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We are a community sailing organization based in Portland, Maine. SailMaine connects people of all ages and abilities to the coast of Maine through fun and affordable sailing education, recreation, and competition, which stimulate individual growth and create community. We teach people of all ages and abilities to sail, and offer recreational and competitive sailing opportunities in a friendly, open setting to the people of Maine and the Casco Bay region.
In June, July, and August while the Casco Bay Junior Sailing Program is underway, SailMaine Staff are available at the Casco Bay Community Boating Center from 8:30 AM until 6:00 PM. During the High School Fall and Spring seasons, we are on site from Noon until the end of practice for the day, usually 6:00 PM. At other times, official office hours are Noon to 5:00 PM, and by appointment. Often, someone is available on site outside of these hours. If you'd like to stop by, give us a call. We may just be there. We are reachable by telephone at (207) 772-SAIL and email, and will be glad to make arrangements for an appointment at the Boating Center.
Sailing can sometimes be both cold and wet, so appropriate clothing is recommended. Rain gear is often a good idea, and even on sunny days with lots of wind, you may see some spray. During the summer, a fleece or jacket is nice to have on hand, as it is often cooler (sometimes much cooler) on the water than it is on land. Please bring comfortable shoes with good grip and a heel strap (not flip flops). We prefer closed-toed shoes like old sneakers, watershoes or boating boots. A bottle of water, sunglasses and a hat are good ideas, and sunblock is an essential. Lifejackets (PFDs) are required for all SailMaine programs; we are happy to provide PFDs if you do not have your own.
The Boat House in Falmouth, Hamilton Marine in Portland, Landing Boat Supply in Yarmouth, and West Marine in Portland are great places to grab sailing gloves, dry suits, foul weather gear and other sailing equipment. Sea Bags makes some fine totes to carry it all in.
Safety is the top priority for us in all of our programs. While sailing has inherent risks, we work very hard to minimize them through thorough instruction and emergency preparedness. We do not permit on the water activities under the threat of thunderstorms or excessively high winds, though we do sail in rainy weather. PFDs (lifejackets) are required equipment on the docks and on the water in all of our programs. Capsize and rescue drills under the watchful eyes of our instructors are an essential part of our curriculum.
All of SailMaine's coaches, in addition to having outstanding seamanship skills, are first aid/CPR/AED certified. Every coach boat is equipped with a VHF radio which is monitored ashore by shoreside staff. We have an AED, oxygen and other first aid equipment readily available in the office at the site. Our fleet of 8 powerboats ensures we have on the water coverage for any contingency.
The Casco Bay Junior Sailing Program has sailor to instructor ratio of eight to one, ensuring both safety and quality individualized instruction. Our Adult and High School programs have similar staff and resource coverage that let us concentrate on sailing in an atmosphere of prudence and caution.
For all programs, WE WILL NOT SAIL if there is too much wind, a likely threat of thunderstorms imminent, or visibility is dangerously low. We monitor weather conditions carefully, sail as much as possible, and guide our fleet to shore if dangerous weather is approaching. WE WILL SAIL if there is good breeze, even if it is raining or drizzling, in the absence of thunder and thick fog. The Junior Program's classes will always convene, no matter the weather.
We rarely cancel adult classes but if we do have to cancel, we do so by calling each sailor at least one hour prior to the beginning of class and try to reschedule a make-up class as quickly as possible. Sometimes the instructor will hold the start of class inside in hopes the weather will improve. Please check your email and voicemail before driving to SailMaine. You should assume that if we haven't called, class is still on (so bring appropriate gear)!
We have a port-a-potty on the SailMaine site, but don't have a great changing area. Please keep that in mind.
Yes we do. Seniors aged 55 and older can take 10% off any program fee for programs they participate in. Simply indicate that you are a senior when making your payment.
Yes. Please visit our discounts page for more information on additional discounts and special pricing options.
Individual programs offer reduced pricing for multiple registrations from a single family and Portland residents. Please refer to each program's pages for specific information on these offerings.
A full refund will be granted if request is made more than three (3) weeks prior to the program start date.
A 75% refund will be granted if request is made less than three (3) weeks prior to the program start date but more than one (1) week before the program start date.
A 50% refund will be granted if request is made less than one (1) week prior to the program start date but before the program start date.
No refunds will be granted if the program has already started, except in the case of significant extenuating circumstances (such as a documented medical condition).
All registrations are subject to the above general Refund Policy, with the following important exception:
In Adult classes, if a cancellation/request for refund is received less than three (3) weeks before the start of a course and would result in the cancellation of that course due to low numbers, no refund will be granted. Please see the make-up policy for missed Adult classes or Adult classes cancelled due to weather.
Our Program Handbook, available online in PDF Format, cover most of the details of the High School Sailing program. Click on the link to view or download.
Each team practices three times a week for approximately three hours. Depending on the team's proximity to SailMaine, practice times may be either 3:00-6:00 pm or 3:30-6:30pm.
The High School sailors will sail in most weather -- rain, snow, high and low winds -- all except thunderstorms. We practice in all conditions because the team needs to be ready for variable weather when competing. Sailors should be prepared for all weather conditions.
There are no refunds because of weather. A variety of weather is part of the joy of sailing.
During both the fall and spring season, there are regattas for the most part every Saturday, but they can fall on a Sunday from time to time, especially in the Spring season. One day regattas are most common (either Saturday or Sunday) in high school sailing. A regatta will take place all day (9am-5pm -- or more, if travel is involved). If you commit to a varsity team (which you do by signing up for the sailing team), you should be prepared to sail every Saturday.
Every team must sign an agreement prior to the season to be a part of each HS Sailing Season. This is necessary to allow us to hire coaches, plan practice schedules, make boat assignments and attend to other preparatory tasks.
Your team must meet certain minimum requirements to be hosted as a team, though it should be noted that meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee team status at SailMaine. Team status will be granted only by permission of the SailMaine Program Director and is subject to logistical limitations.
To apply for team status, please fill out the Team Agreement PDF. It must be signed by your school’s Athletic Director and/or your team’s Parent Coordinator and returned to SailMaine by the registration deadline for that season.
To apply for team status, please fill out the Team Agreement PDF. It must be signed by your school's Athletic Director and/or your team's Parent Coordinator and returned to SailMaine by the registration deadline for that season. Please visit this page for current dates and deadlines.
A TEAM WILL:
All of SailMaine's coaches have long and deep experience in the sport of sailing and sailboat racing. Your team coach(es), will work (at minimum) with the team twice a week. He/ she will also coach at three home regattas and two away regattas. Since more than one team practices together on any given practice day, there are several coaches on the water who, regardless of team affiliation, collaborate together to run an efficient and effective practice regardless of team affiliation.
To be considered Varsity, the sailor must have completed at least one beginner sailing class (minimum two weeks long) in small dinghies (420s, Lasers, etc). Each varsity sailor must have capsizing experience and be comfortable sailing in 15+ knots.
For logistical reasons, each individual school team at SailMaine is limited to a maximum of sixteen (16) sailors or fewer. Tryouts (if necessary) will take place during the first or second week of on-the-water practice. A full explanation of the tryout and cut policy is here. This is a PDF file.
Spring Sailing requires the use of a dry suit for a majority of the season. Water temps in April are in the 30's. For safety reasons we cannot allow you to sail without a dry suit during the spring. Students are responsible for providing their own dry suit, and dry-suits will be worn at practice until an official email has been sent. Even if the air temperature is in the 50’s, the water is often still 30-40 degrees. Dry suits are not required for summer or fall sailing.
Used Drysuits can be found on Craigslist.
Hamilton Marine does a great job repairing drysuits (ripped seals etc).
New suits are available at these local stores:
**SailMaine HS sailors get discounts at these retailers.
Mention that you are a HS sailor!**
The Boat House (not open in the Spring)
LIFE JACKETS: PFD’s (Personal Flotation Device) are required of all sailors while on the water. SailMaine has lifejackets available for all sailors.
PROTECTIVE SHOES -- either sailing booties or sneakers. Crocs are not acceptable.
Suggested for Spring and Late Fall:
Please note: Sailors often dress for the weather at the beginning of practice and don’t consider the temperature dropping as the sun goes down. This is a regular “problem” for our sailors . . . please dress warmly!
Intramural Sailing is SailMaine's learn to sail program for eighth graders through high school seniors. It is offered only during the fall season,due to weather conditions. It introduces students to the sport, with lessons in seamanship skills, nautical terms, and practical boat handling. Intramural sailors often go on to participate on their school's racing teams.
High School Sailing is a serious sport that requires a commitment to yourself, your teammates, and your coaches to conduct yourself in a sportsmanlike, responsible way at all times. We require your personal assurance that you will do so at SailMaine, and at any regatta you attend. The conduct form is your pledge to us that you understand the obligations you have to comport yourself in accordance with SailMaine's policies regarding personal conduct and substance abuse. By signing it, you acknowledge that you understand what those policies are, and what the sanctions are for their violation.
Parents are responsible for making travel arrangements for their sailors to away regattas. Usually, the team's Regatta Facilitator will help orchestrate the transportation of sailors to the various venues. The Google Group for your team is often busy before an event with talk of who is going and who is driving. SailMaine coaches cannot transport sailors. The coaches and parents work together to be sure the sailors are adequately supervised at the events. Parents giving a ride to the Coach as well is appreciated!
No. Just as parents are not permitted to walk the sidelines at a football or basketball game, or sit in the dugout at the team ballpark, we do not permit parents to ride on the chase boats at practice or during a regatta. An important part of the High School athletic experience is the ability of the young athlete to develop his skills with his teammates and coaches. Self reliance is also a critical part of handling a boat. We think it's important to give these young men and women the chance to develop their talents without the pressure of their parents looking on at close quarters.
PHS students generally sail for PHS, though they may sail for SMHS if they choose. Casco Bay High students may choose to sail for either PHS or SMHS, in accordance with their school's athletic department policies. All Deering High students sail for SMHS since there is no Deering team yet.
LIFE JACKETS: PFD's (Personal Flotation Device) are required of all sailors while on the water. SailMaine has lifejackets available for all sailors. PROTECTIVE SHOES: Either sailing booties or sneakers. Crocs are not acceptable.
You should wear clothing that you don't mind getting wet.
What is the Swim Test? (this FAQ is available in PDF format.)
Who : To complete the Junior program Swim Test, all participants (once per summer, even if they have attended the Junior program in prior years) must demonstrate swimming ability and tolerance of cold water in conditions at least as strenuous as a class experience.
Why: The goal of the swim test is to see how the participants respond to cold water and follow directions while swimming in Casco Bay. This allows the instructors to assess the sailor's manual dexterity and ability to follow directions in a tough environment (while tired and cold).
What should the sailors wear?
They are welcome to wear bathing suits or regular sailing clothes (usually shorts and a T-shirt). We do not have a large changing area so please have your child wear his or her suit under their clothes.
Are wetsuits allowed for the swim test?
Wetsuits are only allowed if the sailor is planning to sail in a wetsuit for the whole session, usually for medical reasons—the idea is that the test is given in conditions at least as difficult (no PFD) as those present during an accidental capsize.
Why do the sailors put their PFD on while in the water?
The instructor will guide each child through the process of putting on a lifejacket to evaluate the sailors on their listening skills while swimming as well as their ability to take directions while under pressure.
What happens if my child is unable to complete the swim test?
The instructors are always willing to work with the child privately and some even hop in the water with them! They are also welcome to try the test a few days in a row. Unfortunately, some kids are just not ready and therefore a full refund will be granted in the case of a failed test.
The Junior program uses a comprehensive staff of volunteers, assistants, full instructors and program director to ensure exceptional supervision. Our maximum student-to-instructor ratio is 8:1, not including volunteers. We have a fleet of 8 powerboats at our disposal and instructors communicate via hand-held radio. In most cases, kids are sailing the boats by themselves, but there is always an instructor nearby in a powerboat ready to assist when needed.
Yes. Parents can sign their child up for a full day of sailing by registering for both AM and PM classes during the same session (classes must be at the same level; i.e., Beginner Opti AM and PM). Sailors will sail with the morning group, stay on the premises during lunch (they should bring a bag lunch), and then sail again with the same level afternoon class. There may be some repetition in the curriculum for the student, but given the complexity of the sport this repetition (otherwise known as "time on the water") is beneficial to the student.
SailMaine offers an active Fee Waiver program which seeks to make sailing affordable for any participant under 18. Simply fill out our Fee Waiver Application, and submit it along with your program Registration form. You do not need to send any money at the time of registration if you are submitting a Fee Waiver Application at the same time. After the Waiver Application has been processed, we will contact you about your award and together come up with a plan for your family’s contribution. The awards range from $50 to waiving almost the entire fee (every family contributes a minimum of $15).
Please contact Executive Director Jeff Cumming if you have any questions: jeffcumming AT sailmaine DOT org or 207-650-7878.