Rowing and Sailing Classes

Parent Q&A

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  • Which rowing club?

    Jun 30, 2021

    Looking for some candid assessments of the various clubs in the area: Oakland Strokes, OARS, and Artemis (are there others?).  I have an older teen who does know how to row (she has had experience in the midwest - and I want to find a good program.  I know Strokes is very competitive (and maybe very intense?) and I know very little about the others.  Looking for a program that is friendly, supportive but also structured and takes practice/team obligations seriously.  Thanks in advance.

    Our son has rowed for Artemis for 5 years (starting in 6th grade) and we've had an amazing experience.  Artemis is on the small side and feels pretty low key but they also very serious about rowing.  They regularly compete against other top clubs in the Bay Area and recently went to Nationals.  Because the club is on the small side, I think my child has received more attention and opportunities.  They also usually row in smaller boats (2 person and 4 person vs. 8) which allows them to stay competitive against larger clubs.  Any of the clubs will probably let your daughter try it out for a few weeks, which I would highly recommend as a way of deciding what club is right for you.  

  • Dear fellow parents,

    I'm looking for a rowing club where my son and I can both row - preferably at the same time. I'm a former grad school and masters rower, but it's now been 12 years since I've been on the water. My son (not coincidentally, 12 years old) would like to start rowing. Are there clubs that run masters rowing and youth rowing at the same time? I'm particularly interested in those that will help my son have a positive experience and not get too wrapped up in the sometimes hyper-competitive aspects of the sport.


    Hi! I row with Lake Merritt Rowing club and really enjoy it. It's not hyper competitive and the kids' program is still relatively small and specially designed for new young rowers. I am on the masters women's team (we have a men's team too) which is more competitive, but we also have a mixed masters team that is more recreational if that's what you're looking for.  The youth sessions don't row at the same time as the adults, but if you are on the water with him during the adult practice he would be welcome to join. We've had several teens join our team practices under adult supervision before and it's really fun! Here's the club website:

    Lake Merritt Rowing Club has both a masters program and a middle school rowing program. 

  • Hi,

    My rising 8th grade daughter has expressed some interest in rowing and we are thinking a summer camp might be a great way to introduce her to the sport. She's a tall, strong and very athletic girl - it seems like a good fit for her. We've heard great things about both Oakland Strokes and Artemis Rowing but don't know anything about the "feel" of either program and which one might be a better choice for her. She's a competitive type but also pretty shy and not terribly confident. She loves coaches that are structured and expect a lot but are also fun, personable and friendly. Any info about either club that might help us decide which program to try will be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

    It's wonderful that you are encouraging her interest! I've been a rower for ~45 years, and my child was recently was on Artemis and is now on Strokes. They are both fantastic programs, great coaches and kids, and both really different in their training, resources, practice commitment, way they develop the middle school program, expectations, size and funding. I would recommend trying both programs ASAP and letting her decide which is the best fit for her from there. Both teams have an intro session as well as summer camp, just let the middle school coaches know your daughter is checking out both teams.  Be prepared to spend lots of bucks/apply for scholarship, do your volunteer hours, and maybe fall in love with rowing too. Check if the high school you think she may be attending is associated with a rowing program and see if there are any opportunities there. I think the local races may be done for the season (May 5-7 is a big Sacramento race), but attending a race would be another way to see how the various teams work and how they are supported by parents, coaches and team-mates. Check the  regatta central website:

    Row on!

right there next to alameda community sailing, is also ‘stacked adventures’ (kayaking) and o kalani outrigger club (hawaiian canoe paddling). stacked adventures doesn’t have camps per se, but they do have youth lessons, paddling and group activities. o kalani youth program starts at 15 y.o. but has a fabulous supportive family feel and might be a consideration for next year. i see other posters mentioned mike’s paddle (alameda) and youth rowing (oakland). both fantastic. i do want to state as a former rower and one who knows kids who row, that the sport is definitely more of a collegiate feel (read ‘competitive’ environment) than kayaking or outrigger canoe, sailing… which of course can be a plus or minus depending on the individual and where they are at any given point in time.

also, there are several other sailing/yacht clubs on island that may have youth offerings (scholarships?) to check out. club nautique, island y.c., alameda y.c., encinal y.c., aeolian y.c., ballena y.c. ⛵️ you might consider calling around.

glad to hear your kid took to water sports. water has been scientifically proven to be a calming thing for stressed bodies and minds. this i know first hand. you are doing GREAT mama or papa bear!!! all my best wishes to your new expanded family!  ❤️ 

Good for you both! How exciting. This is maybe slightly far for you but Berkeley Rec has amazing camps - SUP, windsurfing, Bay sailing and more. City of Oakland has great low cost camps including a comprehensive sailing program on Lake Merritt. Encinal Yacht Club in Alameda has perhaps the top sailing program in the Bay Area - friends in places like Tiburon send their kids there / it’s a multi week program appropriate for next summer. And btw - sailing is a very recruitable college sport. There’s EBRC and Artemis etc for rowing - a surprisingly fun team sport that is also very recruitable for colleges, with only 2-3 years on a team needed. Piedmont Rec has a ton of camp programs, check their website. Does he like cooking? There are some cool cooking camps. I’m not sure about acting but you could just google that or give a school like OSA a call and see if they have recommendations. Also the chain of Ironworks Climbing Gyms nearby - which are awesome - have very good year round climbing programs. And call the Bladium - loads of programs there and a fun environment right near you.

Tween exercise (Sep 1, 2018)

Perhaps he'd like rowing? Believe it or not, high school rowing is full of kids who didn't like sports until they tried rowing! My kid included ;) 

There are two local clubs that I know of that offer middle school rowing programs—Lake Merritt Rowing Club and Oakland Strokes. 

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Questions Related Pages Reviews of programs

Crew camp for 14 year old girl

Oct 2014

My daughter has been on the swim team for the last three years and loves it. She is curious about crewing. She will be going to BHS next fall and would like to try her hand at Crewing before she decides if she want to give up swimming for Crew in high school. I am looking for recommendations for summer crew camps near Berkeley. Thank you so much. Keley

Oakland Strokes. Info about their 2014 camps here/2015 should be much the same.

Cal. Ditto. AboutTheSame

Paddleboarding in East Bay?

July 2012

My daughter and I are interested in stand-up paddleboarding in the East Bay, preferably in lakes and not the bay (she's only 8). I'd like to find someplace to rent boards by the hour and have some local lake adventures. Thanks! new paddleboarding family

Cal Adventures has paddleboarding lessons from the Berkeley Marina. There is a nice calm basin to get started in. Then you can rent paddle boards from Cal Adventures until you decide on what to buy. Happy paddling! kathryn l.

You can rent them at east bay park (Del Valle lake) in Livermore. They have kayaks, paddleboards, etc.

Hi, my daughter (12 yo) just got into paddleboarding and has done it so far at Richmond Marina, Lake del Valle, and ShadowCliffs. I know you can also do it somewhere in Sausalito. But if you don't mind driving to Pleasanton, Shadowcliffs Reservoir was a great place to do it-- warm water, $6 for parking, and honestly can't remember the hourly rate but something like $12/hr. Have fun. luisa

Sailing Camp or Lessons for 10-year-old

Jan 2009

My son, who will be 10 this summer, wants to learn to sail. I know about the Cal Adventures camp, which is pretty pricey and I'm just wondering what else is out there? There seems to be a camp on Lake Merritt, but ew. Seems like it would be more fun to be out on the bay. Any other options? Any opinions about those two camps? Swallows and Amazons fan

The Richmond Yacht Club in Point Richmond has a fantastic junior program. It is on Sundays from 9 - 3. You can go to for more info, or call the club at 510-237-2821. Megan

Encinal Yacht Club in Alameda has an excellent junior sailing program - one of the best in the Bay Area - for beginners through advanced sailors. You do not need to be a yacht club member to participate. Neither my husband nor I sail, but both our son and daughter (with very different personalities) have loved the programs there. The summer program offers three 3-week sessions, with Thursday evening racing and a barbecue at which families are welcome. There are also weekend sailing classes during the school year. For more information, check the web site at, or contact the Junior Sailing Office (510)769-0221 or juniors [at] There will also be an Open House on Sunday, March 1, from 3-5 PM

Reasonable sailing class (or group) for adult

Jan 2008

My friend would really like to check out sailing, but has been floored by the prohibitive cost of a lot of sailing schools. Any ideas for an inexpensive class or group? Unfortunately, he is in SF without a car, so the Cal Adventures classes at the Berkeley Marina won't work for him (though that is the type of thing he is looking for) Sailor's Friend

I'm pretty sure that the City of Oakland Parks & Rec has sailing classes, and sailing camp in the summer. I don't think they are expensive. janet

Lake Merritt Boating Center in Oakland (run by the City of Oakland Parks and Rec Dept) is a great place to learn to sail. They offer group or private lessons for extremely reasonable rates. Your friend could take BART to downtown Oakland (probably the 19th St. station is closest) and walk to the boathouse from there.

Hi - I work at the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, which is at the base of Hyde Street. Our Small Craft department conducts sailing classes and lunchtime sails during the Spring and Summer months. We also have an active volunteer program, and our collection of Ships includes the ALMA, the last sail-worthy scow schooner on the West Coast (It is a National Historical Landmark)-- the Alma sails around the SF Bay giving history and ecology tours to the public (for a fee). In general, some of the programs are fee-based, others are free, and some are available only to volunteers. Please see our website for more information about sialing activities on teh San Francisco Bay at the nation's premier Maritime Museum -- we are a federally funded public institution - a National Park like Yosemite and the Grand Canyon, but here in your own backyard!

the Park site: AND The supporting assoication site:

Explore these two sites, but here are sopme ''deeper digs'' into the websites.

Additionally, your friend may want to check out the South End Rowing Club, an historic rowing club next to the park. I know it is not sailing, but it is a really good group of people to make connections with. Their web site is: The Dolphin CLub, adjacent to South End, is a swmming club: Both Clubs have rowing and swimming groups. Both have been in the area since the 1870s! sara .

Cal Sailing Club. they are an all volunteer, non profit co-op of sailors and windsurfers who are only there because we love it. they offer instruction and use of gear at $60 for three months, $55 for students. they also require a couple of hours of work every three months as itbkayaks the members that keep the place going. For that you could come down every day and sail, surf or both. they like to say that webkayakre the best deal in sailing.

Monday and Thursday afternoons and Saturday mornings are our regularly scheduled dinghy lessons. Windsurfing lessons are on Saturday mornings and keelboat lessons on Wednesday evenings and other times by arrangement. they also have special seminars covering particular subjects.

Other schools offer American Sailing Association recognized keelboat certifications. We on the other hand have our own ratings and start you out in small boats. The seat of the pants feedback on a small boat is wonderful and with practice you could be a junior skipper within a month or less. This would let you take out your friends sailing on a dinghy. We have five keelboats (larger than dinghies) in the marina and give regular lessons on them as well, but expect to put in at least one year of diligent sailing and learning before attempting a keelboat sailing test. We sail in, out and around the harbor in our keelboats whereas other schools would make you use a motor.

Feel free to come on down and check us out, ask questions and get a feel for the place. At our open houses we give free boat rides to the public and you can check our website for the dates at:

Fair winds and happy sailing, yolanda

I would suggest your friend post a note on Craigs List, looking for someone in SF or the East Bay who could pick him up at a BART station and go to the Cal Adventures classes. That way he could meet someone in the class, plus get a ride there. I took classes at the Berkeley Marina awhile ago, and they were great, so I really recommend them if he can find a ride. Lori

kayak or canoeing summer camp for 12-year-old

May 2003

Hi, I am looking for a kayak or canoeing camp for my 12 year old daughter in the berkeley oakland area. Anyone have any recommendations? darlene