Moraine Sailing Club
P.O. Box 15120, Pittsburgh, PA 15237
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Learning To Sail

Learning to Sail at Lake Arthur

Classes for 2023 are Full - send an email to if you would like to be placed onto a waiting list if there are cancellations for 2023 or to be notified when registration opens for 2024.

  • Small group sailing lessons at your own pace
  • Learn to sail on a Flying Scot and/or Sunfish
  • Instruction both on-shore and on-the-water
  • US Sailing Certified Instructor on each Flying Scot
  • Sailboat friendly waters on Lake Arthur at Moraine State Park
  • Discounted CSP membership for remainder of season to certified LTS graduates
  • US Sailing Small Boat Sailor Certification thru successful completion of skills checklist and written test
  • Ages 14 & up (dependants must attend with parent/legal guardian)

Learn-to-Sail for Beginning Students

Click here to check to see if there are still seats available in our classes. A few days after you signup for a class your name will appear on the roster.

Sailing is fun – and Moraine Sailing Club is here to help you get started. We offer learn-to-sail courses taught by friendly, knowledgeable and certified US Sailing Instructors. Courses are taught on Lake Arthur which is in Moraine State Park about one hour north of Pittsburgh.

If you are new to sailing, we recommend you start with learning to sail a Sunfish sailboat in our MSC 101 course. It is a good first boat for most sailors to learn – but if you are taller than 6 foot, weigh more than 200 lbs or are a little less limber, you may be more comfortable starting with the Flying Scot sailboat in our MSC 201 course. The tuition for each of the courses is listed below. If you have more than one person is interested to learn sailing from the same household, the first student pays the higher rate, but all additional students from that household sign up for the lower rate. If a student already took the class in a previous session or previous year, they may sign up to repeat the class at the lower rate.

Age to Participate in Learn-to-Sail Classes

Our Learn-to-Sail program is designed for adults 18 years and older. Out MSC 101 class, however, is open to students who are at least 14 years old when the class starts, as long as each student younger than 18 is attending each session along with a parent or guardian enrolled in that class AND each student must be comfortable in the water and able to swim 25 yards wearing a lifejacket. We can only allow one student per parent/guardian, so if a family has two students younger than 18, they would need to sign up at least two adults as well and those adults need to attend each class. (MSC offers a Youth Sail Camp program for students ages 8-16. See the “Youth Camp” section of this website for details.)

Weather for Sailing Classes

We hold classes rain or shine and only cancel a session if there is lightning or very high winds. The final decision to cancel (or not) is made early in the morning of each date. We post on the MSC website event calendar page for the specific session if the class is a “go” or “cancelled” no later than 7:00am. Each class has 5 scheduled sessions, but there is enough time to complete the class in only 4 sessions if needed. If we need to cancel more than one session due to weather, we will try to schedule a make-up date when the boats and instructors are available.

Pathway To Community Sailing Prgram (CSP)

Many students are comfortable sailors after their first 5 day series of classes and are ready to try joining our Community Sailing Program (CSP). Other students may elect to repeat, such as re-taking the MSC 101, or maybe going from MSC 101 to MSC 201 before trying to join CSP. The Community Sailing Program allows club members to sail club-owned sailboats on their own. In order to join CSP you must “qualify” on either the Sunfish or Flying Scot sailboat by going on a ‘check ride’ with one of our instructors where you can demonstrate that you can rig, launch, sail, dock and de-rig the boat correctly and safely. If you take a learn-to-sail class and go on to qualify for CSP, there is no additional cost for you to enjoy all the CSP benefits for the remainder of that season. Once qualified for CSP, you may re-join as a CSP member the following year to continue enjoying sailing club-owned boats. There are specific dates and times listed on the MSC Website calendar for the CSP “Qualifying Days”. (These days are open to students who have completed our learn-to-sail class and also open to club members who are already skilled at sailing small dinghies like the Flying Scot or Sunfish. What to wear/bring to class Wear clothes and shoes that can get wet, bring a towel. Leave cameras and cell phones at home. Bring a hat, sunscreen and a water bottle. All sailors must wear life jackets while in class – we have plenty of jackets in different sizes for you to borrow.

Beginning Learn-to-Sail Course Schedule for 2023

There are four beginner sailing course sections. Choose the section for the type of sailboat and the dates you want to attend. Classes sometimes fill up quickly, so you may wish to indicated a “1st choice” and “2nd choice” section to attend on your application form.

MSC 101 Learn to Sail Sunfish – five days of in-boat sessions lead by instructors on-water. Prerequisites: none Cost for the first household member is $175. Cost for each additional household member and any returning learn-to-sail student is $110/each

101A: in-boat 9:00am-3:00pm Sat May 13, 27, June 10,24, July 8

101B: in-boat 9:00am-3:00pm Sun July 16, Sat Jul 22, Sun Aug 20, Sep 3, Sep 17

MSC 201 Learn to Sail FlyingScot – five days of in-boat: instructor plus 3 students. Prerequisites: recommended, not required MSC 101 Cost for the first household member is $175. Cost for each additional household member and any returning learn-to-sail student is $110/each

201A: in-boat 9:00am-3:00pm Sat May 13, 27, June 10,24, July 8

201B: in-boat 9:00am-3:00pm Sun July 16, Sat Jul 22, Sun Aug 20, Sep 3, Sep 17

Intermediate & Advanced Learn-to-Sail Course Schedule for 2023

We offer additional classes to advance your skill and knowledge. We strongly recommend that sailors have significant experience sailing on their own (ie outside of experience gained during the Learn to Sail classes) before signing up for the classes below. A great way to gain experience is by joining the Community Sailing Program.

MSC 301 Advanced Flying Scot This course consists of two days on-shore & in boats with instructors to learn how to sail with a spinnaker along with advanced sail trim & boat handling. This course is geared towards developing greater skill, control and speed, particularly for racing. (recommended pre-requisite is “skill in sailing a flying scot sailboat including at least 20 hours of sailing on your own / not-during-learn-to-sail classes)

301A: 3:00pm-4:30pm Saturday July 29 and Sunday Aug 13 Cost per student: $50

MSC 401 Sailing a Hobie Catamaran
This course consists of two days on-shore & in boats with instructors. Hobie specific rigging & sailing, capsize recovery & safe trapeze usage. (recommended pre-requisite is “skill in sailing a dinghy such as a flying scot or sunfish sailboat including at least 20 hours of sailing on your own / not-during-learn-to-sail classes)

401A: 9:00am-12:30pm Saturday July 29 and Sunday Aug 13 Cost per student: $50

Additional Courses and CSP Qualifying for 2023

In addition to the classes listed above, there are other learning opportunities available in 2023.

MSC 302 Rigging Refresher Course (Sunfish and FlyingScot)
All Community Sailing Program members and all Learn to Sail Students from 2022 and earlier are invited to attend this free rigging refresher course to help get the cobwebs out and remind you of the correct rigging and de-rigging steps. US Sailing Instructors will be on hand to walk you thru the process and answer your questions. We will NOT be sailing this day, just rigging/de-rigging on shore. To sign up to attend this course, add your name to the signup list on the MSC website by clicking on this class on the Calendar Event Page for the “rigging refresher course”

302A: 11:00am – 2:00pm Saturday April 29 Cost per student $0

MSC 303 Learn to Race

One day introductory course taught in classroom and on-water using Sunfish sailboats. Course covers the basic rules of racing, including how to start and basic racing tactics and types of races. On-water practice with a real race course. (recommended pre-requisite is “skill in sailing a Sunfish sailboat including at least 10 hours of sailing on your own / not-during-learn-to-sail classes) Note: we have very limited space in this program – please email if you would like to signup for this class.

303A: 10:00am-4:00pm Saturday June 3 Cost per student $0

303B: 10:00am-4:00pm and Sunday Aug 13 Cost per student: $0

MSC 304 CSP Qualification Days

If you have completed an MSC Learn to Sail class, or have significant prior sailing experience on one or more of these sailboats, go for a check-ride with one of our instructors to demonstrate your skills to become “Community-Sail-Program-Qualified”. Once qualified you will be able to join the CSP and borrow and sail the boats for which you have qualified. There is no cost, but please signup on the MSC website “events” page at least one week ahead of time so we know how many sailors are planning to show up so that we have enough instructors on-hand. On each of these dates, we will offer qualifications at these times: Sunfish @ noon, Hobie @ 2pm, FlyingScot @ 4pm

May 28 (Sunday)
June 25 (Sunday)
July 15 (Saturday)
Sept 2 (Saturday)

Questions? Contact Education Director

Instructor Information

Moraine Sailing Club