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Lighthouse Landing Sailing School 

If you’ve ever dreamed of learning to sail—the waves lapping against the hull and the breeze propelling the boat along as you chart your course for an exhilarating waterway adventure like no other—enrolling in classes may be easier (and closer to home) than you think. For two decades, the multi-award-winning Lighthouse Landing Sailing School in Grand Rivers has helped put the wind in students’ sails as they learn sailing basics on Kentucky Lake in western Kentucky. 

“It’s very relaxing. It’s very enjoyable. It’s very peaceful,” says Robin Colburn, describing the experience of being aboard a sailboat on the open water. Colburn, a Jackson Purchase Energy Cooperative consumer-member, has been sailing for about 35 years and is the Lighthouse Landing Resort and Marina rental and office manager.  

Lighthouse Landing Sailing School introduces new students to the joys and the theory of sailing, while also ensuring the necessary skills are taught to promote confidence and safety in the sport. The American Sailing Association (ASA) certified courses provide both classroom and on-the-water learning opportunities. These include Basic Keelboat (101), which covers topics like sailing terminology, steering, tacking and jibing, sailor’s knots and rules of the road. Basic Coastal Cruising (103) dives into anchoring and mooring, identifying a perfect anchorage, heavy weather sailing, overboard crew member recovery and handling emergency situations afloat. 

The four-day courses are typically held beginning in April and running through October, with small groups of only four students per class. Out on the water, lessons take place aboard a Colgate 26 sailboat, also operated in the U.S. Naval Academy’s sail training program. Before enrolling, Colburn points out that a good range of motion, flexibility, agility and balance are important for successful sailing as the sport does require moderate physical activity. 

Photo: Lighthouse Landing Sailing School
Photo: Lighthouse Landing Sailing School
Photo: Amy Cobb
Photo: Amy Cobb
Photo: Amy Cobb

“A sailing school is a great experience, but it’s also physically demanding,” explains Colburn. “You have to be able to get from one position to the other.” 

Even so, the school does not want to discourage anyone from participating but wants potential students to be aware of the necessary fitness requirements. 

From 2002 to 2010, Lighthouse Landing was selected as an American Sailing Association School of the Year seven times and was awarded Outstanding Instructor for 2010 and 2015. 

Once students have earned certification, Colburn says they can go to other places to charter a boat, as their ASA certification is recognized all over the U.S., as well as in some other countries. 

Meanwhile, here in the Bluegrass, Colburn says sailing offers a unique way to explore the beautiful Kentucky Lake. “It’s just a very enjoyable thing to come out and relax and enjoy nature,” she adds. 

The Lighthouse Landing marina itself boasts 190 open slips to accommodate boats up to 42 feet and is located at mile marker 24 on the Tennessee River and Kentucky Lake. Slips can be rented on a daily or yearly basis. As marina customers, boaters have access to city water and 20- or 30-amp electricity, as well as laundry facilities, two bath houses and a self-service waste pump out. 

Don’t own your own sailboat? No problem. Lighthouse Landing offers sailboat rentals, including the 1982 Catalina 22, 2001 Colgate 26, 1991 Hunter 27 and 1991 Hunter 30T. If you’re ready to take the plunge and buy your own vessel, they also offer a diverse selection of pre-owned sailboats to fit your needs. 

And if lodging is needed, the resort offers a dog-friendly RV park for those who prefer to enjoy their own home away from home. The 39 seasonal sites provide guests with water, electric, and sewer hookups. 

Lighthouse Landing also features one-, two- and three-bedroom cottages with views of Kentucky Lake. “Our cottages and guest rooms are designed with comfort and relaxation in mind,” says Colburn. “They sit along the bluff of the lake where you can enjoy some of the most incredible sunsets.” Downtown Grand Rivers, with unique shops, events and venues, is just a short stroll or golf cart ride away. 

Lighthouse Landing Resort and Marina

320 W. Commerce Ave., Grand Rivers 

(270) 362-8201  

Facebook: Lighthouse Landing

Lighthouse Landing Resort and Marina: Open daily 8:30 a.m.–5 p.m., offering cottage, RV and golf cart rentals. Boat slip rentals are available daily and yearly. 

Lighthouse Landing Sailing School: Open Thursday–Sunday 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Four-day ASA-certified courses are held in the classroom and on the lake. Classes typically begin in April and run through October. The school recommends the certification program for students ages 18 and up.  

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