Archive August 2019

CSC – Community Sailing Center Unveils the Nation’s First Free Sailing Program

Free Sailboat Rentals This Fall Thanks to the WaterWheel Foundation

Burlington, VT — The Community Sailing Center (CSC) is excited to announce their Free Sailing Program which will offer free sailboat rentals to all sailors in our community from September 7 to October 14. In line with their mission of creating lake access and life lessons for all, the program is designed to eliminate financial barriers to recreation on Lake Champlain and to the sport of sailing. The Free Sailing Program is the first of its kind in the United States.

“This opportunity came to light during our New Horizon Summit in June, where we collected our supporters, campers, parents, and staff to envision the future for the Community Sailing Center. There was tremendous energy and interest toward exploring this simple idea.” said Executive Director Owen Milne. “With a generous gift from The WaterWheel Foundation, we are eager to live our mission and further break down barriers to accessing Lake Champlain.”

The WaterWheel Foundation is a Vermont based non-profit organization created by the rock band Phish. “When the Community Sailing Center approached us about the idea for free access to boating on Lake Champlain, we immediately saw this as a big benefit to the greater Burlington community and also to the lake,” remarks Beth Montouri Rowles, General Manager of Phish. “Access to the lake is essential to the mission of protecting its environmental well-being.  We are happy to be able to help provide this opportunity.” 

All renters who partake in this program will be required to pass a written sailing assessment and submit a short survey prior to their sail. Sailing will be available during regular fall hours on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 am to 6 pm. The boats included in the program include 23’ Sonars and 19’ Rhodes keelboats or dinghies such as the 420s, and Lasers.

Call 802.864.2499 for more information or to reserve a keelboat rental. All other boats are first come first serve.


About the WaterWheel Foundation: The WaterWheel Foundation was created by Phish in 1997 to oversee the band’s various charitable activities with a mission of supporting Vermont-based non-profits and others in need. The WaterWheel Foundation chooses non-profits from a large sphere of needs including social services, primarily those benefiting women and children; environmental, with a focus on clean water and land conservation with public access; as well as food banks, urban gardening and the like. Thanks to the generosity of the fans, since its creation WaterWheel’s Touring Division has donated over $1,000,000 to more than 425 groups.

Seven Days – Sail Away: Community Sailing Center Launches Free Program

August 20, 2019 | Dan Bolles

An old chestnut in sailing circles is that the best two days of a sailor’s life are the day he or she buys a boat … and the day he/she sells it. For landlubbers, the joke is that, while sailing can be a blissful pastime, it’s also a notoriously expensive and consuming hobby.

This week, the Community Sailing Center in Burlington announced a new initiative that will take away much of the hassle and virtually all of the expense of sailing for those looking to get out on the water.

Beginning in September, the CSC will offer weekend sailboat rentals gratis through its new Free Sailing Program, which is believed to be the first of its kind in the United States.

The pilot program grew out of discussions in June at the CSC’s New Horizon Summit, a gathering of sailing center supporters to brainstorm ideas for the nonprofit organization’s future.

“One of the big ideas was this notion of, could we figure out how to make sailing free?” said CSC executive director Owen Milne. “More specifically, making it possible for people who know how to sail to just rent a boat and get out on the lake in the same way anybody can go on the bike path or the skate park.”

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