Please click here for a PDF of the Jr Sailing Program Guide
Welcome to MYC Junior Sailing 2024!
We are excited to welcome our new sailors as well as those returning to the program. We have designed a summer to appeal to both those interested in recreational sailing as well as race training. The goal is for everyone to have fun and improve their boat-handling skills.
This guide should provide you with the basics of what you need to know about MYC Jr Sailing. We’ll cover everything from COVID-19 modifications to required equipment and boat safety checklists.
Please feel free to reach out to the contacts provided if you have any questions.
Robert Von Russ
2024 - Junior Sailing Program Director
MYC Junior Sailing Program Goals
The mission of the Milford Yacht Club Junior Sailing Program is to develop knowledgeable youth sailors and foster in them a lifelong love of and involvement in sailing.
1. Safety is the number one priority at all times.
2. Develop sportsmanship, seamanship, integrity, and interpersonal skills.
3. Create a fun atmosphere for sailors of all levels and interests.
4. Instill responsibility for boats, equipment, and facilities.
Provide high quality instruction that is tailored to the individual sailor’s needs.
Milford Yacht Club
131 Trumbull Ave
Milford, CT 06460
Junior Sailing Program Director
Junior Sailing Committee Members
Bruce Scull (Fleet Captain)
William St. John
Junior Buccaneers Instructor
Routine communication will be done in the form of email to parents. Parents will receive weekly email updates regarding general activities and events within the program. Additionally, the calendar on the MYC Jr Sailing website has an updated list of all events. In the event of an emergency or a time-sensitive matter we may reach out to you by phone or text message.
It is routine practice for the instructors to communicate with older children(12+) via text message. Matters discussed would be program-related such as communicating about regattas or asking a child if they’d like to volunteer to help with something. If you do not wish to have instructors contact your child in this way please let the Junior Sailing Chair know.
Voicing Concerns: Any serious concerns should be discussed over the phone or in-person with the Head Instructor. If unresolved, the Junior Sailing Chair should then be contacted. Ideally a meeting time with all parties should be arranged.
The instructors report to the Head Instructor. Parents should not interrupt classes or address serious concerns with them. Instructors are available immediately after each class for brief questions only. Please be respectful of the break between the morning and afternoon classes. That is the instructors’ only opportunity for a break and planning.
The junior sailing program maintains both a Facebook and Instagram page. We invite you to “Like” them! Pictures taken throughout the season are posted on these pages as well as congratulations and birthday wishes. Additionally pictures of the sailing program in action are taken throughout the season for the annual yearbook. If you do not wish to have your child’s picture taken please let the Junior Sailing Chair know.
1. Please support the Sailing staff’s decisions. The coaches and instructors have the best interests of your sailor and their team at heart.
2. Encourage sailors to be organized and responsible for their own equipment.
3. Assist all sailors to develop to their fullest potential.
4. Insist sailors respect the property of others.
5. Place winning in the context of fun, good sportsmanship and fair play. Emphasize developmental goals rather than outcome goals.
6. Promote the total sport of sailing, not just racing.
7. As spectators, remain in designated areas and manage motorboats with the highest level of safety.
8. Remember that any coaching during a race(from first warning signal to finish)is prohibited under the Racing Rules of Sailing.
9. Show respect for race officials and regatta rules.
10. Understand that race officials must uphold event regulations on and off the water.
11. Be thoroughly acquainted with the Racing Rules of Sailing; encourage adherence to those rules and teach not only the rules, but also the procedures to be followed in the present process.
We offer private instruction for all sailors. Private lessons can be advantageous for a number of reasons, including for a younger child who needs extra time to gain confidence, a child moving up to a different boat, and a child who wants to work on their racing skills before an event.
Lessons will be $70/h for singlehanded boats and $120/h for double handed boats.
Private instruction will be offered on set evenings after the regular program has ended and on Saturdays. All lessons will be conducted in the sailor’s own boat with the instructor in a safety boat.
To arrange for lessons please contact the Head Instructor.
Schedule and Notes:
8:30-11:30 Junior Buccaneers, Opti 1s, Opti 2s, Opti 3s
1:00-5:00 Opti Advanced, Feva, 420, Laser
• There is no supervision for children before or after class. All Junior Buccaneers and other sailors under the age of 12 must be supervised by a parent or guardian before and after class. Please be punctual when picking your child up as the instructors need time to eat lunch and prepare for the afternoon.
• All sailors participating in an afternoon class should plan to arrive at least 30 minutes prior to the start of class in order to be rigged and ready to go on the water by 1:00pm.
• If sailors arrive after their class has gone out on the water, they will not be able to join the program that day unless prior arrangements have been made with the Junior Sailing Director.
• If sailors must leave the program early, prior arrangements with the Junior Sailing Director must be made.
• With few exceptions class is held rain or shine. Should weather conditions (e.g. thunder and/or excessive wind) not permit going on the water on-shore activities will be provided. Should there be multiple inclement days in a given week, class may be cancelled at the discretion of the Head Instructor and Junior Sailing Chair.
Required Daily Equipment for Sailing:
• USCG approved Type III Personal Flotation Device(PFD) with whistle attached and child’s name in large letters on the back
• Hat or visor
• Sunscreen (Child must be able to apply sunscreen. Instructors cannot apply sunscreen to children)
• Reuseable water bottle
• Closed-toe water or boat shoes
• Nut-free snack for Junior Buccaneers participants only
All children exclusive of the Junior Buccaneers must complete a swim test prior to the beginning of the program. Sailors must swim 50 yards unassisted without stopping, standing, or grabbing the wall, tread water for 60 seconds, put their life jacket on in the water unassisted.
Optimist Safety Checklist
• Bow Line
o 8 meters (26’ 3” long)
o 3/16” in diameter
o Securely fastened around the mast step and led through a loop of line at the bow, not through the bow drain hole
o Tied with a 4-6” bowline at the towing end
o Free of chafe and all other knots, with no hardware attached.
• Mast tie-down – There must be a line or other device that is secure enough so you can lift the boat by the mast without disengaging the mast from the mast step
• Air bags – Three buoyancy bags made of strong fiber-reinforced material with non-return valves. Each must be properly inflated and secured to boat.
• Daggerboard – Securely attached to the boat with a lanyard.
• Rudder catch – The rudder shall have a retaining device so that it will not become detached from the boat during a capsize.
• Bailer – At least one bailer, with a minimum capacity of one half gallon, securely attached to the boat with a lanyard.
• Mainsheet bridle – No looser than 100 mm (4 inches) from the boom at any point.
• Mainsheet hook – Covered and/or securely closed. The hook must have no chance of trapping a line that drags across it.
• Paddle/Praddle – attached to the boat with enough line or shockcord to allow use.
• Hiking Strap - Secure and in good condition.
Feva Safety Checklist
• Hiking Straps
• Rudder /Tiller
• Spinnaker pole
• Towline-floatable at least 28 feet long
• Front shackle
• Cunningham Line
• Porthole cover
• 2 side stays/shrouds Mast
• Topping lift
• Main, mainsheet, and halyard
• Jib, jib sheets, and halyard
• Spinnaker, spinnaker sheets, and halyard
Laser Safety Checklist
• Mast, 2 sections and boom
• Mainsheet (approx 45 feet)
• Boom Vang
• Rudder and Tiller and Hiking Stick
• Daggerboard and Shock Cord
• Clew Strap
• Hiking Strap
• Stern Plug or bailer
• Mast and Boom
• Mainsheet and Jib Sheets
• Boom Vang and Outhaul
• Mainsail and halyard
• Jib and halyard
• Spinnaker and halyard
• Spinnaker Pole
• Forestay - Short enough to hold the front edge of the mast forward of the aft face of the mast partner when the jib halyard is released
• Rudder - boat has device to keep rudder connected in the event of capsize or turtle
• Stern and Air Tank Plugs
• Trapeze Harness
Resources for Boats, Supplies, and Repairs
The Boat Locker The Dinghy Locker
706 Howard Avenue 151 Harvard Avenue
Bridgeport, CT 06605 Stamford, CT 06902
Roxburgh Marine - fiberglass repairs
1 Bostwick Avenue (Captain's Cove)
Used boats and equipment can be found through the MYC website or the classifieds section of the JSA website at www.jsalis.org. In addition, The Boat Locker and The Dinghy Locker both sell used boats and hold annual boat swaps.
Regatta Information for 2024
MYC actively participates in regattas throughout the JSA. The Head Instructor, in conjunction with the sailing instructors, will determine who is ready to attend a particular regatta.
Parents are responsible for transporting their child to and from all regattas. Please make sure you check in with the instructor attending the event when dropping your child off and picking them up.
Parent volunteers may be needed to transport coach boats and trailers. Please let the Junior Sailing Chair know if you are able to tow a boat.
Registering for Regattas
Regatta registration is done through ClubSpot by parents.
If your child is eligible and ready for a specific event, you will receive an email inquiring whether he or she would like to participate. Please respond in a timely fashion to avoid late fees.
Prior to the event you will receive an email with the link to the Notice of Race (NOR) and Sailing Instructions (SI). These links will provide all of the information about the event such as location, arrival and start times, and whether or not lunch is provided. Links are also available through the calendar on the JSA website - www.jsalis.org.
If your child is registered for an event and does not participate in the event you will still be responsible for the registration fees.
Parents and sailors are responsible for making sure that their boats are properly equipped and tuned prior to race day. Instructors can assist with small tweaks, but are unable to provide backup equipment or make repairs.
Please review the NOR and SI with your child prior to race day to familiarize yourself with the details of the event.
At the Event
Arrive at the start of the check-in window to allow your child plenty of time to check in, rig their boat, and meet with their instructor.
Competing in a regatta may require more than a simple drop-off and pick-up at the beginning and end of the day. Especially for first year racers, parents should plan on sticking around for a half hour or hour at the beginning of the day to make sure that their sailor is checked in and ready to go.
Pickup time at the end of the day can be a bit unpredictable at a regatta based on weather conditions. Most regattas will have general guidelines such as “no races will start after X” or maybe even a set time for an awards ceremony, but not an exact time that sailors will be off the water.
If a parent is planning on bringing their own boat to the regatta to watch on the water, it is a generous gesture to contact any other parents of sailors and offer to have them aboard. Parents are not able to watch the regatta from a coach boat.
Regatta Equipment Checklist
Boat with race sails
Blades and blade bag
Spare boat parts such as sail ties, backup sheets, etc.
Lifejacket with whistle
Sun protection - hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, sun shirt
Closed toe shoes
Lunch and reusable water bottle in a cooler to be kept on board the coach boat
Ziplock/waterproof bag for phone and other essentials
Foul weather gear (weather dependent)
JSA Regatta Guidelines for Junior Sailors
Respected sailors ALWAYS:
Know and abide by the Racing Rules. They promptly take a penalty or retire when they know they broke a rule or file a protest when appropriate.
Always obey event regulations on and off the water, including housing rules.
Are always organized, prepared, and responsible for their own equipment.
Show respect to fellow sailors and those helping to run regattas and programs.
Respected sailors NEVER:
Swear at, intimidate or harass anyone, including teammates, on or off the water.
Steal or borrow, without permission, anything that does not belong to them.
Break laws related to alcohol, tobacco or illegal drugs.
Please remember that at all regattas you are representing Milford Yacht Club. Particularly at events where housing is provided, bad behavior can result in all members of the team being denied housing in future years.Background on the JSALIS Championship Series
Milford Yacht Club junior sailing is a member of the regional junior sailing association Junior Sailing Association of Long Island Sound (JSALIS or “JSA”). The goal of JSA is to promote competition between clubs by organizing interclub regattas and a championship series. A major goal of any JSA Junior Sailing program is to have as many sailors as possible participate in the Junior Sailing Association of Long Island Championship series. The championship series consists of several “qualifying” regattas early in the season. Separate events are held for Optimist, Feva, 420, Laser Full, Laser Radial, and Laser 4.7.
In order for an MYC Laser Radial, or 420 to qualify to compete in the JSA Championship, the boat must place in the top 40% of the fleet in one of the following events:
Eastern District Qualifying Regatta at Norwalk and Norton Yacht Clubs
Larchmont Race Week
JSA Race Week at Cedar Point Yacht Club
Shelter Island 420/L/R Regatta
All Laser Standards that sail in a JSA qualifying regatta are eligible to compete in the JSA Championship.
In order for an MYC Optimist to qualify to compete in the JSA Championship, they must meet one of the following criteria:
White and Blue Fleet sailors must finish in the top 30% in an Area C Qualifying Regatta (Milford YC is in Area C).
All Red Fleet sailors who participate in a qualifying regatta automatically qualify.
These are just the basics, many more details and exceptions to these rules can be found on: https://jsalis.securespsites.com/JSA%20organization/JSA_Rules_for_Events.pdf
If a sailor is interested in qualifying in JSA champs, then they should make the qualifying events a priority when deciding on their regatta schedule. Also, it is sometimes easier to qualify in later events because many of the top sailors who qualify in the first or second qualifying regatta choose to drop out and not sail in the later qualifying events. So, if you don’t qualify at the first event, don’t get discouraged.
However, even if we have no boats qualify, each member club is entitled to send at least one boat per class to JSA champs. In this case, the club can nominate one boat that participated in one of the qualifying events, even if they did not achieve a qualifying score. If this happens, we will send the skipper/crew pair who won our own “class champs” series organized by the instructors and held during the regular program throughout the summer.
JSA Champs occur at the end of the summer and are typically two-day regattas. The location of champs generally changes every year.
Sailors who do not qualify for the championships are automatically eligible for “Alternate Champs.” This regatta is more accessible because it is generally only one day instead of two. It is an especially valuable experience for younger sailors who look forward to qualifying for Champs in future years.
After successfully competing in JSA Champs, junior sailors can make it a goal for the next season to compete in North American or US championships events organized by their class association, especially if they happen to be held in the Northeast. They can also make it a goal to participate in the Sears/Bemis/Smythe Trophy ladder events — this is a junior Championship series organized by the US Sailing Association in which sailors qualify at the local level and then compete regionally and nationally. These are prestigious events that expose sailors to competition outside of Long Island sound, but generally require preseason planning in order to compete.
We have added the Skill Up App bringing US Sailing’s instructional resources to the fingertips of our instructors and students. Built to support US Sailing’s skill development curriculum, the Skill Up App provides US Sailing members with access to skill tracking, instructional videos, and teaching resources. Any US Sailing member can access features by logging in with their membership info.
Sailors and Parents can go to https://skillup.ussailing.org to login or download the App
Below are how to guides to provide students (and their parents) and instructors an overview of how to use Skill Up.