Your Kid Can Learn to Sail This Summer Through PSEF Junior Sailing Program

No experience required to learn to sail — or improve your sailing technique — through Pontiac Sailing Education Foundation's Junior Sailing Program at Pontiac Yacht Club.

Get ready for smiles all day long this summer when your kids learn to sail through hands-on summer sailing experiences with the Pontiac Sailing Education Foundation (PSEF) Junior Sailing Program at Pontiac Yacht Club. Located on beautiful Cass Lake, this longstanding summer program will again welcome kids ages 6 to 18 to learn the basics and expand their skills.

“Our summer sailing program is a great opportunity for kids to learn a new skill that they will have for the rest of their lives,” says Eric Ellison, Program Director with PSEF Junior Sailing Program. Ellison has coached junior sailors for more than two decades and creates a safe, fun learning environment for kids.

Best of all: no experience is necessary to register, attend and have a great time. “When they join us, most of our kids have never been on a sailboat,” Ellison says. “Kids just need to have basic swimming abilities and feel comfortable in the water.”

Kids learn to sail and have lots of fun

PSEF summer sailing classes are set up in a fun summer program format. In the morning, kids learn some sailing basics on shore, then set up their boats and sail until lunchtime. After lunch on shore, kids can swim, then get back to sailing, before putting all equipment away.

All day long, kids are gaining skills that are important for sailing — and for success in life.

“Kids learn how to manage all the sailing equipment, and that teaches them to work with others, set goals and communicate,” Ellison says. “They have to make sure to get everything done in a certain amount of time, and there are fun rewards for gaining these skills.” Kids gain a sense of pride in taking care of their sailing equipment and everyone is involved, he adds.

Sailboats are always right sized for the kids and PSEF Junior Sailing Program uses the same boats that are sailed by kids all over the world. “The boats used are made specifically for use by kids, and are fitted by height,” Ellison says. Smaller kids use the one-sail Optimist pram and taller kids learn on a 420 conventional sailboat with two sails.

Learning a new sport, enjoying Michigan summer

Kids can attend by the week, in two-week sessions or for the entire summer, and an overwhelming majority of kids return summer after summer to participate in the many themes and contests that make the program so much fun for kids. Yes, this may even involve pirate contests, Ellison says. “The kids will get to tell pirate stories and dress up and they love it,” he adds. “It breaks the day up for the kids and makes the experience even more fun.”

As kids advance in their skills, PSEF offers more ways for them to engage in the fun and fast-growing sport of sailing. Ultimately, kids dig into a sport that they can continue throughout their lives.

“Often, kids consider joining a racing team which requires a more dedicated practice experience,” Ellison says, adding that many colleges and universities have sailing clubs and teams where kids can continue participating in sailing after high school.

With strong safety protocols, PSEF sailing program is a safe place for kids to be this summer. All coaches are avid sailors and the program follows water safety rules, plus CDC, state and local guidelines for COVID safety.

Learn more about the Pontiac Sailing Education Foundation Junior Sailing Program at Pontiac Yacht Club and register your kid at


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