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 February 1st  for members & March 1st for nonmembers.  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. The STEM program can be found in session III

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


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).

Intermediate (Ages 8-13)
Prerequisite: Beginner; except for sailors age 11+ who are exempt from the prerequisite and swim drill 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 and swim drill

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/420 Race Team(Ages 10-17)

Prerequisite: Opti Green and swim drill

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 Green Fleet (Ages 12-17)
Prerequisite: Opti or Adventure and swim drill 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) and STEM (Ages 11-17)
Prerequisite: Swim drill required for both courses 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). STEM Course- Science, Technology, Engineering, Math 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 children 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.  



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?
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.


Sarah Young, Junior Sailing Program Officer: