Learn To Sail

The Thunderbird Sailing Club is proud to be an accredited US Sailing school. Our courses are delivered by a group of all-volunteer instructors that are certified by US sailing and our courses follow nationally recognized standards. We offer courses at various times throughout the year for both adults and children.

Kids Courses

General Information:

Ages: 9-16 years

Classes run 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM, Monday thru Thursday. Friday is a makeup day for bad weather.

Kids bring their own PFD, lunch and drinks.

Kids must be able to swim – class starts with 50′ swim test.

Cost per class: $300

Scholarships available!

Beginner Class

(Classes limited to 10 students)


  • No previous sailing or boating experience required, but must be able to swim – class starts with 50′ swim test.

  • One of the first things we’ll do is learn capsize recovery – how to right your boat and climb back on.

  • These four-day programs will teach beginning sailing in our RS Tera and Zest fleets.

Students will learn:

  • The safe, responsible way to rig, launch and sail small boats, while improving their self-confidence, coordination and teamwork.
  • Skills to learn include balancing the boat, steering and turning, and tying knots.
  • Student safety is our priority; following instructions is a must.

Intermediate Class

(Classes limited to 12 students)


  • For second and third year sailors. These four days of instruction build on the knowledge and skills learned in the Sailing Smart Class. Boats may include Lasers, RS Tera, RS Zest, the American and Harbor 14 sloops, and perhaps a larger keelboat.

Students will:

  • improve sailing on all points of sail, especially upwind.

  • be introduced to racing, including the rules, the start, and sailing the course.

  • Weather permitting, we will take a longer destination sail.

Adult Courses

US Sailing

Basic Keelboat Certification

(Classes limited to 9 students)


This is an introductory course, so no sailing knowledge is required. It follows the curriculum set up by US sailing to prepare graduates to responsibly skipper and crew a simple day sailing keelboat in light to moderate wind. For specific Course content, CLICK HERE

Each course requires 3 classroom sessions with a written exam during the last class.

  • An orientation sail prior to the first classroom session is required.
  • Each student will be required to complete three on-the-water sessions of approx. 3 hours each. These should be completed within a week of the last classroom session.
    • The on the water sessions will be held on one of the TSC Shared boats (O’Day 24, Capri 22, Catalina 22 or Precision 23) as weather and schedules allow, weekdays and weekends.
    • 2-3 students will meet with an instructor and demonstrate the skills as both skipper and crew required to complete the certification.

Tuition-$350 includes:

  • The US Sailing textbook
  • a complimentary Associate membership to TSC for rest of the year.
  • US Sailing Certification includes a one year US Sailing membership.

US Sailing

Small Boat Class

(Classes limited to 8 students)


This is an introductory course; no previous sailing experience is required. Students must be able to swim, and each class starts with a 50 ft swim test.

This course is headed by a volunteer certified US Sailing Small Boat Level 1 instructor, along with other BoatHouse instructors and volunteers. Students will learn to sail a small 1-3 person centerboard sailboat, using their body weight and movement to help balance the boat.

  • This course includes 16 hours outdoor instruction, primarily on the water.
  • Tuition – $300

Graduates will be eligible for additional Saturday morning sailing throughout the summer, as weather permits.