Junior Sailing Program

 

MISSION STATEMENT

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.  The Portland Yacht Club Junior Sailing program supports both serious competitors and recreational sailors of all skill levels, and is focused not only on building sailing skills but also promoting sportsmanship, fostering teamwork and strengthening respect for oneself and others. We welcome both member and non-member families.

Registration for PYC Members starts February 1, 2019. Registration for Non-Members starts March 1, 2019.
Click here for registration
Click here for class fees and payment policies

PROGRAM OFFERINGS 

Classes are filling up fast! Click here to view availability.

Summer 2019 Dates:

Session I: June 24 – July 05 Monday to Friday Two weeks
Session II: July 08- July 19 Monday to Friday Two weeks
Session III: July 22- August 2 Monday to Friday Two weeks
Session IV: August 5-16 Monday to Friday Two weeks
Minnows Mornings August 19-23 Monday to Friday One week
Minnows Afternoon August 19-23 Monday to Friday One week
Travel Race Team June 24-August 16 Monday to Friday Entire Season
Cow Island Overnight
Session 1
July 16 & July 17
Tues & Wed
2 days/1 night camping
Cow Island Overnight
Session II
July 30 to July 31
Tues & Wed
2 days/1 night camping
STEM III & IV
July 22 to August 2
Monday to Friday
Two weeks

PREREQUISITE SWIM DRILL REQUIRED FOR
ALL AGES AND LEVELS

Comfort in the water is a fundamental part of safe sailing. All junior sailors, regardless of age or number of years in the Program, are required to take a swim drill. Drill includes swimming in a bathing suit and shoes along the length of the junior float (50 ft), treading water for 30 seconds, and putting on a life jacket in the water. (Sailors in the Minnows program will wear life jackets in a modified drill.) There is a swim ladder that children can use to climb out of the water. If children struggle they may retake the drill and coaches will offer support as needed. The drill will take place on the first day of each session, so please plan accordingly: pack a towel, a dry bathing suit, and a second pair of shoes. If this test would be a challenge for your sailor, please contact Program Director Chris Morin to discuss the situation (207) 899-2864.

Minnows (Ages 6 -7)
Prerequisite: Modified swim drill 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: Swim drill 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 7-8)
Prerequisite: Swim drill 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).
Opti I (Ages 9 -10)
Prerequisite: Beginner; except for sailors age 11+ who are exempt from the prerequisite and swim drill OPTI I – For sailors with little or no prior single-handed sailing experience. Typical ages: 9-10 yr. Olds. Full-day program (9am to 4pm) Class Overview: Portland Yacht Club maintains a strong emphasis on fun sailing and sailing-related games throughout the Opti 1 class. This class is for sailors who have little or no prior single-handed boating experience, including those who have taken the class last season. The Opti 1 class is taught in the single-handed Opti. Opti 1 offers sailors a fun learning environment while nurturing important life skills: responsibility, independence, confidence, teamwork and sportsmanship. Skills Taught: – Getting comfortable in an Opti, addressing common fears such as heeling and capsizing, and focusing on safety and control – Parts of the boat, sails and rig, sailing nomenclature, and rigging and derigging a boat – Tying knots (figure eight, square knot and bowline) – Finding the wind direction, then feeling and seeing wind on the water – Steering using a tiller to avoid obstructions – Right of way rules (starboard/port, leeward boat rules), independently capsize and right a boat in light wind
Opti II (Ages 9 -11)
Prerequisite: Beginner; except for sailors age 11+ who are exempt from the prerequisite and swim drill Full-day program (9am to 4pm) OPTI II – Strong emphasis on fun sailing and skill development. Typical ages: 9-11 yr. Olds Class Overview: Portland Yacht Club maintains a strong emphasis on fun sailing and sailing-related games throughout the Opti II class. This class is for sailors who have successfully completed the Opti I class or equivalent. The curriculum is an extension of the Opti I class with an emphasis on independence in rigging, boat handling and boat care. This is primarily a non-racing class with the basics of proper sailing will be covered. Classes will be taught in Optis. Opti II offers sailors a fun learning environment while nurturing important life skills: responsibility, independence, confidence, teamwork and sportsmanship. Skills Taught: – Reinforcement of skills learned in Opti I – Execute tacks and gybes from/to any point of sail – Understand “trim” and “ease” commands – Right of way rules (starboard/port, leeward boat rules), independently capsize and right a boat in light wind
Opti III (Ages 10 -12)
Prerequisite: Beginner; except for sailors age 11+ who are exempt from the prerequisite and swim drill Full-day program (9am to 4pm) OPTI III – For sailors who successfully completed Optimist II or equivalent or previous coach’s recommendation. Typical ages: 10-12 yr. Olds Portland Yacht Club’s Opti III class is for sailors who have successfully completed the Opti II class or equivalent. Students will continue to improve their sailing skills through more advanced boat handling techniques and simple tactical planning and decision making skills while they learn more advanced skills through sailing. Boating safety and fun are emphasized while nurturing important life skills: responsibility, independence, confidence, teamwork and sportsmanship. Skills Taught: – Proper sail trim and body positioning to maintain control at all points of sail (upwind, downwind, reaching) – Tack and gybe from/to any point of sail in control – Sailing in crowded situations, and sailing around a triangular course – Right of way rules (starboard/port, windward/leeward, from behind, keep clear while maneuvering, avoid collisions)
Opti Green (Ages 10-12)

Prerequisite: Intermediate and swim drill

Full-day program (9am to 4pm) OPTI GREEN FLEET – For sailors who successfully completed Optimist II or equivalent or previous coach’s recommendation and are interested in racing. Typical ages: 10-12 yr. Olds Class Overview: Portland Yacht Club’s Opti Green Fleet is for sailors who have completed Opti III and are motivated to continue sailing in a more race-focused environment. The sailors in this class are introduced to more advanced rigging and boat handling techniques. The class will have a more racing focus and sailors are encouraged to compete in the appropriate local and regional regattas in the Green or Championship Fleet (Red, White or Blue). In addition to sailing skills the program teaches important life skills: responsibility, independence, confidence, teamwork and sportsmanship. Skills Taught: – Introduction to racing – Understand weight placement and sailing in different wind and wave conditions – Describe how to determine favored end of the start line – Understand concepts of clean air and wind shadows – Understanding basic race courses, starting sequence, and basic racing nomenclature

420 (Ages 10-17)

Prerequisite: Opti Green and swim drill

Full-day program (9am to 4pm) Class Overview: For sailors who would like to continue sailing but in a larger boat with another person. Portland Yacht Club’s 420 class is meant for sailors who are new and/or familiar to the 420 sailboat. The 420 class is typically (but not necessarily) comprised of sailors who have some prior sailing experience, either in Optis or Keelboats, but who are looking for an introduction to a double-handed boat. The focus of this class is to familiarize sailors with the 420 and to understand the basics of a double-handed boat, including an introduction to trapezing, spinnakers and understanding sail trim and weight-placement. Skills Taught: – Understanding rigging and parts of a 420 – Understanding teamwork and communication within a high-performance boat – Understanding how to start and stop a 420 – Tacking and gybing

Adventure (Ages 12-17)
Prerequisite: Swim drill required for both courses Full-day program (9am to 4pm) Adventure Course 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).
Travel Race Team with 420 and Opti Fleets
PYCs Race Team is meant for junior sailors who have a desire to race on the local and regional levels. There will be a 420 Fleet and and an Opti Fleet. Coaches and parents, together, will discuss which Fleet is most appropriate for their sailor and that is based in part, on age, weight and goals. Sailors on the team typically travel to regattas within New England during the summer and push each other to compete on a high level. There is a strong emphasis on independence as sailors are expected to prepare for regattas largely on their own. Here are some of the objectives:

  • –  Encourage and demand sportsmanship, fair play and  Corinthian mind sets
  • Foster love of the sport of sailing and have fun!
  • –  Fine Tune Racing Skills
  • –  Compete on a regional and National level
    Typical Age Range: 13 – 18 year olds
  • Skills Taught:
  • –  Advanced starting techniques and racing tactics
  • –  Understanding starting and stopping a boat; covering and wind-shadows
  • –  Advanced understanding of racing rules

The Travel Race Teams have benefitted from volunteer parent participation. If your child is on the team, and you would like to volunteer, please contact: Sarah Young, PYC Junior Sailing Program Officer: syounganp@yahoo.com.

STEM Session III & IV (Ages 11-17)
  Two week, full-day program, July 22 to August 2, (9am to 4pm), Rain or Shine.  STEM Course: Science, Technology, Engineering, Math. This dynamic course is taught by an enthusiastic and dedicated college biology student with US Sailing Level One Certification. Sailing in the Club’s J/24 keel boats and also exploring by motor boat, participants take a variety of excursions and adventures related to STEM topics and associated with ocean sciences. Have you ever wondered what a nudibranch looks like, and where you might find one at PYC? Or perhaps you’ve wanted to know more about how Casco Bay ended up with so many islands, making it such a special place to live for all it’s wildlife and humans? This class will answer all these questions and many, many more by providing the perfect chance for youth to improve their sailing and seamanship skills, while also learning everything about the ocean, especially our beloved Casco Bay! The class will remain a traditional sailing class for one half of the day, with a marine science component during the other half, focusing mainly on the subjects of marine biology and oceanography.

Cow Island Overnight (Ages 9 & Up)

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED Q’s

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.
How can I view photos of my child?
Photos will be displayed on the PYC web site, Facebook page, e-newsletters and end of season awards banquet. Contact Chris Morin for additional information.
Are parents allowed to come watch the sailing lessons?
PYC will do it’s best to arrange for parents to watch their children sail. Contact Chris Morin if interested.
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.

CONTACT

Sarah Young, Junior Sailing Program Officer: