Introduction to Sailing

This course is offered by a partnership between Heartland Community College and the Clinton Lake Sailing Association. 

This course is a wonderful way to begin your sailing education. Whether your ambitions may be cruising the blue waters of the Caribbean, competing in regattas, or family fun, this is the perfect place to start. 

In the classroom portion of the class you'll learn important terminology, safety skills and techniques, the points of sail, knots, and how to rig boats. Once the basics are covered you can put your new knowledge to practice on the water sailing Clinton Lake Sailing Association's fleet of Lasers, Sunfish, and Banshees. Students will learn to leave and return to shore, tack and jib, recover from a capsize, recover a man overboard, complete basic sailing maneuvers and sail on all points of sail.

For more information on upcoming course offerings and dates, please see our Intro To Sailing page here:

First Sail Experience

CLSA is a proud US Sailing First Sail location.  Interested in learning how to sail, but not sure if you are ready for a full commitment?  Take the First Sail Experience (link: and see first-hand why sailing is most exhilarating activities on earth.   This unique on-the-water opportunity is designed to provide a memorable experience that will motivate newcomers to continue sailing. 

Participants will learn with an instructor in a keelboat provided by CLSA members.   Additionally, all First Sail Experience participants will have access to Basic Keelboat Online (link:, a US Sailing online training course designed to prepare beginners for their first time on the water.   This two-hour lesson is free.   Visit the CLSA calendar for upcoming First Sail dates and signup links.   

Learning within our Club

Learning to Race

If you have ever thought about racing your boat but were not sure about rules/the start/being in someone's way we encourage you come to a racing orientation before a club race(TBA).  We will cover the basic rules at the start, the marks and the finish and strategies for enjoying the race. 

If you would like to crew on a racing sailboat, CLSA members are available and interested in sharing their experiences and expertise. On any given race day you are likely to find an opportunity to crew with someone.  

Bring your boat down and try out a race, or try out a race course and watch a race.

Club Boats

We have a small fleet of boats available to club members. Access to these boats requires club certification to assure that you have certain minimal skills required for safety.

Learning outside the Club

Mid Illini Sail and Power Squadron/America's Boating Club

        Visit their website for a full list of classes and dates. Offerings include, Weather, Sailing, Boater Safety, Seamanship, Piloting, Advanced Piloting,                     and more!

Private Lessons

CLSA member Bill Vokac is often found teaching and encouraging sailing at Clinton Lake.  He offers private lessons to put you on the fast track. Interested? Start here at SailNow or call (217) 369-0015.

US Coast Guard Auxiliary

The US Coast Guard Auxiliary has an active presence at Clinton Lake - boating safety courses, seminars on sailing, courses, which allow you to build credentials. Visit their Facebook page for more details: USCG Auxiliary East Peoria


Take a CPR course:

Red Cross of Central and Southern Illinois

Sailing instruction

American Sailing Association

US Sailing:

Schools and information specifically for women:


Books and DVDs

US Sailing resources:

ASA extensive sailing links:

ASA textbook links:

Getting Started in Sailboat Racing by Adam Cort

The Rules in Practice by Bryan Willils - This book is excellent for learning the rules of racing

Winning in One-Designs by Dave Perry

Sailboat Racing with Greg Fisher by Tom Hubbell - This is the best book I've seen for learning one design dinghy racing esp Flying Scots

Positioning, The Logic of Sailboat Racing by Stuart H. Walker - This is an advanced text and suitable for the experienced racer