OVERVIEW:  Privateer Yacht Club was established in 1940. Since then we have offered adult and junior learn to sail classes and camps. We would like to make this opportunity available for those with disabilities. This program is offered to both physically and cognitively impaired students, aged 10 to 80.

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GOALS: Our ultimate goal is to have the student independently leave the harbor, sail and safely return.  It is understood that this may not be possible for all students. Some may only be able to just go for a ride. That’s OK. In addition we want to have fun, build self-esteem and the feeling, “If I can do this, I can do anything.”

WHAT TO EXPECT: Initially we will just go for a sail to see if it is something the student would enjoy and like to learn more about. This will also allow us to meet the student, evaluate how we proceed, and decided what equipment will be needed.  If enjoyable we will establish goals and times that meet everyone’s schedule. We will plan on having 4 lessons of about 1 to 3 hours each. After the 4 lessons you may request more. If there is availability, we will try to accommodate you. Sailing is wind dependent, sometimes very exciting and scary, while other times very serene. It is easier to learn to sail in heavier wind because the boat's response time to steering is very short.  This creates instant feedback. 

WHAT TO BRING: A Life Jacket, if you have one;  (The club has a large selection of loaners if you do not. Life Jackets will be worn at all times by student, instructor and volunteers.); Sunscreen; Sneakers with soles that do not leave black streaks; and, Clothing appropriate for the weather.  Optional: a hat; sunglasses; and a change of clothing. Bottled water will be provided.

COST: At this time there is no cost. Sometime in future there may be a fee, but also scholarships.

BOATS TO BE USED: Flying Scots, 19 foot extremely stable boats; an O’day 28 foot with steering wheel and inboard engine; and an MC Scow which is a 16 foot boat with a single sail. We will choose the most appropriate boat, depending on the student’s size, strength, ability and learning curve.


  • Who can come with me? Your caregiver, sibling or friend.
  • How many students will be taught at the same time? For the most part, lessons will be one on one with a volunteer coming along if needed.  A care taker is welcome to participate.

CONTACT DATA:  Lead instructor is Steve Sherman, steve@optistuff.com, 423-432-6501, mailing address: 4115 Hamill Rd, Hixson TN 37343. Privateer Yacht Club's physical address: 4713 Privateer Rd. If the entry gate is closed, we will provide you with a pass code.




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