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: $250

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

Students learn:

    • the safe, responsible way to rig, launch and sail small boats, while improving their self-confidence, coordination and teamwork.
    • Skills to learn include capsize recovery, balancing the boat, 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 will 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 12 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.

  • Each student will be required to complete three on-the-water sessions of 3 hours each within one month of the start of the classroom sessions.
    • The on the water sessions will be held on one of the TSC boats (O’Day 24, Capri 22, Catalina 22 or Precision 23) as weather and schedules allow, weekdays and weekends.
    • During these times, 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 a complimentary membership to TSC for the year)

US Sailing

Small Boat Class

(Classes limited to 8 students)


This is an introductory course, so no previous sailing experience is required. However, students must be able to swim, and each class starts with a 50’ swim test. This course is taught by a US Sailing Small Boat Level I Certified Instructor and students will learn to sail a small centerboard or small keel boat.

  • This course requires a total of 24 hours of instruction both in the classroom and on the water. (Graduates are eligible for the US Sailing Small Boat Certification with a paid membership to US sailing.)

Tuition- $300 (Graduates will be eligible for additional Saturday morning sailing days throughout the summer as weather permits.)