Summer Sailing School
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. How can I register? Can I do it online?
Classes have ended for 2017. Please check back in February for 2018 information.
2017 Registration Dates
March 20 - 21: Registration begins for Seattle Yacht Club Members
March 22nd: Registration opens to Non-Members
Q. What is the swim test?
All students will take a basic swim test on the first day of the class. It consists of jumping in the water without a life jacket, swimming 15-20 feet, treading water while doing a simple task such as tying a knot or telling a joke, and then putting on a life jacket while in the water. Any swim stroke is appropriate. Students must "pass" the swim test before they can sail.
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.
Q. What time does class start and end?
All classes run from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm, Monday through Friday. We ask that students arrive and are picked up within 15 minutes of the class period. If your child will be late to class or needs to be picked up early, please let us know ahead of time.
Q. 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, espresso drinks, and ice cream.
Click here for the Snack Shack Menu.
Q. My child is 8 or 9 years old. 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, or "Optis." Both classes are suitable for beginners; the class choice really depends on the preference and comfort level of the child and parents.
Q. 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.
Q. What is the prerequisite for attending the Learn-To-Race Camp?
The Learn-To-Race Camp is a non-intimidating introduction to racing sailboats. The only prerequisite is that students must have at least one prior class of sailing school (not including Lil' Luffers). Students must be comfortable with steering, tacking, jibing, and starting/stopping. They need to already know the basics of sailing and feel confident in sailboats before they can comfortably learn how to race. There is a weight recommendation of 100 lbs minimum for the V15 and Laser Learn-to-Race Camp courses.
Q. Do you offer half day classes?
At this time we only offer full-day classes. All classes are one week in duration, from 9 am - 4 pm, Monday - Friday.
Q. Can we sign up for more than one week?
Yes! Many students sign up for multiple weeks each summer, and they do not have to be consecutive. All classes are suitable for all levels of experience and broken into groups by skill level, so students who take multiple weeks will continue to improve their sailing skills.
Q. Do you offer childcare before or after Sailing School?
At this time we do not offer childcare. We ask that students arrive and are picked up within 15 minutes of the class period (9 am - 4 pm).
Q. What should we bring to class every day?
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Youth students: Click HERE for a checklist of items to bring to class, and other reminders.
Adult students: Click HERE for a list of what to bring and where to go.
Q. What do you do in inclement weather?
The Sailing Office monitors the weather radar. The sailors will not go out on the water if there is thunder or lightning in the area, or if winds are dangerously strong. They can and will, however, sail in the rain. Students should bring a jacket for those days.
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.
Q. What is your refund/cancellation policy?
To maintain a quality program, there will be a $50 charge for class changes once registration has been processed. There will be a $100 cancellation charge for any cancellations up until one week prior to the class date; after that time there will be no refunds.
Q. Do you offer scholarships?
Scholarships are available through The SYC Foundation or The Sailing Foundation. Please visit their websites directly for scholarship or grant application requirements.
Q. Where are you located?
We are centrally located at 1807 E. Hamlin St., in the Montlake neighborhood of Seattle. Classes meet in the Junior Clubhouse, which is located to the south of the main yacht club building. From the parking lot, walk west past the south end of the building toward the docks and tents. Check-in is under the blue tent, and the Junior Clubhouse is to the left. All students must check in and out each day.
Q. Where do you sail?
Most sailing takes place on Portage Bay, which is in 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.
Sailing Office phone: (206) 926-1011
Address: 1807 E. Hamlin St.
Seattle, WA 98112
Brian Ledbetter, Sailing Director: BrianL@seattleyachtclub.org
Angela Frost, Sailing Programs Coordinator: Angela@seattleyachtclub.org
Cameron Hoard, Race Team Coach: email@example.com