AYC Racing School
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South Coast 21 sailing on Lake Travis (image courtesy of
  Bruce McDonald)
The number of instructors and sailboats available on any particular day will vary, so students are encouraged to register early by sending an email to the following address:


In order to reserve a spot, please send an email by the Wednesday prior to the class you plan to attend. Late registrations are welcome but space is not guaranteed. Sending an email early during the week will reserve a spot for you and it helps instructors plan how many practice boats will be needed.

What should the email say?

Please include your full name, email address and the date of the class you are planning to attend. If you are a new student, please tell us how you found out about us, and please spell your name the way you would like it spelled during class. For example, sometimes "Joseph" likes to be called "Joe" and when "Katharine Hepburn" attended one of our classes she hated it when people spelled her name "Katherine", haha! ;-) You can register a friend as well, but you must include their full name and email address as well. We use email to communicate the status of class and to confirm how many spots are available so it is important for everybody to check their email frequently on the days leading up to the class. You can register for more than one class in advance if you want, but please remember to register for each class you plan to attend in order to help us plan the number of sailboats and instructors needed. For new students, please let us know how you heard about us and please include your level of experience so we can plan ahead (remember beginners are welcome :-)

OK, I sent an email, what next?

Fancy "Yes" and "No" buttons on typical emails sent
  via our Racing School email servers.
Once you send us an email, we will reply with a confirmation. The week before class we will finalize how many volunteer instructors we have for that week and how many spots are available for students. Once we finalize the count of volunteer instructors we will send an email to all students who have registered confirming class and confirming whether we have a spot available for them or whether they are on the waiting list.

We do most of our communications via email, so it is very important that everybody check their email frequently on the days leading up to the class and reply so that we know you are still able to participate. In particular, it is important that everybody click on the appropriate Yes or No button on the confirmation email to indicate whether they are still able to attend or not. Clicking the appropriate button will add you to the right list automatically, and it will make our life a lot simpler when we are trying to match students to available sailboats :-) If your confirmation email does not contain the Yes and No buttons, or if they are not nicely formatted as shown above, then please let us know as soon as possible.

Where should I go?

Four sailboats racing upwind on Lake Travis (image
  courtesy of Bruce McDonald)
Classes are held at the Austin Yacht Club. The AYC Contact Us page has the address. If the front gate is closed when you arrive, please wait and an instructor will open the gate for you.


Plan on getting to the club by the Class Start time specified on the schedule. Plan on being on the water between 2 and 2-1/2 hours for a regular class.

Important: New students please arrive one hour prior to the start time shown on the schedule in order to go through orientation as described in the What to expect section. We typically have the orientation class if we have enough new students who have never attended before. When you register for a class, your confirmation email will have the time you should arrive at the club depending on whether you are a new student or a returning student.

Afternoon Race

If you would like to participate in one of the AYC races after class, then plan on spending the rest of the day enjoying beautiful Lake Travis! Please tell your instructor and we will try to find a boat that needs extra crew for the race. We can't guarantee that we will find you a spot but most skippers at AYC are happy to take newcomers on board. The afternoon race starts at 1:30 pm and ends around 4:30 pm. Typically everybody congregates at the clubhouse after the race and the AYC Social Committee provides a meal for around $8 dollars. If you attend the afternoon race, and if you would like to stay for the meal, please bring some cash with you.

What to bring? What to wear?

Here are some suggestions for personal items you may want to bring:
  • sunglasses (and neck strap)
  • sunscreen + SPF lip balm
  • hat or baseball cap
  • boat shoes or other non-marking shoes (light colored, soft soled shoes)
  • sailing gloves (if you own a pair)
  • water/drinks, especially during the Summer! :-)
  • lunch/snack, especially if you want to participate in the afternoon race
  • some cash, especially if you want to stay for the meal after the race
  • shorts and a T-shirt during the Summer (see Hot Weather Sailing)
  • swimsuit if you want to jump in the lake (during the Summer)
  • extra set of dry clothes to change into
  • windbreaker and/or fleece jacket during Spring or Fall
  • warm/dry clothes or foul weather gear during Winter (see Cold Weather Sailing)
Whereas some sailors like to sail barefoot while cruising in The Bahamas, you will find that most racers prefer to wear shoes while racing :-) Regular white-soled tennis shoes would be an excellent choice of footwear... flip-flops or high heels would be a poor choice :-) Some types of running shoes (with dark soles) tend to leave scuff marks on the boat deck and that is why wearing boat shoes is better (or wearing shoes with light colored soft soles). Ask your skipper for an extra pair of sailing gloves if you don't own a pair. As you get more experienced you will probably want to buy your own pair. You can buy a pair at West Marine located at 183 and Burnet Rd (9070 Research Blvd). Most boats have an ice-chest where you can put your drinks. All boats are equipped with life preservers. Please ask your skipper for one if you feel more comfortable wearing one.

How much does it cost?

The best things in life are free, and so is the AYC Racing School :-) Your instructors are volunteer sailors from the Austin Yacht Club who will be participating in a club-sponsored race later in the day. We get to the club a couple of hours earlier than we normally would in order to teach you how to sail. It's a win-win situation :-) We get to sail more (instead of mowing the lawn), and you get to learn how to sail. We are hoping that once you catch the bug you'll join us on the race course, and we'll teach you everything you need to know in order to get there.