Hudson River Community Sailing Returns to the River

The nonprofit kicked off the season by launching boats students built over the winter.

On May 2, crowds gathered for a season kick-off at Hudson River Community Sailing, a nonprofit focused on enriching the lives of underserved New York City students through sailing education.

HRCS partners with eight New York City high schools to offer academic credit to students by teaching math, science, and character building through sailing and boat building. The academic curriculum is designed with New York City Department of Education teachers to support state standards. Over the winter, students worked together to build 9-foot wooden Optimist dinghies, which were launched at the Return to the River event.

“What we look forward to most at this event is seeing our talented students launch and sail the boats they created by hand this winter,” said Robert Burke, Executive Director of HRCS. “Through HRCS, these students are learning valuable lessons in teamwork, self-reliance, persistence, and other qualities necessary for college and career success, and we couldn’t be more excited to celebrate them—and the adventure of sailing.”

For more information on Hudson River Community Sailing, visit

This past Saturday, Hudson River Community Sailing (HRCS) kicked off its sailing season with Return to the River, a day of free sails, workshops, and the launch of wooden boats built by students in its year-round youth program.Courtesy of Hudson River Community Sailing
At the center of this event was the Boat Blessing and Launch, where students in the 9th Grade Sail Academy program participated in the millennia-old tradition of blessing the vessels before they were splashed.Courtesy of Hudson River Community Sailing
HRCS is a non-profit Community Sailing center. It works with 120 students every year from 8 Chelsea public schools. Students receive the program at no cost.Courtesy of Hudson River Community Sailing
Over the course of four years, students at HRCS learn to sail and build wooden boats while earning school credits in Math and Science.Courtesy of Hudson River Community Sailing
HRCS has a dedicated community of volunteers and supporters who helped make the launch a success on Saturday.Courtesy of Hudson River Community Sailing
Through proceeds from lessons and its sailing club, HRCS is able to underwrite the cost of its youth programs.Courtesy of Hudson River Community Sailing
The Optis hit the water for the first time.Courtesy of Hudson River Community Sailing
Saturday was the culmination of a year of hard work, and parents and friends cheered as students read a blessing, smashed ceremonial bottles of water and laid branches to symbolize the boats' safe return to land.Courtesy of Hudson River Community Sailing
Over the winter, 9th grade students build small wooden Optimist dinghies.Courtesy of Hudson River Community Sailing
They learn the math behind sailing on the tidal Hudson, and the angles, measurements, and other math of building small wooden boats.Courtesy of Hudson River Community Sailing
On the boats’ inaugural sail, students get behind the helm and navigated solo on the Hudson waters. This is a big shift from the J-24s they originally learn to sail with a team of classmates.Courtesy of Hudson River Community Sailing
By the time they graduate from the program, students have gained essential leadership skills, refined their sailing ability, and are better prepared to enter college and careers.Courtesy of Hudson River Community Sailing
Last year, HRCS graduated its first class of students to complete all 4 years of the program. All attended college this past fall!Courtesy of Hudson River Community Sailing