The Westerly Yacht Club's (WYC) Junior Sailing program (JSP) is a led by a group of instructors and volunteers with a common passion to teach sailing.
Our mission is to help each student develop their sailing skills to the highest level possible, while emphasizing the importance of safety.
Our goal is to ensure all have fun and remain safe.
The program is open to young sailors between the ages of 8 and 16 (both members and non-members of the WYC).
Students of non-members must be sponsored by a WYC member.
The program focuses on:
- Introduction to sailing and water safety.
- Emphasis fundamentals and proper technique.
Our goal is to inspire a sense of:
- Enjoyment for sailing, boating, and time on the water
- Pride and accomplishment
- Teamwork between classmates
- Responsibility for the boats and equipment.
Included below is a general outline of the material covered.
- General sailing terms, including parts of the boat, sail, and rigging.
- Introduction to the "Principles of Sailing" and the "Points of Sail".
- How to rig and de-rig the boat.
- Basic knots and line handling techniques.
- Proper technique to steer the boat and trim the sails.
- Proper technique to tack and gybe the boat.
- Upwind and downwind sailing.
- How to recover a capsized boat.
LEVEL OF INSTRUCTION
The WYC JSP has 4 fleets or levels of instruction.
Each fleet has a different boat: O'Day Daysailers, Optimist Dinghies, Laser Picos, and Club 420s.
Students that are new to the program are assigned to a given fleet by age and weight.
Students that are returning to the program, are encouraged to advance to the next fleet, upon completion of the items on the qualification card for their assigned fleet.
A brief outline of each fleet is provided below.
Boats: (2) O'Day Daysailers, and (3) Opti-fish (original WYC JSP design)
Intended for entry level students (approx. age 8 - 12)
Focus: basic boat handling, wind direction, etc.
Boats: (6) Optis
Intended for entry level students (approx. age 8 - 12)
Focus: single handed sailing, basic boat handling, sail trim, points of sail, etc.
Boats: (5) Picos
Intended for students who have completed Green Fleet (approx. age 10 - 14)
Focus: Develop boat handling skills, sail trim, points of sail, etc.
Introduce double-handed sailing and jibs, improve upwind sailing, tacking, gybing, etc.
Boats: (4) Club 420s
Intended for students who have completed Blue Fleet (approx. age 13 - 16)
Focus: competitive sailing, introduce racing, rules, strategy, tactics, and spinnakers and trapeze techniques
The cost of the program is $75 for members and $100 for non-members.
WYC JSP Chairman
Safety is a high priority for the WYC JSP.
The safety rules are reviewed with the students during each session.
All JSP participants (students, volunteers, instructors, parents, etc.) must wear a type III (3) PFD.
This rule is strictly enforced.
Each fleet has dedicated chase boat while students are on the water.
All instructors carry hand-held VHFs for communication.
Included below are some of the general JSP safety rules reviewed with the students.
ON THE WATER
- Always watch for cars. This is very important when moving boats from the Sailing Center to the boat ramp, and while walking across the parking lot.
- Do not launch the boats without instructor permission.
- Do not leave the group for any reason without instructor permission.
- Be aware of the POWER LINES.
- ALWAYS wear a PFD. It must be properly adjusted and secured.
- Sneakers are required (no bare feet, open toe shoes or flop-flops).
- Respond to the instructors when hailed on the water.
- Student boats are not allowed to sail in the channel.
- Keep your hands and feet inside the boat. Do not try to stop boats from colliding with each other or a dock your hands or feet.
- When approaching a dock, do not try to stop a moving boat with your hands or feet.
- No jewelry (ear rings, bracelets, necklaces, etc.)
- NEVER hold the mainsheet with your teeth.
WHAT TO WEAR AND NOT WEAR
Students must come to class with a Type III (3) Personal Flotation Device (PFD). All students must wear their PFD at all time while on the water. The instructors strictly enforce this policy.
New clothing is not required. Old sneakers are fine. Hats are OK, but often get in the way while new sailors are learning their way around the boat.
CLOTHES TO WEAR
DO NOT WEAR
- Jacket / fleece / polypropylene for first couple weeks
- Old sneakers or water shoes
- Cotton material for the first couple weeks
- Sandals, flip flops or open-toe shoes
- Ear rings / jewelry
Be sure to label your sailor's gear (i.e. Gear bag, clothes, hat, water bottle, etc.)
WHAT TO BRING AND NOT BRING
Included below is a list of items students will need for the class.
Be sure all of your personal gear is labeled with the student's name.
GEAR TO BRING
DO NOT BRING
- Type III PFD
- Gear bag
- Change of clothes
- Water bottle
- Sun screen
- Ball cap and / or sun glasses
Note; please do not bring a wallet, money, or your cell phone on the water.
- Expensive eye glasses or sun glasses
- Cell Phones
- Wallet, money, etc.
HOW PARENTS CAN HELP
During the May and June classes, please ensure students are ready for class and ready to sail.
Parents are welcome to stay during the class (i.e. listen to the lectures, chalk talks, etc.) however they may not help the students rig and de-rig the boats, or fold or stow the sails or equipment.
The students are expected to complete these activities.
Parent can help the students practice knots and line handling, and surf the web for sailing related information.
This site has a series of links parent are encouraged to view with the students.
Please note; many of the links are You Tube postings.
Parents are encouraged to monitor student activity while viewing the links.
The program sails in cloudy weather and / or light rain.
We do not sail in heavy rain, high winds, and / or lightning.
When class is cancelled, parents will be notified via text at 08:00 am Saturday mornings.