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.

VPR – Community Sailing Center Puts Kids At The Helm

August 20, 2018 | Ari Snider

In Burlington, one of the surest signs of summer are the small white sailboats messing around on Lake Champlain. The boats belong to the Lake Champlain Community Sailing Center, which offers lessons, youth camps, and special programs all summer.

On a humid afternoon last week, dozens of kids in bathing suits and bright life jackets were hanging out on the dock at the Sailing Center, which just moved into a new building on the Burlington waterfront…

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Adventure Sports Network – Cheap and Deep: The Best of Burlington, Vermont On a Budget

July 9, 2018 | By Kade Krichko

Tucked in between picturesque Lake Champlain, the Green Mountains and the Canadian border, Vermont’s cultural hub of Burlington sets the standard for quintessential New England beauty.

Aside from its easy access to mountain biking, hiking, climbing and water sports in the summer, Burlington is also home to the University of Vermont and a vibrant artistic community, adding a healthy dose of culture to its natural surroundings… The best way to see the beauty of Lake Champlain is from the water, but instead of ponying up for a pricey sailboat or motorboat rental, hit the Community Sailing Center

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NBC5 – Kayaking safety tips from Community Sailing Center

by Renee Wunderlich

Staying safe out on the water starts with wearing a life jacket and making sure all your gear is in good shape.

“(For) a good paddle, you’re looking for something really solid, one that has no breaks in it,” said Mary Dowd at the Lake Champlain Community Sailing Center.

She said kayaking is fun for all ages, but there are some key safety measures to keep in mind.

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Sailing Anarchy: Change is Good

Sailing is not just an elitist sport but also a platform for education, access, and a conduit for change. By Charlotte Longley and Jen Guimaraes

For years, sailing has been viewed as simply a recreational sport reserved for the upper echelons of society – those people with the means and access to join their local yacht club or boathouse. And yet, the opportunities that sailing can provide can have a far greater impact on society than simply leisure. Whether it’s used as an educational tool, a means to create access, or a platform to instill valuable life skills, the world of sailing shouldn’t be reserved for the elite – it should be open to everyone.

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Observer.com: Who Knew There Was So Much to Do in Burlington, Vermont?

Bernie’s adopted hometown is a total fun-fest for a summer weekend

Downtown Burlington, where you'll find bars, restaurants, shops and Ben & Jerry's.

Downtown Burlington, where you’ll find bars, restaurants, shops and Ben & Jerry’s. (Photo: Education Images/UIG via Getty Images)

The secret to survival all New Yorkers eventually learn is that, every once in awhile, you need to get the hell out of this place and breathe in some fresh air. As summer has us all itching to escape, places that feel simple and eclectic as well as reminiscent of coveted fictional towns, like Gilmore Girls’ Stars Hollow, are calling our names. If you want a perfect destination for this craving, head to Burlington, Vt., a town that mixes chic city luxuries, good food and boutique accommodation with proximity to nature. Only a one-hour flight, it’s the perfect weekend retreat.

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Students Get Stem Lessons on The Waters of Lake Champlain

Report By: Amy Ash Nixon, VTDIGGER.COM

BURLINGTON – Students from local schools are learning the ropes through a new science, math, engineering and technology program on Lake Champlain.

The Lake Champlain Community Sailing Center has offered on-craft courses since 2008, and recently created a new program, Floating Classrooms, that gives more than 900 students a year an opportunity to apply their science and math knowledge as they sail across the lake.
Read more here!

Top Ten Summer Camps (Countrywide)

Report By: Famadillo.com

At the Burlington Waterfront on the shores of Lake Champlain, the Lake Champlain Community Sailing Center offers a wide array of kids camps. Each camp has a sailing component, but the multi-activity camps allow children to experience the unique sport of sailing while also receiving lessons in rockclimbing, skateboarding or healthy cooking. In “Cooking and Sailing”, for example, campers (age 9-12) spend the morning sailing and the afternoon exploring organic and local culinary pursuits at the Healthy Living Market and Cafe.

Read more here!

Lake Champlain Community Sailing Center unveils floating art gallery

Report By: Vermont Business Magazine

The Lake Champlain Community Sailing Center, in partnership with Dealer.com, unveiled on Thursday evening the first ever Floating Gallery – a collection of original artwork printed on sailboat sails. The product of an eight-month long project, Floating Gallery features work by four local artists – Scott A Campbell, Michael Sipe, Abby Manock, and Mary Lacy – all with a vision to create a one-of-a-kind waterfront experience for the Burlington community.
Read more here!

Adaptive Sailing Clinic on Burlington’s Waterfront

Report By: Christine Sounders, My Champlain Valley.com

BURLINGTON, Vt. – Any person, any age, any skill level can learn to sail.

That’s the message behind one unique clinic.

Sunday, the Sailing Center teamed up with the Adaptive Sailing Clinic to make that a reality.

ABC22’s Chief Photojournalist Steve Longchamp takes us to Lake Champlain for an up close look at these promising sailors in action.

“We’re doing an Adaptive Sailing Clinic to generate interest for our programs. We’re trying to get more disabled sailors involved in the programs. We have two Martin 16 sailboats that we sail at Mallett’s Bay and there’s two Martin 16 sailboats at the Community Sailing Center, so there’s a lot of opportunities for people with disabilities to sail,” said Brad Stevenson, a disabled sailor.

“We like to say that we leave our dependence on the docks, you know when we go out sailing. That you’re out there and it’s just you and the boat and the wind and the water. And the boat’s designed so that it minimizes any of the physical components of sailing so that you are the skipper and working directly with nature and the elements at that point. There’s nothing more liberating than that,” said Patrick Standen with Northeast Disabled Athletic Association.

Read more here!