Featured Partner: Kenosha Community Sailing Center

7/1/2019 - Kenosha Area Convention & Visitors Bureau Staff

Family-Friendly, Featured Partner, Interactive, Lake Michigan, Sports & Outdoors
Kenosha Community Sailing Center
Kenosha Community Sailing Center
lessons with the Kenosha Community Sailing Center at the Kenosha Yacht Club, Southport Lighthouse
Kenosha Community Sailing Center
Kenosha Community Sailing Center

Kenosha is a Wisconsin harbor town, so naturally sailing on Lake Michigan is a popular activity. For those who don’t know how to sail, the Kenosha Community Sailing Center (KCSC) is ready to assist you. The sailing center is based out of the Kenosha Yacht Club, 5130 Fourth Avenue. Adult and youth classes are offered throughout the summer. The Kenosha Area Convention & Visitors Bureau caught up with two of the sailing center board members – Ericka Bernhardt and Bettie Westcott – to learn more about the organization. Here is the edited transcript from the question and answer interview.

Q: What is the purpose of the Kenosha Community Sailing Center?

A: Our goal is to educate Kenosha youth and adults in the sport of sailing while integrating academic, leadership and life skills. We also promote awareness of the Kenosha Harbor, as well as Lake Michigan’s resources as an environment for people of all ages through the sport of sailing. The Kenosha Community Sailing Center is a nonprofit organized exclusively for educational, charitable and scientific purposes. Our organization is the result of a collaborative effort between the Kenosha Yacht Club, local organizations and community schools.

Q: When was it started?

A: Kenosha Community Sailing Center came to life in 2008 and is the result of the Kenosha Yacht Club wanting to focus on teaching sailing and promoting Lake Michigan to the community.

Q: Who runs it?

A: The sailing center is run primarily by volunteers. The center does have several paid US Sailing Certified instructors who work alongside volunteer instructors. Dedicated volunteers serve on the board and do everything from answering phones/letters to teaching sailing, community events and maintaining the boats and facilities.

Q: What is offered?

A: The KCSC teaches anyone over the age of 6 to sail. You can learn to sail on a single person sailboat or with a team on a larger sailboat. You can learn to race or cruise as skipper or crew. We offer beginning classes for children 6 to 8 in small stable boats called OPTIs. Older children are taught in a variety of boats. With a one-week session, students can learn to get the boat away from the dock and back plus learn to have fun on the water. With additional weeks, they can develop their skills to become proficient sailors. Adults can learn on small boats or large. We also offer a special deal for families so they can learn to sail together. In order to check out a boat on your own, one must have membership in the yacht club (open to all), certified ability to sail the boats and willingness to complete volunteer hours. The center also supports other nonprofits by donating sailing adventures on Lake Michigan on our sailboat Magic. Magic is a 38 ft. Hughes.

Q: Beyond the lessons, what special events/community involvement is the organization involved in?

A: Safety Around Water – The KCSC is represented on the Safety Around Water Coalition. The center demonstrates to the public (at Safety Around Water events) how life jackets should be worn and show how a small sailboat is righted after it capsizes. The KCSC brings sailing to the YMCA campers by putting a boat in the pool to show camp participants what sailing is like.

2019 Tall Ships Festival – The KCSC is supporting a group of instructors and students on a 3-day working cruise on the Dennis Sullivan Tall Ship. They will journey from Milwaukee across Lake Michigan and back to Kenosha in time for the Parade of Sails on Thursday, August 1, 2019.

The KCSC offers field trips to schools to come learn about Lake Michigan, water safety, and sailing in the Kenosha Harbor. We support high school and college sailing clubs by providing boats, facilities and US Sailing Certified Instructors. Harborside Academy has been partnering with the Kenosha Community Sailing Center for years and once again this past summer, we welcomed incoming freshmen down at the docks for special on-the-water introductory sailing lessons.

We are also pleased to report that we successfully reached out to Bethany Lutheran, KTEC East & West, Harborside Academy and Washington Middle School and they provided us with students who helped provide feedback regarding our revised STEM infused youth sailing curriculum.

Q: Tell us more about Magic.

A: Magic is used for the youth/adult sailing classes, weekly club racing and some long-distance races around Lake Michigan. She really shines doing donation sails. If you are associated with a non-profit and want to auction off a “Magic sail”, contact us. We do a number of these sailaways every year!


The Kenosha Community Sailing Center always welcomes more students, volunteers, and supporters. The sailing center offers a scholarship in partnership with the Kenosha Yacht Club, the Kenosha Community Foundation and the Hartley Family. The Hartley Family Youth Sailing Scholarship was created in honor of Tom B. Hartley, an avid sailor, by his family, so that more youth in Kenosha will have the opportunity to learn and experience the fun of sailing. More information is at the KCSC website to apply or learn more.

The Kenosha Community Sailing Center provides an opportunity for you to get out on Lake Michigan! To quote the sailing center’s board: “Harness the Wind, Ride the Waves, Experience the Adventure, Learn to Sail on Lake Michigan!”

(262) 997-9343,

July 2019

Kenosha Area Convention & Visitors Bureau Staff

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