First Sail Experience

Take the First Sail Experience to see first-hand why sailing is one of the most exhilarating activities on Earth! This unique on-the-water opportunity is designed to provide a memorable experience that will motivate newcomers to continue sailing. Participants will learn with an instructor in a keelboat at Columbia Sailing School. Additionally, all First Sail Experience participants will have access to Basic Keelboat Online, a US Sailing online training course designed to prepare beginners for their first time on the water. It's a two-hour experience for anyone.


2021 "First Sail" Dates

Tuesday, May 4: 6-8pm

Saturday, May 8: 2-4pm

Sunday, May 9: 2-4pm

Saturday, May 15: 2-4pm

Sunday, May 16: 2-4pm

Saturday, May 22: 2-4pm

Sunday, May 23: 2-4pm

Saturday, May 29: 2-4pm

Sunday, May 30: 2-4pm

Saturday, June 5: 2-4pm

Sunday, June 6: 2-4pm

Saturday, June 12: 2-4pm

Sunday, June 13: 2-4pm

Saturday, June 19: 2-4pm

Sunday, June 20: 2-4pm

Saturday, June 26: 2-4pm

Sunday, June 27: 2-4pm

Saturday, July 10: 2-4pm

Sunday, July 11: 2-4pm

Saturday, July 17: 2-4pm

Sunday, July 18: 2-4pm

Saturday, July 24: 2-4pm

Sunday, July 25: 2-4pm

Saturday, July 31: 2-4pm

Sunday, August 1: 2-4pm

Learn to Sail

Our Learn to Sail course will begin to develop a foundation of sailing skills. You will learn boat parts and their purposes, how to rig and de-rig a boat, points of sail, and basic boat handling skills in this introductory course.  We'll get you sailing the boat in your very first lesson!


2020 "Learn to Sail" Dates

Thursday, May 6: 6-8:30pm

Thursday, May 13: 6-8:30pm

Thursday, May 20: 6-8:30pm

Thursday, May 27: 6-8:30pm

Thursday, June 3: 6-8:30pm

Thursday, June 10: 6-8:30pm

Thursday, June 17: 6-8:30pm

Thursday, June 24: 6-8:30pm

Thursday, July 1: 6-8:30pm

Thursday, July 8: 6-8:30pm

Thursday, July 15: 6-8:30pm

Thursday, July 22: 6-8:30pm

Thursday, July 29: 6-8:30pm

Basic Keelboat Certification Course

This 20 hour course is taught in our Colgate 26 keelboats, with a small student:instructor ratio and includes a comprehensive work book. You will learn all aspects of sailing, docking and how to safely captain a boat. Upon completion of this course and a theory test, students receive US Sailing's Basic Keelboat Certification which is accepted at many locations (including Columbia) to rent a boat without a captain. There are no prerequisites for this class, however many participants with no experience elect to participate in a "First Sail" to gain some experience prior to signing up for the Basic Keelboat Certification Course.


2020 "Basic Keelboat Certication" Dates

Weekends – 8:00am-1:00pm

BK 1: May 8, 9, 15, 16
BK 2: May 22, 23, 29, 30

BK 3: June 5, 6, 12, 13

BK 4: June 19, 20, 26, 27
BK 5: July 10, 11, 17, 18

BK 6: July 24, 25, 31, Aug. 1
BK 7: August 7, 8, 14, 15
BK 8: August 21, 22, 28, 29

Weekdays - 6:00pm-9:00pm

Wednesday 1: May 5, 12, 19, 26, June 9

Friday 1: May 7, 14, 21, 28, June 4, 11

Friday 2: June 18, 25, July 2, 9, 16, 23

Intermediate/Advanced Keelboat Class

2020 will be our 3rd season of our Advanced Keelboat and Racing class in conjunction with our Wednesday night Colgate Beercan Series!

In our Advanced Keelboat Class you will continue to grow your skills in all aspects of seamanship; in addition, learning how to use the spinnaker and basics of racing.  You will be competing against other Colgate 26’s from the area in our weekly series called the Chicago Inshore Beercan Series and be included in our Wednesday night parties for sailors racing in the Beercan series.  With hundreds of other sailors joining our Wednesday Series there is plenty of opportunity to meet people in the community and continue to grow your sailing network.

Prerequisite: Resume and/or Successful Completion of the Basic Keelboat Course


This class will be fun, but also competitive and a little more athletic than the Basic Keelboat class.  You will be moving around the boat a lot more and racing, we ask that you consider that before signing up, and reach out with any questions you might have!

Wednesday Evenings 6:00-9:00pm

Session 1: June 16, 23, 30, July 7, 14, 21 

Session 2: July 28, August 4, 11, 18, 25, September 1


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