• Explore. Learn. Sail! Low-cost, high-quality programs that connect city youth with Boston Harbor and Jamaica Pond. Youth Sailing
  • Sailing and rowing for kids, adults, and families on this beautiful pond located in the heart of Boston. Jamaica Pond
  • Work at Courageous

    The 2015 season is just around the corner, which means there is an opportunity for you to come spend your summer working at Courageous. You'll be outside and on the water with a great staff and sailors from age 8 and up. This could be the start of your lifelong passion for teaching sailing, educating, and organizing in your community. Read More
  • Leadership + Growth

    Through this 7-week summer job-training program, students make the transition from student to instructor, developing their abilities to teach, lead, and inspire the next generation of Courageous kids. Read More
  • Environmentalism at Courageous

    Courageous is wind powered, but we do more than just use natural energy sources. For the past several years, our young sailors have been learning about marine biology and ocean cleanup from our own Environmental Educators and award-winning partners. Read More
  • Support Courageous Kids

    As 2014 draws to a close, Courageous is celebrating a successful year of teaching sailing and more to Boston kids, and looking ahead to next year. Please consider supporting Courageous in our mission to provide high-quality summer learning opportunities for the kids who need them most by making a tax-deductible donation to our Annual Appeal before December 31. Read More
  • Awareness Campaign

    See our new awareness campaign made by Hill Holliday and Courageous board member, Joe Berkeley. The campaign captures the essence of the Courageous Sailing mission and its impact on Boston kids. Read More

About Courageous


Our Mission

Courageous Sailing transforms lives through sailing programs that inspire learning, personal growth and leadership.

Our Vision

Courageous Sailing is a community that embraces sailing as a platform for life-long learning, personal growth and leadership; a center of sailing excellence committed to removing barriers to access for all Boston youth, the public and people with physical and intellectual challenges.


Courageous Sailing was established in 1987 as a 501(c)(3) by the late South Boston sailing enthusiast Harry McDonough. It was Harry’s dream to use sailing to build character and camaraderie among Boston children from all economic and ethnic backgrounds.  For 25 years, we have continued to grow and deliver our mission to transform children’s lives through sailing programs that inspire learning, personal growth and leadership.  In Harry’s words, “Every child's perspective is improved 50-yards off-shore.”

Courageous is now a nationally recognized year-round educational center for community sailing and youth development.  Courageous offers Boston-area youth free and low-cost out-of-school-time programs in sailing, environmental education, job skills development, and leadership training. In 2011 we were honored to be named one of the top 10 community sailing programs nationwide by both US Sailing and Sail Magazine.

How Courageous Got Its Name

The America's Cup 12 meter "Courageous" once lived at Pier 4 in the Navy Yard. This two-time America's Cup winner lent its name to Courageous Sailing in the late 1980s. The boat now resides at the Museum of Yachting in Newport, Rhode Island, where it has been restored and is still being raced.

Our Partners in Community Service

Courageous is proud to partner with many like-minded nonprofit organizations.  During our longstanding relationship with Special Olympics of Massachusetts, Courageous has hosted the Special Olympics Summer Games, and continues to be a host training venue for Special Olympics athletes two days each week.  We have another close partnership with The Carroll Center for the Blind, whose pioneering Sail Blind program has called Courageous a home base for two decades.  With the Carrol Center, Courageous has been host to national blind sailing regattas, the annual Harry McDonough Regatta for the Blind, and weekly Sail Blind racing and recreational practice sessions.  Courageous is also home base for the Big Sisters Association of Greater Boston's annual Adventure Sail program for inner-city girls, an event that has drawn hundreds of women and girls into the sport of sailing.  In recent years we have been developing new and exciting relationships with Boston Family Boatbuilding, Boston Afterschool and Beyond, and the Boston Public Schools.

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Life as a Courageous Kid
Youth Program
My 18th birthday, this April, inspired me to do some serious thinking about what it means to be mature and how I define adulthood. At the same time that I was working through these big questions for myself, I became a member of the senior staff for the first time at Courageous. Although I ...
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Speaking my Language
Youth Program
This summer, I was a sailing instructor in Courageous' Swim Sail Science program (otherwise known as SSS). The SSS students are from various diverse backgrounds and live all over the city of Boston. With that being said, the kids represent several different ethnicities and do not always speak Englis...
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Experiencing the J/80s
Youth Program
This past spring, Courageous received a donation that allowed the purchase of two J/80s.  J/80s are 26-foot-long sloop-rigged sport boats, with a roller furling headsail and an asymmetrical spinnaker.  The intention is, assuming Courageous likes the J/80s and finds that they suit its needs...
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A Place for Growth
Youth Program
This summer, my second at Courageous, I had the opportunity to gain a greater understanding of the Youth Program as a whole. Previously while working with the Instructors in Training, I only had a narrow view of that one piece of Courageous. Returning to Courageous, I was excited to become a part of...
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How Blue Note came to Courageous
One of of my favorite stories of 2015 is the arrival of Blue Note.   A comfortable yet sprightly 30 footer in wonderful condition, Blue Note comes to us through the generosity of the family of Dr. Paul Blum, a remarkable scientist, Peace Corps volunteer, and Boston Harbor sailor.  Blue Not...
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Find Us

Pier 4, Charlestown Navy Yard, Boston, MA 02129



Thank you to our donors

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