Something for everyone at Sail Orcas

by Julia Soes

Sail Orcas Head Coach

Being on the water gives us a chance to change our perspectives for a moment, but accessing the water isn’t easy for a lot of us. Our job at Sail Orcas is to make sailing available to as much of the community as we can, and this summer we have plans to continue expanding our offerings.

With the summer ahead, we’re excited to be able to offer a wider variety of programs for ages 5 and up. With new boats, new programs, and a new group of volunteers from the sailing team and yacht club, the goal is to get more people out on the water than we have in the past.

For families, older folks, and those with limited mobility, Ernie is about to make a comeback. Ernie the Cal 20 was sailed in the adult programs until 2015, and taught many adults how to handle a small keelboat. Like many boats in the 20-24 foot range, he was put on a trailer, set in the woods, and began growing a small ecosystem. After a lot of bailing, sanding, and fundraising, the boat will be splashed this June and ready to go for summer lessons once again.

After three successful seasons, we’re continuing to expand our women’s sailing program. This class is offered every Monday night and now will have some keelboat specialty events as well. The community that has grown out of this class has been a joy to witness. Stepping out of your comfort zone is one of the most difficult parts to learning a new thing, but doing so in an environment that’s supportive and non-judgmental helps folks learn a lot faster.

To get all ages into dinghy racing, we have Community Laser Racing happening on Tuesday nights. With a whole variety of skill levels on the water, everyone has a chance to learn, improve, and help others gain confidence in singlehanded boats. The Laser one design fleet is one of the most popular in the world and is still used in the Olympics. We don’t have medals to hand out after, but there should be hot dogs at the very least.

The majority of our programs are still focused on youth sailing, and there’s still plenty of availability open in our Fun on the Water, Intermediate, and Advanced classes. Fun on the Water is for ages 5 to 7 and teaches kids how to be safe and have fun on the water. The Intermediate and Advanced classes are for kids 10 and up who are ready to continue progression with their sailing skills after beginner lessons.

The advanced class is focused on getting kids in sixth grade and up, ready to start racing. This year we’re adding more options for kids to start racing aside from just the high school race team. While some are content to cruise around and explore, others want to test their skills and strive to go faster. Whatever their goals are, our job is to help make those a reality.

The high school team just finished up their spring season, and will be jumping into the summer by hosting a Middle School Regatta June 10 and 11 here in West Sound.

No matter your age or goals on the water, this summer Sail Orcas has classes and programs available for everyone to participate. Registration is open now at Sail Orcas UltraCamp or by following the links at