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Youth Programs

Learn about our Summer, Spring or Fall Programs

Columbia Sailing School is a highly regarded, diverse, and optimally located program hosted on the docks of our Club ship right off Randolph Street on Lake Michigan. Our youth programs provide a full spectrum of education and childcare ranging from introductory sailing and summer camp to advanced racing teams. Youth alumni from our programs have developed lifelong skills and friendships that lead to opportunities in high school, college, and sometimes Olympic level competitions. Our coaches are highly qualified and experienced US Sailing Certified Instructors who are trained to keep children safe and having fun on the water!


Summer Camps

Our dynamic 10-week program offers lessons to youth sailors of all ages and ability levels from 9:00 AM to 3:30 PM, Monday through Friday, beginning on June 14  through September 3rd, 2021. Students have the flexibility of signing up for however many weeks they wish, from as little as 1 week to as many as 10 weeks. Though not a requirement, we recommend choosing consecutive weeks if your sailor's summer schedule allows, to maximize skill retention.

Our programs include Prams, Adventure Sailing, Youth Keelboat, Adventure Paddle/Kayak, Beginner/Intermediate C420 Sailing, Advanced C420 Sailing, Opti Race Team, C420 Race Team, Shark Bait, Shark Week, and Lab Week. For those parents unable to pick up their campers promptly at 3:30 PM, we offer the option of Aftercare daily from 3:30 PM to 6:00 PM.

2022 Summer Sailing registration opens January 1!

*Multi-Week discounts will be applied at checkout.

2022 Summer Dates!

Week 1- June 13-17

Week 2- June 20-24

Week 3- June 27- July 1

Week 4- July 5-8 *No class on July 4

Week 5- July 11-15

Week 6- July 18-22

Week 7- July 25-29

Week 8- August 1-5

Week 9- August 8-12

Week 10- August 15-19


1 Week-  $600

2 Weeks- $900

3 Weeks- $1,170

4 Weeks- $1,410

5 Weeks- $1,630

6 Weeks- $1,830

7 Weeks- $2,010

8 Weeks- $2,170

9 Weeks- $2,300

10 Weeks- $2,300

Shark Bait and Shark Week
5-7 years old

Shark Bait is held on Monday evenings throughout the summer and differs from Shark Week, a week at the end of the summer with morning and afternoon programs available. 

Shark Week: 

Shark Week is a chance for some of our younger sailors to experience fun on the water!  Students have the choice of participating in the morning, the afternoon, or a full day of camp. The class emphasizes safety, fun, and teamwork, as well as developing confidence in and around the water. Sailors will learn boat parts identification, rigging, and basic sail theory. Classes are taught our Prams and Bugs, which are boats specifically designed for small sailors!

Shark Bait:

2022 Pricing: $175

Monday evenings, 5:30-7:30pm

Session 1 - June 21-July 12

Session 2 - July 19-August 9

Shark Week: August 23-27

2021 Pricing: $350 half-day, $700 full-day

AM Session: 9am-12pm

PM Session: 1pm-4pm

Full Day: 9am-4pm (Lunch Break from 12-1pm)

7-10 years old

​Our Prams program offers younger children an opportunity to start learning the fundamentals of sailing. Class instruction takes place on and off the water where students learn about safety, basic sailing terminology, and sailing knots. In the classroom, students are introduced to sailing theory concepts through visual and auditory methods. On the water, students are coached on how to correctly helm a boat, trim sails, and perform capsize recoveries. Students can sign up for however many weeks they want 1 through 10 and can also mix and match weeks throughout the summer. Though we recommend consecutive weeks for skill retention, they are not required.

*Children under the age of seven will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

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Adventure Sailing
10-13 years old

In Adventure Sailing camp students learn to sail in our RS Feva XL’s are specifically designed for middle-school-aged sailors. These boats are considered skiffs and have a lot of “get up and go” with a light roto-molded construction, as well as an asymmetrical spinnaker. Comprising of both classroom and on-the-water instruction, students learn about safety, boat parts, rigging, knots, sailing terminology, points of sail, and are introduced to asymmetrical spinnakers. On-the-water instruction includes tacking and gybing, steering, boat balance, launching, docking, and capsize recovery. If you’re looking for a fun class to join this summer, this is the one for you!

Beginner/Intermediate C420
12-18 years old

Our Beginner/Intermediate C420 is a class aimed towards middle and high school students, who either want to learn to sail for the first time or are continuing their training in the premiere junior racing/training boat in the United States. With both classroom and on-the-water instruction, students learn about safety, boat parts, rigging, knots, sailing terminology, and points of sail. On-the-water instruction focuses on tactical skills such as tacking and gybing, steering and sail trim, launching and docking boats, and capsize recovery. 


Students have the option to sail however many weeks they want, 1 through 10, and can also mix and match weeks throughout the summer. Though we recommend consecutive weeks for skill retention, they are not required.

Advanced C420 Class
13-18 years old

This course requires 420 Beginning/Intermediate to be taken previously, equivalent experience, or the recommendation of a coach. 


The Advanced C420 class is designed for students who have mastered basic sailing skills and are interested in pursuing the sport at the next level. With both classroom and on the water instruction, students will learn advanced boat handling techniques in C420s and how to use a trapeze and spinnaker. The US Sailing Racing Rules of Sailing will be put into use on the water through racing drills and simulations, while sailing theory and concepts will be covered in the classroom through lectures, video, and on-dock demonstrations. 

Youth Keelboat
9+ years old

6:1 student to instructor ratio!


The Youth Keelboat is aimed toward students age 9 and up who want to learn to sail for the first time or continue developing their skills on one of our Colgate 26 sailboats. Through on-the-water and classroom instruction, students will learn about safety, boat parts, rigging, knots, sailing terminology, and points of sail. On-the-water instruction includes tacking and gybing, steering, boat balance, launching and docking, and focuses on teamwork and communication to sail the boat. For the best skill retention, we recommend signing up for consecutive weeks.

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Adventure Kids Paddle/Kayak
10-15 years old 
Sponsored by Manitowoc Marina

Our Adventure Kids camp is a fun way for students to try a little of everything that Lake Michigan has to offer! A camp day consists of a variety of the following activities including kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, fishing, sailing, and environmental-focused STEM education principles. Many of our students decide to take one of our beginner sailing classes such as Youth Keelboats or Beginner/Intermediate C420’s after discovering how much fun being on the water is!

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Lab Week
7-18 years old

August 30 through September 3 from 9:00 AM - 3:30 PM

Lab Week is an opportunity for students who start school later to have one more week on the water! Sailors of all age levels and abilities are welcome to sign up for this week. Through on-the-water and classroom instruction, students will learn about safety, boat parts, rigging, knots, sailing terminology, and points of sail.  Differing from summer camp, students will be split into groups dependent on age and the number of participants.


*For new sailors with no prior experience participating in our Fall Sailing Program, we highly recommend that they register for this class to develop a basic sailing foundation before the beginning of the school year.

Pricing: $450


Aftercare is offered every afternoon during our 10-week summer camp from 3:30 PM to 6:00 PM. Any pick-ups after 6:00 PM will incur an additional fee.


This is meant for working parents with younger sailors who need a little extra time to pick up their children.  


If you know your schedule, you can pay in advance by the week. If you wish to purchase Aftercare for just a day, or if you are running late one day it is a $20 charge at pick up any time after 4:00 PM.

In Aftercare sailors will be entertained through playing games, swimming, watch a movie, etc. anything to mix it up after a day on the water!

2022 Meal Plan Information

2021 Meal Plan is TBD due to Covid-19.

Youth Sailing FAQs

Q: I'm not sure what course is right for my child. How should I choose?

A: We have classes for all age groups and ability levels.  Please refer to the chart below to choose the best program or contact us at sail@colyc.org if you are still unsure.

Q: What should my child bring to summer sailing lessons?

A: Your child should come fully prepared for a day on the water.  Pack a life vest, bag lunch, water bottle, sunscreen, towel, hat, sunglasses, shoes that can get wet, and a change of clothes. Please mark your belongings with your name in permanent marker. COLSS is not responsible for any lost items.


​Q: Does my child need a life vest?

A: Each student is required to have their own life vest. Personal Flotation Devices (PFD's) should be United States Coast Guard (USCG) approved and fit properly. USCG Type III PFDs are strongly recommended. Prices usually start around $25/vest. If your child forgets their life jacket one day, not to worry COLSS does have a few extras on hand, but we recommend purchasing your own.


​Q: Where can I drop off/pick up my child from Columbia Sailing School?

A: Students over the age of 13 may leave after class if they have a parent permission slip on file. Students 12 years of age and under must have a parent pick them up inside the ship. Parents may temporarily use the Columbia Yacht Club parking lot for pick-up and drop-off. Parents who leave their vehicles unattended in the traffic circle run a high risk of receiving a traffic citation.


​Q: Will there be a swim check?

A: On the first day of camp in every class, each student will participate in a swim check supervised by instructors. Swimming speed and proficiency are not being tested, instructors are primarily looking at the students’ comfort level in the water.


Q: What happens when the weather is too bad to sail?

A: We are constantly monitoring the weather and we only take the children on the water if conditions are safe for their boats and level of experience.  If the weather doesn’t allow for on-the-water activities, we combine classroom instruction and fun off-the-water activities to keep children stimulated throughout the day.


Q: Is there camp on July 4th?

A: We do not have class on July 4th when it falls on a weekday.  It is a short week and we do not allow make-ups, or price-breaks as it is one of our most popular weeks with out-of-town family members joining us. 


​Q: What if we need to cancel?

A: All refunds will be less than the credit card processing fee. Students who cancel three weeks before the program start date receive a full refund (less processing fee). Within two weeks out of the start date, the student receives a 50% refund (less processing fee). Inside of two weeks, there will be no refund.

Please feel free to reach out to sail@colyc.org with any questions or concerns, thank you! We look forward to helping sailors get on the water in the summer of 2021!


We would love to hear from you!


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