College & High School Sailing
College sailing began as informal clubs competing between universities in the 1890s. It has grown to include more than 230 active colleges that offer racing programs, as well as extensive recreational and instructional programs. College sailing is governed by the Inter-Collegiate Sailing Association (ICSA) in the United State and some parts of Canada. They range seven conferences where conferences conduct local and inter-conference regattas for the chance to compete at the ICSA National Championships.
Racing occurs every weekend during fall, spring, and most weekends during the winter months. Students largely compete in double and singlehanded dinghies, though some programs have sloops, offshore, and cruising sailboats. College sailing is considered a cornerstone for the development of racing skills and they are also recognized for their introduction of novices to the sport and providing opportunities for the recreational sailor.
High school sailing is an integral sport in nearly 500 independent and public high schools throughout the United States. Eligibility starts in ninth grade and there are no age limits. The Interscholastic Sailing Association (ISSA) governs secondary school sailing for all intuitions nationwide with active districts in Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, South Atlantic, Southeast, Midwest, Pacific Coast, and Northwest.
Schools compete in team racing as well as open and closed fleet racing events in doublehanded and singlehanded dinghies. Teams compete in district championships for the chance to reach Nationals. Few schools have boats, but high school sailing has developed rapidly in the past few years and continues to do so. Much of the growth is attributed to the support they receive from those who see this as an opportunity for young sailors as a partner to junior and youth sailing, and preparation for college sailing and beyond.