About Us

“I started Sound Sailing in 1986 to help you get involved in sailing through an innovative instruction and membership program. Our instruction is based on a simple concept. In 20 to 30 hours you will be out sailing my boats by yourself. So we damn well better do a good job!  Many students become members after doing the practice session.  We also have many members who have sailed for many years.  The membership program  uses boats I enjoy sailing myself.”

—Martin van Breems, founder and owner

Sound Sailing Center is based in Norwalk, Connecticut, with additional bases for 2021 in Branford and Mystic CT, covering the entire Long Island Sound. Our fleet operates up to Maine in the summer and down to the Caribbean in the winter. From Norwalk, you can be out sailing in the Norwalk Islands, in under five minutes. The islands are easy to explore with our smaller boats. Within a two hour sail you will discover over 30 lovely harbors, from the exquisite Ziegler’s Cove to historic Oyster Bay.

Enjoy drinks or a meal while looking out over the fleet at the Sunset Grill, conveniently located next door. Historic South Norwalk features many bars and restaurants, the Maritime Museum and Aquarium and plenty of shopping. It’s only a short drive away. We are open Monday thru Friday year round and weekends during the season.

Our Branford locations allows you to explore the Thimble Islands, a little piece of the Maine coastline in CT.  Our vessels in Mystic allow quick access to Fishers Island Sound and everyones favorite, Block Island.


Our teaching methods are hands on, on the water, with fewer students than most other schools. We never have more than three students per instructor in our Intro, Basic Keelboat, or Basic Cruising classes.   We know your time is valuable.  For 2020, we switched to private, then semiprivate lessons.  Group lessons however are preferable.  It is surprising how we as humans learn better in a group lesson.  Watching someone else struggle to learn a new skill is rather comforting when it’s your turn!

Our boats and teaching methods are uniquely configured to allow you to sail singlehanded after taking Basic Keelboat.  This helps you gain confidence quickly. We strongly encourage new sailors to become competent with daysailers, before moving on to larger boats.  Small boat experience is the fastest and best way to become a competent sailor. Although many schools promote a package program that has you sailing larger boats in a week, you will be a better sailor and enjoy sailing more if you practice first with daysailers.  Contact us for special Covid 19 precautions we are taking.

Rentals and Charters: Our fleet is diverse, ranging from classic boats like the Ensigns, to our flagship 40 class yachts.  In general, we look for good sailing qualities and strong construction. We buy boats we like! Naturally, every mainsail in our fleet has a Dutchman Sail Flaking System and low friction track system, along with other gear like roller furling jibs that allows you to get out sailing in a few minutes, even if singlehanded. Ensigns have electric motors, so even starting the engine is simple. Charters are multiday rentals, for taking extended trips on our larger boats. Rentals and Charters are available if a boat does not have full membership. If you will be taking out our boats less than 6-9 times a year, rentals or charters are the way to go.

Membership Use Program

This program allows 7-8 members to share useage of one of our boats. Sound Sailing Center handles all the maintenance. Unlike other membership, timeshare, or fractional use programs, we offer far more flexibility combined with expert, on site staff, in a diverse fleet ranging from our 2014 VAr37, to our affordable and fun Ensigns. Members can use any boat in their class and below. With multiple locations, including one 40 and one 35 class yacht located in Mystic, CT, it’s no surprise that we have more experienced sailors in our program than any other membership arrangement we know of.

Brokerage Sales

For many, the dream of owning your own yacht has a powerful pull. We can help make this a reality, through our brokerage or new yacht sales division. With over 25 years of yacht sales and service experience, we can offer expert advice. If you are after a used or brokerage yacht, we will start off with a broad variety of vessels that should be of interest, then refine the search as your preferences become clear. We also will do a mini survey and bring along our moisture meter, so as to rule out obvious problem boats before you spend $20+ per foot on a survey. We’ll work with you to establish a reasonable offer, locate the best surveyor, and be there for all the many questions you’ll have. The commission is shared between the listing and selling broker. This means you will not pay extra for our superb service. Sound Sailing Center is pleased to be part of the Southern New England Yacht Dealers Association. Joined together, we offer a unique boat show where you can not only view a variety of boats, but also go for a test sail. Email Martin at dutchman_mvb@hotmail.com or call 203.981.3590 for more info.

Martin van Breems is the head of Sound Sailing and President of MVB Inc., manufacturer of Dutchman Sailboat Hardware, makers of the Dutchman Sail Flaking System. Martin is a lifelong sailor with many offshore passages and has sailed one of the most difficult competitions in the world, a single-handed race from Plymouth, England, to Newport, R.I. He came in second in his division. Almost 70% of the participants dropped out due to difficult conditions. Read the entire story at J Boats. He also was awarded a USCG Medal of Commendation and the US Sailing Hansen Medal for a rescue undertaken in difficult conditions. Martin started as a service manager and head of sales for Van Breems Holland Yachts. This importer for the Dutch-built Contest Yachts, was founded by Martin’s father, Arie van Breems. Arie was a key person in the sailboat business from the late 50’s to the 80’s, responsible for such boats as the Block Island 40. Dan Spurr’s excellent book ‘Heart of Glass’ recounts the history of the early fiberglass boats.