Little Washington Sailing School to offer adult courses

Published 6:30 pm Monday, August 27, 2018

For the past decade, the mission of the Little Washington Sailing School has been to teach young people the ancient and time-honored art of sailing. This fall, for the first time in its history, the school is expanding its lessons to a new audience — adults who want to learn how to sail.

In September and October, the non-profit will offer three 20-hour, weekend-long courses for would-be mariners, utilizing the school’s fleet of Optimist Prams and sloop-rigged 420s.

“We’re excited about it,” Little Washington Sailing School Director Kevin Clancey said. “We’ve been asked about this for years, and what we’ve run into in the past is that our instructors are college students, so they all head back to school. This year, we have an instructor who is willing to come and do it on the weekends.”

For $250, participants can learn a skill that will follow them for life. Classes will take place on the weekends of Sept. 7-9, Sept. 21-23 and Oct. 19-21, the same weekend as Smoke on the Water.

While classes will be intense, filling a weekend with what usually takes kids a week to learn, a well-crafted U.S. Sailing curriculum will guide the course. There will also be considerable room for individual attention, as each class is limited to six participants.

“We’ll teach an adult just like a child using U.S. Sailing curriculum intro to sailing,” Clancey said. “It’s a lot to be packed in for a weekend, but we feel like adults will be able to grasp things quicker and we believe it can be done in three days.”

The courses will begin with orientation on Friday from 6 to 8 p.m., followed by a two full days of instruction from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The only prerequisite to taking the class is the same for the adult course as it is for the kids — each student must complete a swim test on the first day of class, treading water for three minutes and swimming 25 yards without a flotation device.

“Adults ask almost every day where they can learn to sail,” Clancey said. “If we can move this to the next level, it’s a big plus for the sailing school and a big plus for the City of Washington.”

Registration for the adult sailing course opened Monday, and three students were already registered as of 4 p.m.

To learn more about the Little Washington Sailing School, or to register for the adult sailing course, visit