The mission of Nantucket Community Sailing (NCS) is to engage people of all ages in the joy of sailing, offering access to all Nantucket’s youth, and teaching every participant in our programs enduring life and leadership skills, with a deep respect for the marine environment.
Nantucket Community Sailing was founded in 1994 as a non-profit educational organization by island sailors who recognized that, despite Nantucket’s extensive maritime history and pristine waters, many Nantucket children had no access to a sailboat. NCS believes that the experience of learning to sail teaches lessons that will last a lifetime, such as confidence, environmental stewardship, and teamwork. The NCS fleet consists of 150 boats, kayaks and paddleboards, with a staff of 40 instructors during the summer and seven year-round employees. We have a volunteer board of directors of 24 people.
Each year Nantucket Community Sailing serves about 600 children in our youth sailing classes. We have a structured range of classes with specific curricula, skill requirements and evaluations to help our students improve. We include several fun aspects in all classes, such as sailing to “Pirate Island” to hunt for buried treasure and the beloved cookie days. Our classes start at age 2 with Tiny Salts. We partner with the Nantucket Yacht Club and the Great Harbor Yacht Club to coach the All Island Opti Race Team and All Island 420 Race Team, which gives the three organizations a critical mass of sailors to train and compete in local and off-island regattas. We also offer toddler, youth and adult private sailing lessons and weekly Women’s Clinics.
NCS serves an additional 400 children and adults with our community outreach programs which provide free sailing and water sports to underserved members of our community. NCS teaches sailing lessons and water sports to children from the Nantucket Boys & Girls Club, children with disabilities from Nantucket STAR (Sports and Therapeutic Accessible Recreation), free sailing lessons for children of all abilities (formerly Sail to Prevail Nantucket), therapeutic sails to clients and caregivers from PASCON (hospice), and “Sails for Old Salts” for senior citizens from the Saltmarsh Center. NCS offers a discounted sailing program for ages 65+ where we provide sailboats and an instructor to sail with these “Silver Sailors”. In the spring NCS provides free sailing, coaching support, sailboats, safety boats, and related equipment for the Nantucket High School sailing team.
Island children make up over half of the 1000 children that NCS serves. NCS provides sailing scholarships to almost every island child who sails with us, with an average 50% in tuition assistance. We will give out $100,000 in scholarships in 2023. Over the past 28 years NCS has taught 15,000 children to sail and provided over $1 million in scholarships to island children. In addition, we provide $50,000 in the annual community outreach programs for children and adults, and $10,000 to support the Nantucket High School Sailing team.
Nantucket Race Week and the Opera House Cup Regatta in August are the primary fundraising events for Nantucket Community Sailing, and contribute about 25% of our annual operating budget.
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