Terms & Conditions


To book a class, please pay a fully refundable deposit using our website or by calling in. Class dates are provisional until the class is filled (ie. three students for Intro, Basic Keel Boat or Basic Cruising Class). If we run a class with two students the class time will be reduced by 20%. We will confirm or reschedule the class at least two weeks before the start of the class. Classes must be paid in full two weeks before the start of the class, or as soon as the class has been confirmed. Once the class is paid for, we will confirm and send you an email with your class handouts.

Unless a medical emergency, classes may not be cancelled or rescheduled after they have been paid for. For medical emergencies, classes may be rescheduled up to one year later for no charge. There is no refund if you cancel a class after it has been confirmed, or are a no show, but we will give you a 50% discount on a replacement class good for one year.  Missed classes must be made up with private lessons. A five hour class can be covered in a three hour private lesson. Our normal rates for private lessons apply, but we normally do not charge for the boat.


I am aware of and understand that sailing entails risks such as the sea, weather, other boaters, moving objects such as the boom when jibing, underwater obstructions, mechanical or structural failure, and other hazards.  I agree to release, indemnify and hold harmless the Owner and Van Breems Holland Yachts, Inc. DBA as Sound Sailing Center (SSC), and all its employees in the event of any accident or damage resulting in injury. Owner will employ captains who will be familiar with the vessel, it’s use, operation, limitations, and the weather that may occur while underway before heading out; the captains are capable of properly handling the boat under these conditions and guarantee the capability of any person who may handle the boat while Charterers are on board. Anyone on board or on the dock who can not swim must wear a life jacket at all times. All boats are equipped with adequate life jackets. Any children must be under the control of a responsible adult, Charterer further agree that the Charterers are responsible for any expense incurred due to damage, loss of property or personal injury suffered by SSC, Owner, members of Charterer’s party or any third parties, resulting from the Charterers use of the boat. Charterer’s liability will be limited to the security deposit in any losses normally covered by a typical yacht insurance policy. Yacht insurance does not cover loss or losses due to intentional misuse, possession of drugs, and other non-pleasure related uses. I have read and understand this entire agreement and sign this of my own free will and desire.

General Membership Conditions: All memberships are for one person who must be aboard the boat at all times when it is underway and reserved for him or her.  A maximum of 12 members are allowed for the Hanse 400 and 8 members for all the other boats. Pearson 37’s are used for classes and so will have 6-7 members.   Repeat memberships for the same class of boats are discounted 5%, provided that the renewal is made before the existing membership expires.

Scheduling and Free Usage:  Cruising yacht usage normally runs from 1:00 PM to 12:00 Noon the following day.  Any usage between 1:00 PM on Friday and 12:00 Noon on Monday, and any usage on a federal holiday including Labor Day and Memorial Day will be charged at the weekend rate.  All reservations can be extended for no charge up to one day before or one day after your reservation if the boat is not reserved by someone else. This allows you to leave earlier or return later. If the boat is not reserved, you may extend your reservation for no charge 22 hours before you are scheduled to depart. THE FREE EXTENSION MUST BE SCHEDULED THROUGH SSC. Once we have given you your password, scheduling will normally be done on the computer, according to the contract.  If you do not follow the rules of this agreement your reservation will be subject to cancellation.  You are allowed 2 (TWO) outstanding reservations at any time.

Membership Credit and Rates: Yacht Memberships are a prepayment plan.  This prepayment will be a credit on your account. Use of the yacht is charged against this credit. When the credit is used up the membership is over. Rates are subject to change on a yearly basis. Members will pay 50% less than the normal daily charter rate for all reservations.  There is a half-day rate available for Members, as long as the reservation stays within the time slots: 6:00 PM – 12:00 Noon or 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM.  Members can pay in 3 installments. 12% interest will be charged on the balance due.

The Membership Fee and Security Deposit are due with this contract. The Security Deposit covers the amount you will be liable for in most cases. The deposit does not cover misuse which insurance will not cover, such as overheating a diesel motor.  See the damage section for more information. Nighttime use or use when Small Craft Warning are posted means your potential loss exposure is doubled. A credit card number will cover this additional exposure. Under the Federal Government policy, any illegal drugs found on board of the boat may result in the seizure of the boat. If you bring drugs on board, and the boat is seized as a result, you agree to compensate Sound Sailing Center for the loss.  There are no refunds allowed on Memberships.

Use of Other Boats in the Fleet: Members may use any boat in the fleet smaller than the one they have signed up for, and will be billed for usage using the same discount off the Normal Charter rates for the particular boat.  Members may charter larger boats for 20% off the normal charter rates.  Members will have to pay a check-out fee the first time they use a boat.  A check out on a 30 boat will often take 40 minutes.  Plan on 60 minutes for a 32-40 boat, and 90 minutes for a Hanse 430.  We charge $65 an hour for checkouts.  The checkout fee for this yacht is included in your membership.

Cancellations: Within the first 24 hours of making a reservation the schedule may be altered unlimited times without penalty (of the member’s charter rate) if the schedule is AT LEAST ONE Week in the future. Members may cancel reservations without penalty 2 (TWO) times.  Cancellations due to Small Craft Warnings, steady rain (a brief passing shower is not cause for cancellation), or fog/under 1/2 mile visibility forecast for over 30% of the time reserved will not result in any charge. You are responsible for any storage charges or other fees incurred as a result of your cancellation (if the boat is not at a SSC base).

Weather, Night Sailing: SSC reserves the right to deny or limit usage of the boats depending on weather and other conditions.  Sound Sailing Center boats may not be used when small craft warning are posted.  If you use and damage a boat as the result of taking it out when small craft warnings are posted, or when the winds are in excess of 22 knots, your deductible (the amount you will be liable for) will be increased by 100%.  We will not charge you for any days in which the boat does not move due to: 1. Small Craft Warning (or more severe weather), 2. If it is raining or there is less than 1/2-mile visibility for over 6 hours during the day.  For any accident that occurs when the boat is being operated more than 1 hour after sunset, or a 1/2-hour before sunrise, the deductible will also be increased by 100%.

Delivery: SSC agrees to deliver the yacht in proper working order, with full equipment, inclusive of that required by law, and fully furnished, including galley and dining utensils.  See the equipment list for more information.  The Yacht may have special equipment such as radar, autopilots, refrigerators or inverters.  If such special equipment, which is not essential for the safe operation of the Yacht, is not functioning, it will not constitute grounds for any credit.  Each yacht may be out of service for up to one week per season for maintenance and repairs.  If the Yacht is out of service for over one week in one season, this contract end date will be extended by the length of time the yacht is out of service beyond one week.  However, if you have caused the problem which has resulted in the yacht being out of service, your membership end date will be reduced by the amount of time the yacht is out of service.  If the yacht is out of service through no fault of the member during a time for which they had a reservation, they will be allowed one year to retake the cancelled days.

Member Equipment: Members are to provide their own charts, parallel rules, dividers, Eldridge, cruising guide, handheld VHF radio, handheld GPS, flashlight and battery powered spotlight, Leatherman type knife/tool kit, Children’s life jackets, inflatable life jackets/ harness/ tether and linens, pillows, towels, blankets.  This is a minimal list, and you may want to include other items, like sun showers or stereos.  We suggest you have a duffel bag packet with these items for whenever you take out a boat.

Checkout: We require a written test to assess your sailing skills. We also expect you to plot a course and correct the course for tide using Eldridge.  An on the water checkout will be provided at no charge for the primary boat you have signed up for. There will be a charge to be checked out on other boats.  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, and your skills must be better.  Note that our classes will bring experienced sailors up to speed on single handed docking, mob drills, and other skills at a reasonable cost.

Insurance:   All Sound Sailing Center Sailing Center Yachts are insured against fire, marine and collision risks.  The protection and indemnity coverage for the term of this agreement is subject to the security deposit listed in the payments section of this agreement.  The member agrees to indemnify SSC for any charges or losses in connection there with which would not be normally covered under the Yacht Insurance policy, including reasonable attorneys’ fees. $3,000,000 of liability insurance is included.

Damage: The Member shall inform Sound Sailing Center within 12 hours of any loss or damage to the Yacht and her equipment, including any incidents of running aground, and record details of such damage, loss, or grounding incidents in the Ship’s Log and Check List.  If Sound Sailing Center is not so informed, the deductible / Security Deposit will be increased by 100%, plus reasonable attorney’s fees.  Following are some of the most common problems, which you would be held responsible for. Note that total charges to all members for damages have averaged less than $3,000 a year for past five years, but we would like it to be zero.  Also, insurance is getting harder to obtain, and a good loss record is very important to us.  SSC will normally cover any expenses over the (normally 2%) deductible, up to above 5% of the deductible, to avoid insurance claims.

•Running Aground: The Ensigns are virtually bulletproof boats. The Sabre30, Pearson 37 and Hanse 400 will be damaged if you hit rocks at over 3-4 knots.  Note that these are all better than average quality boats, and will take grounding better than a less expensive boat.  ANY grounding must be reported.  The Pearson 37 and Hanse 400 will generally need to be hauled, and the keel repaired, after any grounding.  The Sabre30 was run on some rocks by a member leaving Zieglers Cove, which resulted in over $3,000 of damage.  If you are in the area with the rocky bottom, like Zieglers or Thimble Cove, SLOW DOWN when you are close to the shallow areas, and always head in and out using bearings that keep you as far from the danger areas as possible.

•Engine misuse: Engine misuse is NOT covered by insurance.  If you damage a motor, you will be responsible for the entire repair, or pro-rated replacement (just like you would on your own boat).  We have had to replace 2 diesels due to misuse.  Fortunately, both motors were old and not worth too much. In one case the engine was allowed to overheat.  This is almost always caused by blockage of the raw water cooling system, by for example a plastic bag or jellyfish, or by an impeller failing.  An overheated motor will typically no longer start, or start with great difficulty. It is ESSENTIAL to always listen carefully for the sound of exhaust changing to a more truck type (louder and harsher) sound, and monitor the gauges periodically.  We lost another motor because it was overfilled with oil.  This can and will damage a diesel engine.  NEVER check the oil when the boat is heeled over.  Make CERTAIN the dipstick is all the way pushed in.  Double or triple check before adding oil and CALL US first.  The Check List will show the oil level, which will only gradually go down, unless a leak develops, in which case you will see oil under the motor first.  Turning the battery switch off while the engine is running will toast the alternator, which is generally a $300 – $400 item.  If you cause severe damage to the diesel, the maximum you will have to pay to replace the diesel on the  Pearson 37 is  $4200  The motor is three years old.  Please be careful. (Hanse 320 is two years old and $6000 to replace).

•Not Tying the Boat up Properly: You are responsible for any damage which may occur to the boat while it is tied up, up to 24 hours after you have returned, or until someone else moves or reties the boat. We have often found boats tied up the way, so that when the wind changes, the boat will hit something. Once, we found out that a member tied the Sabre 30 to a piling at high tide.  We found the stern 3 hours later, hanging 3 feet out of the water.  If left little longer like that, the cleat would have pulled out of the deck.

•Sail Related Problems: Every year a bunch of rigs come down because people are sailing with just a Genoa and no main sail.  The main sail is key to supporting the rig.  DO NOT SAIL WITH JUST THE GENOA.  Make sure that the sails are correctly trimmed.  Extended luffing or sailing without the leech line tightened will quickly damage any sail.

•Collisions: Keep a good lookout, especially in busy areas like the Norwalk Channel.  Remember that sailboats ONLY have right of way in open waters with boats that are unrestricted in their ability to maneuver (like small motorboats on the Sound).  Large vessels (any boat more than 2x your size is large!), fishing boats, tugs, etc, all have right of way over you in most cases.  Do not tack in the channel, always make your intentions clear using the VHF or an exaggerated turn, and stay on the right side of the channel.  Even if a collision is NOT your fault, or you had right of way, you will still have to pay the deductible.

•Sinking:  Our CS27 almost sank, while a member was out sailing on the Sound.  Some gear had shifted, and was tossed by a wave against the cockpit drain.  The hose came off the fitting, and the boat starting filling quickly.  Fortunately, the member went through the boat, checked all the thru hulls, found the problem and the boat was saved. If you find excess salt water in the boat, the problem is almost certainly related to the thru hulls.  Check the thru hulls and find out how to close them.  We have wood plugs by all the thru hulls, but a rug or any soft object can be used to save the boat.

•Death: Never allow anyone in the water while the Diesel is running. Someone was accidentally killed in 2005 by diving on the bottom while the diesel was on.  The shift lever was bumped while passing gear down. You should also pay special attention to sailing downwind.   If the genoa does not stay filled on its own while on the same side as the boom, a preventer or boom brake MUST be used.  These are the most dangerous items on a sailboat.

•Expenses not a member Fault:  The above list is the most likely items that would cause major expense.  Members will not be held responsible for any gear that breaks or fails due to age or gradual deterioration.

Running Expenses: The members agree to pay all running expenses while they are using the boat.  The member, his agents and employees have no right or power to permit or suffer any maritime liens against the yacht, except as required to avoid additional losses.  Members will make every effort to protect SSC boats, without putting themselves at risk of injury.  Members on extended trips will be expected to make minor repairs, such as replacing fuses, cleaning dirt from the shower sump filter, changing light bulb, or other items which would not normally take more than 20 minutes to service.  SSC should be notified for approval on any expenses which would total more than $40.  Note that we can obtain parts at trade pricing from West Marine and Boat US.  If the replaceable item fails during a longer trip, we can arrange that you pick it up at no charge to you, if you let us know of the problem.  SSC has never been a very profitable business.  Our primary goal is to get more people involved in sailing at reasonable rates, with high quality boats and instruction.  Your assistance in helping us keep expenses low is much appreciated and needed.

Racing: No racing is allowed without prior, written permission.  There will be an extra charge of $40 a day  (30’), $60 a day (32-40’) or $100 a day (H400) plus charges for the racing sails.  If a member is not at fault in a racing accident, the member will be expected to pay up to the deductible amount for damages to Sound Sailing Center, and collect the deductible (along with assisting the insurance company as requested for amounts involving insurance) from the party at fault.  The per/day charge for racing sails is for the main and headsails, and for the spinnaker.

Returning the Boat: If a boat is damaged or not put away properly, you will be charged our time at $60 an hour plus expenses to correct the problem.  The minimum charge is $30.  The charge is multiplied by 150% if you don’t contact us within 12 hours of the problem occurring and record the problem in the log.  We charge if the boat is not cleaned up (rinsed off, garbage removed, gear stowed) and neatly put away (covers on, lines coiled, properly secured to dock with fenders), with the holding tanks emptied, the water tanks filled, the boat is plugged in, and the checklist completed.  No smoking or any animals allowed below decks. Fuel is included with your membership.  We will take care of refueling the boat.  See our check list and boat instruction for more information.

Arbitration: Any controversy or claim arising out of or relating to this agreement shall be settled by arbitration in accordance with the rules of the American Arbitration Association, said arbitration to be held in Fairfield County, Connecticut, unless another place is mutually agreed upon.  Judgment upon any award reached by the arbitrator(s) may be entered in any Court of said State having jurisdiction there of.

It is our policy to provide the best learning and sailing experience possible. All information supplied to Sound Sailing Center, Martinus van Breems, Inc., is held in confidence and is not shared with any third parties.

Sound Sailing Center is a division of Van Breems Holland Yachts, Inc. Van Breems Holland Yachts, Inc. reserves the right to change all prices, schedules and course content and offerings without notice.