Brig Niagara and Erie Maritime Museum

Free Winter Online Sail Training Course

This online course is being offered free to all those interested in learning more about how a square rigged sailing ship is rigged and operated.

If you find value in this course and are able, please consider making a donation to support Niagara and its sail training programs. Thank you!

Once registered, you will receive an email with additional information including a course page link and password.

A free online training course is designed to provide those with little or no experience in traditional sail an introduction to the terminology and concepts of a square-rigged sailing ship. The U.S. Brig Niagara based in Erie Pa is the platform used to introduce concepts about how it is rigged and the procedures of sailing the vessel. Topics will include rigging, sails, sailing maneuvers, knots used on board and more. This course is an opportunity for those interested in traditional square-rigged sailing ships to learn about their rigging and operation.


This course is free and open to anyone interested in participating. The course will be conducted through Zoom online Wednesdays at 6pm with 6 sessions. Registration is required.

Course Overview

Session 1: Wednesday, February 3, 6:00pm – 7:30pm EST

Session 2: Wednesday, February 10, 6:00pm – 7:30pm EST

Session 3: Wednesday, February 17, 6:00pm – 7:30pm EST

Session 4: Wednesday, February 24, 6:00pm – 7:30pm EST

Session 5: Wednesday, March 3, 6:00pm – 7:30pm EST

Session 6: Wednesday, March 10, 6:00pm – 7:30pm EST


Session 1 

Introduction- Overview and history of Niagara will be briefly introduced. Training schedule and format will be discussed.


Vessel Basics

Types of Different Vessels and Ships

Main Topic: Types of Different Vessels and Ships, Terminology, Basic Parts of the Niagara and sails will be discussed.


Session 2

Main Topic: Standing Rigging, Spars and Sails


Session 3

Main Topic: Intro to Marlinespike Seamanship and Intro to Rigging Concepts – Rope construction, materials and tools. Intro to rigging terminology, tools, and concepts.

Knots used in rigging


Session 4

Main Topic: Sails and Running Rigging


Session 5

Main Topic: Line Handling Fundamentals and Sail Setting Commands and Procedures

Braces and Commands


Session 6

Main Topic:  Sailing Concepts and maneuvers. Tacking and Wearing Ship

The Erie Maritime Museum is a community gathering place welcoming audiences of all abilities and backgrounds to encounter and experience the maritime history & heritage of the Greater Erie region, including civilian activity and innovation, military service, and Pennsylvania’s contributions to the maritime industry and stewardship of the Great Lakes.