Go Sailing!

Our mission at CLSA is to make sailing affordable and accessible. A family membership is less than $100 per year and members can sail club-owned boats for free. There is no application process or application fee. Boat ownership is not required and we even provide the life jackets. Our sailing coordinators make it convenient and easy for members to go sailing. Simply sign up and show up to get on a sailboat. We're always looking for crew! You'll meet many fun people just like you. Sign up for a free sailing lesson and see where it goes from there.

Free Sailing Lesson

**SIGN UP HERE** Are you a prospective member wanting to try sailing and explore Clinton Lake? Sign up for a free 2-hour sailing lesson. No sailing experience required. This unique on-the-water opportunity is designed to provide a memorable experience that will motivate newcomers to continue sailing. Offered every Wednesday evening and select Saturday mornings throughout the season. Adults 18+. Limit one lesson per person.

First Sail Essentials

All Free Lesson participants must complete the First Sail Essentials Safety Quiz and Waiver prior to arriving at the lake. The answers to the quiz can be found on the First Sail Essentials website. Please budget at least an hour to study basic sailing principles and complete the quiz.

Wednesdays and Saturdays

RSVP Required. CLSA offers Free Sailing Lesson opportunities every Wednesday evening beginning at 5:15pm starting in May and ending in late September. On Wednesdays, participants will sail on a comfortable and stable Flying Scot with an experienced instructor. CLSA has scheduled five Free Sailing Lesson on Saturday mornings starting at 9:15am. May 2, 9, 30. June 6. July 18. On Saturdays, Free Lesson takers can choose to sail on a comfortable cabin boat or a high performance Thistle.

What to Bring

Stay Safe!

  • A stable and comfortable sailboat sailed by an experienced skipper*
  • Life Jacket*
  • Rubber-soled shoes that cover your toes
  • Water bottle

Stay Dry!

  • A stable and comfortable sailboat sailed by an experienced skipper*
  • Layers of lightweight clothing that dry quickly
  • Jacket that sheds rain
  • Waterproof bag for clothing, wallet, cellphone, etc.*

Stay Protected!

  • Sunscreen and lip balm
  • Sunglasses
  • Hat with a brim

*Provided by CLSA

Learn to Sail Comparison.pdf

Compare Learn to Sail Programs

Which Learn to Sail program at CLSA is best for you? For your convenience, we have provided a side-by-side comparison of both programs. If you still can't choose, you are welcome to attend both!

Parkland College Adult Sailing Seminar

**REGISTRATION CHECKLIST** May 16-17. Spend the weekend learning to sail on a comfortable and stable Flying Scot with an instructor on the boat. Only $199 per person. Tuition includes 2020 CLSA membership and access to free sailboat rentals so participants can continue sailing through 2020.

A very basic breakfast and lunch provided both days. Camping is permitted on site.

This two-day on-the-water and classroom course is designed for beginners and intermediates interested in getting into or improving sailing techniques. As graduates of this course and members of CLSA, you can further develop your sailing skills at no additional cost by attending our weekday development programs.

Online Learning Prerequisite

When you arrive at the lake, we want you to spend more time on a boat and less time in the classroom. All Adult Sailing Seminar participants must complete the First Sail Essentials Safety Quiz and Waiver prior to arriving at the lake. The answers to the quiz can be found on the First Sail Essentials website. Please budget at least an hour or more to study basic sailing principles and complete the quiz.

CLSA Small Boat Rental Qualification

Qualified CLSA members may rent the CLSA small sailboats for free. Graduates of the Adult Sailing Seminar have just few additional steps to complete in order to qualify. (1) Get your Illinois Boat Safety Certificate (2) Complete CLSA Waiver (3) attend Small Boat Tuesdays until you can demonstrate that you can proficiently rig and sail a small boat without supervision.


Wednesday April 15th

An optional classroom review for early bird registrants at Parkland College Community Education on Mattis Ave in Champaign. We'll meet at 6pm and review the First Sail Essentials website and a US Sailing Certified Instructor will answer all your questions.

Saturday May 16 Schedule

  • 8am Breakfast (Optional)
  • 8:30 Check-in
  • 9-10:30am Safety Orientation and Basic Principles Review
  • 10:30-12:00 Saturday Morning Sail with Coach on Boat (Flying Scot)
  • 12:00-1:00 Lunch & Learn - CLSA Sailing Development Programs
  • 1:00-2:30 Saturday Afternoon Shore Drill - Tacking and Jibing
  • 2:30-4:00 Saturday Afternoon Sail with Coach on Boat (Flying Scot)
  • Optional dinner cruise to Boondocks on Clinton Lake.

Sunday Schedule

  • 8am Breakfast (Optional)
  • 8:30am Check-in
  • 9-10:30am Basic Principles Review
  • 10:30-12:00 Sunday Morning Sail with Coach on Boat (Flying Scot)
  • 12:00-1:00 Lunch & Learn - CLSA Membership Overview
  • 1:00-2:30 Sunday Afternoon Shore Clinic - Rigging and Launching
  • 2:30-4:00 Sunday Afternoon solo sail (Laser or Sunfish). Sailors who aren't quite comfortable sailing single handed may opt to continue sailing on a Flying Scot with a coach on the boat.

Questions about the seminar? Contact clintonlakesailing@gmail.com.

Heartland College Introduction to Sailing

Check back soon for registration link. May 18-19, June 1-2, 8-9. Learn to sail on the CLSA fleet of single-person Laser and Sunfish sailboats. Attend six Monday-Tuesday evening sessions. Only $199 per person + $20 materials fee. Graduates are invited to continue to sailing by joining CLSA ($70-95) and take advantage of free sailboat rentals and attend our free weekday development programs.

Sailing can bring you relaxing days on the water, adventurous family fun, or challenging competition. You can choose how you want to enjoy recreational sailing and this class will help as you practice and gain experience. In this three-week introductory class, you will learn the skills to build your confidence and ability to sail. This class is ideal for new sailors. The class is being held in cooperation with Heartland Community College and the Clinton Lake Sailing Association using the fleet of small sailboats.

The textbook portion of the Introduction to Sailing Class topics include: what to wear, safety, points of sail, tacking, jibing, and how to rig boats. During the hands on portion of the class, sailors will learn how to leave and return to shore, rig boats, recover from a capsize, recover a man overboard, complete basic sailing maneuvers, and sail on all points of sail.

Course Fee: $199 + $20 materials fee.

The 2020 Spring Intro to Sail classes are from 6pm to 8pm on the following dates:

  • Monday, May 18 & Tuesday, May 19
  • Monday, June 1st & Tuesday June 2nd
  • Monday, June 8th & Tuesday June 9th

If you have questions regarding the Introduction to Sailing Course please contact our Education Coordinator, Gerry Christman at clintonlakesailing@gmail.com.

Weekday Development Compared v3.pdf

Compare Weekday Development Programs

We encourage all new members to try all three development programs and find the best program, or mix of programs, for you. For your convenience, we have provided a side-by-side comparison of all three programs.

Small Boat Tuesdays

**SIGN UP HERE** Small Boat Tuesday is an opportunity for CLSA members get more on-the-water sailing time and practice your small boat sailing skills under the supervision of experienced coaches. We provide the boats (Lasers and Sunfish).

Casual Wednesdays

** SIGN UP HERE** Come out on Wednesday nights and sail with Fleet 135 on a comfortable and stable Flying Scot! Adult sailors 18+ develop their sailing skills in a fun and casual one-design racing format. All CLSA members are welcome! No sailing experience required. Simply RSVP and our coordinator will assign skipper and crew (2-3 sailors per boat) for maximum learning and maximum fun.

Casual Wednesdays is Clinton Lake's most popular sailing program. More than 20 CLSA members own a Flying Scot, so we have plenty of space! Boat ownership or fleet membership is not required. Sailors are assigned to privately owed Flying Scots. Non members can participate by signing up for a Free Sailing Lesson. Race Committee Boat training is also available on Wednesdays and is an option on the Casual Wednesday sign-up form.

It's as easy as 1-2-3!

Step 1: RSVP before Midnight on Tuesday evening

Step 2: Check your email on Wednesday morning for boat assignments.

Step 3: Go Sailing!

Thistle Thursdays

**SIGN UP HERE** Come out and sail with Fleet 66 on a high performance Thistle! These informal races start at 6pm and run until dusk. The informal races are intended to work on crew development and tune our racing skills for club, regional and national events.

Weekend Sailing Events

** LINK TO CREW CONNECTION ** CLSA has introduced the Crew Connection to help connect skipper and crew and connect new sailors with experienced coaches. We're always looking for crew. CLSA sponsors and organizes buoy races, distance races, moonlight sails, sunset cruises, racing clinics, small boat clinics, and regattas. Visit the CLSA calendar for weekend events and submit a crew request on the Crew Connection.

Free Sailboat Rentals

Go sailing whenever you want! CLSA owns and maintains a fleet of small sailboats, including Prams, Lasers, Sunfish, Banshees, and a Ray Green Rascal. These boats are free to use for current, qualified CLSA members.

Certification & Boat Rules

CLSA Members ages 12 and older can become certified to use the CLSA Fleet boat by completing the following steps:

  • Completion of a structured course that has been approved by the Commodore to meet minimum requirements (Introduction to Sailing, Flying Scot Fleet 135 lessons, ASA courses, etc). Or, a successful completion of an on-the-water sailing evaluation (available at least one evening per month by an approved CLSA member) and completion of the “On the Water Checklist" which is listed at the bottom of this page.
  • Possession of a “Boating Safety Certificate” issued by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Division of Education or another certificate issued by another state, a province of the Dominican of Canada, the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary, or by the United States Power Squadron. Please email a pdf of your certificate to clintonlakesailing@gmail.com or deliver a paper copy to a board member.

In summary, here is a checklist of requirements:

  • On the water checkout and/or structured course
  • completion of CLSA Liability Waiver form
  • Possession of “Boating Safety Certificate”

Rules for using CLSA Fleet Boats:

  • Sailors need to stay in sight of the CLSA dock or CLSA pavilion unless sailing in a CLSA club race (see map below).
  • Everyone must wear a life jacket & whistle when sailing club boats.
  • Don't take the boats out when there are white caps (unless registered for a CLSA club race) and immediately return to CLSA if white caps develop.
  • Know your abilities and sail within your limitations.
  • Be responsible for any repairs caused by damage during your sail by notifying the CLSA Harbormaster, Fleet Captain, or other designee of any needed repairs to boats and make note of it on the white board in the storage shed.
  • Demonstrate courtesy to all boaters.

Rules for youth sailors, ages 12 to 18years old using CLSA Fleet Boats:

Use of the Fleet boats by this age group is restricted further from normal by the following:

  • The approved sailing area is immediately west of the CLSA and Clinton marina harbor to a distance of no more than ½ way to the West side of the lake (unless registered for a CLSA race event).
  • Members 12 to 18 years old may not use the club boats in a CLSA race event if whitecaps are present.

Ages 12 years old as of 5/1 and under 14 years old as of 5/1

In order to use the Fleet boats the individual must be currently on the Approved Use List, and a parent or guardian over 21 years old must also be sailing a similar craft in a proximity that would allow for immediate aid.

Ages 14 years old as of 5/1 and under 18 years old as of 5/1

In order to use Fleet Boats the individual must be currently on the Approved Use List, and a parent or guardian over 21 years old must be present on CLSA grounds with a boat ready and have ability to assist as needed for the safety of the sailor during the sail. In the event the Parent or Guardian leaves CLSA grounds, the minor must return to the harbor and exit the boat until his/her return.

On the water checklist for fleet boat use:

  • Filled out CLSA Liability Waiver
  • Rig one of the club boats correctly
  • Demonstrate Bowline, Figure 8 and cleat hitch knots
  • Demonstrate proper way to wear a life preserver
  • Leaving shore or Dock - Determine wind direction and discuss the best way to leave harbor area. Discuss the best way to return to harbor and dock.
  • Demonstrate tacking ability
  • Demonstrate safety position
  • Demonstrating Jibing
  • For all but the Ray Green Demonstrate capsize recovery in deep water (greater than 5’)
  • Demonstrate ability to round two of the no wake buoys
  • Demonstrate ability to return to harbor
  • Demonstrate De-Rigging a boat, including proper sail storage and equipment storage.

The on the water skills will be demonstrated by rigging and unrigging, sailing through 2 of the no wake buoys, and returning to the harbor. Ideal wind speed for the on the water evaluation is 3 to 10 mph.

Sailboat Rental Sailing Area

When sailing on CLSA club boats, you MUST remain within sight of the CLSA dock. Generally, it's within this green box. Exceptions are made for CLSA sponsored races.

Youth Sailing

Sailing is the perfect activity for families who want to enjoy the outdoors together. The club maintains a fleet of small boats that perfect for children and teens.

Parent Child Class

This class is designed to encourage and promote sailing activities the whole family can enjoy. You and your child will learn the basics of sailing and gain confidence on the water while sailing pram dinghies, Sunfish or Lasers. Our program will be family orientated for parent and child participants. The class will briefly cover sailing concepts followed by on the water experiences. Classes in each session will be very hands on driven. Children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Youth Sailing Camp

We will be conducting a youth sailing camp in July. Depending upon the number of students enrolled, the morning will be for students between ages 8 -12. The afternoon will be for teenagers. A barbecue lunch will be included for students and volunteers. We hope that students from the parent child class and other CLSA young people will invite their friends to join them for a fun day of sailing at our lake.