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Learn to Sail Program

Sailing is fun and Moraine Sailing Club is here to help you get started. We offer learn to sail courses for all ability levels taught by friendly, knowledgeable, certified US Sailing Instructors. Courses are taught on Lake Arthur in Moraine State Park about one hour north of Pittsburgh.

  • We offer small group sailing lessons so you can learn at your own pace.

  • You can learn to sail on a Flying Scot or Sunfish.

  • We provide instruction both on-shore and on-the-water.

  • We have a US Sailing certified instructor on each Flying Scot.

  • Each certified LTS graduate receives a discounted CSP membership for remainder of season.

  • Receive US Sailing Small Boat Sailor Certification through successful completion of skills checklist and written test.

  • Students ages 14 -17 must attend with parent/legal guardian.

Want to practice your sailing skills and meet some more club members?

MSC has a group of experienced club members called MSC Sailing Ambassadors.  The Ambassador program allows interested Flying Scot or Sunfish Learn-to-Sail students who have completed at least 3 sailing sessions, a way to meet a club member and go sailing with them for 1 or 2 hours to learn more about MSC, sailing on Lake Arthur, and it also gives them an extra practice session before they go on a check-ride at a Community Sailing Program Qualification Day.  The program director connects students and Ambassadors so they can find a time that works for both to meet and sail at the lake.  


If you would like to request a sail with an ambassador, or if you are an experienced club member who might like to volunteer as an Ambassador, send an email with your name, email address, phone number, and a brief summary of your sailing experience to Mark Mann at this email address:

Learn to Sail for Beginning Students

If you are new to sailing we recommend you start with our MSC 101 Learn to Sail Sunfish course. It is a good first boat for most sailors.  If you are taller than 6 foot, weigh more than 200 lbs. or are a little less limber, you may be more comfortable starting with our MSC 201 Learn to Sail Flying Scot course.

MSC 101 Learn to Sail Sunfish

This introductory 5-day class includes on-shore and on-water instruction in one of the most popular and easy-to-learn sailboats, the Sunfish.  Each student sails their own sailboat with our instructors nearby to help you learn new skills and gain confidence.  Learn to rig, launch, sail upwind and downwind, and de-rig a small sailboat. Earn a US Sailing Redbook by completing the skills checklist, and a written test.

MSC 201 Learn to Sail Flying Scot

This introductory 5-day class is taught with 3-4 students and an instructor onboard, sailing a Flying Scot sailboat. Learn to rig, launch, sail upwind and downwind, and de-rig this mid-size

 sailboat. Earn a US Sailing Redbook by completing the skills checklist, and a written test.

Age to Participate in Classes & 
Minimum Requirements

Our Learn to Sail program is designed for adults 18 years and older. Our MSC 101 Learn to Sail Sunfish, however, is open to students who are at least 14 years old when the class starts, as long as each student younger than 18 is attending each session along with a parent or guardian enrolled in that class AND each student must be comfortable in the water and able to swim 25 yards wearing a lifejacket. We can only allow one student per parent/guardian, so if a family has two students younger than 18, they would need to sign up at least two adults as well and those adults need to attend each class. (MSC offers a Youth Sail Camp program for students ages 8-17.)

How to Register for Classes

  • Below is the list of courses.  Check to see if spots remain in the the course you would like to attend.  If the course is full you may put your name on the wait list.

  • Sign up for the beginner course of your choice. You will need to become a Basic member of the club to complete registration.

  • Attend the classes and become certified through a skills assessment and written test.

  • Become a CSP member at a reduced rate for the remainder of the year.

Sailing Classes & What to Wear/Bring to Class

We hold classes rain or shine and usually only cancel a session if there is lightning or very high winds. The final decision to cancel (or not) is made at 7:00 A.M. the morning of each class. We post the “Class is a GO” or “Class is Cancelled” notification on the website. Go to the “Calendar”, click on the “Details” button for your class and scroll to “About the Event” to see the decision before you drive to the lake.  Each class has 5 scheduled sessions, but there is enough time to complete the class in only 4 sessions if needed. If we need to cancel more than one session due to weather, we will try to schedule a make-up date when the boats and instructors are available. 

Wear clothes and close-toed shoes that can get wet, bring a towel. Leave cameras and cell phones in the car. Bring a hat, sunscreen and a water bottle. All sailors must wear life jackets while in class – we have plenty of jackets in different sizes for you to borrow. Bring lunch!

Learn to Sail for
Intermediate & Advanced Students

We offer additional classes to advance your skill and knowledge. We strongly recommend that sailors have significant experience sailing on their own, gained outside of Learn to Sail classes, before signing up for the classes below. A great way to gain experience is by joining the Community Sailing Program.

MSC 301 Advanced Flying Scot
(Not available in 2024)

This course consists of two days on-shore & in boats with instructors to learn how to sail with a spinnaker along with advanced sail trim & boat handling. This course is geared towards developing greater skill, control and speed, particularly for racing. (recommended pre-requisite is “skill in sailing a Flying Scot sailboat including at least 20 hours of sailing on your own / not-during-learn-to-sail classes)

MSC 303 Learn to Race

One day introductory course taught in classroom and on-water using Sunfish sailboats. Course covers the basic rules of racing, including how to start and basic racing tactics and types of races. On-water practice with a real race course. (recommended pre-requisite is “skill in sailing a Sunfish sailboat including at least 10 hours of sailing on your own / not-during-learn-to-sail classes)

MSC 302 Rigging Refresher
Flying Scot & Sunfish

All Community Sailing Program members and all Learn to Sail students from previous years are invited to attend this free rigging refresher course to help get the cobwebs out and remind you of the correct rigging and de-rigging steps. US Sailing instructors will be on hand to walk you thru the process and answer your questions. We will NOT be sailing this day, just rigging/de-rigging on shore. To sign up to attend this course, please sign up below.

MSC 401 Sailing a Hobie Catamaran

This course consists of two days on-shore & in boats with instructors. Hobie specific rigging & sailing, capsize recovery & safe trapeze usage. (recommended pre-requisite is “skill in sailing a dinghy such as a Flying Scot or Sunfish sailboat including at least 20 hours of sailing on your own / not-during-learn-to-sail classes)

Pathway To Community Sailing Prgram (CSP)

The Community Sailing Program allows club members to sail club-owned sailboats on their own. In order to join CSP you must “qualify” on either the Sunfish or Flying Scot sailboat by going on a ‘check ride’ with one of our instructors where you can demonstrate that you can rig, launch, sail, dock and de-rig the boat correctly and safely. If you take a learn-to-sail class and go on to qualify for CSP, there is no additional cost for you to enjoy all the CSP benefits for the remainder of that season. Once qualified for CSP, you may re-join as a CSP member the following year to continue enjoying sailing club-owned boats.

Many students are comfortable sailors after their first 5 day series of classes and are ready to try joining our Community Sailing Program (CSP).
  Some students go on from MSC 101 Sunfish, to MSC 201 Flying Scot or MSC 401 Catamaran

before they join CSP.  If you wish to repeat a class, contact the Director of Education

There are specific dates and times to sign up below for CSP Qualifying Days. The qualifying days are open to students who have completed our learn-to-sail class and to club members who can demonstrate their skills to sail our Sunfish, Flying Scots or Hobie 16 Catamarans in our CSP program.

How to Sign Up for Learn to Sail Courses

Below is a list of our available Learn to Sail courses including the dates, times and course costs. Before you can register yourself or other family members for classes, our insurance requires that you must first join Moraine Sailing Club as a basic member ($80). Becoming a member allows you to sign up for classes, seminars, Youth Sail Camp and club social events.

Learn to Sail Courses

Waitlists and Notifications

Our classes often fill up quickly. Sign up to be notified of any openings for current or future classes.

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Other Sailing Instruction Programs near Pittsburgh, PA

We would love to have you participate in one of our Learn-to-Sail programs, but we know that our programs are popular and fill up quickly.  Here are some other sailing programs in the area.  (Moraine Sailing Club is not affiliated in any way with these other programs.)

Point Pittsburgh Sailing League - Downtown Pittsburgh, PA
Youth Sailing Program for High School and Junior High School students and private lessons for Adults.  
More info at:

Yellow Creek Sailing Base - 75 minutes east of Pittsburgh, PA
Group sailing classes for youth and adults.
Learn to sail program details at:

Pymatuning Sailing Club - 2hrs north of Pittsburgh, PA
Youth focused summer sail camps.
Program details at:

Learn To Sail 

View rigging documents, review study materials and discover what is in the video library on the Learn to Sail member page.


Get in Touch

Contact the Education Director

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