Membership Overview

More sailing, less expense and no maintenance.

Compared to owning, renting or chartering, membership costs much less, with the flexibility to use the boat for both longer trips and daysails. Some Yacht members make a single, 17 day reservation, and keep the boat close to their office or home.  Most members use a mix of daysails, a few overnights, and a few longer trips. It’s your choice.  Our Norwalk daysailers are available pretty much year round.

Boat ownership is expensive, with the purchase price and/or finance payments a small part of the cost. Winter and summer dockage runs from $140 – $190 a foot, if you can find a slip, and you often must pay for a larger slip than needed. If you’re not handy or your time is limited, running expenses will cost far more than you can imagine. Insurance, upgrades and maintenance are around $2,000-$5,000/yr for a 20’-25′ sailboat, $5,000-$10,000 for a 25’-30′ sailboat and $8,000-$20,000 for 30’-40′ sailboat. Finally, boats depreciate, sometimes by very significant amounts.

Many of our members eventually buy their own boats (and often use our expertise as brokers to help them make a good decision), and boat ownership can be a source of great pleasure. However, all our former member tell us they had no idea about what a great deal Sound Sailing was until they were owners! Having your own boat, set up exactly as you wish with all your gear ready to go, is a joy. Membership at Sound Sailing can help you decide if sailing is for you, and what boat size and type makes sense. Of course, many of our members are experienced sailors, and either did not use their yacht enough to justify it, or are tired of the maintenance and expense. Plus, they love the great boats we have!

SSC requires all new members to take the US Sailing Basic Keelboat test for Daysailer Members, the Basic Cruising test for Classic or 35 Class Members, or the US Sailing Bareboat Test for 40 Class Members.   Your score must be 85% or better.  The only exception is if you have a current USCG Captains License.  This is required by our insurance and is not negotiable.

Benefits with all memberships

  •  10% off all SSC services including lessons and racing
  • 5% off the membership fee for all renewal memberships
  • Multi year discounts – The extra discount is .5% per year. For example, members after 2 years receive a 6% discount, 4 years earns a 7% total discount, and 10 years earns an 10% discount.   

Daysailer memberships allow you to use our daysailers as often as you want for one year from when you sign up. Take your friends or family, or sail single-handed. When you have the boat reserved, it’s your boat. The principal restriction with Daysailer membership is that you may only have one four hour reservation outstanding at a time. This allows all members equal use of the boat. Since there are never more than seven members per boat, and six time slots per weekend, (9:00 am to 1:00 pm, 1:30 pm to 5:30 pm, and 6:00pm to sunset) you can easily sail as often as you wish. Many members sail over 20 times a year, and one of our female members sailed 52 times in a year! Members can keep on sailing if their boat is not reserved afterwards. Typical availability is over 90% for daysailers booked at least a day in advance. That’s why we have so many repeat members.

Even our daysailers are far better equipped than what you would normally expect.  Reef lines are always run to the cockpit, and every boat in our fleet has a roller furling jib, a Dutchman self flaking main with a low friction track system, a depth recorder and a motor (most of our daysailers use electric motors for reliability).

The following applies to Daysailer Memberships

  • Members can cancel Daysailer reservations without penalty. Naturally, we, and the other members appreciate as much advance notice as possible.  You must email us at to cancel your reservation.
  • Daysailers may not be used if winds over 16 knots and/or gusts over 18 knots are forecast or if small craft warnings are issued by Noaa.
  • Daysailer members may only have one reservation outstanding at a time.

Yacht Memberships allow use of our yachts ranging from our F24 Trimaran’, all the way up to 40′ and 44′ cruising yachts.

Members also enjoy 20% off SSC Group Charters including Caribbean regatta’s like St Thomas International Regatta and Ocean races like the Newport Bermuda Race.

Full day use runs up to 23 hours starting at 8:00 am.  Availability in our program is far better than with our competitors, some of whom have (or had) 10 members per yacht. We never have more than seven members per yacht at Sound Sailing Center.  In 2007, we had four new competitors within 20 miles. They were all gone by 2012.

The following applies to all Memberships.

1.  General Information   All Memberships run for one year (except for the Weekly or Winter Daysailer Memberships) .   The Membership fee makes you one of the 7 members per yacht (x the number of yachts in the class) and allows unlimited no cost Ensign use for a year.    Members pay a low per use charge for Yacht Use.

Charters are expensive.  For example, our Contest 36 costs about $800 per weekday or $3,400 for one week.  Members pay $154 per weekday or $1,278 for a week for a 35 class yacht.  It’s useful to understand the marina’s, finance companies, service providers,  insurance companies etc do not charge based on use.  SSC is billed upfront.  Our costs are fixed and do not vary based on how much you use the yacht.  The Membership fee is your way of locking in use of the boats for a year at a very reasonable cost and allows us to make sure we do not have too many or too few members per yacht.

Mon-Fri memberships are ideal for retired sailors who only sail on weekdays.  No weekend or holiday use is allowed.  Mon-Fri members do not count towards the 7 members per yacht limit.  Any Day memberships allow you to sail on any day of the week including on weekends.  Rates are guaranteed until Jan.   No smoking or animals allowed below decks.  We will take care of refueling the boat if you had the motor on for less than 2 hours.   Over 2 hours of run time, please refill the diesel tank.  See our vessel checklist and instruction for more information.

2.  Scheduling:  SSC yachts are available May 15 to October 15, and normally are available earlier (or later) depending on the weather and member requests.  Each yacht may be removed from service for up to 2 weeks per season for maintenance.  Ensigns are available year round.   I, the Member must be aboard the yacht at all times when it is underway and reserved for me.  SSC reserves the right to remove, add or change boats in the fleet, similar in size and type to the existing boats, so long as the member / boat ratio remains around 7 x the number of boats.

SSC keeps a 35 and 40 class yacht in the Mystic CT area, which for 2023 will be the Contest 36 and the Catalina 400 (subject to change in 2024).  We may keep an Ensign in Noank, for easy access to Fishers Island Sound.    In the Branford area for 2024 we will keep 1 Ensign, and in the Classics range, the 24′ Corsair trimaran.   In Norwalk we will keep 6 Ensigns, plus our 23′ Sonar and an Olson 25 (which can be used for overnight trips).    We also will keep at least one Classic Class yacht in Norwalk, typically a Pearson 37, one 35 class yacht, the Sweden 340, and one or more 40 class yachts, typically the Jonmeri 40.

The 40 class yachts can be sailed from CT to Maine in the summer and one may go to the Virgin Islands in the winter.  40 members can assist in the Ocean Passages for a minimal charge covering expenses.

Full Day (23 hour) yacht usage runs from 9 am to 6pm or until 8 am the following day.  Any usage on a federal holiday including Labor Day and Memorial Day will be charged at the weekend rate.  If the boat is not reserved, I may start my reservation a day earlier or extend my reservation by a day for no charge 22 hours before I am scheduled to depart. The free extension must be scheduled by Sound Sailing – call or email us. Once you have passed the written test and on the water checkout, we will send you your password.  Future scheduling is done online. If you do not follow the rules of this agreement your reservations and or membership is subject to cancellation. Yacht Members can have two reservations outstanding at any time.  A reservation is as many connected days as you wish.  Daysailer members can have one reservation at a time.

3.  Use of Other Boats, Check Out fee’s, Tests:  If available, SSC make occasionally make larger boats available to Members if the larger yacht is available less than 24 hours before the intended start date.  All Yacht Members are entitled to make one advance reservation per year on a boat larger than their class.  Members may use any boat in a class smaller than the one they have signed up for.  Members will be billed for usage at the normal member rates for that particular boat.    SSC requires all Yacht members to be able to plot a course using their charts and correct for tide using Eldridge.  An on the water checkout will be provided at no charge for up to two boats in the class I have signed up for.   Members will have to pay a check-out fee to use a boat not in their class.   Please read our Cruising Handout and specific boat instruction before the check out.  Bear in mind that sailing in New England waters is more difficult than sailing in the Chesapeake or Caribbean.  Note that SSC classes will bring experienced sailors up to speed on single handed docking, mob drills, and other skills at a reasonable cost.

4.  Cancellations:  Within the first 24 hours of making a reservation, Members may cancel or alter a reservation without being charged.   If another member takes over my canceled reservation, my account will only be charged a $50 Change fee.  Cancellations due to weather related issues such as heavy rain, dense fog or winds over 18 knots for over 30% of the daylight portion of the reservation will not result in any charge.

5. Insurance: All Sound Sailing Center Yachts carry Marine Insurance (via Travelers Insurance) and are insured against fire, marine and collision risks.   $3,000,000 of liability insurance is included.