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High School Sailing

The Basics

  • High school sailing is governed at a national level by the Interscholastic Sailing Association or ISSA for short.
  • There are seven districts encompassing approximately 1,000 different high school teams across the country. Schools in Washington and Oregon belong to the Northwest Interscholastic Sailing Association or NWISA for short
  • There are currently about 30 active teams in the NWISA district. Check to see if there is already one at your school.​
  • Regattas are sailed primarily in the spring season from early March through May. 
  • ​​National championships are rotated between the different districts with each district getting a number or berths proportionate to its size.
  • ​​A full team usually consists of four sailors from the same school, although there are developmental rules in place to help teams with fewer than four sailors compete.
  • Racing is usually done in double-handed dinghies with no spinnaker or trapeze. FJs, V-15s, and c420s are all suitable, with the FJ being the most popular on the West Coast.
  • ​​Most teams partner with a yacht club or local sailing center which serves as their home base and provides the boats and other equipment. 
  • It's common for more than one team to be based out of the same sailing center. When this is the case they often practice together and share coaching.
  • Some sailing centers provide a paid coach, but usually it's a community member or parent who volunteers their time to run practice and get the team to regattas.
  • ​​If your school doesn't have a team, Start One Now!