Learn to Sail

Discover the Wonder of Sailing
Want to experience the pure joy of learning how to glide across the water in a sailboat, increase your skills as a sailor or learn the fundamentals of racing? You can with our Learn to Sail Summer Courses! As the wind catches your sails, you’ll work with our certified sailing instructors to navigate, operate and collaborate on the protected waters of Mill Creek at the Community Pier. From middle school beginners to intermediate sailors, to those who wish to move on the High School Sailing and adults who want to learn to sail with family and friends, we’ve got the fun and knowledgeable staff ready to make your sailing dreams come true.

The fun continues onshore with hands-on activities from Reach, US Sailing’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education initiative for middle school students.

We’re a designated US Sailing Community Sailing Center and open to the public. We thrive on local involvement and diversity by partnering with Boys and Girls Club and City of Hampton Parks, Recreation and Leisure Services, and Alternatives, Inc. Everyone should have access to the wonder of sailing—for those in need, please apply for a partial or full grant for the course fees!

Financial assistance is available on first come, first served basis, please complete the request form for consideration.


Please consider donating to help us meet our growing demand for students reliant on scholarships.


View our complete Learn to Sail Program Guide
for more detailed information.

New Discounts!

$25 OFF Military Discount
$25 OFF Multiple Sibling Discounts

To get your discount code, please contact us before registering.
learntosail@youthsailingva.org or 757-778-1335



We are conducting Water Safety and Survival Classes to help get your child comfortable in the water with the goal of passing the swim check. This is not a substitute for Formal Swimming Lessons, but enough to prevent panic and if they pass the swim check, will allow them to take sailing lessons. Scroll down and register for this important survival class for your child!

Swimming Requirements
For safety, all sailors are required to pass a basic swimming check on their first day. The test includes a 25-yard swim without the assistance of a life jacket and 3 minutes of treading or floating on the water with a life jacket. Parents, please understand that if your child does not pass, they will not be able to continue with camp.

Our Courses

View the Full List of Open Classes

Family/Friends Learn to Sail

Last year we introduced a Family Learn to Sail course that was so successful we had to turn people away. This year we’ve added lots more dates to choose from, but don’t wait too long because spaces will fill up.

One adult and one child or for those who don’t have family to sail with, sign up with a friend! Get out of the house this summer, soak up the sun and take in the beauty of Mill Creek at Fort Monroe and learn to sail together in a fun filled three day course.

Learn in our newly acquired Hunter 140s which offer more room for adults and a great way to start before advancing to FJs if so desired.

Sign Up Now

Beginner Learn to Sail

Beginner Sailing with STEM is a great way for your child to spend some time “unplugged” while learning basic skills of sailing. Students will learn water safety, weather, knots, rigging, de-rigging, points of sail, sailing maneuvers, use of telltales and much more. Using sailing as a platform for STEM, our in-classroom instruction complements and reinforces lessons learned on the water.

Our one-week course offers morning sessions only for beginners.

Sign Up Now

Intermediate Learn to Sail

Grow your skills as a sailor with us! Students who have satisfactorily completed a beginner course are eligible for the Intermediate Course. Intermediate classes will build upon the boat handling skills learned in beginner session with instruction complemented by four STEM modules: weather, wind, current and tides. Space is limited.

Sign Up Now

Intro to Racing

New this year is our Intro to Racing course. For all you sailors ready to lean about racing…this is the course for you! Our instructors will cover a wide range of topics that will prepare you for competition, from starts and finishes to right-of-way and scoring and so much more.

To take this course your sailor must have completed Intermediate Learn to Sail and/or Small Boat Sailor Certification with Your Sailing Virginia or approved sailing school.

Sign Up Now

Water Safety and Survival

Designed for Non-Swimmers!


Water Smarts:

  • Know your limitations, including physical fitness, medical conditions.
  • Never swim alone; swim with lifeguards and/or water watchers present.
  • Wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket appropriate for your weight and size and the water activity. Always wear a life jacket while boating, regardless of swimming skill.
  • Swim sober.
  • Understand the dangers of hyperventilation and hypoxic blackout.
  • Know how to call for help.
  • Understand and adjust for the unique risks of the water environment you are in, such as:
    • River currents.
    • Tidal Currents.
    • Ocean rip currents.
    • Water temperature.
    • Shallow or unclear water.
    • Underwater hazards, such as vegetation and animals.


Basic Swimming Introduction

  1. Enter water that’s over your head, then return to the surface.
  2. Float or tread water for at least 1 minute.
  3. Turn over and turn around in the water.
  4. Swim at least 25 yards.
  5. Exit the water.

Opportunities to go powerboating and sailing in the protected waters of Mill Creek are included in the course!


What are you waiting for?
Sign up today and let the wind guide you to discovering a lifelong passion for sailing.


STEM & Sailing


For More Information

Please contact Rose Hobart at learntosail@youthsailingva.org for registration information, or 757-778-1335.
If your student requires a full-day camp, please inquire with Rose.

Scholarship funds are currently exhausted.
Please consider donating to help us meet our growing demand for students reliant on scholarships.

Is your sailor interested sailing with our high school sailing program? Learn more here.

*There is a minimum of 6 sailors per session required. Spots are limited, so sign up today!*

Community Sailing Center

REACH - STEM Education Initiative

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