JSP General Information

WYC JSP General Information


The goal of the Westerly Yacht Club (WYC) Junior Sailing Program (JSP) is to introduce youngsters to sailing and water safety. Our volunteers share a passion to teach sailing, by emphasizing fundamentals such as small boat handling skills, and proper technique.

Our goal is to help each student develop:

  • Their sailing skills while emphasizing the importance of safety
  • A sense of pride and accomplishment
  • Teamwork between classmates
  • A responsibility for the boats and equipment.

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.

General Information

Included below is an overview of the material covered during the program:

    • 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. There are different boats for each fleet: 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.

Yellow Fleet

Boats: (4) O’Day Daysailers
Students: 8
Intended for entry level students (approx. age 8 – 12)
Focus: basic boat handling, wind direction, etc.

Blue Fleet

Boats: (5) Picos
Students: 10
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.

Green Fleet

Boats: (6) Optis
Students: 6
Intended for entry level students (approx. age 8 – 12)
Focus: single handed sailing, basic boat handling, sail trim, points of sail, etc.

Black Fleet

Boats: (4) Club 420s
Students: 8
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

Schedule 2022

2022 Dates to include on your calendar.

Friday, 1 Aril Registration Begins
Thursday, 28 April Orientation
Saturday, 7 May First Class on the Water
Saturday, 25 June Last Class / Class Party

There are eight classes, Saturday mornings from 8:30 am to 12:30 pm, during May and June.
Students should arrive 10 to 15 minutes early so that we can start on time.
Parents or guardians are not required to stay during the class.
Students will be ready for pickup at 12:30 pm.

7 May 1st Class
14 May 2nd Class
21 May 3rd Class
28 May 4th Class
4 June 5th Class
11 June 6th Class
18 June 7th Class
25 June 8th Class / Class Party

Daily Schedule

08:15 Student drop-off
08:30 Classes start
08:30 to 09:00 Rig boats / attendance
09:00 to 09:15 Chalk talks
09:15 to 09:30 Launch / tow
09:30 to 11:30 Sail
11:30 to 11:45 Tow
11:45 to 12:15 Haul / de-rig
12:15 to 12:30 Wrap up / review
12:30 Classes end / Student pick-up


Registration for the WYC JSP begins on 1 April this year.
All forms and required paperwork will be available from this site only at that time.
Registration forms will be available on the Home Page.

The cost of the program is $75 for members and $100 for non-members.

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.

Contact Information

Megan Tunila

[email protected]


All JSP participants (students, volunteers, instructors, parents, etc.) must wear a type III (3) PFD. This rule is strictly enforced.

Sneakers are required (no bare feet, open toe shoes or flop-flops).

Each fleet has dedicated chase boat while students are on the water. All instructors carry hand-held VHFs for communication.

During each session, safety and the applicable rules are reviewed with the students.


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.


  • 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.


  • Type III PFD
  • Gear bag
  • Change of clothes
  • Water bottle
  • Towel
  • Sun screen
  • Ball cap and / or sun glasses


  • 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.

Canceling Class

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.

Qualification Cards

There is a Qualification (Qual) Card for each fleet, that includes a list of topics and/or skills each student is expected to learn.
The Qual Cards are intended to record a student’s progress through the program.
As a student demonstrates the ability to perform a given skill it will be recorded on the Qual Card.
When a student completes all of the items on their Qual Card (for a given fleet), they are eligible to move to the next fleet.