2019 Summer Sailing School


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Seattle Yacht Club has a long-standing tradition of providing an outstanding Junior Sailing School program for children in the Seattle area. We offer classes for children from 7-18 years of age with a wide variety of class options. Over 600 young sailors participate in a total of 40 classes over a ten-week period each summer. The hand-selected instructional staff is trained through US SAILING, and are CPR and First Aid certified.

All Classes...

Run Monday - Friday, 9 am - 4 pm
Launch from Seattle Yacht Club Mainstation on Portage Bay
Require sailors to pass a relatively easy swim test
Are taught by US Sailing Level 1 Instructors
Are suitable for all skill levels (except Learn-to-Race Camp)
Focus on fun and safety while boating!

Classes Offered


Lil' Luffers

Ages & Prerequisites
 - 7-9 years old
 - Ability to pass basic float test

 - Vanguard 15
 - 420

This class introduces our youngest sailors to fun and safety on the water in an unintimidating way. Students sail with one or two peers and an instructor in a Vanguard 15 or 420 sailboat, allowing for hands-on learning with instructor guidance close at hand. This class covers sailing terminology, indicators of wind direction, rigging basics, steering with a tiller, and other foundational boating skills through fun games and activities. Honing skills learned throughout the week, students may earn the chance to sail an Opti on the last day of class.

Overboard Optis

Ages & Prerequisites
 - 8-12 years old
 - Ability to pass basic float test
 - Interest in sailing a single-handed boat (even if your sailor is a little nervous!)


 - Opti

Our most popular class, Overboard Optis offers students a chance to expand their knowledge of sailing as well as gain confidence in a single-handed boat. Throughout the week, students learn more about rigging, basic sail trim, launching & docking, tacking & gybing, righting a capsize, beginning racing, and good seamanship through a variety of fun activities. While Overboard Optis is many students' first time sailing solo, instructors are often experienced Opti racers themselves and can offer advanced instruction. We find that many students take this course multiple times in one summer and across summers, so be sure to sign up early!

Junior Jibers

Ages & Prerequisites
 - 10-13 years old
 - Ability to pass basic float test
 - Minimum weight 100 lbs

 - Vanguard 15
 - Laser

This class is an excellent opportunity for students to improve their abilities not only as a sailor, but a team player as well. Students sail with a friend in a Vanguard 15 or solo in a Laser, and may switch between boats depending on availability and experience. At the beginning of the session, the class may be broken up into groups based on skill level. In some segments of the class, all skill levels will sail together so they can have fun and learn from their own peer group. A wide variety of skills will be covered, from sailing fundamentals to beginning racing. This class is suitable for all levels of experience. Please note weight minimum allows for comfortable handling of a Vanguard 15 or Laser. Sailors use their body weight to keep the boat from tipping over, and flip the boat upright if they capsize. Overboard Optis is a great alternative if your sailor does not meet the weight minimum.

High School

Ages & Prerequisites
 - 14-18 years old
 - Completed 8th Grade
 - Ability to pass basic float test

 - Vanguard 15
 - Laser

This class is similar to Junior Jibers, but catered towards students in or entering High School. Students sail with a friend in a Vanguard 15 or solo in a Laser, and may switch between boats depending on availability and skill level. At the beginning of the session, the class may be broken up into groups based on skill level. In some segments of the class, all skill levels will sail together so they can have fun and learn from their own peer group. A wide variety of skills will be covered, from sailing fundamentals to beginning racing. This class is suitable for all levels of experience.

Learn-To-Race Camp

JULY 8-12, 2019 ONLY

Ages & Prerequisites
 - Optimist: 9-13 years old
 - Vanguard 15: 10-18 years old / weight minimum 100 lbs
 - Laser: 13-18 years old / weight minumum 100 lbs
 - Must have taken at least 1 class at SYC Sailing School, or be comfortable demonstrating basic sailing maneuvers including steering, tacking/jibing, and  docking
 - Ability to pass basic float test
 - Enjoy sailing and want to improve

 - Optimist
 - Vanguard 15
 - Laser


For one week each summer, sailing school focuses on introducing students to sailboat racing in an unintimidating way. Classes are divided by boat type, each covering rules of racing, typical race courses, starting, basic racing tactics, and more advanced boat handling techniques. The week concludes with a fun regatta and awards. Instructors are often current or past race team members, offering a depth of racing knowledge to students. This class is often a stepping stone for our Opti Green Fleet Introductory Racing Program and/or the Junior Race Team.



The Optimist (Opti) is an eight foot, kid-sized single-handed dinghy that is easy to manage and fun to sail. Optis are popular youth racing dinghies sailed around the world.

Vanguard 15

The Vanguard-15 (V-15) is the primary training boat at Seattle Yacht Club. This stable, double-handed boat with a main and jib is the national standard for novice and advanced sailors to master the basics and to develop teamwork.


Similar to a Vanguard 15, the 420 is a double-handed performance sailboat with a main and a jib. Advanced sailors can rig a spinnaker on a 420.


The Olympic-Class Laser is a high performance single-handed dinghy for intermediate and advanced sailors. It is a great platform to build boat-handling and racing skills. This boat has two different sized sails, allowing us to tailor the boat to the weight of the sailor.

2019 Dates & Pricing

Lil' Luffers

Class Code      Dates  
LL1                   June 17-21 
LL2                   June 24-28
LL3                   July 8-12
LL4                   July 15-19
LL5                   July 22-26
LL6                   July 29- August 2
LL7                   August 5-9
LL8                   August 12-16
LL9                   August 19-23
LL10                 August 26-30

High School

Class Code      Dates  
HS1                 June 17-21
HS2                 June 24-28
HS3                 July 15-19
HS4                 July 22-26
HS5                 July 29- August 2
HS6                 August 5-9
HS7                 August 12-16
HS8                 August 19-23
HS9                 August 26-30


Overboard Optis

Class Code      Dates  
OO1                 June 17-21
OO2                 June 24-28
OO3                 July 15-19
OO4                 July 22-26
OO5                 July 29- August 2
OO6                 August 5-9
OO7                 August 12-16
OO8                 August 19-23
OO9                 August 26-30

Learn-to-race Camp

Class Code      Dates
ORC (Opti)      July 8-12
VRC (V-15)     July 8-12
LRC (Laser)     July 8-12



Junior Jibers

Class Code      Dates  
JJ1                   June 17-21
JJ2                   June 24-28
JJ3                   July 15-19
JJ4                   July 22-26
JJ5                   July 29- August 2
JJ6                   August 5-9
JJ7                   August 12-16
JJ8                   August 19-23
JJ9                   August 26-30


All Classes

$450 Non-Member

$430 Member


Kick-Off BBQ
June 24, 2019

See the boats students will be sailing and meeting the instructors at our annual Kick-Off Barbeque! Burgers, hotdogs, and salad will be served on the lawn at Seattle Yacht Club. The summer sailing staff will be on hand to introduce themselves and answer questions about the sailing programs. Cost is $15 per person, optional with registration.


Pricing, Fees, & Cancellations

  • Each class is $450 for non-members and $430 for Seattle Yacht Club Members.
  • $10/week life jacket rental (optional with registration).
  • $15/person kick-off BBQ ticket (optional with registration).
  • Class fees must be paid in full and accompanied by complete application forms to guarantee registration in desired class(es)$100 charge for cancellations up to one week/the Monday before class starts.
  • No refund if you cancel less than one week/the Tuesday or later before class starts.
  • $50 charge for class changes, if registration has already been processed.


  • Classes can and will sail in the rain. Students should bring a jacket for those days.
  • The sailors will not go out on the water if there is thunder or lightning in the area, or if winds are dangerously strong. If weather or wind-speed prevents the students from sailing, the instructors are prepared with other on-land sailing-related games and activities to keep class fun and educational.
  • Classes will sail in smoky conditions. In heavy smoke, classes may spend regular on-land time (lunch, teaching activities) indoors instead of outdoors. Students may want to bring N95 face masks on smoky days.
  • There are no refunds for adverse weather conditions, unless sailing school is canceled by the Sailing Office.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the float test?

All students will do a life jacket fitting and basic float test on the first day of the class. It consists of jumping in the water with a life jacket on, swimming 15-20 feet, treading water while doing a simple task such as tying a knot or telling a joke, and then getting out of the water. Any swim stroke is appropriate. Students must "pass" the test before they can sail. The purpose of this test is to make sure sailors are comfortable in the water and life jackets fit properly.

Often the biggest challenge comes from swimming in the lake. The swim test takes place on Portage Bay; while it is not very deep, the water is dark and you cannot see the bottom. Occasionally our younger sailors become scared about this and don't want to do the test, even though they are strong swimmers. Usually when they see their peers do the test, they will jump in. However, a trip to Madison Park Beach or Mount Baker Beach is often a good way to preemptively prepare for swimming in the lake if you think this might be a concern for your sailor.  

Failure to pass the float test is not grounds for a refund. 

Is lunch included?

Lunch is not included. Students should bring a lunch each day, or bring money to purchase lunch at the Snack Shack. The Snack Shack has sandwiches, burgers, hot dogs, and box lunches available for purchase, as well as grab and go breakfast items, coffee, and ice cream. 

What's the difference between the Lil' Luffers and the Overboard Optis?

Students in the Lil's Luffers class will learn to sail with an instructor and 1 or 2 other students in the boat with them. Students in the Overboard Optis class will learn to sail in individual, kid-sized boats called Optimists.  Both classes are suitable for beginners; the class choice really depends on the preference and comfort level of the child and parents.

What's the difference between the Overboard Optis and the Junior Jibers? My child is in the age range for both classes.

For sailors in the age range for both classes, the weight limit for the Opti class is about 120 lbs, and kids who are heavier or tall for their age will be more comfortable in the boats used in the Junior Jibers class. Both classes are suitable for all levels of experience. Weight recommendation for Junior Jibers is 100 lbs minimum. This is for safety. The sailors use their body weight to keep the boat from tipping over, and to flip the boat upright if they capsize. 

Where do you sail?

Most sailing takes place on Portage Bay, located between Lake Washington and Lake Union. The sailors may also venture into Lake Union or Lake Washington, depending on the wind and the class level. 

Who do I contact about lost & found?

Please contact Catie Plourde, Sailing Programs Coordinator, at catiep@seattleyachtclub.org regarding lost & found items. All unclaimed lost & found items will be donated in early October each year. 

Interested in instructing at Sailing School and/or Adult Lessons? Check out our Instructor Information Page

Looking for Adult Sailing Lessons? Click HERE

Location & Contact Info

All classes launch from Seattle Yacht Club's Mainstation on Portage Bay.
Seattle Yacht Club
1807 East Hamlin Street
Seattle, WA 98112

Questions? Please contact Catie Plourde, Sailing Programs Coordinator, at catiep@seattleyachtclub.org or 206-926-1009.