Progression and Leadership Programs

Progression Program Classes

Harbor Seals

The first course in the Progression Program is Harbor Seals, designed as a fun and exciting introduction to sailing for our young sailors. No experience is required. 6-7 year olds only.

Harbor Seals focuses on water safety aboard our J/24 Keelboats. Sailing with an instructor in small groups, Sailors will become comfortable with the water while learning seamanship skills such as knot tying, moving around the vessel safely, sailing terminology, steering, and more. Participants also get to try out our kayaks and paddleboards and explore Clipper Cove with their Instructor.

Beginner CLASS

Beginner Sailing at TISC is for brand-new sailors and sailors still getting the hang of things. No experience is required! Youth (8-12) and Teen (13-17) classes available. Sailors will learn how to operate the boat with a partner and ultimately independently, including steering, tacking and gybing, docking and un-docking, sailing upwind and downwind, capsize recovery, and some knots. Sailors graduate when they can do the following “Graduation Sail” independently in mild conditions:
  • Rig their boat,
  • Leave the dock,
  • Sail upwind to the beach,
  • Sail downwind to the dock,
  • Perform a capsize recovery,
  • Tie a Stopper knot, square knot, cleat hitch, and Round Turn and Two Half Hitches

Intermediate CLASS

Intermediate Sailing at TISC is for sailors who can confidently operate their boats in mild conditions and want to build their skills and confidence. Sailors must be able to perform the Beginner Graduation Sail to be eligible. Youth (8-12) and Teen (13-17) classes available.

Sailors will practice all the skills from their beginner course with more of a focus on effective and efficient sailing and sailing in stronger conditions. Participants will also have the opportunity to absorb more theory, begin to learn aspects of trip planning, and try double-handed (two-person) boats.

Sailors Graduate when they can perform the Beginner Graduation Sail above in moderate conditions as skipper with the following additional tasks:

  • File a float plan that includes predicted weather, wind, tide, and current information for the sailing area; the intended location and duration of the sail; a crew manifest; and an emergency plan.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the Rules of the Road.
  • Adjust the sail plan for changing conditions (increasing or decreasing wind)
  • Perform a crew-overboard recovery.
  • Tie a bowline, clove hitch, sheet bend, and heave and receive a line.

Advanced CLASS

Advanced Sailing at TISC is for sailors who can confidently operate their boat independently in most conditions and are looking to build their skills and confidence. Sailors must be able to perform the Intermediate Graduation Sail to be eligible. Youth (8-12) classes available. Teens looking for the next step can choose a track from our Leadership Program.

Sailors will practice everything they have learned in more challenging conditions and on different boats. Sailors will also be exposed to different sailing aspects, such as spinnakers, trapezing, windsurfing, and more. Participants will also develop a framework for continued education beyond TISC.

Youth Sailors who have participated in Advanced Sailing at TISC can progress to our Leadership Program once they are at least 13 years old.

Leadership Program Classes

learn to teach

Experienced youth participants at TISC can start their journey as Instructors-in-Training (IITs). IITs receive training in leadership roles, including coaching fundamentals, safety management, and working with diverse young sailors. Participants will also gain practical experience by assisting instructors.

Afternoons will focus on developing their sailing skills. As part of our Junior Leadership Program, Instructor-in-Training is a pathway toward working as a Junior Instructor (ages 16 – 17). The IIT course is available as often as the sailors wish to continue their leadership growth – there’s always more to learn!

learn keelboats

Students will learn the fundamental differences between sailing a keelboat versus a dinghy and become familiar with rigging/de-rigging and sailing a J24. Students will also learn basic Seamanship Skills that apply to handling a boat of greater mass than a dinghy, both on and off the dock.

While our Progression Program helps sailors learn the foundations of small boat sailing, our Learn to Day Sail Track helps sailors learn the ins and outs of sailing family- and friend-friendly keelboats on SF Bay. Intro to Keelboats is the new name for Junior Big Boat. In this class, sailors learn the basic operating principles of keelboats and the major differences from dinghies. Day Sailing Adventures is a new class designed to show sailors different cruising destinations around SF Bay. Sailors will learn to plan trips and sail to Angel Island, Oracle Park, Jack London Square, and more.

learn to race

Learn to Race, sailors will find Intro to Racing and High School Sailing Boot Camp, new courses at TISC that help young people learn the building blocks of competitive sailing. Stay tuned for a new and Improved Race Team next summer, where TISC coaches will accompany sailors to a local regatta as a culminating experience for the class.