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2019 Junior Sailing Program Guide



Welcome to MYC Junior Sailing 2019!



We are excited to welcome our new and returning sailors to the program. We have designed a summer to appeal to both those interested in recreational sailing as well as race training. The goal is for all sailors to stay safe, have fun, improve boat-handling, sportsmanship, seamanship, and integrity, meet lifelong friends and make lifelong memories.


This booklet provides you with the basics of what you need to know about MYC Jr Sailing 2019. We’ll cover everything from required equipment, to boat safety checklists, to regatta participation.


If you have any questions after reading the 2019 Junior Sailing Program Guide, please don’t hesitate to reach out to the contacts provided if you have any questions.


Thank you!

Marianna Erenhouse

Junior Sailing Chair 2019

MYC Junior Sailing Program Goals




The mission of the Milford Yacht Club Junior Sailing Program is to develop knowledgeable youth sailors and foster in them a lifelong love of and involvement in sailing.



Program Goals


  1. Safety is the number one priority at all times
  2. Develop sportsmanship, seamanship, integrity, and interpersonal skills
  3. Create a fun atmosphere for sailors of all levels and interests
  4. Instill responsibility for boats, equipment, and facilities
  5. Provide high quality instruction tailored to each individual sailor’s needs

MYC Program Staff and Contacts


Milford Yacht Club

131 Trumbull Ave

Milford, CT 06460

(203) 783-0060


Junior Sailing Chair

Marianna Erenhouse

(203) 394-7621


Junior Sailing Director

Tuck Northrop


(203) 644-2107



Jake Burwell

David Hewitt

Kayla Kowal

Zach Steuer


Junior Buccaneers Instructor

Johna Reisch


Junior Instructors

Zane Franz(Head JI)                           Blake Erenhouse

Layla Alogna                                      Chloe Franke                                      

Caroline Begg                                    Sylvia Franz                                     

Nico Clayton                                      Ryan Treat                                       

Bailey Dickman                                  Devyn Weed

Liam Dickman                                    Leni Wisniewski



MYC Junior Board Members

Caroline Begg                                     Zane Franz                  

Nico Clayton                                       Tate Theodorsen                                 

Blake Erenhouse                                 Ryan Treat

Chloe Franke                                      Devyn Weed

Sylvia Franz


Important Dates for 2019


Saturday, June 8 from 9:00-12:00pm - Rigging Day

All sailors who will be sailing their own boats should bring their boats to Rigging Day.  Safety checks will be conducted and boats will be stored. The Boat Locker will be available should anyone need to purchase equipment. Bringing boats this early gives everyone two weeks to make any necessary repairs. Junior Buccaneers and anyone renting a boat from MYC need not attend. 


Monday, June 24

            Start of the 1st session of Junior Buccaneers

            Start of the Summer sailing program


Thursday, July 4

            Program closed in observance of Independence Day


Friday, July 12

            Last day of 1st session of Junior Buccaneers


Monday, July 15

            Start of the 2nd session of Junior Buccaneers


Wednesday, July 24

            MYC Opti Regatta with Green Fleet



Friday, August 2

            Last day of the 2nd session of Junior Buccaneers


Wednesday, August 7

            MYC Junior Sailing Banquet


Friday, August 9

            Last day of Jr Sailing



2019 Regatta Schedule

(Tentative, based on interest)




July 8 - Opti Girls Clinic and Regatta

July 13 - Opti Area C at Pequot Yacht Club

July 25 - MYC Opti Area C with Green Fleet

July 30 - Opti Area C at Stamford Yacht Club

July 30 - Green Fleet Regatta at Cedar Point Yacht Club

July 31 - Roton Point Green Fleet

August 8 - Opti Area C at Cedar Point Yacht Club

August 11-12 - JSA Optimist Champs at American Yacht Club




July 3 - Eastern Districts at Norwalk Yacht Club

July 15-17 - Larchmont Jr Race Week at Larchmont Yacht Club

July 25-26 - JSA Pixel Champs at Manhasset Bay Yacht Club




July 1-2 - Law Trophy at Indian Harbor Yacht Club

July 3 - Eastern Districts at Norwalk Yacht Club

July 11-12 - PYC Invitational at Pequot Yacht Club

July 15-17 - Larchmont Jr Race Week at Larchmont Yacht Club

July 24 - Open Feva Day at Cedar Point Yacht Club

August 1-2 - RS Feva North Americans JSA Feva Champs at Larchmont Yacht Club




July 1-2 - Law Trophy at Indian Harbor Yacht Club

July 3 - Eastern Districts at Noroton Yacht Club

July 11-12 - PYC Invitational at Pequot Yacht Club

July 15-17 - Larchmont Jr Race Week at Larchmont Yacht Club

July 22-23 - JSA Race Week at Cedar Point Yacht Club

August 5-6 - JSA Laser/C420 Champs at Indian Harbor Yacht Club



Laser Standard and Radial


July 1-2 - Law Trophy at Indian Harbor Yacht Club

July 3 - Eastern Districts at Norwalk Yacht Club

July 11-12 PYC Invitational at Pequot Yacht Club

July 15-17 Larchmont Jr Race Week at Larchmont Yacht Club

July 22-23 - JSA Race Week at Cedar Point Yacht Club

August 5-6 JSA Laser/C420 Champs and Girls Champs at Indian Harbor Yacht Club




Routine communication will be done in the form of email to parents. Parents will receive weekly email updates regarding general activities and events within the program. Additionally, the calendar on the MYC Jr Sailing website has an updated list of all events and regattas. In the event of an emergency or a time-sensitive matter we may reach out to you by phone or text message.


It is routine practice for the instructors to communicate with older children (12+) via text message. Matters discussed would be program-related such as communicating about regattas or asking a child if they’d like to volunteer to help with something. If you do not wish to have instructors contact your child in this way please let the Junior Sailing Chair know.


Voicing Concerns: Any serious concerns should be discussed over the phone or in-person with the Junior Sailing Director. If unresolved, the Junior Sailing Chair should then be contacted. Ideally a meeting time with all parties should be arranged.


The instructors report to the Junior Sailing Director. Parents should not interrupt classes or address serious concerns with them. Instructors are available immediately after each class for brief questions only. Please be respectful of the break between the morning and afternoon classes. That is the instructors’ only opportunity to get out of the sun and plan.


The junior sailing program maintains both a Facebook and Instagram page. We invite you to “Like” them! Pictures taken throughout the season are posted on these pages as well as congratulations and birthday wishes. Additionally pictures of the sailing program in action are taken throughout the season for the annual yearbook. If you do not wish to have your child’s picture taken please let the Junior Sailing Chair know.



Milford Yacht Club Junior Sailing Program

Code of Conduct


  • All sailors will respect and listen to coaches and other employees of the MYC.
  •  All sailors will conduct themselves with good sportsmanship and accept responsibility for theiractions.
  • All sailors will be courteous and respectful to fellow sailors and MYC club members and guests. 
  • All sailors, parents, and instructors will refrain from criticizing or putting down others including coaches, fellow sailors and competitors, officials, parents and spectators. 
  • All sailors will be on time for all activities. Lateness affects fellow sailors if they have to wait.
  • All sailors will clean up after themselves inside the MJYC club building and outside on the MYC premises and try to leave it cleaner than when theyarrived.
  • All sailors will leave other athletes’ and coaches’ equipment alone, except with their permission (no borrowing or taking other’s equipment without permission.)
  • All sailors will keep personal equipment and items left on the MYC premises neatly stored in their proper place.


Sailor Safety Code:

I will not engage in horseplay on the MYC premises, whether during program time or before or after. While on the water, this includes no needless capsizing, intentional boat bumping or other behavior which my coach prohibits.

I will listen to instructions from my coach.

I will look out for my fellow junior sailors.

I will wear a life jacket and appropriate water shoes at all times on, around or near the marina, launch areas and on the water, and follow all other club safety rules.


Disciplinary Action

If a sailor violates the Code of Conduct, one or more of the following willoccur:

  • Discussion with parents, coaches and athletes concerned.
  • Suspension of sailing privileges.
  • Suspension from sailing program- no refund.







Guidelines for Parents


  1. Please support the Sailing Staff’s decisions.The coachesand instructors have the best interests of your sailor and their team at heart.
  2. Encourage sailors to be organized and responsible for their own equipment.
  3. Assist all sailors to develop to their fullest potential.
  4. Insist sailors respect the property of others.
  5. Place winning in the context of fun, good sportsmanship and fair play. Emphasize developmental goals rather than outcome goals.
  6. Promote the total sport of sailing, not just racing.
  7. As spectators, remainin designated areas and manage motorboats with the highest level of safety.
  8. Remember that any coaching during a race (from first warning signal to finish) is prohibited under the Racing Rules of Sailing.
  9. Show respect for race officials and regatta rules.
  10. Understandthat race officials must upholdevent regulationson and off the water.
  11. Be thoroughly acquainted with the Racing Rules of Sailing; encourage adherence to those rules and teach not only the rules, but also the procedures to be followed in the event of a protest.



Class Descriptions


Junior Buccaneers (morning, 2 sessions, 3 weeks each)


This program is targeted at 5-6 year olds as a way to introduce them to the kids’ summer activities at the club, including junior sailing, swimming, arts and crafts, nature walks and fun and games. On land and sea, JBs will participate in an array of activities that teach them water safety, respect for the environment and help them to build confidence while making new friends at MYC. Minimum age is 5 as of the first day of the session.



Opti First Mates (morning)

For first-time sailors and those with no prior experience sailing an Optimist. Learn the basic fundamentals of sailing, including technique, rigging, proper boat handling and maintenance. It is the goal of the First Mate’s class to have everyone attend a race by the end of the summer. Minimum age is 7 as of the first day of the session.



Opti Explorers (morning)

For sailors with at least one full session of experience sailing an Optimist, and who have demonstrated readiness to sail an Optimist alone. We will continue to strengthen fundamental sailing skills and improve boat handling.



Opti Voyagers (morning) 

For sailors with at least two full sessions of experience sailing an Optimist. Sailors will work on longer distance, more independent sailing. We will start to spend more time learning about racing and adventure sailing. Some sailors, can, with instructor permission, begin to try out double-handed sailing in a Feva.



Opti Advanced(afternoon)


The Advanced Opti session will be in the afternoon, and is for those sailors who have demonstrated they can handle a variety of sailing conditions and expert boat handling skills. We will build on skills learned in previous years and place more emphasis on technique through racing, games and drills.


Pixel and Feva (afternoon)

These are 2 person boats and are sometimes considered transition boats between the Optimist and the more physically and technically demanding Laser and 420 classes. Sailors should be 12 years old before starting in either of these boats. 


The Pixel is a fiberglass 2-person boat for sailors that enjoy a more social experience and who may have sized out from the smaller Optimist. The minimum combined weight for both sailors is 190 lbs.


The Feva is a growing class in the JSA. Like the Pixel, it is a two-person boat. The hull is made of hard plastic, making it virtually indestructible. The minimum combined weight for both sailors is 180 lbs.


Club 420 (afternoon)


A variation of the Club 420 is sailed by high school and colleges nationwide. It is a fast and technically demanding two-person boat. Sailors should be 14-18 years old with a minimum combined weight of 220 lbs.


Laser 4.7/Radial/Standard Rig (afternoon)


The Laser is a challenging one-person boat that rewards athleticism, subtle steering and trimming techniques, as well as tactical excellence. It is a single handed Olympic class boat, also sailed at club, national and international levels. Sailors should be 14-18 years old. It is available in 3 different rigs which all use the same hull, but different mast heights and sail sizes.


            Laser 4.7 - minimum weight 105 lbs. (minimal racing opportunity available in the JSA)

Laser Radial - minimum weight 110 lbs. (ideal 110-150 lbs, most popular rig in the JSA)

            Laser Standard - minimum weight 130 lbs. (ideal 175+ lbs.)

Private Instruction


New this year! We are offering private instruction for all sailors. Private lessons can be advantageous for a number of reasons, including for a younger child who needs extra time to gain confidence, a child moving up to a different boat, or a child who wants to work on their racing skills before an event.  


Lessons will be $70/h for singlehanded boats and $120/h for double handed boats.


Private instruction will be offered in the evenings after the regular program has ended and on weekends. All lessons will be conducted in the sailor’s own boat with the instructor in a safety boat.


To arrange for lessons please contact the Sailing Director. 

Daily Sailing Schedule and Equipment


Schedule and Notes:


8:30-11:30 Junior Buccaneers, Opti First Mates, Opti Explorers, Opti Voyagers


1:00-5:00 Opti Advanced, Pixel, Feva, 420, Laser



  • There is no supervision for children before or after class. All Junior Buccaneers, Opti First Mates, and Opti Voyagers under the age of 12 must be supervised by a parent or guardian before and after class. Please be punctual when picking your child up as the instructors need time to eat lunch and prepare for the afternoon.
  • All sailors participating in an afternoon class should plan to arrive at least 30 minutes prior to the start of class in order to be rigged and ready to go on the water by 1:00pm.
  • If sailors arrive after their class has gone out on the water, they will not be able to join the program that day unless prior arrangements have been made with the Junior Sailing Director.
  • If sailors must leave the program early, prior arrangements with the Junior Sailing Director must be made.
  • With few exceptions class is held rain or shine. Should weather conditions (e.g. thunder and/or excessive wind) not permit going on the water, on-shore activities will be provided. Should there be multiple inclement days in a given week, class may be cancelled at the discretion of the Junior Sailing Director and Junior Sailing Chair.


Required Daily Equipment for Sailing:


  • USCG approved Type III Personal Flotation Device (PFD) with whistle attached and child’s name in large letters on the back
  • Hat or visor
  • Sunscreen
  • Reuseable water bottle
  • Closed-toe water or boat shoes
  • Sunglasses
  • Towel
  • Nut-free snack for Junior Buccaneers participants only



All children must complete a swim test prior to the beginning of the program. Sailors must swim 50 yards unassisted without stopping, standing, or grabbing the wall, tread water for 60 seconds, and put their life jacket on in the water unassisted.




Optimist Safety Checklist


Sailor ______________________________________________


Sail# _____________________         Boat Name______________________________________


Bow Line

*    8 meters (26’ 3”) long

  • *   
  • *   in diameter

*   Securely fastened around the mast step and led through a loop of line at the bow, not through the bow drain hole

*   Tied with a 4-6” bowline at the towing end

*   Free of chafe and all other knots, with no hardware attached

  • Mast tie-down– There must be a line or other device that is secure enough so you can lift the boat by the mast without disengaging the mast from the mast step
  • Air bags – Three buoyancy bags made of strong fiber-reinforced material with non-return valves. Each must be properly inflated and secured to boat.
  • Daggerboard– Securely attached to the boat with a lanyard.
  • Rudder catch – The rudder shall have a retaining device so that it will not become detached from the boat during a capsize.
  • Bailer– At least one bailer, with a minimum capacity of one half gallon, securely attached to the boat with a lanyard.
  • Mainsheet bridle– No looser than 100 mm (4 inches) from the boom at any point.
  • Mainsheet hook– Covered and/or securely closed. The hook must have no chance of trapping a line that drags across it.
  • Paddle/Praddle– attached to the boat with enough line or shock cord to allow use.
  • Hiking Strap - Secure and in good condition.


  • Swim Test
  • Life Jacket - USCG Approved Type III PFD with whistle attached 




Inspector Signature: _____________________________________Date_________________



Pixel Safety Checklist


Sailor 1 ______________________________________________________


Sailor 2 ______________________________________________________


Sail # ________________________________________________________



  • Hiking Strap
  • Rudder / Tiller
  • Towline-floatable at least 28 feet long
  • Plug
  • Front shackle 
  • Cunningham Line 
  • Porthole cover
  • Main, main sheets, main halyard
  • Jib, jib sheets, jib halyard
  • Spinnaker, spinnaker sheets, spinnaker halyard and pole
  • 2 side stays/shrouds 
  • Mast
  • Boom
  • Topping lift
  • Cover
  • Trailer/dolly


  • Swim Test Sailor 1
  • Swim Test Sailor 2
  • Life Jacket Sailor 1 - USCG Approved Type III PFD with whistle attached
  • Life Jacket Sailor 1 - USCG Approved Type III PFD with whistle attached



Inspector Signature: _____________________________________Date_________________

Feva Safety Checklist


Sailor 1 ______________________________________________________


Sailor 2 ______________________________________________________


Sail # ________________________________________________________



  • Hiking Straps
  • Rudder /Tiller
  • Spinnaker pole
  • Towline-floatable at least 28 feet long 
  • Plug
  • Front shackle 
  • Cunningham Line 
  • Porthole cover
  • 2 side stays/shrouds Mast
  • Boom
  • Topping lift
  • Cover
  • Main, mainsheet, and halyard
  • Jib, jib sheets, and halyard
  • Spinnaker, spinnaker sheets, and halyard
  • Trailer/dolly


  • Swim Test Sailor 1
  • Swim Test Sailor 2
  • Life Jacket Sailor 1 - USCG Approved Type III PFD with whistle attached
  • Life Jacket Sailor 1 - USCG Approved Type III PFD with whistle attached



Inspector Signature: _____________________________________Date_________________

Laser Safety Checklist


Sailor ______________________________________________


Sail# _____________________         Rig __________________



  • Mast, 2 sections and boom
  • Sail
  • Mainsheet (approx. 45 feet)
  • Outhaul
  • Boom Vang
  • Cunningham
  • Rudder and Tiller and Hiking Stick
  • Daggerboard and Shock Cord
  • Clew Strap
  • Hiking Strap
  • Stern Plug or bailer
  • Dolly
  • Cover


  • Swim Test
  • Life Jacket - USCG Approved Type III PFD with whistle attached 




Inspector Signature: _____________________________________Date_________________



420 Checklist


Sailor 1 ______________________________________________________


Sailor 2 ______________________________________________________


Sail # ________________________________________________________




  • Mast and Boom
  • Mainsheet and Jib Sheets
  • Boom Vang and Outhaul
  • Mainsail and halyard
  • Jib and halyard
  • Spinnaker and halyard
  • Spinnaker Pole
  • Forestay - Short enough to hold the front edge of the mast forward of the aft face of the mast partner when the jib halyard is released
  • Rudder - boat has device to keep rudder connected in the event of capsize or turtle
  • Stern and Air Tank Plugs
  • Trapeze Harness
  • Dolly/Trailer
  • Swim Test Sailor 1
  • Swim Test Sailor 2
  • Life Jacket Sailor 1 - USCG Approved Type III PFD with whistle attached
  • Life Jacket Sailor 1 - USCG Approved Type III PFD with whistle attached



Inspector Signature: _____________________________________Date_________________

Resources for Boats, Supplies, and Repairs


The Boat Locker                                             The Dinghy Locker@Landfall Navigation

706 Howard Avenue                                       151 Harvard Avenue  

Bridgeport, CT 06605                                     Stamford, CT 06902

203-259-7808                                                 800-941-2219

www.boatlocker.com                                      www.landfallnavigation.com


Annapolis Performance Sailing                      Intensity Sails

800-729-9767                                                 www.intensitysails.com



Roxburgh Marine Repair - fiberglass repairs

1 Bostwick Avenue (Captain’s Cove)

Bridgeport, CT




Used boats and equipment can be found through the MYC website or the classifieds section of the JSA website at www.jsalis.org. In addition, The Boat Locker and The Dinghy Locker both sell used boats and hold annual boat swaps.















Regatta Information


MYC actively participates in regattas throughout the JSA. The Junior Sailing Director, in conjunction with the sailing instructors, will determine who is ready to attend a particular regatta.


Parents are responsible for transporting their child to and from all regattas. Please make sure you check in with the instructor attending the event when dropping your child off and picking them up. 


Parent volunteers may be needed to transport coach boats and trailers. Please let the Junior Sailing Chair know if you are able to tow a boat.


Registering for Regattas

  • Regatta registration is done by one parent volunteer, the Regatta Manager.
  • If your child is eligible and ready for a specific event, you will receive an email inquiring whether he or she would like to participate. Please respond in a timely fashion to avoid late fees.
  • Prior to the event you will receive an email with the link to the Notice of Race (NOR) and Sailing Instructions (SI). These links will provide all of the information about the event such as location, arrival and start times, and whether or not lunch is provided. Links are also available through the calendar on the JSA website - www.jsalis.org.
  • If your child is registered for an event and does not participate in the event you will still be responsible for the registration fees. 



  • Parents and sailors are responsible for making sure that their boats are properly equipped and tuned prior to race day. Instructors can assist with small tweaks, but are unable to provide backup equipment or make repairs.
  • Please review the NOR and SI with your child prior to race day to familiarize yourself with the details of the event.


At the Event

  • Arrive at the start of the check-in window to allow your child plenty of time to check in, rig their boat, and meet with their instructor.
  • Competing in a regatta may require more than a simple drop-off and pick-up at the beginning and end of the day. Especially for first year racers, it may be a good idea for parents to plan on sticking around for a half hour or hour at the beginning of the day to make sure that their sailor is checked in and ready to go.
  • Pickup time at the end of the day can be a bit unpredictable at a regatta based on weather conditions. Most regattas will have general guidelines such as “no races will start after X” or maybe even a set time for an awards ceremony, but not an exact time that sailors will be off the water. Be prepared that the time that sailors will be off the water at a regatta may be a bit unpredictable.
  • If a parent is planning on bringing their own boat to the regatta to watch on the water, it is a generous gesture to contact any other parents of sailors and offer to have them aboard. Parents are not able to watch the regatta from a coach boat.



Regatta Equipment Checklist

  • Boat with race sails
  • Blades and blade bag
  • Spare boat parts such as sail ties, backup sheets, etc.
  • Lifejacket with whistle
  • Sun protection - hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, sun shirt
  • Closed toe shoes 
  • Lunch and reusable water bottle in a cooler to be kept on board the coach boat
  • Dolly
  • Ziplock/waterproof bag for phone and other essentials
  • Foul weather gear (weather dependent)
  • Towel


JSA Regatta Guidelines for Junior Sailors


Respected sailors ALWAYS:

  • Know and abide by the Racing Rules. They promptly take a penalty or retire when they know they broke a rule or file a protest when appropriate.
  • Always obey event regulations on and off the water, including housing rules.
  • Are always organized, prepared, and responsible for their own equipment.
  • Show respect to fellow sailors and those helping to run regattas and programs.


Respected sailors NEVER:

  • Swear at, intimidate or harass anyone, including teammates, on or off the water.
  • Steal or borrow, without permission, anything that does not belong to them.
  • Break laws related to alcohol, tobacco or illegal drugs.


Please remember that at all regattas you are representing Milford Yacht Club. Particularly at events where housing is provided, bad behavior can result in all members of the team being denied housing in future years.

Background on the JSALIS Championship Series



Milford Yacht Club junior sailing is a member of the regional junior sailing association Junior Sailing Association of Long Island Sound (JSALIS or “JSA”). The goal of JSA is to promote competition between clubs by organizing interclub regattas and a championship series. A major goal of any JSA Junior Sailing program is to have as many sailors as possible participate in the Junior Sailing Association of Long Island Championship series. The championship series consists of several “qualifying” regattas early in the season. Separate events are held for Optimist, Pixel, Feva, 420, Laser Full, and Laser Radial.


In order for an MYC Laser Radial, or 420 to qualify to compete in the JSA Championship, the boat must place in the top 40% of the fleet in one of the following events:


  • Eastern District Qualifying Regatta at Norwalk and Norton Yacht Clubs
  • Larchmont Race Week
  • JSA Race Weekat Cedar Point Yacht Club
  • Shelter Island 420/L/R Regatta


All Laser Standards that sail in a JSA qualifying regatta are eligible to compete in the JSA Championship.


In order for an MYC Optimist to qualify to compete in the JSA Championship, they must meet one of the following criteria:


  • White and Blue Fleet sailors must finish in the top 30% in an Area C Qualifying Regatta  (Milford YC is in Area C).
  • All Red Fleet sailors who participate in a qualifying regatta automatically qualify.


In order for an MYC Pixel to qualify to compete in the JSA Championship they must score in the top 40% in one of the following events:

  • Eastern District Qualifying Regatta
  • Larchmont Race Week
  • Blue Jay/Pixel Race Week
  • Pequot Invitational Regatta


These are just the basics, many more details and exceptions to these rules can be found on: https://jsalis.securespsites.com/JSA%20organization/JSA_Rules_for_Events.pdf


If a sailor is interested in qualifying in JSA champs, then they should make the qualifying events a priority when deciding on their regatta schedule. Also, it is sometimes easier to qualify in later events because many of the top sailors who qualify in the first or second qualifying regatta choose to drop out and not sail in the later qualifying events. So, if you don’t qualify at the first event, don’t get discouraged.


However, even if we have no boats qualify, each member club is entitled to send at least one boat per class to JSA champs. In this case, the club can nominate one boat that participated in one of the qualifying events, even if they did not achieve a qualifying score. If this happens, we will send the skipper/crew pair who won our own “class champs” series organized by the instructors and held during the regular program throughout the summer.


JSA Champs occur at the end of the summer and are typically two-day regattas. The location of champs generally changes every year.


Sailors who do not qualify for the championships are automatically eligible for “Alternate Champs.” This regatta is more accessible because it is generally only one day instead of two. It is an especially valuable experience for younger sailors who look forward to qualifying for Champs in future years.


After successfully competing in JSA Champs, junior sailors can make it a goal for the next season to compete in North American or US championships events organized by their class association, especially if they happen to be held in the Northeast. They can also make it a goal to participate in the Sears/Bemis/Smythe Trophy ladder events — this is a junior Championship series organized by the US Sailing Association in which sailors qualify at the local level and then compete regionally and nationally. These are prestigious events that expose sailors to competition outside of Long Island sound, but generally require preseason planning in order to compete.



An Intro to Optimist Regattas


Opti regattas often have dozens or hundreds of competitors, so the Opti sailors are divided into “fleets” so that participants can be matched up against other sailors their own age and ability level. At regatta check-in, Opti sailors are given a colored ribbon to fly at the head of their sail that identifies their fleet. Most regattas have a Red, White, and Blue, and sometimes a Green fleet.


Green fleet is for sailors in their first year of sailing regattas, regardless of age. It is intended to be a fun and safe introduction to racing. Event organizers often have extra safety boats on the water, shorter courses, and more sheltered sailing sites for Green Fleet. Coaching is allowed on the racecourse if necessary during Green Fleet events. Green Fleet Race committees usually make Green-friendly choices like having a shorter sailing day or calling off sailing earlier in the event of rough conditions. Sometimes awards are given at Green Fleet events, but not always. Even if you have been part of a junior sailing program for several years, you should choose the Green Fleet if it is your first-year racing. For example, an afternoon intermediate sailor may have been in the program for three years, but if they have never competed in a regatta, then they should choose Green Fleet for their first regatta. Additionally, it may be appropriate to stay in Green Fleet for more than one year if you have very limited regatta experience or are feeling nervous at the beginning of the season. Some regattas are “Green Fleet Only,” which means that they are open only to Green Fleet sailors. These are the most welcoming and least intimidating of all events and are ideal as a first introduction to regatta sailing.


Red, White, and Blue fleet are for everybody else with more than one year of regatta experience. These fleets are divided up by age:


WHITE FLEET: 10 years old and under

BLUE FLEET: 11 and 12 years old

RED FLEET: 13, 14, and 15 years old


Most regatta hosts give awards to the top finishers overall as well as the top finishers in each Red, White, and Blue fleets.


Many Red Fleet sailors feel peer pressure to move on to 420s or Lasers because of peer pressure or that they perceive that that Lasers or 420s are a “cooler” boat. However, top Opti racers usually stay in the boat through Red Fleet or until they reach 115-120 pounds. It is also normal for 13, 14, and 15-year-old year old Opti sailors to compete in some 420/Laser events and some Opti events.