Rockland Community Sailing at The Apprenticeshop is launching a fun and exciting 2014 boating season for aspiring mariners of all ages.

Residents and visitors in the Rockland, Maine, area are now invited to sign up for any of the numerous opportunities to learn the arts and skills of sailing and seamanship.

The youth summer program offers one-week full day classes for students, ages 8-18, from June 23 through Aug. 22. Youth sailors learn to sail in Optimist prams, 420 sloops, and larger keelboats. Along with mastering sailing, rigging boats, knots, weather, and other water-related skills, students have opportunities to sail with other local clubs, participate in Rockland's own Red Jacket Youth Sailing Regatta on July 27 and a Youth Keelboat Scholarship Regatta with the Rockland Yacht club on Aug. 14. For more advanced youth dinghy sailors, there are three, three-day afternoon Race Clinics in July and August focused on improving racing skills on 420 sloops. All youth classes are taught by US Sailing/First Aid/CPR certified instructors.

"Sailors have fun learning how to skipper their own boats, making new friends from near and far away and developing more self-confidence, responsibility, and teamwork skills," said KC Heyniger, Waterfront Programs director at RCS.

Adult students experience the same challenges and rewards in Summer Adult classes running from June 28 through Aug. 21. Instructors teach on 17- to 26-foot sailboats and cover seamanship and safety skills structured to build confidence, give students the ability to rig and sail on their own, and get familiar with the local sailing environment. Lessons are available Monday/Wednesdays, Tuesday/Thursdays, or Saturday Sundays, from 4 to 7 p.m. Each course meets four times over two weeks for a total of 12 hours of instruction. Along with boat-specific skills, students learn about safety, charts, weather, knots, anchoring, moorings, comfortable sailing gear and related topics.

"We get students out sailing and leaning on the boats right away while enjoying the sights and sounds of beautiful Rockland Harbor," said Heyniger.

RCS also offers three-week Learn to Race classes sailors interested in taking their skills into sailboat racing. Students practice with their instructor's on Thursday's in Colgate 26 or Sonar 23 keelboats, then race in the Rockland Yacht Club Tuesday night series. All classes meet 4 to 7 p.m. Attending the RYC post-race BBQ is optional but recommended.

"It's a fun and easy way to improve your sailing/racing skills, meet local racers, and learn about mid coast racing opportunities," said Heyniger.

Other RCS maritime-related activities this season include a Free Sail Open House on July 11, from 6 to 8 p.m., and demo sails and youth focused activities at the Maine Boats, Homes and Harbor Show and Lobsterfest Marine Tent.

For further information and sign up/registration forms, check, or call KC Heyniger at 594-1800.