Our learn-to-sail, intermediate and learn-to-race classes are taught in Optimist 8' Prams (Optis). The Optimist Dinghy has become the world standard as both the introductory junior trainer and a premier one design racing class. It is the only sailboat designed specifically for children allowing them to learn the essentials of sailing without danger or fear.
Depending on space available as well as an application process, we also have an eight (8) year olds’ program.
The ratio of students to instructors is 6:1 for novice sailing classes.
As skills improve, a morning Opti sailor has several potential paths to expand and enhance their sailing experience: they can choose to sail with a friend in a Feva, an intermediate double-handed boat; they can choose to join the advanced racing Opti class in the afternoon, or they can choose to sail a 420 or Laser. These choices are age, weight, and skill dependent, and vary per child; the Head Instructor and instructing staff can help with this process.
RS-Feva is a 12' sailing dinghy designed for two (2) sailors to teach kids how to sail as a team and how to interact to make the boat sail its best. Young sailors will learn how to sail with a mainsail, jib, and asymmetrical spinnaker. This boat is designed for intermediate sailors.
The ratio of students to instructors is 8:1 for intermediate classes.
As skills improve, a Feva sailor can choose to sail a 420 or Laser. These choices are age, weight, and skill dependent, and vary per child; the Head Instructor and instructing staff can help with this process.
Our afternoon racing teams learn and practice daily from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Throughout the 8-week season, they travel to Junior Sailing Association (JSA) sponsored regattas at various clubs around Long Island Sound. All Pequot sailors are members of the Junior Sailing Association of Long Island Sound. See www.jsalis.org for eligibility requirements and additional information regarding regattas and events.
Sailors can choose to race starting in the Optis. The Instructors and Head Instructor recommend children for the racing program based on a child’s demonstrated desire to race and their ability. Placement in the Opti Racing program is at the sole discretion of the Head Instructor.
Children progress from the Optis to either a single-handed boat, the Laser, or to a double-handed boat, either Feva or Club 420s.
The Laser is the gold standard in single-handed, one-design sailing and an Olympic class. The Laser was built on the philosophy that the sailor wins the race, not the boat. Every Laser in the world is identical. Laser racing is a true test of skill. A sailor must weigh 110 pounds or more to sail a radial rig (smaller sail area) or 130 pounds or more to sail a full rig Laser.
Club 420 is a 13' 8" boat with a jib, spinnaker, and trapeze. The Club 420 enables young sailors to learn teamwork, trapeze and spinnaker techniques that simply can't be learned in single-handed boats. The Club 420 is safe and quick enough to keep competitive sailors challenged from high school to college. Sailors graduating from the Optimist and Feva classes will find the Club 420 to be manageable and a lot of fun.
Advanced Junior Sailors are invited to participate in racing on privately-owned “Big Boats” with members of the Senior Yacht Club. The Junior Sailors must be willing to commit to on-the-water practices one night per week during the program. In addition, they must take Seamanship lessons and the JSA Seamanship test. A skipper, navigator, and two (2) watch captains are designated by the Head Instructor. These sailors must also take the navigation course and the JSA Navigation test.
The Seamanship and Navigation lessons are offered two (2) to three (3) times during the program either in the mornings or afternoons. A member of the Senior Yacht Club volunteers his/her time to teach the Junior Sailors.
All this preparation culminates in the JSA-sponsored Dorade, a one day regatta, hosted by Stamford Yacht Club and an overnight JSA-sponsored regatta hosted by Beach Point Yacht Club.
Sailors (and parents of sailors) in the Big Boat program are reminded, and agree as a condition of being invited to participate in the program, that boat assignments, crew assignments, and selection into the program are all decisions based on the safety of the vessel and its crew. The responsibility for these decisions is with the Head Instructor, the Big Boat Liaison, and the boat’s owner (or authorized representative).
The Head Instructor selects a few experienced junior sailors to volunteer as Junior Mentors. The Junior Mentors assist the instructors during the morning Opti classes teaching the less experienced sailors. They are expected to volunteer three (3) mornings per week. They inspire the younger sailors and learn about the job of a sailing instructor.
Sailors must be 14 years of age or older.
In other words, if a participant turns 13 on October 11, that participant is considered a 13-year-old for purposes of the program, even though that participant is 12 years old during the program.