The Regatta celebrates the life and vision of Boston's Richard B. Ross, a Dorchester native who believed in the transformative power of education. Before Richard tragically lost his life in the attacks of September 11th, 2001, he was a passionate sailor who took great pleasure in passing on his love of sailing to others. One of the ways his family continues to honor him is by providing generous support to Courageous in his name.
On a day when a slow moving low weather front left New England regattas becalmed and fogbound, Boston Harbor served up enough good breeze to keep 17 collegiate teams moving in Rhodes 19's for five great races. Afterward, teams gathered on Pier 4 for a barbecue. Our heartfelt thanks and appreciation goes out to the Ross family for their generous support of the regatta and Courageous Sailing. Thanks, too, to all sailors for participating; Ken Legler for being a great booster of this event, and Russ Bolt for taking so many great pictures! And congratulations to teams from Williams, Roger Williams and Northeastern for taking the top spots!
1st place/11pts, Williams College - Joshua Revkin & Isaac Loh
2nd/11pts, Roger Williams - Tucker Blagden & Andrew Vachon
3rd/15pts, Northeastern - Mike O'Brien & Carolyn Mason
The names of the participants on the winning boat will have their names inscribed onto the Richard B. Ross Memorial Trophy, which hangs in the Courageous Sailing Boathouse for perpetuity.
All funds raised by the College Bowl go directly to benefit Courageous's FREE youth programs.
The generosity and commitment of our community enable us to offer one of the best youth sailing programs in the country, completely NEED-BLIND to all of our students. Our events engage the community with our programs to provide a source of support and an incredible time!
Each of the events listed below provide much needed revenue for our free youth sailing programs. Click on each event to gain more detailed information.
Courageous' first volunteer was Harry McDonough who summoned a small group of volunteers to get the resources and support necessary to create Courageous Sailing Center in 1987. Today, volunteers can help with a variety of tasks at Courageous, especially in preparation for the busy summer season. Courageous schedules "Work Parties" where volunteer work crews help Courageous prepare boats for the season, spruce up the boathouse, etc. Volunteers also contribute to our "Guest Coach" program and not only coach our racing program for a day but also talk about how sailing made a difference in their lives and careers.
Corporate Service Days
Courageous also hosts Corporate Work Days. Many local companies have donated their employees' time to complete important projects for Courageous. Companies have found this to be a fabulous teambuilding activity and a way to connect to the local community.
Adopt A Boat
New for 2009, volunteers may "adopt a boat" at Courageous. Adopted boats will carry signs noting that the boat has been adopted by the volunteer and thanking them for helping to keep it clean, safe, fully equipped and functioning properly. Volunteers will ocassionally check on the boat, clean or make minor repairs as needed and report issues to the fleet manager. The following boats have been adopted for the 2009 season (more boats are available for adoption - please email John for more information!):
|Name (Thank you!)||Boat|
|Ed Marcus||J/22 (Endorphin)|
|Paul Weisman & Michele Simos||Ranger 23 (Midnight Special)|
|Jess Gormley & Marc Anthony||Rhodes 19 No. 16|
|Becky Wheatland||Rhodes 19 No. 2|
|Katy Capo & Bryan Lee||TBD|
|Camerine MacBeill & Mark Racine||J/22 No. 31|
|James Parmentier||Rhodes 19 No. 26 (Black Topsides)|
|Your Name Here||Many More Available!|
Every year, Courageous Sailing gives over 1,000 Boston youth the opportunity to enjoy a responsible and confident future through the discoery of sailing, right in their own backyard. With programs in Jamaica Plain and Charlestown, Boston's diverse youth are able to learn invaluable leadership, communication, and teamwork skills through sailing. The strong connection to the harbor and the pond creates important bonds with nature. None of this could be possible without you - our friends, family, supporters, and members.
Donate by mail
One First Avenue
Charlestown, MA 02129
|All contributions are tax deductible to the extent the law permits|
Corporate Events are a vital source of general operating funds for Courageous Sailing making it possible to open the sport of sailing to thousands of Boston area kids and programs.
From Corporate Events with breathtaking views of the city of Boston to Team Building activities guided by our expert instructors, we can help you put together a unique Corporate Event based on your needs and budget.
For more information call 617-242-3821 x11 or
Frequently Asked Questions
Registration for 2016 is now closed. Registration is open March 1 to March 15 each year. Please check back next year for 2017 registration.
How do I know my child is going to be safe at Courageous?
At Courageous we place tremendous importance on safety. We are constantly taking measures to impress upon our students that a safe sailor is a good sailor. Below is a partial listing of our safety regulations, rigorous guidelines that have given Courageous one of the best safety records on Boston Harbor.
Do you need to know how to swim?
Yes. Though swimming is not a regular part of our program, for safety reasons, all students must be able to swim, any stroke, 75 feet (or 25 yards, the length of most pools) and tread water for 90 seconds.
All new Summer Youth Program students must supply a Courageous Proof of Swimming Form (download here) or a letter on pool or organization letterhead stating that the student has met or exceeded our swimming requirement. This document must be signed by a certified lifeguard.
How do I register my child?
Registration forms for 2016 will be available March 1, 2016. For more information, visit the summer youth program registration page.
How can I get a registration form and/or brochure?
We strongly prefer that all youth program applicants use our online registration form. The 2016 Summer Program online registration form will be available between March 1 and March 15. You can access the form on the summer youth program registration page.
Which Step should my child register for?
Step 1: Sailing 101 (minimum age 8)
If your child has no sailing experience or has only a summer or two of exposure to sailboats, then Sailing 101 is probably the right place to start. In Sailing 101, instructors are in the boats with the students at all times, which makes for a safe and highly individualized learning environment. If you are unsure of whether your child is ready for the next level, it is often best to assume they ought to stay in Sailing 101. Review is never a bad thing! Typically, students spend multiple summers in Sailing 101. If you have any more questions, please feel free to email or call.
Step 2: Beginner Sailing (minimum age 9)
This program is not available to the general public. Due to extremely high demand, this program is limited to only those youth who have already participated in a Courageous Sailing summer program at Charlestown, Jamaica Pond, or Camp Harbor View. No exceptions. This is a three-week program that delves into greater depth on topics covered in Sailing 101. Instructors are in the boats with students at all times. Most students require 2-3 summers of this course before moving to Step 3.
Step 3: Intermediate Sailing (minimum age 10)
Appropriate for those sailors who are capable of comfortably sailing a small keelboat (one of our 19-foot Rhodes 19s) without an instructor with them in the boat. The Step 3 sailor knows and is comfortable with the basics (tacking, jibing, man overboard recovery, docking, rigging, knots, upwind sailing, etc.) but still needs time to review and gain mastery. The Step 3 sailor is comfortable enough with basic skills to begin applying them in on-the-water games and drills, races, and occasional trips beyond the inner harbor. Although several instructors are available to sail in boats with students to help them fine tune skills, the goal of Step 3 is for students to transition to sailing in a boat with 2 peers and no instructor. In 2016, students will also spend one week in smaller dinghies, which they will learn how to capsize and right. Typically, students spend at least two or three summers in Step 3 before progressing to Step 4.
If in doubt about whether your child is ready for Step 3, (1) check your child's progress report, if available, to see if their Step 2 instructors felt that they were ready to move up to Step 3, (2) ask your child if they took/passed the Step 3 on-the-water checkout (3) consider whether you feel your child is sufficiently mature to be in a boat without an instructor aboard, and (4) email the Youth Program Outreach Coordinator if you're not sure; we'll be happy to take a look at our records.
Step 4: Advanced Sailing (minimum age 12)
For advanced sailors who are comfortable independently skippering and crewing on a small keelboat. Sailors must be able to keep the boat under control and the sails trimmed correctly while maneuvering, performing a crew overboard recovery, docking, etc. Familiarity with sailing terminology is also a must. Dinghy students will be in dinghies (small sailboats with centerboards instead of keels), possibly for the first time. These dinghies, unlike the Rhodes-19 keelboats, can and will capsize, and students MUST be comfortable in the water. Sportboat/Cruising students will be on a high-performance sportboat called a J/80. Both dinghies and sportboats demand mastery of the basics in order to be successfully sailed. Typically students spend between two and four summers in Step 4.
If in doubt about whether your child is ready for Step 4, (1) check your child's progress report, if available, to see if their Step 3 instructors felt that they were ready to move up to Step 4, (2) ask your child if they took/passed the Step 4 on-the-water checkout, and (3) email the Youth Program Outreach Coordinator if you're not sure; we'll be happy to take a look at our records.
The Step 5 "Instructor in Training" or "IIT" Program
For advanced sailors only, specifically those students who have had significant exposure to dinghy sailing and/or cruising and aspire to become instructors. IITs must apply by February to be considered for selection into the summer IIT program. The selection process is competitive, with a written application, an in-person interview and a sailing skills check. The program is NOT limited to past Courageous students. Click here for more information about the IIT Program.
Should I choose Step 4 Dinghy or Step 4 Sportboat/Cruising?
It depends on what your child is interested in doing! Both groups will spend the third week of the program together sailing J/22s (and the J/80) and preparing to sail to a harbor island for an overnight camping trip, so your child will be able to spend time with friends in the other group. Sailors in the (larger) Dinghy group will be sailing closer to Courageous and will be sailing independently in a variety of small boats; they'll also get a taste of racing. Sailors in the (smaller) Sportboat/Cruising group will spend more time navigating the outer harbor and will always have an instructor on the boat with them. It's ideal to spend at least one summer focusing on each aspect of sailing before applying to become an IIT.
My child has taken sailing lessons at another sailing center. Which Step should he or she register for?
For more details, see the above answer to "Which Step should my child register for?"
Remember: Step 2 is not open to the public. The minimum age of entry for Step 3 is 10, and students will be sailing aboard boats, without instructors, on Boston Harbor. While many children have sailed alone on boats at other venues, consider that Boston Harbor is one of the busiest commercial ports in the US and that Courageous Sailing utilizes large, heavy keelboats and not the Optis, Sunfish, Bugs, Open-Bics, Mercuries, or other small dinghies common to most other youth sailing programs around the state and country. Courageous Sailing's standards for safety and requirements for sailing alone are necessarily much higher than in other sailing programs. Again, the safety of your children is our utmost concern.
How old do my children have to be?
Step 1: All children must be at least 8 years old by the first day of class. No exceptions.
Step 2: Minimum age: 9 years old
Step 3: Minimum age: 10 years old
Step 4: Minimum age: 12 years old
Step 5: Minimum age: 15 years old (While 14 year olds may legally work in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, City of Boston teen employment programs, of which Courageous is a beneficiary, set the minimum age at 15.)
Do you ever make exceptions on student's age?
I am not from Boston. Can my child register for your program?
Yes. Though most of our students are Boston residents, our students hail from all corners of the greater Boston area. Our summer program is open to all.
I am not from Boston. Can my child register to sail at Jamaica Pond?
No. The Jamaica Pond site is open to residents of Boston only.
Can my children sail together in the same class?
While we try our hardest to place siblings in the same classes at the same sites, unfortunately we do not have the capacity to guarantee that siblings will be placed together. However, after a confirmation of registration has been received students and parents are welcome to call to make changes to their registration form, provided space is available.
Can my child sail with his/her friends in the same class?
Unfortunately, as we receive thousands of applications for our summer program, we cannot accommodate individual requests to place groups of friends in the same class.
Can my child register with his/her friends in the same class or at the same site?
Yes, groups of friends can try to request the same class slots (same class, same session, same time, same site), but, unfortunately, as we receive thousands of applications for our summer program, we cannot accommodate individual requests to place groups of friends in the same class.
What happened to Courageous' Summer Sailing Program at UMass Boston on Dorchester Bay?
Between 2012 and 2015, Courageous was not involved with UMass Boston in Dorchester.
As of 2016, we are considering running a one-week session of Step 1 at the end of the summer, with the possibility of more programs being added in 2017 and beyond. If you're interested, please indicate this on your registration form. This will not affect your chances of being selected for a program in Charlestown or on Jamaica Pond. We will contact interested families.
I was registered. What are my responsibilities?
I was waitlisted! What does being waitlisted mean?
If you were waitlisted, this means that the class you requested is currently full. In the event that a registered student decides they do not want their spot, the spot is opened up to a waitlisted student.
What Being “Waitlisted” at positions 1 – 5 Means
If you have a waitlist number between 1 and 5, there is a fair chance (~50% or better) that a space might become available to you, and we invite you to stop by in person the morning of the class you were waitlisted for to see if a space becomes available. If a space becomes available and you are already at the site, you may hop into the class that morning. If no space becomes available, then you will have to head home.
What Being “Waitlisted” at positions 6+ for Means
If you were waitlisted at position 6 or higher, it is very unlikely (~20% chance or worse) that a space might become available to you, and so we encourage you to make other summer plans.
I’m Waitlisted, but my family and I still really want to Sail!!
For the families of all youth program applicants (whether registered or waitlisted) Courageous Sailing is offering large discounts on courses through the Courageous Adult Program. For more information, please contact our Director of Adult Programs (email@example.com).
2016 Fees and Scholarships
Why is Courageous charging fees?
We value the diversity of population that chooses to be at Courageous. It is important that we focus the efforts of our donor base to provide funding for those who cannot pay. Longer term we want to develop the capacity to serve the long waiting list for our program.
How was the sliding scale developed?
Courageous staff members researched comparable program costs and local income levels before setting the new fee structure. We maintain our commitment to provide the Courageous experience to all our constituency, and no child will be turned away for financial reasons.
Is there a sibling discount?
Yes, additional children from a single household who did not receive a scholarship will be eligible for a 10% discount.
Do I need to be “approved” for a reduced fee scholarship?
Anyone who fits the household income requirement for a “reduced fee” will be granted a scholarship with proof of income. Click here for more information on our youth program fees and sliding scale. Proof of income must be submitted by April 30.
Income information is sensitive. Who sees this information?
Income information for people requesting a scholarship will be seen only by the senior program administrators at Courageous. This information will be grouped together to report overall program demographics; however, individual records are kept confidential and are not available to anyone outside the Courageous organization.
When you are admitted to the program, you will receive a scholarship form and instructions. No family is turned away that fits the requirements. Full scholarships (free classes) are available to families on government assistance or with a household income of $65,000 or less. Partial scholarships (approximately 50% off classes) are available to families with a household income between $65,000 and $100,000.
My household income is above the sliding scale income levels; however due to special circumstances I cannot afford the fee. What should I do?
If your income puts you in a fee bracket that you can’t afford, we will work with you to make sure that your child(ren) will be able to attend.
When do I send payment?
The payment process is designed to be simple. Once you are notified that your child has been successfully registered, you will be instructed to confirm your child’s attendance by making payment by April 30. Payment may be made over the phone, online, via mail, or in-person at our Charlestown office.
What are my payment options?
You may pay by cash, check, or credit card. Courageous accepts Visa, Mastercard, Discover, and American Express. If you need to pay in installments, we can work out a schedule so long as the first payment is completed by April 30 and all payments are received by June 15. Payment may be made over the phone, online, via mail, or in-person at our Charlestown office.
An invoice was mailed to you with your confirmation letter. This amount reflects anticipated scholarship amount. You can pay this invoice via credit card by using the following links.
For families with only 1 participating child please select the link that matches that on your invoice:
You can also pay by submitting a check (payable to "Courageous Sailing") or by dropping off cash at Courageous Sailing. Please include a copy of your invoice.
What to Bring
What should my child bring to class?
To all registered sailors, please come to class prepared with the following:
Does my child need a life jacket?
No. While wearing a life-jacket is mandatory at all times on the docks, gangways and boats, Courageous provides life jackets to all students to borrow during their classes. Students and instructors are required to wear life jackets at all times on the docks and on the boats.
Do you offer private lessons?
Yes, on a space-available and instructor-available basis. Please call (617) 242-3821 ext. 12 for more details.
Where are you located?
Our year-round offices are located on the end of Pier 4 in the Charlestown Navy Yard, where our students sail on Boston Harbor, and at Jamaica Pond. Click here for directions
In 2008, Courageous began running a sailing program for the campers of Camp Harbor View on Long Island in Boston. If you are a Boston resident and would like more information on how to register for the Camp Harbor View program, please visit the Camp Harbor View website.
Our Youth Program is based on a Five Step approach. Start off in Step One to get a taste of the excitement—it's only the beginning! From there, you'll work through the steps from summer to summer, having more fun and learning more than you ever thought possible on your school vacations. And in a just few years, you might very well find yourself in Step Five as an instructor!
And we're about more than just sailing. In our classes, from your instructors you'll learn a lot about the marine environment, as well as about what it takes to be a leader both on and off the water.
The best part is that your instructors are having just as much fun as you are! Our passion is the water, and we hope it will become yours, too!
Expanding youth sailing in New England beyond its traditional summertime boundaries, Courageous has a growing range of spring and fall offerings. We have spring and fall programs specifically tailored to the needs of local public schools, advanced after-school programs for our summer sailors who want a little extra practice, and programs for groups of first-time sailors who want a taste of what it feels like out on the water.
This program in Jamaica Plain is open to students who have sailed with usa during the summer in Step 3 or above. This is an open time for students to practice the new skills learned over the course of the summer. Some sessions may have a specific focus, such as racing or cruising. After-School sailing is at Jamaica Plain locations.
Courageous Sailing partners with public schools throughout the city to offer specially tailored programs that will enhance your students' experiences. These programs are offered primarily at Jamaica Plain and schools must be Boston Public Schools. Past school partners include Warren-Prescott Elementary, The Young Achievers Pilot School for Math and Science, Codman Academy, and the JP Manning School. To find out if your school can participate, email or call Kate Henderson at (617) 242-3821 ext. 12.
Several competitive high school sailing teams train at Courageous' sites in Charlestown or Jamaica Pond. Whether a school is putting together a team for the very first time or has an already established team that needs a new place to sail, Courageous has been able to come through for local schools.
Current high schools that sail at Courageous include BB&N, Boston Latin, and Boston Public Schools (district-wide team). To find out if your high school can participate, email or call Kate Henderson at (617) 242-3821 ext. 12
Courageous Sailing transforms lives through sailing programs that inspire learning, personal growth and leadership.
Courageous Sailing is a community that embraces sailing as a platform for life-long learning, personal growth and leadership; a center of sailing excellence committed to removing barriers to access for all Boston youth, the public and people with physical and intellectual challenges.
Courageous Sailing was established in 1987 as a 501(c)(3) non-profit in a joint effort between the City of Boston Parks and Recreation Department and the late South Boston sailing enthusiast Harry McDonough. Courageous Sailing has since grown into a dynamic, multi-faceted educational facility serving over 1,000 at-risk and disadvantaged children each year. Through the organization’s Courage Curriculum, young sailors develop essential leadership competencies in personal responsibility, communication, problem-solving, teamwork and stewardship. Demand for Courageous Sailing’s programs is at a record high with close to two-thirds (600) of the eager young children who attempt to register for our summer program being turned away due to a lack of sufficient capacity.
How Courageous Got Its Name
The America's Cup 12 meter "Courageous" once lived at Pier 4 in the Navy Yard. This two-time America's Cup winner lent its name to Courageous Sailing in the late 1980s. The boat now resides at the Museum of Yachting in Newport, Rhode Island, where it has been restored and is still being raced.
Courageous prides itself on being a leader in community service. Courageous has hosted the Special Olympics Summer Games and has been consistently involved in training Special Olympics athletes. Courageous also has an ongoing partnership with The Carroll Center for the Blind, which holds national blind sailing competitions as well as weekly Sail Blind races at Courageous. In addition, Courageous serves as a venue for local high school sailing team practices, as well as Women's Keel Boat and Mass Bay elimination events. Courageous has also partnered with Adventure Sail through the Big and Little Sisters organization, an event that has drawn hundreds of women and girls into the sport of sailing.
A True Public/Private Partnership
Courageous' success has captured the imagination and sponsorship of small and large Boston companies as well as hundreds of paying adult members. Corporations support Courageous' activities through the Courageous Challenge and Corporate Sponsorships, while individuals can contribute by simply becoming a member or attending exciting fundraising events such as Make-A-Mark and the College Bowl. The generous and enthusiastic contributions made by these organizations and individuals are vital to the continued growth and success of Courageous.
Courageous has also found other ways to leverage its success and appeal. In 1998, the Center sponsored the first of several co-fundraising regattas with the American Cancer Society. Our staff and venue helped them raise over $70,000 for a cure. The center continues to look for ways to help other charities while bringing the benefits of sailing to more and more children and adults.