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Sailing Programs


lfburgeeLake Forest Sailing is one of the best sailing programs in the country and a phenomenal city resource. We were awarded the Best Community Sailing Program of the Year from U.S. Sailing and the Best Recreation Program of the Year from the Illinois Parks and Recreation Association. Come join us for another year of fun and learning on the water & land!

Check out our classes  we are offering above in the documents section and register today by either downloading a registration form or you can sign up on-line at

Adult Sailing- 

Lake Forest offers sailing to adults through a variety of programs. We have classes and rental opportunities. You can join a Learn To Sail class or arrange private lessons. You can take a sunset cruise and do nothing, or do it all! It just depends on you. We encourage adults to come and get out on the water.

Summer Youth Programs
Lake Forest Sailing is the home of the best Learn To Sail program in the Midwest.
Lake Forest Sailing offers Learn To Sail programs for everyone, but we take a special pride in our youth programs. Sailors from 5 to 18 participate in a range of classes that runs from “just come and try it” to top flight training and racing.

Our entire staff is trained by US Sailing so that we can offer the best and most consistent program possible. We believe that “Safety, Fun, and Learning” are the keys to a good program. If kids are safe while learning to sail, they will have fun. If they have fun sailing, they will learn more. It’s a simple idea that has proven itself time and again, and it is the basis of our planning and program.
We believe deeply in the idea that you can’t learn to sail from shore, so all of our classes follow the simple pattern of “Tell them what we are going to do, show them what we are going to do, go do, come back and talk about it.” Short land presentations, a chance to practice new skills before going out, and then spending the bulk of the day on the water. We finish each day with a short talk about what we did to cement the learning.

Youth Sailing is divided into age groups. The age groups correspond roughly to the size, weight, and readiness of the sailors. For kids we offer pre-learn to sail, Optimist Learn to Sail, Youth Learn to Sail, Racing, and Supplemental programs. It’s important that sailors be placed where they should be, not where they want to be. Pushing a child too hard, or moving them into too advanced a class, will almost always stagnate their learning.

5 to 8 year olds enter the program in Family Sailing class. This class is designed for a family pair, adult and child, and is centered on the idea of spending time together and learning a new skill as you go along.

6 to 8 year olds participate in our Little Luffers group. Fun, games, and meeting new people is what gets us excited about boats. The kids get a chance to find out what sailing is about in a safe, interesting way. 

8-15 year olds sail Prams and Optimists. These boats are key to the learning of sailing for a lot of people. Smaller sail area and a flat bottom make the boat a stable and safe learning platform and an excellent place for kids to start. Every single member of the US Olympic 2012 Sailing Team learned to sail in an optimist, and sailed it until they were at least 13. 

13 to 18 year olds sail in our 420 class. The boat is technical, it’s fast, and it’s a fun boat to sail. Beginners and experienced sailors find something to love about the boat. Sailing the boat well requires both teamwork and individual attention to detail.


Racing takes a variety of forms at Lake Forest Sailing. We have racing teams, we have adult racing, we have dinghy racing and we host regattas. It’s a great place to race!

Race Teams find a great home here. We have Optimist and Youth teams here.

Optimist Racing is for kids from 8-15 and is a 3 season sport. We have small spring and fall teams, and a large summer program. Our team travels all over the Midwest, from Michigan to Minnesota. Regattas are a fun family event, and travelling to them together can be great family weekends.

420 Racing is a summer team that travels the Midwest. The racing here is great, and the kids who do it tend to learn a lot in a very short period of time. It gives kids a chance to improve their skills, meet sailors from around the area, be part of a team, and learn a lot about sailing.

High School Sailing is our Fall and Spring 420 program. We have teams from Lake Forest High School, Lake Forest Academy and Highland Park High School. Our teams are highly competitive in the Midwest. The fall is open to everyone who is willing to commit to racing. It’s an intense 10 weeks. Spring is only for the hardy. The cold water and cold air make sailing fast and intense. While fall is open to everyone, Spring is only open to those ready for it.

Monday Night Racing is for dinghy sailing. This is not for beginners, but it is a lot of fun. Check with the race coach for the upcoming season.

Wednesday night sailing is hosted by the Lake Forest Yacht Club. For information please contact them.






Will Howard
Sailing - Program Supervisor

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Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Deerpath/Rte. 41 Viaduct/Pump Station Project

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Learn to Sail
Introduction to Paddle Boarding
Ladies Sailing
Intermediate / Advanced
Race Team
Keelboat Sailing
Sail Trim and Theory
Summer Race Series
Private / Group Lessons
Sunset Sail Cruises
Water Craft Usuage

CLICK HERE to view all classes

220 E. Deerpath, Lake Forest, IL 60045
(847) 234-2600
Non-Emergency Police:  (847) 234-2601

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