Junior Sailing Program


The Junior Program mission is to teach sailing in a safe, educational and fun environment.  We aim to instill a life long love for sailing in our youth.  As the largest seasonal  junior sailing program in Northern New England, we are proud to offer extensive programming for kids from ages 6 to 18 including learn-to-sail lessons, adventure sailing and a premier travel race team.  We welcome both member and non-member families.


Registration opens on February 1st for members & March 1st for nonmembers.  The online registration form will be posted here on February 1, 2018.  If you have questions, please use the contact information listed on the bottom of this page.  View the Prices & Payment Policy here.


Junior Program classes are offered in two week cycles, M – F.  The introductory classes are half day (9am-12noon/ 1-4pm), while all other classes are full day (9am – 4pm).     Scroll down to access the class descriptions and registration form.  The Minnows class is a one week add-on at the end of the summer for our youngest sailors.

Summer 2017 Dates

Session I: two weeks, June 26 – July 7 (no programming July 4th)
Session II: two weeks, July 10 – July 21
Session III: two weeks, July 24 – August 4
Session IV: two weeks, August 7- August 18
Minnows: one week, August 21 – August 25

Summer 2018 Dates

Session I: two weeks, June 25 – July 6
Session II: two weeks, July 9 – July 20
Session III: two weeks, July 23 – August 3
Session IV: two weeks, August 6 – August 17
Minnows: one week, August 20 – August 24

Minnows (Ages 6 -7)

Prerequisite: Ability to swim with PFD

This one-week program is added on at the end of the summer as an opportunity for young sailors to test the waters.  The children will become familiar with the docks, boats and water as they are exposed to the sport in a fun environment.  Children will learn to sail our pram dinghies in pairs close to shore.  The program is a half-day, either morning (9am to 12noon) or afternoon (1 to 4pm).

Beginner AM (Ages 7-8)

Prerequisite: Ability to swim

This introductory level class is for younger children who are new to sailing and want to learn in a fun environment. Capsize recovery and comfort on the water will be emphasized and the children will sail dinghies (Prams & Optis) close to shore in pairs. They will learn parts of the boat, basic knots, and seamanship. This is a half-day program in the morning (9am to 12noon).

Beginner PM (Ages 9-12)

Prerequisite: Ability to swim

This introductory level class is a new addition to our program. The class is designed for children ages 9 and above who are new to the sport of sailing and want to learn in a fun environment with other students who are close in age and ability level. Capsize recovery and comfort on the water will be emphasized. The kids will sail close to shore and learn parts of the boat, basic knots, and seamanship. This is a half-day program in the afternoon (1 to 4pm).

Intermediate (Ages 8-13)

Prerequisite: Beginner; except for sailors age 11+ who are exempt from the prerequisite 

This intermediate level class focuses on learning steering, sail trim, and seamanship. The class is taught by two coaches, and students are welcome to take for multiple sessions as they master upwind sailing in a boat by themselves. Fun land and water games are included, with time for swimming and island adventuring as well. The program is full day (9am to 4pm).

Opti Green (Ages 9-14)

Prerequisite: Intermediate 

This advanced level class introduces sailors to racing through drills and chalk talks. Focus will be on building boat handling skills and confidence, as sailors learn to tack with the tiller extension and ‘kite’ downwind. Parents should plan on 2 days of travel to local Green Fleet events per session for friendly competition. Students will learn responsibility and teamwork by caring for the Club’s best equipment. The program is full-day (9am to 4pm).

Opti Race (Ages 10-15)

Prerequisite: Opti Green 

A travel team of self-motivated sailors led by an excellent race coach. Sailors learn advanced technique and kinetics, as well as racing tactics and strategy. Parents are expected to assist with travel to ±6 regional regattas. Many sailors have their own boat, and PYC makes a small number of PYC Optis available for charter on a first come basis. This race team is the premier learning opportunity for junior sailors in the state of Maine.

420 Race (Ages 12-17)

Prerequisite: Opti or Adventure

This course is for sailors who are motivated to take their sailing to the next level.  An experienced coach will train the sailors in racing tactics and boat handling skills including roll tacking, and body positioning.  Racing drills will be interspersed with long-distance sails to destinations around Casco Bay.  Sailors are invited to compete in weekly Maine Interclub Racing Circuit (MIRC) events and regional regattas. Parents should plan on 2 days of travel per session. This program is the perfect opportunity to tune up in preparation for the high school sailing season. The program is full day (9am to 4pm).

Adventure (Ages 12-17)

 Prerequisite: Ability to Swim

This unique course is an in-depth introduction to 420 and keelboat sailing for teenagers in our junior program! The course teaches seamanship and sailing in a fun, cooperative environment on board our club 420s and J/24 keelboats. Instruction includes rigging, steering, sail trim, tacking, jibing, docking, knots, parts of the boat, anchoring and basic navigation. Students will also learn general boating safety and capsize recovery. Teamwork and communication between crew is emphasized. Each day will be a new and exciting opportunity for the sailors to explore Casco Bay. The program is full day (9am to 4pm).



What classes are suitable for kids with no prior sailing experience?

Kids who are new to the sport of sailing should begin with either the Minnows, Beginner or Adventure class depending on age and size.

What sailboats are used?

The Junior Sailing Program uses Prams, Optis, 420s and J/24 Keelboats for instruction.  The Pram and Opti are similar – they are both small, stable boats designed for one person.  However, we do begin the young sailors in pairs in the boat.  The 420 is a larger boat with two sails (mainsail and a jib) designed for two people.  Kids should be 100lbs+ and/or 5ft+ in order to move up.  The 420 is a popular boat as it’s commonly race at the high school and collegiate level.  The J/24 Keelboat is designed for about 6 sailors; an instructor is onboard with sailors.

When is my child ready to move from Optis into 420s?
What should kids bring to sailing?

Everyone is responsible for bringing his or her own lifejacket.  Read our What to Bring tab for a comprehensive list.

What footwear is acceptable?

Closed toed shoes including old sneakers, canvas shoes, crocks, keens and more.   Kids often like to bring flip-flops to change into on the lawn and deck.  Shoes must be warn at all times.

What is the Cow Island Overnight?
How can I view photos of my child?
Are parents allowed to come watch the sailing lessons?


Bart Weisenfluh, Junior Sailing Program Officer: