Photos courtesy of George Norwood Flagship Sailing offers year-round beginner-level courses as well as ASA certification courses.

Flagship Sailing, located at The Marinas at Little Harbor in Ruskin, offers year-round beginner-level sailing lessons for inexperienced sailors as well as ASA certification courses for more experienced sailors of all ages. Sail charters are available as well.

Whether students wish to sail in the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean or on an inland lake or river, Flagship Sailing captains will provide them with the skills necessary to safely live their dreams.

Flagship Sailing instructors are experienced educators and professional sailors to boot. They are certified by the ASA, are licensed by the United States Coast Guard (USCG) and will assist students in selecting the right courses to match their needs. Flagship Sailing provides personal attention to students, with no more than four students per class, often only two or three.

George W. “Nordie” Norwood, a former fighter pilot and US Air Force Veteran of 30 years, is the owner of Flagship Sailing and is a USCG-licensed Captain with a 100-Ton Master Mariner Rating with Sail and Towing endorsements.

The Riverview resident is an ASA certified sailing instructor through ASA 106 (Advanced Coastal Cruising). He is an alumnus of both Flagship Sailing and the Maryland School of Sailing and has offshore sailing experience in the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico. Norwood teaches at the beginning, intermediate and advanced levels.

“What I really enjoy is the ability to take someone who’s had no previous experience or it’s been years since they have sailed and to see them start to understand how to maneuver the boat and how to handle the sails and do those things on the first day,” said Norwood.

“Taking the wheel soon after getting on the sailboat made me nervous,” said student Melissa Hartmann. “With Captain Nordie’s expertise and instruction, that feeling quickly disappeared, and I was sailing with confidence.”

Every student receives realistic, onboard instruction that can result in a certification that is recognized around the world. Discounts are offered to veterans, senior citizens as well as law enforcement and first responders.

For more information on the classes offered, visit

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Nick Nahas has written for the Osprey Observer since 2016. He has lived in the Valrico area since 2002 and has his bachelor’s degree in mass communications from the University of South Florida. He is dedicated to covering sports in Hillsborough County at every level.