Learn to Sail with BHYC

Adult sailing courses at BHYC have been designed to get you on the water. Whether a novice sailor or an experienced racer, we have a way to improve your skills.

All adult sailing classes are predominantly taught in the boats and on the water to maximize practical knowledge and skill building, supplemented by individual reading from provided textbooks (depending on the course). From introductory to advanced sailing classes, all courses are designed for the adult sailor.

Our instructors are US Sailing certified, and BHYC is one of only two locations in the state of Maine that is a US Sailing accredited program.

Membership in BHYC is not required to join any class. Our classes are open to all who are interested.

All Adult Learn to Sail programs are taught on our J/22 sailboats or Boothbay Harbor One Design sailboats - after your lesson, you can rent one of our club boats to practice or explore the Harbor. Private lessons can also be arranged on your own boat. 

Sailing in Boothbay Harbor

For any of our sailing programs, please:

  • Dress in layers appropriate to the weather. Bring rain gear if appropriate - we spend as much time on the water as we can.
  • Bring sunglasses, a hat, sunscreen, and water
  • Wear closed-toe, non-marking shoes. No flip-flops, please.
  • If you own a USCG approved lifejacket, please bring it. BHYC can provide a life jacket upon request, but please let us know before you arrive if you need one.

Courses will be conducted regardless of weather conditions. If weather conditions require it, courses will be held onshore, but we strive to be on the water when safe and practicable.

For More Information

For more information or to register for any of our adult sailing experiences - including private lessons - please email us today!

  • US First Sail
    • A two-hour introduction to sailing with an instructor provides a first outing on the water. Conducted on J22's and BHODs. By appointment, max of 4 people. 2 hours in length.

      2019 Course Prices
      $75 // $50 for BHYC members

      For more information or to register for any of our adult sailing experiences, email us today!

  • Introduction to Sailing
    • The Intro to Sailing course is intended for people with little to no sailing experience. There is no class work or textbook – just on-the-water experience. Each boat will include an experienced instructor with up to three students. The Intro course provides an opportunity to confirm an initial interest in sailing and make the decision to commit to the more comprehensive learn-to-sail Basic Keelboat course.

      Topics covered include boat familiarization, sailing theory, and boat handling - steering, tacking, and jibing.

      2019 Course Dates
      Fridays, 0800 - 1200

      2019 Course Prices
      $200 // $125 for BHYC members

      For more information or to register for any of our adult sailing experiences, email us today!
  • US Sailing 3-Day Basic Keelboat Certification
    •  Basic Keelboat is intended for people to learn to sail or to build on or fill-in fundamental sailing skills and knowledge. Each course is taught by an on-board US Sailing certified instructor with up to three students per boat. The course is based on US Sailing curriculum and standards. Each student will also receive and be expected to independently read the US Sailing text “Basic Keelboat”. Content of the book will be reviewed on the water and included on the written certification exam (if taken). Following the course, a student should have the skills and knowledge to independently sail a small keelboat. Students bring their own lunch and the group will anchor for lunch during the day.

      US Sailing Basic Keelboat certification is available upon successful completion of both written and practical evaluations. Evaluations are scheduled after completion of on-the-water instruction and supplemental practice.

      2019 Course Dates
      Tues (0800-1200), Wed (0800-1500), and Thurs (0800-1500)
      3 day course with 18 hours of on the water instruction with an option to sail for an additional 4 hours of practice without an on-board instructor

      2019 Course Prices
      $800 // $500 for BHYC members
      Course fee includes US SAILING Basic Keelboat textbook, certification upon successful course completion and an automatic one year membership to US SAILING – a $60 value

      For more information or to register for any of our adult sailing experiences, email us today!

  • Advanced or Specialty Clinics
    • Advanced and Specialty clinics are scheduled, customized, and priced based on demand.

      Advanced Sailing
      Courses are designed for experienced sailors who would like to build on their basic keelboat sailing skills. The topics selected and the level of instruction will be adjusted to meet the needs and ability level of participants.

      Possible topics covered:

      • Boat Speed (steering, sail trim)
      • Boat Handling (tacking, gybing, mark rounding)
      • Sailing with spinnakers
      • Racing topics (rules, tactics, starting)
      • Navigation /GPS
      • Big boat crewing
      • Special review/practice topics (e.g. - departing and returning from moorings and docks, man overboard, heave-to, reefing, sailing backwards, anchoring, single or short-handed sailing)


      Intro to Spinnakers
      This course is designed for experienced sailors who would like to build on their basic keelboat sailing skills by adding the ability to sail with a spinnaker. Students will learn proper techniques for both crew work and as well as skippering. Each boat will include an experienced instructor with up to three students.

      Topics covered:

      • Spinnaker flying theory
      • Preparing and packing the spinnaker
      • Spinnaker controls - halyard, guys, sheets, spinnaker pole, topping lift, downhaul
      • Hoisting and dropping the spinnaker
      • Sailing and gybing with a spinnaker (skippering and crewing, trim, communication)
      • Broach prevention and recovery


      Big Boat Crewing for Racing
      Racing a big boat requires coordination among all crewmembers and skipper. This course covers the roles and responsibilities in a big boat and provides the opportunity to rotate through different positions. Each boat will include an experienced instructor with up to eight students. Instruction will be adjusted to meet the needs and ability level of participants in each course.

      Topics covered:

      • Overview of all positions on the boat
      • Upwind and downwind sailing (with tacks and gybes)
      • Mark roundings


      2019 Course Dates

      Advanced and Specialty clinics are scheduled, customized, and priced based on demand.
      For more information or to register for any of our adult sailing experiences, email us today!


  • Private Lessons
    • Looking for a refresher? Some specific help on a particular aspect of sailing? Our US Sailing Certified Instructors can provide private instruction on one of the BHYC J/22s, a classic Boothbay Harbor One Design, or on your own boat.

      2019 Course Dates
      By Appointment, in our boat or yours.
      For more information or to register for any of our adult sailing experiences, email us today!

Boothbay Harbor Yacht Club
  • 156 Western Avenue PO Box 497
    West Boothbay Harbor, ME 04575
© 2019 Boothbay Harbor Yacht Club. All Rights Reserved.