Free Sailing at the National Sailing Hall of Fame
Sailing Center

Inaugural Season April – October 2009
Lessons Learned


  • Utilize National Sailing Hall of Fame Sailing Center newly renovated public docks

  • Inaugurate a community sailing program

  • Take sailing program to the public

  • Provide a national template


  • A consortium of organizations (mostly non-profits) with resources, both boatsand people, came together, leaving turf at the door, to get the public out on sailboats and to create a community sailing program. Annapolis Community Boating is the product of the Free Sailing program.

  • Organizations: National Sailing Hall of Fame & Sailing Center, Box of Rain, CRAB (Chesapeake Regional Accessible Boating), Brendan Corporation, Chessie Jr. Racing and Annapolis Sailing School


  • Sunday afternoons; 12:00 - 4:00 pm; April 19 – October 4, 2009

  • Thursday evenings; 5:00 - 8:00 pm;  June  and July

  • Reservations required

  • No shows were a problem beginning in September



  • 435

  • 95% have never sailed

  • Came from Annapolis area, Washington area, Baltimore area, Northern Virginia, New Jersey and Eastern Shore of Maryland

  • A grandmother and her 11 year old grandson, three generations of a Korean family (9 people), professional athletes, other families, other nationalities, and a family who brought their terminally ill father on Fathers Day- he said, “I had the best fathers day ever.”

  • One opportunity per person per season

  • Local businesses report that those who have participated in the program are now signing up for sailing lessons and sailing opportunities


  • The boats used have included Rainbows lent by Annapolis Sailing School, Freedom 20s and a Hunter 22 lent by C.R.A.B., Barnet 14s lent by Brendan Sailing Program, J 105’s lent by Chessie Jr. Racing, Topaz Dinghies lent by Topaz, a J80 lent by J/World, Donnybrook lent by Jim Muldoon, Adventurer (Cherubini 56) lent by Art Birney,  Outward Bound HI30s, a Catalina 25 lent by Drew Parker, a C&C 27 lent by Tom Walsh, a Quickstep 24 lent by Doug Roberts, a Catalina 42 lent by Tony Ireland, Elf lent by Ric Carron, Mad Will lent by Angus Phillips, a Jenneau lent by Annapolis Boat Charters and a Harbor 20, J80, and J105 lent by Chesapeake Boating Club

  • The Jamie Boekel Foundation provided funding for life jackets


  • Those participating receive safety instructions, a knot tying lesson, information on the Chesapeake Bay and environmental stewardship and a listing of available sailing opportunities in the area. (30-45 minutes)

  • On the water; on board safety instruction and three hours of sailing

  • Could shorten to the whole program to three hours

  • Walk by public interested in briefings held outside



  • The location is an easily recognizable and findable public place


  • Each organization has its own constituency and mechanisms for marketing-mailings, newsletters, flyers, e-mail blasts, media contacts, etc. The announcement of the program started going out a month before the first weekend.

  • Coverage in the Annapolis Capital, Baltimore Sun, Washington Post, SpinSheet and others began to appear a week before the first weekend. It is word of mouth which is now driving people to call for a reservation.

  • Coverage of the program underway in Annapolis Capital and on Fox 5 in Washington


  • Two coordinators (Volunteer) Staff during this first season was a mix of volunteers and modestly paid coaches.

  • Coaches should be rotated to minimize burnout – surprisingly draining to do week in and week out from April to October


  • Each organization and individual carries insurance on their boats. Each participant signs a waiver holding Annapolis Community Boating and the National Sailing Hall of Fame harmless


  • During the first season most everything was donated. Part of the exercise was to determine costs.  Actual costs $2,960. This does not include all the volunteer time donated





Taking Sailing to the Public

Annapolis Sail
Photograph by Richard Chomitz

Free Sailing at NSHOF Sailing Center Overbooked

After two weeks of Free Sailing at the National Sailing Hall of Fame Sailing Center, organized by a consortium of local organizations, including Annapolis Community Boating, Chesapeake Regional Accessible Boating, Brendan Sailing, Chessie Jr. Racing, Box of Rain, Outward Bound, the Annapolis Sailing School and the National Sailing Hall of Fame, the Sunday afternoon programs are overbooked through June 14th, with 134 people participating. Requests to sign up last week have been 6-7 a day.

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