Student/Parent Handbook


This handbook is intended as a Junior Sailing Program reference guide for both parents and students. It contains a review of program policies, helpful information, names and phone numbers of people to contact, and some background about our staff. It also includes Program evaluation forms. Please complete these for each session you attend and return them to the Sailing Progrtam Director.

We hope this book answers most questions you may have about the Program, and also that you will tell us if there is additional information you would like to see included in future handbooks.


The Junior Sailing Program is intended to provide our students with a broad exposure to the sport of sailing. Our primary goal is to develop safe, independent sailors, who love the sport of sailing. Our secondary purpose is to offer those students who have become independent sailors exposure to racing through our racing classes and teams. We coordinate our schedule with other North Shore programs, and our racing students have the opportunity to compete in regattas locally and regionally.

Class Placement

Students are grouped by ability, age and size, and Instructor recommendation. Placement decisions are guided by safety considerations and the skills demonstrated by the student. As a result, we will be unable to honor requests for “friends” to be placed together. We recognize that students mature and progress at different rates, and some movement from class to class may occur during a session.

Swim Test And Medical Forms

Before any student is allowed to sail, they must pass a 50 yard swim test. This test is given during the first week of each session, so students should bring bathing suits, towels, and appropriate clothing starting the first day of all classes. The water may be cold – however it is a safety requirement, so please come prepared. Sailors will not be allowed to sail until they complete the swim test even if they have completed it the previous year.

A completed medical and liability form (provided at registration) is also required before a student is allowed to sail. Information provided should be based on a physical done within the past 12 months. Of particular importance are emergency contacts. All information must be provided, because these forms are the only record we have of the medical attention your child should receive if treatment becomes necessary and you are not available. These forms will be filed in Office of the Club and will accompany students to all “away” events. Please fill out the medical forms with great care and include as many contact numbers as possible. All files are kept confidential within the program staff. Any information relating to your child’s health is greatly welcomed – after all, you know your child best.

Life Jackets And Whistles

Each student must wear a Coast Guard approved life vest. These should be the type that zip up the front, not the type that slip over the head. For maximum safety, these must fit properly and should feel comfortable. Life jackets are approximately $80. All instructors are available to help with any questions. Brown’s Yacht Yard on East Main St., Gloucester, has been particularly helpful in outfitting junior sailors.

There is an Optimist class rule that all Optimist sailors are required to have whistles attached to their life jackets. If any returning students have lost their whistles or lose them during the season, they will need to purchase new ones. Please reinforce with your children that whistles are to be blown ONLY in an emergency. Instructors will emphasize this policy with the students.

What Should I Bring To The Course?

Lifejacket (Suitable to child’s weight and size).

Sun hat/ baseball hat.

All students should apply sunscreen before coming in the morning or afternoon.

Students should have proper water shoes (flip flops are NOT suitable… they must be attached to your feet).

Water bottle.

A spare change of cloths and a towel is necessary. (You never know when you may want to go swimming… Temperatures on the water are often significantly colder than on land, so be sure you have enough sailing cloths). We do sail in the rain. If there is wind we will sail 🙂

The Club’s snack bar serves sandwiches, sodas, and snacks at lunchtime, so you may want to bring a small amount of money.

Students are advised to leave any unnecessary valuables at home… gameboys, iPods, etc. don’t really need to come to sailing.

All students’ belongings should be well labeled with the child’s full mane. Do not let your child feed the lost and found box unnecessarily!!


Because safety is a primary concern of ours, certain rules must be followed:

Rubber-soled shoes must be worn at all times. The docks are wooden and prone for splinters.

Life jackets are required at all times on boats, docks, floats, and ramps.

No running, in-line skating, or bike-riding are allowed anywhere on Club property. Bicycles should be locked and left in the designated area.

Except during the supervised swim test and capsize drills, there is no swimming in the harbor.

No diving or jumping is allowed off the deck or any floats.

The second floor and upper deck of the Clubhouse are off limits to all juniors.

No hanging or climbing on awning or pipes.


The SBYC Sailing Program is a drug and alcohol free environment. Abuse of this policy is grounds for immediate dismissal from the program. In such cases, no money will be refunded. Before starting the program students will be asked to read the behavior policy and sign a behavior contract.

Proper behavior is based on common sense. We have a very small facility which is also for the use and enjoyment of adults. The Yacht Club membership has been very generous in their support of our program. We must show the utmost respect for these members, and thankfulness for their support. Our Instructors are very sensitive to this and will bring any problems to the immediate attention of the Program Director. If the problem cannot be satisfactorily resolved between the Program Director and the student, parents will be contacted. Disciplinary action, including suspension from the Program, may result in some cases.


Regular attendance is extremely important to your child’s progress. If you know ahead of time that your child will be absent from a class, please let us know as soon as possible. Unfortunately, we cannot offer make up classes.

Staff Availability

The Instructors will be at the Yacht Club at 8:30 a.m., Monday through Friday (classes begin promptly at 9:00). If you need to speak to an instructor, please do so before the class begins. If you feel you may need to speak for an extended period of time, please schedule a meeting, as they will be preparing for the day in the morning. Please communicate – don’t let little problems become big ones. To help you, pertinent phone numbers are listed in this handbook and the program director will be available throughout the day to listen to concerns and/or answer any questions.

Financial Aid

Our goal is to never turn a student away for financial reasons. A limited amount of financial aid, made possible through tax-deductible contributions, is available to help with Program tuition costs and/or regatta fees. For further information, email us at


During the program, there may be a need to communicate with parents about schedule changes and/or special events. These notices will be sent home with your child, and it is important that you check with him/her regularly. Email is the best way to contact parents, so please provide an email that you check regularly. Please refer to the website for newsletters and special notices.


Although we understand that parents would like to watch their children sail, we must discourage your attendance at classes. The students get more nervous and less attentive when they know their parents are watching, and our facilities are simply too small to accommodate extra people without interfering with the adult members’ use of the Club. There are also many viewing areas in Rockport that you can easily watch your child while still giving them the freedom to grow and learn on their own.

Use Of Program Boats

Students who reach a certain proficiency level will be certified by the Head Instructor to use Club boats on their own. Before borrowing a boat they must get approval from the instructor. In 420’s, both skipper and crew must be certified, and Opti sailors cannot go out alone; there must always be a least two Optis unless there is an Instructor on the water.

Current weather conditions/forecast will also be posted, and there will be a board listing each boat and its maintenance status. Students are responsible for signing a boat out and back in, and for noting any maintenance or equipment problems on the board.

Before taking a boat, students must also check out with an Instructor, the Club Manager, or a launch operator. No student will be allowed to sail in weather or sea conditions that are beyond their ability.

Failure to comply with the rules and regulations for using Club boats will result in the privilege being revoked.

Boat Damage

Although the Program provides the boat your child sails, we ask that each student treat the boat as if it were his/her own. Each 420 costs about $9000, and Optis are about $4000 each! Repairs are expensive and eventually drive up the cost of the Program.

We do not want to charge individual students and their families for boat damage – accidents do happen, and to avoid this we need your help. Please remind your student to do everything possible to avoid collisions or other damage to the boats. In cases of damage resulting from extreme negligence, we may ask the student to share the cost of repairs.

If a boat is borrowed for a regatta or other non class time, it will be the responsibility of the sailor to repair any damages.

Races At Sbyc

Racing students are encouraged to participate in the holiday races held at SBYC. There are club races on 4th of July and over Labor Day Weekend. Once a week the race teams also participate in a race day. Awards are given at the end of the season at the annual Labor Day Awards.

Regatta Policies

Sailors on both the 420 and Optimist racing teams participate in Mass. Bay Junior Olympic Regatta, Interclub events, and other regattas involving area clubs. When they do so, they are representing SBYC and our Junior Program, and we expect that they will conduct themselves accordingly. We also encourage their participation in the social functions that are part of these events.

Parental support and involvement are important to the success of these events. If your student is participating, we will ask you to help with transportation and chaperoning. Without your help, participation in these events is not possible.

We Need Your Help

The Program is financed entirely by tuition fees and tax-deductible contributions. Our Yacht Club membership has been very generous, and your help is also needed. We make every effort to have our fees as low as possible, and we would like to keep them that way. We need your help not only to accomplish this, but also to continue to provide scholarships so that we don’t turn anyone away, and to build a reserve for future boat replacements or additions. Please make your checks payable to SBYC Sailing Program and indicate whether you would like your contribution to be used exclusively for scholarships or for general program needs. Remember, every contribution, no matter how small, helps keep children sailing! Thank you very much for your support.

Helpful Reminders

All life jackets and personal belongings look the same. Put your name on EVERYTHING! Check your child’s things regularly to be sure you still have what you started with! The lost and found bin is located in the junior sailing locker. There are no “loaner” life jackets. If you do not bring your own, you do not sail!

Students are not allowed in the Tool (Steward’s) Locker – Period!!!

When students use the rowing skiffs, they must be returned in good order – clean, securely tied up, oarlocks down, oars in the boat, and trash, weeds, etc, removed.

Junior Yacht Club

Each student is a member of the Junior Yacht Club. This organization, which is separate from the Sailing Program, provides social activities for juniors. The junior members and junior officers under the guidance of a senior advisor run the Junior Yacht Club. Notices of junior activities will be posted in the clubhouse. To contact the Junior Officers please contact 978-546-6240.


The by-laws of the Yacht Club specifically prohibit Junior members from having any guests at the Club. Our facility is simply too small, and this policy will be strictly enforced.

Program Phone Number

Sandy Bay Yacht Club 978-546-6240

Sailing Program Evaluation

We need your input to know what we’re doing right and what we can improve. Please take a few minutes to comment on the following categories, and then to add any comments you’d like at the end. Please be as specific as possible. THANK YOU!

Overall Program:

Communication with Parents:

Quality of Instruction:

Relationship with Instructors:

Emphasis on Safety:

Additional Comments/Concerns (How can we help your child?):

Class of Student/ Name (if desired):


Secondary address