14 places to learn how to sail on Buzzards Bay this summer

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Buzzards Bay is known as an iconic sailing destination. It’s home to numerous yacht clubs and community boating organizations, not to mention famous sailing races such as the Buzzards Bay Regatta and Marion to Bermuda.

If you’ve ever watched sailboats breeze by in summer and wondered how you or your kids could learn how to sail, then you’re in luck. These 14 locations offer group and private sailing lessons for children, teens, and even adults. With so many great options around Buzzards Bay, you’ll be out on the water in no time!

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1. Spindle Rock Club (Westport)

Kids learning to sail with the Community Boating Center and the Buzzards Bay Coalition on Onset Bay

The Coalition’s developing Onset Bay Center will soon host thousands of people per year on on-the-water programming including sailing, paddling, shellfishing, and shoreline ecology.

Since 1991, Spindle Rock Club has sponsored summer youth sail training programs on Cockeast Pond and the Westport River. These programs range from basic sailing introduction to racing instruction and competitive sailing. Children must be at least 8 years old to participate.

2. New Bedford Yacht Club (Dartmouth)

The New Bedford Yacht Club Foundation Sailing School has been offering instructional programming for 66 years. These programs are open to both members and non-members, though members and their grandchildren have priority for acceptance. The sailing school welcomes children ages 5 to 18 for a wide variety of programs, from “Tiller Tots” to advanced 420 sailing and racing.

3. Community Boating Center (New Bedford)

New Bedford’s Community Boating Center offers sailing lessons to everyone, including children, adults, families, and small groups. As they say, “No child is too young and no adult is too old” to learn how to sail! CBC is committed to providing some of the best and most affordable sailing opportunities on Buzzards Bay from its facility on Clarks Cove. Financial aid is also available.

4. Sail Buzzards Bay (Fairhaven)

Sail Buzzards Bay offers high-quality sailing instruction for all experience levels. Class sizes are small – no more than four people – to give you one-on-one time with your instructor. In addition to the schedule of group classes, Sail Buzzards Bay also offers private lessons. Once you learn to sail, you can also rent a boat here to explore Buzzards Bay on your own.

5. Mattapoisett Community Sailing Association (Mattapoisett)

small sailboat on Mattapoisett Harbor

Learn how to sail on Mattapoisett Harbor at MattSail or Camp Massasoit.

MattSail offers both youth summer sailing programs (ages 6 to 17) and private lessons for adults on Mattapoisett Harbor. Programs are open to residents of Mattapoisett, Marion, and Rochester, as well as members of the Mattapoisett Yacht Club and MattSail members from outside the Tri-Town area.

6. Camp Massasoit (Mattapoisett)

Also located on Mattapoisett Harbor, Camp Massasoit has several day camp options for children who want to focus on sailing. Programs are open to both YMCA and non-YMCA members ages 7 to 14, with advanced sailing and racing for ages 10 to 15. Sailing programs for younger campers (ages 7 and 8) include traditional camp activities.

7. Beverly Yacht Club (Marion)

Marion’s Beverly Yacht Club hosts the Marion to Bermuda race, making it a great place for kids to learn how to sail. The club’s Junior Sailing Program hosts classes for children ages 6 to 18, and yacht club membership is not required (though members receive priority for registration). Private instruction is also available.

8. Onset Bay Center (Wareham)

The Coalition’s developing Onset Bay Center will soon host thousands of people per year on on-the-water programming including sailing, paddling, shellfishing, and shoreline ecology. The center is expected to open in 2019, but the Coalition will offer its second year of youth sailing lessons on Onset Bay this summer to children with the Boys and Girls Club Wareham Summer Fun Program, Gleason Family YMCA, and Wareham CARE.

9. Massachusetts Maritime Academy (Bourne)

Massachusetts Maritime Academy’s Summer Sailing School provides a mix of activities both off and on the water for kids ages 10 to 18. Classes are held on Great Herring Pond in Plymouth, about 15 minutes from MMA’s campus on the Cape Cod Canal. The school’s week-long sessions include options for half-day, full-day, and even overnight programs, and there are discounts for signing up for multiple sessions.

10. Bourne Community Boating (Bourne)

Boy on a sailboat in Phinneys Harbor

Bourne Community Boating introduces youth residents to sailing, boating, and marine science in a friendly, fun, and inclusive environment on Phinneys Harbor.

Bourne Community Boating was founded in 2006 to introduce Bourne’s youth residents to sailing, boating, and marine science in a friendly, fun, and inclusive environment. Its primary program is an eight-week youth summer sailing and marine science school on Phinneys Harbor, but it also offers private adult sailing lessons. You must be a member of Bourne Community Boating to enroll in summer sailing school.

11. The Buzzards Sailing School (Bourne)

The Buzzards Sailing School is a community sailing school on Wings Neck in Pocasset that’s open to youth ages 8 to 18. Its mission is to teach young people to master the art of sailing and instill a love of the sport. All classes emphasize fun and enjoyment on the water as well as water safety and sailing skills. The school offers eight weeks of summer programming ranging from learn-to-sail to racing and private lessons.

12. Chapoquoit Yacht Club (Falmouth)

Chapoquoit Yacht Club’s sailing instruction on West Falmouth Harbor is grouped into three programs: starting out on Beetle Cats (ages 7 and 8), learning the ropes on Optis (ages 9 to 14), and technical sailing on 420s. Some programs require children to use their own boats. Non-members are accepted on a space-available basis. The club also offers private sailing lessons for adults.

13. Quissett Yacht Club (Falmouth)

Just north of Woods Hole, Quissett Yacht Club offers instructional programs for adults and youth on Quissett Harbor. Its Junior Sailing Class hosts four-week youth sailing sessions for ages eight and up. Students sail club-owned 420s and Optimists and participate in local regattas throughout the summer. For adults, the popular Waterlilies program provides a relaxed environment for women of all ages to learn how to sail and race H Class boats. Private lessons are also available for both children and adults.

14. Woods Hole Yacht Club (Falmouth)

The Woods Hole Yacht Club Sailing School offers group and private lessons to both children and adults for seven weeks during the summer. Classes are divided into two three-week sessions and include learn-to-sail programs as well as more advanced racing. The school welcomes both members and non-members alike. The minimum age is 9.

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