Youth Sailing Program Information


The IYC Youth Sailing Program is one of Inverness Yacht Club’s oldest sailing programs, originating in the 1950s. Among today’s club families are adult members who began their association with IYC through the sailing school a generation or two ago.  The sport of sailing and the Tomales Bay environment make a salubrious mix for young people, introducing them to the excitement of sailing while exposing them to the bay’s fantastic ecosystem.  Participants, ages 10-18, develop confidence in boat handling and basic water safety skills. We encourage sailors to become good mariners by teaching them sportsmanship, respect for fellow sailors and instructors, and stewardship of the environment. The focus is on learning to sail through fun activities, but for those who are interested, it is also an opportunity to develop racing skills.  The program is organized through the efforts of the IYC Youth Sailing Committee and run by a group of enthusiastic US Sailing qualified instructors. The summer sessions continue a long-standing tradition that has produced some of the Club’s top sailors.

Please contact the Youth Sailing Registrar, if you have any questions after reading the program information on these pages. 

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The IYC Youth Sailing Program offers summer instruction in sailing and racing for young people in two three-week sessions.

Classes meet Monday through Friday at the Inverness Yacht Club on Tomales Bay. Instructors are US Sailing Association certified or equivalent. The Club's fleet includes Optimists, O'pen Bics, Flying Juniors (FJ's), and Lasers. In addition to teaching sailing, instructors will guide sailors on becoming conscientious mariners and stewards of Tomales Bay. Each session includes social events and picnics on Friday nights, and a youth regatta will be held in July. 


The IYC Youth Sailing Program is open to children ages 10-18 who demonstrate adequate swimming skills and meet the requirements listed in detail below. A child must be age 10 on or before June 1st to be eligible for enrollment. Proof of age, such as a birth certificate, may be required when first entering the program. Limited financial aid is available. For those interested in Financial Aid information, please contact the Registrar.


Generally, camp runs Monday through Friday from 9:00-4:00 pm, 10:00-5:00 pm, or 11:00-5:00 pm, depending on the tides, with pick up promptly at 4:00 or 5:00 pm. Some variation in the daily schedule may become necessary due to low tides. A daily calendar will be available online and at the orientation meeting.

Summer 2023

Session One: Monday, June 19at 9:00 a.m. and ends on Friday, July 7th

Session Two: Monday, July 10 at 9:00 a.m. and ends on Friday, July 28th

Youth Sailing Regatta: TBD


Session Fee $1400, with financial aid available based on household income

Equipment costs vary, used equipment may be available for free


Please review the Camper Registration page.



A mandatory one-hour orientation for parents and sailors of each session will be conducted on the first morning of class. This meeting is mandatory for a parent or guardian of each sailor. If either the child or the parent or guardian misses the orientation, the child may be dropped from the program.

Parents are expected to help organize and supervise Friday night social events. A signup sheet will be provided at the orientation meeting. Parents are responsible for their children during Social events. The instructors will attend, but they are not on duty. 


Swimming Requirement: All participants enrolled in the program must pass the following swim test. The test is performed wearing sailing clothing. 

The sailor must jump from a float into deep water without a life jacket; swim 20 feet; don a life jacket while treading water; float confidently for 10 minutes; climb out.

Life Jacket Requirement: Each sailor must provide and wear an appropriately sized Coast Guard-approved Type III PFD (Personal Floatation Device). A style that zips up is recommended. Life Jackets can be purchased at Clavey Paddlesports in Petaluma, West Marine, or other sporting goods stores. The jacket must be marked with the child's name in a visible location. Please have sailors bring a complete change of clothing and a towel daily. A recommended list of items to bring daily will be provided before the start of camp.

Wetsuit requirement: Due to the water temperature and wind chill factor present on Tomales Bay, each sailor must provide and wear a wetsuit.  Exemptions can only be given by the Head Instructor.  Wetsuits can be found at dive shops and sporting goods stores, including REI and Costco.  Donated wetsuits may be available at the IYC.


Helmet Requirement: Appropriate helmets will be required of all sailors. Helmets are available from a variety of sport shops, sailing equipment stores, and online.  Sailing and skateboard helmets are essentially the same things.  Good quality helmets can be purchased for $30-$60. Donated spare helmets may be available for use. 

Shoes: Closed-toed shoes are required. Wet-suit booties, sneakers, boat and heavy-duty water shoes are all acceptable. No open-toed sandals are allowed while sailing. 

Lunch: Sailors should bring their own lunch, snacks and drinks to class daily. We remind sailors and parents that all unused food and beverages should be returned home with the sailor. Please do not leave trash at the Club. 

Standard of Conduct: At all times while on the yacht club premises and while on the water, each sailor shall be expected to maintain the premises, boats and equipment in a seaman-like manner, i.e., clean, orderly and shipshape and follow the directions of the camp instructors.



Photo Credit:  Sarah Killingsworth


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