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Whatcom Community Sailing is a non-profit organization to teach high school students in our community how to race. elsaThe program is for high school and middle schools students from Whatcom County grades 8 to 12. The program is for sailors of all skill levels from beginners to advanced. We focus on racing and participate in high school regattas around the Northwest as part of the NWISA (Northwest Interscholastic Sailing Association). The team practices during the Spring from March to May and Fall from September through October.  Regattas are on the weekends and take place in the San Juans, Seattle, and as far south as Portland, OR.


Team fee is $250 per season.

We do not want cost to be a barrier from participation so please contact us if you need financial assistance.

Checks should be made out to Whatcom Community Sailing.


Scholarships are available to those who qualify by being on the free-reduced lunch program through the schools.  Please contact us if you qualify and pass this information to anyone who may be interested.


We practice 2 times per week in the fall and spring. Fall Season goes from the beginning of September to the end of October, though we do attend occasional races during November and January. Spring season practices are from March to the middle of May. Practices are held at Zuanich Park Dock on Bellingham Bay and we race in FJs.


Bellingham and Explorations will practice on Mondays and Wednesdays, 3:45 to 6:30

Sehome and Squalicum will practice on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 3:45 to 6:30



We require all sailors to have a Type III Coastguard approved lifejacket, a whistle on their life jacket, wetsuit, and workout gear including running shoes..There will be days when we will require a wetsuit or you won't be able to sail. We strongly encourage proper gear, such as gloves, booties, and no cotton. On our gear page, we suggest places to buy gear and what kind of gear to get. Please ask us or your fellow sailors what gear we recommend if you have any questions. Workouts will include cardio exersizes including running, team members must always be prepared for running at every practice.


We allow 8th graders as long as they have some racing experience.

We know you end school later, because of this, we will expect you to arrive at 4:15. You will still have plenty of time to sail. Please come ready to change quickly.

8th graders are able to participate at almost all regattas, with the exception of District championship events. However, occasionally these events will have a JV course which allows 8th graders. Also, we have a large team and occasionally we do not have enough boats to get everyone sailing. In this case, 8th graders will be the first to stay home.


Please see our schedule page for a schedule of all regattas. We require attendance at all regattas (and practices).


We are excited to have your sailor on the team, and will be kept very busy organizing practices, regattas and teaching them how to become awesome racers! So, we will need your help! Regatta travel is usually based on parent drivers. We try to reimburse for gas, and food is usually free or very cheap for the weekend. (Provided by the hosting team). Please take a look at the regatta schedule and make note on which regattas you would be able to drive.


For more information email


Regatta 101

Everything a you need to know about high school sailing regattas!

As your high school sailors go through a term, they will learn skills ranging from basic/intermediate skills to advanced racing techniques. The goal is to prepare them to participate in inter-school competitions, called regattas. Since regattas are often out of town and involve overnight stays, we depend on our parent volunteers to serve as drivers and chaperones. For those of you who are new to all this, we’ve prepared this list of FAQs to try and answer most of your questions.

What is a regatta?
A regatta is simply a series of short sailboat races, typically anywhere from 5 to 20. It is either one or two days long and held on a weekend. High school sailors compete as 4-person teams, with one 2-person crew sailing in the A division and one 2-person crew sailing in the B division. Racing alternates between A and B divisions, with sailors swapping boats between races. The scores of both divisions are added together to determine the team’s ranking in the final results.

Who gets to sail in the regatta?
We encourage all our sailors to participate in regattas. Typically, the more experienced sailors serve as skippers and the less experienced sailors serve as crews. At formal events (i.e., district championships), all four team members must be from the same school. But for most of the regattas we will be attending, this is not a requirement, and we will be mixing sailors from different schools to make our teams. Final team assignments are made by the coaches prior to each regatta.

When are the regattas held?
Most high school regattas take place in the spring. They are held on weekends at predetermined times and locations (see High School Regatta Schedule). An organization called the Northwest Interscholastic Sailing Association (NWISA) determines locations and dates for all high school races in the northwest.

Where are the regattas held?
Regattas for high school sailors in the northwest can be held as far south as Eugene.  They typically take place in the Seattle, Portland, and Kitsap Peninsula areas.

Who provides the boats?
Boats will be provided by the hosting schools and other programs around the area.

How do we get to the regattas?
We drive in private cars with parent drivers.  Whatcom Community High School Sailing has developed a Regatta Travel Policy that covers our guidelines and responsibilities in some detail (see Regatta Travel Policy).

Where do we stay?
Sailors usually stay with a host family or in other lodgings arranged by the hosting organization. Parents usually have the option of staying with the kids or finding other accommodations on their own. When the regatta is in Bellingham, local families will host out of town families.

What are the parent responsibilities at a regatta?
It’s the job of the adult chaperones to assist and oversee the teams as they travel. This includes driving, managing the necessary forms and documentation, getting the sailors from their overnight lodgings to the regatta site on time, providing support as needed during the racing, and supervising après race activities. Parents are responsible for making sure all members of our team conform to the Whatcom Community High School Sailing Code of Conduct and behave at all times with courtesy and respect to everyone they meet.

What do we do while the kids are sailing?
Bring a book and chair, binoculars, camera, umbrella, raincoat and hat. Be ready to help cold, wet kids coming off the water with a blanket, a change of clothes, or a warm drink. Enjoy the racing and don’t hesitate to ask the coaches questions if you want to learn more, but please don’t tell them how to do their jobs.

Where do I get specific information about a regatta?
Specific regatta instructions–including times, locations, racing guidelines, housing arrangements, social events, etc.–are published in a Notice of Race issued by the NWISA or hosting organization before the event. This document will be posted on when it is received, or you can get a copy from the coaches or Parent Volunteer Coordinator.

Here’s a typical regatta scenario:
Friday evening: Meet at Sehome Haggens Parking Lot; Load gear in cars of drivers; drive to regatta location; settle kids into host family homes.
Saturday morning: Get to the regatta site early for registration, rigging of boats (kids do this) and skippers meeting; first race typically starts around noon; racing continues until 4ish or until wind poops out.

Saturday evening: Usually a hosted dinner for all participants, then home to bed or supervised activities for the kids (but not too late!).

Sunday: Racing starts early (10ish) and usually ends by 3 pm, followed by packing up the boats, awards presentation (stay for this!), then hit the road for home.

Where can I get more information?
Regatta schedule, current announcements, travel policies, parent volunteer guidelines, forms, and contact names and numbers can be found at


Practice Rules

On Shore:

  • Arrive on time. Come prepared to practice.  
  • Get dressed or start rigging as soon as you arrive.
  • You may dress in the basement bathrooms of the BYC or the public restrooms at Zuanich Park.
  • Keep all your gear stowed in bags, not in bathrooms.
  • No cell phones, iPods etc. at all. Cell phones must be turned off and stowed in gear bags prior to start of practice.
  • No running, jumping, or pushing on the docks.
  • Everyone helps rig boats. If you don’t rig, you don’t sail.
  • Everyone helps unrig boats. Do not leave until all boats have been put away (including covers and tie-downs).  Even if it’s not your boat.
  • Use of BYC facilities is limited to downstairs restrooms. 
  • Leave the facilities cleaner than you found it. Pick up after yourself and remove all your gear when you leave.
  • Notify a coach if you are unable to make it to practice at least 24 hours before practice. If you don't come to practice, you don't sail in regattas.

Important! If you come to practice you are expected to stay on-site and participate in the practice activities for the duration of the practice session. Do not leave the Lakewood premises until you have been excused by the coaches. If you need to leave practice early, you must inform a coach or parent and sign out before leaving.

On the water:

  • Always wear PFD and shoes when in boats or on docks.

  • Always obey coach’s commands and instructions immediately.

  • Stay close to the coach boat between drills. Do not sail away from the group at any time.

  • Sail by the rules at all times, including during and between drills.

  • When boats hit, somebody must do circles (one if you take your own penalty; two or more if a coach has to tell you).

  • Stay with the boat in a capsize. Wave your hands above your head if you need assistance.

  • If three or more boats are capsized, everyone will be directed to head for the dock.

  • Any sailor failing to comply with the rules will be sent off the water for remainder of practice.


  • 2 hours per practice

  • 4.5 hours per Saturday regatta

  • 2.5 hours per Sunday regatta

  • Fall Season - =36+28=64 hours

  • Spring Season – 52+63 = 115 hours

  • Year = 180 hours