How do I register my child? What forms do I need to sign or bring with me?
Registration is completed under “Sign Up” at or use the convenient links above. Space is available on a first paid, first reserved basis. To secure a spot in one of the classes, the online registration form needs to be filled out completely and full payment is required through PayPal or Credit Card payment.

After you register, please make sure you bring a signed Liability Release Form and a signed Sailor Code of Conduct for each sailor on the first day or your child will not be allowed to participate. Alternatively, you can mail the forms prior to the beginning of the class to the following address:

Program Director
Santa Barbara Youth Sailing Foundation
130 Harbor Way
Santa Barbara, CA 93109

How old does my child have to be to participate?
SBYSF suggests an age range from 6 to 18 years old. No prior sailing experience is needed to participate. We have classes for beginners to advanced sailing and racing.

Does my child need to know how to swim?
We like to know that our participants are comfortable in the water. During the first day of class we take a short swim (~25 feet) off of the beach to gauge a sailor’s level of comfort in the water. Sailors swim to a anchored coach boat, don a lifejacket, then swim back to shore.

Our sailors wear lifejackets during all on the water activities.

Do I need to own a sailboat or do I have to purchase a sailboat to participate?
No. SBYSF has sailboats the sailors will use.

What type of sailboat will my child be sailing?
SBYSF uses one-person, 8' pram style sailboats called Optimist SailCubes and fiberglass Optimists for younger children. These sailboats are widely used all over the world for learning to sail and more advanced racing. More children learn to sail in an Optimist than any other boat. It’s weight, sail size and stability allow it to be sailed in all wind conditions. The Optimist Class is the largest youth sailing/racing class in the world with over 150,000 Optimists registered. Also, we use CFJ’s for older kids to learn to sail and to race. The CFJ is a light, maneuverable boat at 13 feet long, 4 feet wide and weighing in around 220 lbs. and it is often used in youth sailing, high school and collegiate programs. Both of these boats are widely sailed in Southern California.

What are the hours for the sessions each day?
The classes are held either from 9:00 am - 12 noon or 1:00 pm - 4:30 pm. Please check on the class you are registered in for the appropriate time.

Is lunch provided for my Child?
Lunch is not provided. Please pack a nutritious lunch, snacks that are portable and easy to eat and send plenty of water.

Where do I park?
Limited parking is available in the harbor area next to the Santa Barbara Yacht Club. Parking at the Yacht Club is reserved for members only. Additional parking for a nominal cost is available to the left as you enter the harbor from Cabrillo. Turn left immediately after you enter the Santa Barbara Harbor and receive a ticket at the kiosk. From the parking area you can walk over to the Santa Barbara Yacht Club.

Where do the classes meet?
Parents will drop off their sailors at the SBYSF dock. The dock is located near the beginning of the breakwater and down the ramp at the entrance to Marina One in the Santa Barbara Harbor. During orientation on Day 1 you will be given directions to the SBYSF dock. Our coaching staff will be available about 15 minutes prior to the start of class also.

What do the sailors wear each day?
Each sailor is required to wear a Coast Guard approved life jacket while they are on the water and sailing. Comfortable clothes and a hat that will protect the sailor from the sun and that they can get wet are important. Closed toe, non-marking shoes such as Keens, water shoes, old-sneakers (canvas sneaker such as Converse All-Stars work well). No Tevas or flip-flops.

What do I bring?

  • Life jacket: US Coast Guard Approved, Type III. Brands like Extrasport and Gill are the most popular and comfortable. Fit is important, so please choose the appropriate size for right now. Also, West Marine has a selection of very good house brand life jackets at their South Calle Cesar Chavez Street location. SBYSF has a limited amount of life jackets available to borrow.

  • Sunscreen and Hat: We will spend a lot of time in the sun!

  • Sunglasses: Eye protection is critical in our sport. Please opt for polarized lenses for maximum protection.

  • Sailing Clothing: Recommended gear includes: quick drying shorts, rash guards or “tech” shirts (long sleeve is preferred), closed toe shoes. Cotton clothing is not suggested.

  • Change of clothing and towel: Dry clothes for after sailing and the ride home.

  • Snack and refillable water bottle.

Can parents watch?
Yes! Our sailing takes place either in the Santa Barbara Harbor basin or on the Pacific Ocean. Viewing is best from Stearns Wharf, West Beach or the Santa Barbara Harbor breakwall depending on the wind direction and schedule for the day..

How do I drop off/pick up my sailor
Parents must sign their sailors in and out at the beginning and end of each day. A staff member will be on hand to take attendance. At the end of each day a staff member will walk your class up to the front gate of Santa Barbara Yacht Club. This will allow for easy pick up. We ask parents to arrive on time (12:00 pm or 4:30 pm). Most of our staff have afternoon classes at 1:00 and have a short opportunity to have lunch.

My sailor had a great time! What next?
Our classes progress in a logical, linear manner at SBYSF. The flow is: Novice → Intermediate → Green Fleet → Champ Fleet or beginning FJ sailing to High School FJ sailing. Each class builds upon the previous and adds skills necessary for success at the next level. For those interested, youth sailing has become an accessible sport for all sailors.

SBYSF Family Night

What:  An opportunity to meet other parents and sailors actively involved in our program.  We will have a casual BBQ on the beach near Santa Barbara Yacht Club

When:  The second Thursday of each Summer Session

Where:  On Ledbetter Beach to the Southeast side of SBYC, near SB Harbor Breakwall

What to bring:  SBYSF will provide all BBQ necessities: BBQ, condiments, plates/utensils.  We ask families to bring their preferred food to BBQ

Please contact the Program Director at 805-965-4603 or at for additional information.