JSP Class Descriptions

Vineyard Haven Yacht Club Junior Sailing Program

Class Descriptions

The Junior Sailing Program (JSP) is open to children beginning at age six. The primary goals of the program are for participants to have fun, to learn a love for the water, and to develop as accomplished sailors. Advancement from class to class is based on the accumulation of required skills and experience and on the recommendation of the instructors. In all classes there will be a strong emphasis on proper boat maintenance and respect for Club property. Competitive excellence is encouraged by teaching racing skills, and there is equal emphasis on sportsmanship and seamanship throughout the program. In addition to our JSP classes, there are private and group sailing, windsurfing, and swimming lessons available to those who do not wish to participate in full sailing sessions or who would like additional instruction.

Sailing Levels:

TADPOLES- For children ages 6-7 years old with no prior experience. This program exposes children to all aspects of the water-side of the club with sailing as the primary focus. Children will sail in Optimists (Optis), O’Pen Bics and Sonars. Other activities include swimming, knot tying and various beach games to get familiar with boat parts and sailing terms.

OPTI NOVICE - For children ages 8-11 with little or no experience. Classes are taught in club-owned Optis, often with two sailors in each boat. They learn the basic parts of a boat, how to sail straight, turn, land on the beach, and capsize and right their boats safely.

OPTI INTERMEDIATE - For children ages 9-11 who are able to sail in an Opti by themselves. Sailors will learn proper weight placement, practice tacks, jibes, and safety position. They will also learn the basics of going around a racecourse and how to tie various knots.

For children ages 10-18 who have mastered beginner skills, but who have outgrown the Opti either physically or mentally and/or who do not want to focus on racing. This class explores O’Pen Bics, 420s, Windsurfers and Sonars. Sailors will develop their boat handling and overall sailing skills in the context of freestyle sailing, adventure sailing and “un-regatta” style racing while having fun on the water. This is an inspired alternative to the conventional racetrack route that will prepare sailors for 420 and/or Windsurfing classes in coming years, and build a foundation for lifelong sailing.

OPTI GREEN TEAM - For children ages 10-13 who have mastered beginner and intermediate skills in Optis and are ready to start racing in regattas. This fleet generally competes in 3-4 regattas throughout the summer, and is the training ground for becoming members of the Opti Race Team.

An opportunity limited to qualified and selected individuals ages 11-14 to participate in single-handed fleet racing. Sailors will continue to develop their racing skills in classes and compete in 4- 6 regattas on and off island throughout the summer.

ELEMENTARY 420 – For children ages 12 to 18 who have completed beginner classes, and for size or age reasons should move into 420s. This class introduces sailors to the skipper / crew dynamic as well as new boat-handling skills including spinnakers and trapezes. This class is a step toward the Advanced 420 class.

For children ages 12 to 18 who have mastered basic 420 boat-handling skills and basic racing skills. The class focuses on improving boat-handling skills in the context of racing to prepare sailors for the 420 Race Team while at the same time building a foundation for lifelong sailing.

420 RACE TEAM - An opportunity limited to older qualified and selected junior sailors ages 13-18 to hone racing skills during practice and compete regularly in both fleet and team racing. Sailors will compete in a maximum of 6 regattas on and off island throughout the summer.

WINDSURFING - Open to all children ages 8-18 to learn windsurfing in group and/or private lessons. Sailors often combine windsurfing and one of the other sailing classes for a full day on the water.