Getting Started on Cayuga Lake

Incoming students arriving in Ithaca with little to no sailing experience can get on the water this summer with a few basic steps:

  • Learn the Lingo and Practice Knots: Prior to heading to the sailing center for a lesson, we recommend familiarizing yourself with the names of different parts of a boat (e.g. jib, hull, mast, backstay, boom, rudder). You may also find it helpful to try a few common knots at home. Try the Cleat Hitch (AnimatedKnots), the Figure 8 (AnimatedKnots), and the Bowline (AnimatedKnots).

  • Learn About the Cayuga Lake: It is always helpful to understand the water, weather and local ordinances prior to beginning to sail in a new area. (Website)

  • Take a 3-Day Sailing Lesson: The Merrill Family Sailing Center offers an introductory course on safely preparing a boat and navigating the local waters for $125 per person throughout the summer. (Website)

  • Attend a Fall Welcome or Spring Sail Away Event: The local sailing center in Ithaca is closed from around September 20 to May 20 each year. We recommend attending a Fall Welcome or Spring Sail Away event during our limited local season.