Go Sailing!

Our mission at CLSA is to make sailing affordable and accessible. A family membership is less than $100 per year. There is no application process or application fee. Boat ownership is not required to go sailing and we even provide the life jackets. Our education and sailing coordinators make it convenient and easy for members to get on a sailboat.

Learn to Sail

Learn to Sail - Flying Scot

The Flying Scot learn to sail and development program at CLSA allows adults 18+ to try sailing for only $25. We offer free rigging clinics, lessons for $50 per person per lesson, lesson packages for as little as $25 per person per lesson, and free crew opportunities every week all season long. The Flying Scot is a comfortable and stable learning platform that you’ll never stop growing into. CLSA membership is not required to take lessons. Click here to purchase lesson packages and start your sailing adventure today!

Expand this section for signup links and more details.

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Watch Learn to Sail in 60 Minutes

  2. Attend a rigging clinic

  3. Sign up for lessons and crew opportunities

  4. Pass Flying Scot Captain Qualification Assessment

Frequent Answers to Commonly Asked Questions

  1. Lessons are offered every Wednesday and on Saturday/Sundays all season long.

  2. Rigging clinics are offered every Wednesday at 2:30pm and every Saturday at 9:30am all season long.

  3. Students learn with an instructor on board and up to 1 other student.

  4. The Flying Scots are volunteer-owned boats and are not owned by CLSA.

  5. Graduates of this course will not be qualified to check out club-owned lasers and sunfish and must complete further education requirements and/or pass an assessment.

  6. Couples or friends wanting to learn together can easily book seats together and learn together.

  7. Sailing couples only need to get one Illinois Boater Safety Card between them if they plan to sail together all the time.

Learn to Sail - Small Boats

*Class dates for 2021 have not been scheduled - please check back again later* This learn to sail course includes 2 days of classroom and 4 days of on-the-water practice. Dates for 2021 will be announced soon. The on-the-water training will be on Lasers, a single-person boat. Tuition for the class is $195 (plus membership if not a member). Successful completion of this course will result in CLSA Certification, which allows members to sail the club Small Boat (see "Check out a CLSA Boat" below). Our course sessions will be held in the CLSA pavilion from 6:00-8:00 pm on Monday & Tuesday evenings over 3 weeks.

Expand this section for signup links and more details.

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Sign up for the class. (registration coming soon)

  2. Get your Illinois Safe Boating Card online - email proof to clintonlakesailing@gmail.com.

  3. Watch this helpful rigging video before attending.

Frequent Answers to Commonly Asked Questions

  1. We provide the boats and life jackets.

  2. The boats used for this course are Lasers and Sunfish.

Check Out a CLSA Boat (Free!)

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 check out and sail for current, qualified CLSA members. Read the requirements and rules below and request a qualification assessment when you are ready.

Small Boat Certification

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

  • New sailors must complete a structured course that has been approved by the Commodore to meet minimum requirements (Introduction to Sailing, Lessons, ASA courses, etc).

  • Possession of a “Boating Safety Certificate” issued by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources or another state, the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary, or by the United States Power Squadron (now available online). Please email a PDF of your certificate to clintonlakesailing@gmail.com or deliver a paper copy to a board member.

  • Completion of a CLSA Liability Waiver

  • Successful completion of the on-the-water sailing evaluation (see below). If you need more practice before taking your evaluation, sign up for Small Boat Tuesdays and work with a coach. You can also watch our video on how to rig our club Lasers.

When you are ready for your on-the-water evaluation, submit a request and a small boat instructor will follow up with you to schedule.

On-the-water Checklist:

  • 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

  • Demonstrate 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 derigging a boat, including proper sail storage and equipment storage.

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 18 years 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 - 13 years 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 - 17 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 the Parent/Guardian returns.

Must remain within sight!

If you check out a 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 events.

Weekly Sailing

From May to September/October (weather permitting), we have weekly organized events to help members improve their sailing skills and socialize with fellow sailors. Each night focuses on different design of boat. Pick a design that suits your style or just come out whichever nights you are free. See registration information below to join the fun!

Small Boat Tuesdays

Go sailing on a chill Sunfish or a zippy Laser! Small Boat Tuesday is an opportunity for CLSA members to get more on-the-water sailing time and practice your small boat sailing skills under the supervision of experienced coaches. Bring your own boat or borrow one from the CLSA small boat fleet. Sailors must have small boat sailing experience before registering for Small Boat Tuesdays. Check the CLSA Calendar for available dates (boats are not available on Intro to Sailing class dates) and signup link, or contact clintonlakesailing@gmail.com.

Flying Scot Casual Wednesdays

Casual sailing with Flying Scot Fleet 135 is a great way to have fun, improve your boat handling skills, and develop confidence. More than 20 CLSA members own a Flying Scot. Flying Scot owners looking for crew can be matched with sailing partners if desired. Flying Scot Learn to Sail (FSLTS) graduates wanting to borrow a boat or seeking sailing partners are matched to available boats and crew by our sailing coordinators. FSLTS students actively taking lessons are regularly invited to join the fun, based on their progress in lessons and availability of boats and sailing partners. Every Wednesday we look forward to informal racing (6pm start) around the buoys. Most Saturdays (starting times vary) we offer some combination shore clinics, coaching, and informal racing. If you have any questions about the Flying Scot development program, please contact fleet135racing@gmail.com.

Frequent answers to commonly asked questions:

  1. Membership is not required to take lessons or crew on a Flying Scot, but is required to skipper or borrow a boat.

  2. Several generous boat owners make their boats available to fleet coordinators when not in use. Loaner boats are regularly available.

Thistle Thursdays

Come out and sail with Fleet #66 on a high performance Thistle! These informal races start at 6pm and run until dusk, typically followed by brat grilling and discussion. The informal races are intended to work on crew development and tune our racing skills for club, regional and national events.

Weekend Sailing Events

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.