Sonar Program

Sonar Program

The Chicago Yacht Club has a fleet of Sonar keelboats ready to be sailed. The fleet is used for a variety of purposes, from instruction to member-rentals to racing. No matter what your sailing skill level, the Sonar fleet is here to get you on the water.

The Sonar is a 23-foot keelboat that provides a stable yet nimble platform for learning how to sail and perfecting your on the water skills. The Chicago Yacht Club is a US Sailing Accredited Keelboat School and offers Basic Keelboat Certification courses as well as Intermediate and Private lessons. Our instructors are all certified professionals teaching on the best equipment in the city. Don't miss your opportunity to start your sailing experience among the best! 

After you learn how to sail in the Sonars, there are even more ways to get out on the water. Click here for more information.

To learn more about our fleet and the programs we offer please contact our Keelboat Manager, Sean Hannigan, at

Basic Keelboat Certification

As a U.S. Sailing Accredited Keelboat Sailing School, we host a multi-day course that gives students the skills needed to confidently skipper and crew a day sailing keelboat. Students who pass the course are issued a U.S. Sailing Basic Keelboat Certification. All classes are taught by U.S. Sailing Certified Keelboat Instructors and the maximum class size is 4 students per boat. No prior sailing experience is necessary to enroll.

Each course covers sailing theory, boat handling skills, safety and emergency techniques, anchoring and docking, heavy weather sailing, and navigation. The U.S. Sailing Keelboat Certification Course is held three times between May and July at our Belmont Avenue Station.

Advanced Keelboat PROGRAMMING 

Are you interested in joining the Belmont sailing community? Check out some of the ways to stay engaged on the water, whether your looking to match race or fleet race, the Sonars and our team of on the water staff are here for you. 

Our goal with the advanced programming is to allow for an opportunity for sailors to build their skills on and off the water by facilitating fleet coaching and community camaraderie.

Register now

  • Basic Keelboat Certification
    • Cost

      Member $600
      Non-Member $690


      Session Date Time
      Basic Keelboat Session A
      May 25, 26, June 1, 2 9am - 1pm
      Basic Keelboat Session B June 22, 23, 29, 30 9am - 1pm
      Basic Keelboat Session C  July 20, 21, 27, 28 9am - 1pm 

      Register now

      Cancellation Policy: Refunds will be issued up to 30 days prior to the start date of the sailor's class less an administrative fee of 5% for Chicago Yacht Club members, and 10% for non-members. 

  • Tuesday Sonar Match Racing League
    • 2019 Tuesday Sonar Match Racing League

      This series provides the opportunity for intermediate to advanced sailors weekly match racing events. Sailors who already have experience in match racing will be paired with fellow sailors to duke it out on the water.

      Unique to this series is the opportunity for coaching. Over the course of the season well-versed sailors will provide chalk talks and on the water instruction to help hone your skills through deeper analysis and video playback.

      Racing will be held from 6pm until 8pm. Stick around after to work with coaches and other members to review and chat. 

      *For those building teams be advised the Sonar is a four person vessel. For members teams, a member must be at the helm during racing.* 

      Cost per night
      Teams of up to six (Member): $80
      Teams of up to six (Non-Member): $120 

      Not in a team? We'll pair you with a boat and crew. Choose from below:

      Skipper (Member): $35
      Skipper (Non-member): $55
      Crew (Member): $25
      Crew (Non-member): $40

      May 21
      May 28
      June 4
      June 11
      June 18
      June 25
      July 2
      July 23
      July 30
      August 6
      August 13
      August 20
      August 27
      September 3
      September 10
      September 17

      Any questions can be directed to Sean Hannigan at or (312) 617-6989.


  • Thursday Learn to Race Sonar League
    • Thursday Learn to Race Sonar League

      Are you looking to enhance your sailing skills, or perhaps enter the racing scene? If so, come take part in our Thursday night Learn to Race sailing league. From boat handling and speed control, to tactics and race rules; the goal of this course if to provide you with the tools and coaching needed to take you to the next level of sailing.

      This league in intended for sailors of all skill levels to compete in a low stress fleet race. The goal of this 

      Cost per night:

      Skipper (Member): $15
      Skipper (Non-member): $20

      Crew (Member): $25
      Crew (Non-member): $45

      Team (Member): $55
      Team (Non-member): $80

      May 30
      June 27
      July 25
      August 8
      August 22
      September 5

      Any questions can be directed to Sean Hannigan at or (312) 617-6989


Private Lessons

For those of you who can't find a class that fits your schedule or who are interested in a more private approach, we offer private lessons that can be scheduled at your convenience! Whatever your needs are, our staff will work with you to tailor a perfect sailing experience. Whether you want to start from scratch and work towards a Basic Keelboat Certification, or if you would like to brush up on your skills, this is an ideal option.

Call or email our Keelboat Manager to set up your lessons today!

# of Students Hourly Cost Per Person
1 student $65 - Member / $80 - Non - Member
2 students $55 - Member / $70 - Non - Member
3 students $45 - Member / $60 - Non - Member
4 students $35 - Member / $50 - Non - Member

To set up your lessons today, contact the Keelboat Manager, Sean Hanniagn, at or call (312) 617-6989.  

Member Rentals

Sonar Rentals

We offer our members an opportunity to enjoy the water by providing a fleet of Sonar keelboats throughout the sailing season. As a member you have the chance to sail stress free and conveniently. Whether you chose to rent hourly or purchase a season pass, we promise to have a maintained vessel waiting for you in the Belmont harbor.

Membership includes:
Professionally maintained
Sonar keelboat ·        
Main and Jib sails ·        
Spinnaker and associated gear ·        
VHF radio and USCG safety gear ·        
Access to professional on the water staff

We ask all skippers to provide their own USCG approved Personal Floatation Devices (PFD), along with one for each of their crew members.

Hours of operation: ·        

Member rates:          
$80 per hour          
$450 annual pass

The annual membership fee for the sonar fleet is $450 and supports the operation and upkeep of the boats. As a member, your CYC membership account will serve as a ‘damage deposit’. In the event there is damage that needs repair, you may be liable for up to $2500. Coverage for the boats beyond that is under the club’s umbrella insurance policy.

We require all skippers to complete a sonar orientation prior to their first rental. The orientation fee is $80. Upon successful completion members will receive a two-hour rental credit.

To learn more please contact our Keelboat Manager, Sean Hannigan, by emailing or registering here.

Come captain one of Chicago Yacht Club's sonars, a 23-foot keelboat that provides a stable yet nimble platform for learning how to sail and perfecting on the water skills. 

Reserve your Sonar today

Make a reservation
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