Our sailing curriculum offers everything from learn-to-sail classes for beginners to coaching performance sailing topics for our race teams. The curriculum is designed to utilize sailing to help our students grow in confidence, self-reliance, and to foster problem-solving skills they need in their everyday lives. Our program provides students the opportunity to work independently and as a team. The team-building skills we teach on the water are not only critical for sailing - they are critical for life!

We are so pleased to have Kevin Schwarm back as our Program Director for summer of 2017. If you would like to reach out to Kevin directly – you can reach him at sailingdirector.hyc@gmail.com

Our Daily Schedule: 

8:30 – 9 am – Drop off

9 am – 12pm – Morning Class (half day classes)

12 – 12:20 pm– Half day Class Pick-up

12 – 1 pm – Lunch for Full day students in Club House

1 – 4 pm – Afternoon Class

4 – 4:40 pm – Full day Class Pick-up



Our curriculum begins with a short evening introduction to sailing for our Guppies class. Once the students reach their 8th birthday, they are eligible for our day-time beginner class - Recruits. Sailors who have tackled beginning sailing topics then move to our intermediate Mates class. After graduating from Mates, students can either join our Opti race team or our Advanced Training Group depending on instructor approval and your child’s interests!  Last stop on our curriculum is our 420 Race Team! Descriptions of each class are below.

Guppies Class:

This introduction to sailing class is for 5-7 year olds.  The class is very hands-on, allowing young sailors to gain comfort on the water. The sailing is mostly in Optimist dinghies, the class will have lots of games and of fun!  Sailors must be able to pass a swim test in order to participate.

Tuesday evenings (4:30 - 6:30 pm)  Two sessions during the summer - each 4 weeks long. 

               Session 1 - June 20th, June 27th, July 6th, and July 11th  

               Session 2 - July 18th, July 25th, August 1st, and August 8th 


Recruits Class:

Recruits is our Beginner sailing class at HYC. They are the youngest members of our full-day youth program, usually age 8-11 (but exceptions are considered with prior approval). No prior sailing experience is required. Recruits sail Optimist dinghies and Sonar keelboats!

Monday-Friday– Half-day (9am – 12pm)  OR Full-day (9 am to 4pm)


Mates Class:

Mates at HYC are graduates of the Recruits class - and considered intermediate sailors. Most Mates are age 10-15, but exceptions are considered depending on experience! The Mates program solidifies and extends the skills and knowledge learned as Recruits. The sailors build confidence through experience. They learn sailing rules and the basics of navigation. Mates are introduced to a variety of sailing games and drills to continually hone their skills. Mates sail Optimist dinghies and RAD 420s, which are 420s with slightly smaller main sails.

Monday-Friday– Half day (9am – 12pm)  OR Full-day (9 am to 4pm)


Advanced Training Group (ATG) Class: 

The ATG class serves as a bridge between sailing and racing.  These intermediate sailors have tackled the Mates curriculum and have the desire to race but need a boost of confidence and practice with specific skills. The Mate who has mastered most skills but who sees the future as a “cruiser”, rather than a “racer” might also be a good fit for this class and can boost the sailor’s skill set.

Monday-Friday– Either Half day (9am – 12pm)  or Full-day (9 am to 4pm)


Optimist Race Team:

The Opti Race Team is for sailors age 10-15 who are motivated to learn the art of racing. The Optimist is a small single-handed dinghy specifically designed for the young sailor. The boat-handling and tactical skills learned through the program will be the foundation for their future racing careers. The sailors will compete in local optimist regattas as well other away regattas in New England. When committing to the race team, sailors are strongly encouraged to sign up for as many weeks as possible. There is a 5 week minimum.

Monday – Friday– Full Day Only


 420 Race Team:

The 420 Race Team is a logical next step for students who have grown out of the optimist dinghy and are looking to continue to improve their boat handling & tactical skills. A 420 is a double-handed dinghy that is raced comptitively by junior sailing programs, as well as many high school & collegiate sailing programs. When committing to the race team, sailors are strongly encouraged to sign up for as many weeks as possible. There is a 5 week minimum.

Monday – Friday– Full Day Only

*Regatta Participation for Optimist & 420 Race Teams*

All race team members are encouraged to participate in ‘away’ regattas at other yacht clubs.  These events are fun – and a great way to grow friendships and improve your sailing skills. **Regatta participation is not required for race team program enrollment.

The HYC staff members work with parents to facilitate travel, help sailors transport their boats and equipment, and they provide on the water coaching at each regatta.

When planning for away regattas, please be aware that there will be additional fees (e.g. food & lodging), and that parents are expected to care for their children with respect to food, travel, lodging, etc. For students to participate in ‘away’ regattas – parental assistance is needed to ensure safety, success, and FUN! 



Life jacket and Shoes: Sailors must bring a Coast Guard approved life jacket (Type III PFD) clearly marked with their name and have a whistle firmly attached. Sailors will wear their PFDs on the dock and in the boats. Closed soft sole shoes are required.

Swim test: We will conduct swim tests for all students (except the women’s programs) on the first day of lessons, so please bring a swimsuit and towel to the first day of class. Students must be able to:

- tread water for two minutes without a PFD

- swim 200 feet fully clothed, remove their clothes while treading water and put on their PFD

Please note* Swimming is only allowed in a designated area under the direct supervision of an Instructor.

The HYC sailing program exists because of dedicated volunteers – including members of the club and the parents of our young sailors. If you would like to find an opportunity to volunteer or you have any questions about the program – you can reach the program coordinator – Maggie Donelan at  sailingprogram.hyc@gmail.com