Sailing must be the most underrated sport of all time. Although it does not have the instant gratification of motorized sport sought by adrenaline junkies or the forced mate-ship of team games, sailing has long term rewards that far exceed either. Non-sailors seem to view sailing with suspicion as some mysterious art-form that must passed genetically. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Sailing is simply one of those life skills, like riding a bicycle or swimming. It can be learnt in an hour or two for sheer enjoyment or perfected through Olympic training. The level is up to the individual. I often hear about today's kids being ADD, hyperactive or socially inept. Leave the Ritalin, play therapy & peer pressure behind & introduce them to sailing. They will seek their own pace and meet their own objectives. Sailing provides many challenges, great contentment and teaches the value of self discipline.
Sailing does not require you to "fit in" or to be "chosen" for a team. You do not need good hand-eye co-ordination or to be fit. You can be any shape, size or age. It is a healthy, outdoor, water sport that builds confident and able young men and women. Think JFK, Ted Turner, Edward Heath, Prince Phillip, Ernesto Bertarelli, Thomas Lipton etc. Not successful men who sail, but rather sailors that became successful.
— Nick Mace
In many areas of the United States, sailing is a popular high school or college club-sport. The programs are generally co-educational; do not require a high level of athletic skill, prior experience, or substantial physical training. Community sailing programs as well as national associations for high school and college sailing have helped to broaden access to the sport of sailing. US Sailing, the national organization for sailing, has active programs ranging from education to support for the US Olympic Sailing Team.
Regionally, the website for the Mid Atlantic Interscholastic Sailing Association (MASSA), part of the national Interscholastic Sailing Association (ISSA), includes New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania. The MASSA lists 58 high school sailing programs.
Regional collegiate sailing is supported through the Mid Atlantic Inter-Collegiate Sailing Association, part of the national Intercollegiate Sailing Association (ICSA). MASSA has 42 college programs, including four in Pennsylvania.
Both ISSA and ICSA offer guidance for development local programs and sponsorship of regional and national regattas. US Sailing offers a complete sailing coaching certification program for coaches and program coordinators.