Junior Sailing

Beginner Sailing (Tuesday/Thursday 9-12, 7+ year-olds) – This class is designed for our youngest novice sailors who are at least 7. They will learn to sail in a variety of boats, and if two sailors want to share an Opti, that is also an option. Sailors are encouraged to sign up for a minimum of four weeks, although a two-week session might be possible with the approval of the Sailing Program Director. If a 7-year old child is comfortable in sailboats, they can enter this program with the approval of the Head Sailing Instructor. Previous experience in the Junior Crew class is preferred, but not required. Sailors will be required to complete a swimming test. Boats used will be Beetles and Optis. If class is forced indoors due to the weather, the sailors will learn the parts of a boat, knots and points of sail. They will also occasionally play sailing-related games and the class may be shortened to 2 hours. Instructors will have an open dialogue with parents throughout the session to review sailors’ progress. Sailors will need to have a USCG approved personal flotation device (PFD).

Beginner Opti (Monday/Wednesday/Friday 9-12, 8+ year-olds) – This class is designed for novice sailors aged 8 – 11. Starting with identifying wind direction and understanding points of sail, sailors will learn to rig and sail an Opti. To move up to Intermediate Opti, sailors will need to sail solo from Opti Beach, out the channel, around the floating dock and back in the channel to Opti Beach. Sailors are encouraged to sign up for a minimum of four weeks, although a two-week session might be possible with the approval of the Sailing Program Director. Sailors should have completed Beginning Sailing and be comfortable getting into an Opti. Sailors will be required to complete a swimming test. Sailors can use their own Optis or rent one of the club-owned Optis. Rental fees for those without a boat will be included in the enrollment fee, and those sailors will be assigned a Club Opti. If class is forced indoors due to the weather, the sailors will review parts of a boat, knots, points of sail and racing rules. They will also occasionally play sailing-related games or view instructional videos and the class may be shortened to 2 hours. Instructors will have an open dialogue with parents throughout the session to review sailors’ progress. In addition to feeling comfortable in a boat, the overarching goal for the Beginner Opti class is to have sailors confident “going solo” by rigging a boat on their own, sailing out the channel, around the floating dock and back in the channel to Opti Beach. The solo sail will be scheduled on the last day of a sailor’s session. If successful, sailors can move to Intermediate Opti. Sailors will need to have a USCG approved personal flotation device (PFD).

Intermediate Opti (Monday/Wednesday/Friday 1-4pm, 8+ year-olds) – This class is designed as an introductory racing course for sailors who are at least 8 years old. Areas of concentration are starts, mark roundings, effective sail trim, weight distribution and heel. Sailors are expected to race in the Green fleet on Wednesdays.  Sailors are encouraged to sign up for a minimum of four weeks. A sailor must have mastered the basic skills of Beginner Opti to progress to Intermediate Opti, which includes the ability to rig an Opti and sail without assistance. Sailors will be required to complete a swimming test. Sailors can use their own Optis or rent one of the club-owned Optis, but sailors may consider owning their own boats, sails and spars in the Intermediate Opti program since they will be racing. Rental fees for those without a boat will be included in the enrollment fee, and those sailors will be assigned a Club Opti. If class is forced indoors due to the weather, the sailors will learn rules, fleet racing tactics, knots and how to improve boat speed. They will also occasionally play sailing-related games or view instructional videos and the class may be shortened to 2 hours. Instructors will have an open dialogue with parents throughout the session to review sailors’ progress. The Intermediate Opti sailors are expected to form the Green Fleet for first-year racers. They will race with the Advanced Opti sailors on Wednesday afternoons, but will be scored separately. By the end of the session, sailors need to be comfortable and competent at starting, rounding marks, and displaying proper sail trim to maximize boat speed. Good sportsmanship will be emphasized and sailors will also be encouraged to attend several off-pond ECSA regattas on Tuesdays. Sailors will need to have a USCG approved personal flotation device (PFD).

Advanced Opti (Monday/Wednesday/Friday 1-4pm, 9+ year-olds) – This class is designed for sailors at least 9 years old, who have mastered Intermediate Opti skills and are ready for a significant off-pond ECSA racing experience. Ocean sailing between the Inn Beach and Fenway Beach will occur on several days, weather permitting. Racing tactics, roll tacking, sail trim and rules knowledge will be emphasized. An 8-week commitment to this class is strongly recommended. In addition to the Monday/Wednesday/Friday afternoon classes, please reserve Tuesdays 7:30 am – 5 pm for local ECSA regattas.Sailors will be required to complete a swimming test. Sailors can use their own Optis or rent one of the club-owned Optis, but sailors may consider owning their own boats, sails and spars in the Intermediate Opti program since they will be racing. Rental fees for those without a boat will be included in the enrollment fee, and those sailors will be assigned a Club Opti. If class is forced indoors due to the weather, the sailors will work extensively with rules and on racing tactics. They will also occasionally play sailing-related games or view instructional videos and the class may be shortened to 2 hours. Instructors will have an open dialogue with parents throughout the session to review sailors’ progress. Sailors will be expected to maximize boat speed, have a sound understanding of racing rules and exhibit extraordinary sportsmanship, representing The Weekapaug Yacht Club both on and off the pond. Sailors will be expected to attend multiple off-pond regattas. A USCG-approved personal flotation device (PFD) is required.

BYO Adventures and Free Sailing – Recruit friends and build your own class for Summer 2020! Some examples of Build-Your-Own Adventures or Free Sailing programs could be:

  1. A group of three friends over 12 years old want to play Star-Wars themed games in kayaks and paddle boards on Tuesday and Thursday mornings for three weeks.
  2. Two 10-year-olds want to have swimming lessons followed by sailing Optis on Tuesday mornings for two weeks.
  3. A father/daughter want to learn how to race 420s on Saturday mornings for the month of August.

In all of these situations, a parent would contact our Club Manager, Kate Scott, and work out the details of renting boats, scheduling swimming lessons, scheduling private sailing lessons and confirming instructor availability.

For safety reasons, children 11 or younger must be accompanied by an instructor. For children 12 or older, parents might prefer that an instructor, even though not required, is present. No previous sailing experience necessary unless a sailboat is part of the activity, then sailors must pass a sailing competency test. Instructors will be paid applicable hourly rates ($50 an hour for Family Members).

BYO Adventure and Free Sailing sessions are encouraged (the more creative and fun, the better); however, the activity must be safe, sportsmanlike, respectful and non-disruptive of other sailing activity.

Goals

The goal of a BYO Adventures and Free Sailing program is to allow children and young people to have free play and free sailing time on the pond. Children are much more creative than older people who design structured sailing programs, so the WYC wants to let them build their own programs as long as they are safe, sportsmanlike, respectful and non-disruptive of other sailing activity.