taxi driver.

Do I need a visa?

Mexico has a thriving tourism economy and does not require a visa for many countries.

Nationals of 65 countries and jurisdictions holding normal passports do not require a visa to enter Mexico as tourists, visitors in transit or business visitors. Tourists and business visitors can stay in Mexico for up to 180 days.

We recommend checking with your local consulate before traveling to ensure you are familiar with the latest regulations.