Sailing in the shadow of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco Bay is both picturesque and challenging. Modern Sailing School & Club has been teaching in the waters of the Bay for nearly 40 years. Since 1983, Modern Sailing School & Club has been introducing people to sailing from their headquarters in Sausalito, California. Even if you have never set foot on a boat, they can teach you everything you need to know. Their goal is to ensure their students build a strong foundation in this rewarding and lifelong sport and is dedicated to making the learning experience as safe and enjoyable as possible. They teach their beginner-level courses on 30 – 32 ft. keelboats with wheel steering (no tiller), inboard diesel engines, and roller-furling jibs.
This Month’s Featured School is Modern Sailing School & Club in Sausalito, California. ASA spoke to Modern Sailing School about Sailing, Sausalito, and sharing the love of being on the water with their students.
Get to Know Modern Sailing School & Club
Where They Sail
Directly across the Bay from San Francisco lies a town steeped in sailing history. Sausalito has the highest concentration of marinas, boats, and marine businesses in all of Northern California and the boating culture here is second to none. Originally the home of the Miwok Indians, Sausalito was given its name, meaning Little Willow, in 1775 by Spanish Explorer Juan Manuel de Ayala.
There was a time when Sausalito was home to over 25 bawdy gambling casinos and bordellos. And, for more than a century, fully rigged sailing ships took shelter along her beautiful waterfront.
Visitors today have the opportunity to view some of the most historic classic yachts and sailing vessels in the world. Boutiques, streetside cafes, yacht clubs, fine restaurants, shops, galleries, elegant hotels, the nearby redwoods, beaches, and the famed wine country, all contribute to the friendly yet sophisticated charm of this lovely old bayside fishing village.
Sailing on San Francisco Bay offers diverse conditions and challenges unique to the area. In the fall and winter, we experience light winds and mild weather. The spring and summer bring consistent winds from 15-25 knots daily. Because the Bay is fed by the estuary, we have large currents and tides that add another layer of complexity to navigation. The sail offers breathtaking views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, and the SF skyline. These features make San Francisco Bay a world-class sailing destination, home to professional yacht racers and cruisers alike.
What They Teach
Modern Sailing offers adult sailing education programs. ASA courses 101, 103, a 5-day 101/103 combination course, 104, 105, 106, a 7-day 105/106 combination course, and ASA 107. ASA 106 and ASA 105/106 combination courses are held on the Pacific Ocean along the dynamic Central California Coast. We also provide ASA 114, Cruising Catamaran, and ASA 118, Docking Endorsement.
Our specialty in-house Sailing Clinics such as Mastering Sail Trim, Mastering Asymmetrical Spinnaker for Cruisers, Heavy Weather Sailing, Light Wind Sailing, Electronic Piloting and Radar, Night Sailing, and the Angel Island Mooring Clinic help sailors to continually develop their skills.
For aspiring professional sailors, Modern Sailing hosts USCG Captains License Courses and ASA Instructor Qualification Clinics twice a year.
Meet Their Instructors
Our experienced and friendly instructors hold US Coast Guard Licenses and represent decades of sailing experience. They are award-winning instructors, world cruisers, and Coast Guard commanders who are American Sailing Association certified instructors. MSC’s high standards have earned us accolades in the sailing community, including the American Sailing Association’s School of the Year Award. Meet Our Staff
We have a Recreational Race Program. Students who have completed our Recreational Race Clinic become eligible to join the MSC Race Team in local yacht club races aboard MSC race boats (Catalina 320s).
Our Wind & Women program offers women-only ASA courses, Race Clinic, and races.
Our Charter Club enables qualified members to bareboat charter boats in our fleet of 22 monohulls and 2 catamarans. Members can become qualified to sail different boat sizes through a progression of ASA courses or by completing a Fleet Certification Skills Check-out.
Club members and up to 2 adult non-member guests per member can also join our fun variety of social Club Sails.
We also provide Skippered Sails, Bay Tours, and exciting Corporate Challenge Regatta Teambuilding Events.
Before the pandemic, we offered Global Destinations charters and flotillas. We hope to resume this program very soon.
Modern Sailing School & Club has an excellent reputation in the area as great place for sailors to learn, practice, and enjoy being a part of a friendly and encouraging sailing community. Our business culture is client-centric and most of our staff are sailors themselves. We are driven by our passion for sharing the joys of sailing and helping others make their sailing dreams come true. Many of our instructors were previously members of our charter club, including our CEO Leigh Hunt.