MDI Community Sailing
Southwest Harbor
Mount Desert Island, Maine
Junior Programs

Sailing challenges the mind and spirit as well as the body, providing skills and knowledge that will last a lifetime. MDICSC provides a safe and comfortable setting for youth to discover the varied pleasures of sailing, both recreational and competitive. Our instructors are experienced, and dedicated to passing on their passion for this rewarding sport. Each day our program operates in four separate sailing areas on several types of sailboats. This allows us to offer each student a boat appropriate for their individual skill level.

Our program was built on the stable Cape Cod Bullseye, which is our primary full keeled day sailor, of which we now have seven. Our dinghy fleet has grown to include 18 Optimist Dinghies. Our teenage sailors have access to a great fleet of 18 Turbo 420's which will all be moored on a floating pavillion off the western side of Greening Island.

All of our 420 and Opti programs will be working in collaberation with the Northeast Harbor Sailing School and other clubs from around the Great Harbor. We also have available a few larger boats including two Luders 16 an Oday Tempest and two Cape Dory Typhoons. All of these larger vessels are only used if we see the need to mix it up a bit. This also gives the kids a chance to sail a variety of both one design and daysailor sailboats.

Summer hours of operation will be in effect during July and August.
  • Monday through Friday 9am–4:30pm
  • Saturday and Sunday noon-4:00pm
  • Our Staff:

    All MDI Community Sailing Senior Staff is at least a Level One Certified US Sailing Instructor. Having US Sailing certified instructors is the standard for any safe, quality junior, or adult sailing program. US Sailing is the national governing body of the sport of sailing. To view the qualifications held by a US Sailing Instructor please visit their web sight at

    Payment Policy:

    Full payment is mandatory at the time of registration. If for some reason you have a change of plans and your child cannot attend a reserved time slot, our policy is that we will refund payment minus a $25 fee.To register please click on the registration link on our home page.

    Accidents: If your child should have an accident, however small, he / she should inform their instructor who will apply first aid if required (all staff holds CPR / First Aid Certification) and make decisions regarding further medical care at that time based on the information provided on the medical form. We will seek to contact you through the phone numbers you have given us. Children requiring the care of a doctor will be taken to a medical facility in Southwest Harbor that has been designated on the Childs medical information form. Please sign and return the Medical Form with the registration. Children without a signed medical form will not be allowed to participate.

    Lost and Found: Lost articles of clothing or other belongings will be kept until Friday of the next week. Please label all of your Child’s clothing.

    What to Bring:

    Nutritious snacks and drinking water (in a reusable bottle no plastic).

    US Coast Guard approved life vest with whistle attached.

    Rain Gear EVERY DAY, also a sweatshirt and or light jacket.

    A complete change of clothing.

    Sunscreen, sunglasses, and a towel.

    Parking and Drop Offs

    Do all drop offs and pick ups at the FRONT SIDE of our facility on Clark Point Road. We have six designated parking spaces in front. There is NO short term parking at the back parking area of Southwest Boat. We are tenants at our facility and have been asked to enforce this policy. Thank you.


AM Rowing / Optimist 1st Timers
9:00am-11:45am Monday-Friday • Ages 6-9
Geared toward the youngest age group with a minimum 6 years of age (or entering 1st grade in fall). This class will offer basic fun oriented activities teaching parts of the boat, rowing, knots and Optimist rigging. Students will be encouraged to board a sailing Optimist close to the waterfront with an instructor aboard. A Bullseye group sail with instructors skippering may also be offered.
AM Beginner Optimist / Bullseye
9:00am-11:45am Monday-Friday
We will cover more detail on rigging, wind direction identification, steering a sailboat, tacking and jibing, safety position, rules of the road, parts of the sailboat, knots. Geared toward students who have only basic skills and would need coaching support to navigate a windward leeward course in light winds. A Bullseye group sail with instructors on board may also be offered.
AM Beginner/Intermediate Turbo 420 Sailing
8:30-11:00am Monday-Thursday *
Older novices and intermediate sailors with the prerequisite size and skills will participate in the 420 class. Students will be introduced to sailing small centerboard sloops under main, jib and spinnaker. Skipper-crew teamwork will be emphasized.
PM Optimist Basics / Bullseye
12:45pm-3:45pm Monday-Friday
Geared for students who have previously participated in our morning Optimist classes and are still just “getting comfortable” under sail. Students will be further introduced to sailing an Optimist by themselves in light to moderate wind conditions and learn to navigate a windward leeward course. These sailors will be offered basic instruction while also learning the concepts of sailboat racing. Students may also steer and crew aboard a Bullseye.
PM 420 / Bullseye Beginner
12:45pm-3:45pm Monday-Friday
This group is for older beginners and intermediate sailors with the required skills and size/weight to sail/crew independently aboard a 420 dinghy and or a Cape Cod Bullseye.
PM Optimist Great Harbor Racing Team
1;00pm-4:30pm Monday- Thursday
This course builds on the Great Harbor Dream initiative to appeal to sailors who are eager to pursue excellence and competency in racing an Optimist Dinghy. Opportunities will also be presented to sail on Turbo 420s and fleet Luder/IOD races. Students will have a primary focus on racing Optimists and also have the opportunity to compete in local and regional regattas. Subjects covered will include but are not limited to pre race boat set up, rigging and tuning for speed, start techniques, capsize and recovery, sail trim, mark rounding, tactics, rules of racing and team work. This group will sail in a wide range of wind conditions.
PM Turbo 420's Great Harbor Racing Team
1:00pm-4:30pm Monday- Thursday *
This new course builds on the Great Harbor Dream initiative to appeal to sailors of all ages who are eager to pursue excellence and competency in a wide range of racing boats. Developing skills in a wide range of boats will afford opportunities to participate in Turbo 420 and Fleet Luders/ IOD races. All registrants should be competent sailors and anxious to develop their skills in a wide variety of boats. Each week curriculum will include an opportunity for both intermediate and advanced instruction for racing and crewing on the above one design sailboats. Subjects covered will include but are not limited to prerace boat set up, crew preparation, rigging and tuning for speed, starting techniques, spinnaker and trapeze work, capsize and recovery, sail trim, mark rounding, tactics, rules of racing and team work.
*The above 420 and Opti programs will operate in collaboration with the Northeast Harbor Sailing School and other area clubs using the fleet of Turbo 420's.and our Opti fleet. Year round residents are encouraged to contact our office prior to registration for information regarding financial aid for these specific classes.
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