In these courses, we introduce 6 to 9 year olds to sailing and help them feel at ease on the water and be comfortable in boats.
This course is designed to help young children feel at ease on the water and be comfortable in boats. Sailors are paired up 2 to a boat with an emphasis on being safe, having fun and learning the sights, sounds and feel of sailing.
The course is taught by a Senior Instructor and assisted by a group of experienced youth sailors. The high student-to-instructor ratio not only provides an especially safe environment, but also allows the students to learn efficiently and effectively. The students learn basic sailing terms, safety, and are taught to assist in rigging the boats. While sailing, the instructors teach them about the wind, water, and encourages their comfort in sailboats. Daily team-building activities and games are played both on and off the water to further the children’s’ knowledge and ability to have fun while sailing.
This course is for the 8-9 year old sailors that are ready to take their sailing to the next level. We lose our partner and learn to sail Optis as they’re designed to be sailed: single-handed!
Both of these courses can be repeated until “aging out” of them. There’s nothing better than time on the water.
Since the objective of the course is to get the students to feel comfortable sailing, the class will not sail on days with threatening weather, such as rain or high winds. Instead, we will use activities to further their nautical knowledge, like crafts, watching videos, and playing games.
Beginner and Intermediate Sailing Programs
Beginning and Intermediate level classes are held during multiple sessions, varying in length, throughout the summer. The various levels are geared towards different sailing ability and interest of the students. We utilize our well-maintained fleet of Optis, CFJs, and 420s, for all of our Beginning, Intermediate and Racing Classes. Students are placed in sections by the Sailing School staff according to age, size, fitness level, and sailing experience. Prior to the first lesson, students are grouped accordingly in one of four categories: Beginner Opti, Intermediate Opti, Beginner 420/FJ, and Intermediate 420/FJ. Sign up for Beginner or Intermediate and let the instructors if you have a preference on the first year, otherwise, they’ll place them in the right boat for their size and skill level.
Optimist Prams are our fleet of small sailboats used for our younger sailors, typically age 10-13 years, though class placement depends additionally on size (generally under 110 lbs.) and maturity. Students sail single-handed under the close supervision of instructors and participate daily in classroom lessons and land-based activities. The Beginner Opti curriculum emphasizes the basics of sailing terminology, seamanship skills like knot tying and rigging, boathandling (maneuvering, sail trim, capsize recovery), simple course-sailing, and the enjoyment of sailing. In addition to boating safety, skills, and concepts, students are encouraged to work together as a team during practice drills and cooperative activities and exhibit sportsmanship in all areas of the class. Promotion out of the Beginning Opti program is based solely on instructors’ evaluation and is reserved for more experienced students ready to move onto higher levels of sailing.
The Intermediate Opti class is for young sailors who have shown rapid progress and great improvement in the Beginner Opti class, often having participated in the Beginner program for several sessions. A minimum of two weeks in the Beginner Opti class is required to move into the Intermediate class. Emphasis is placed on proper boat handling skills, including sail trim, body positioningand weight placement, tiller use, tacking and gybing, and self-rescue. The Intermediate course is specifically focused on developing the boathandling skills necessary for sailors to begin thinking about the racing program. Successful completion of the Intermediate Program is required prior to moving into the Race Classes or the Evening Race Team Practices.
The Beginner Laser/420 class provides an entry level class for older and/or more physically mature students interested in learning the basics of sailing, generally those that are 12 and older and/or weigh more than 110 pounds. Using the doublehanded 420 or singlehanded Laser, students learn rigging and basic boathandling, seamanship and rules of the road. This course is designed as a way for newer sailors to learn at a comfortable pace with expert instruction in a team-oriented environment. In the Intermediate sessions, students will be introduced to some more advanced skills like using the trapeze and spinnaker. The skills covered in this program provide the foundation for students to be able to move into the 420 or Laser Racing Program. Successful completion of the Intermediate Program is required prior to moving into the Race Classes or Evening Race Team Practices.
Youth Racing Programs
Our Youth Racing Program is split into two groups: Learn to Race (LTR) and Advanced Race Team (ART). The Learn to Race is run by the Sailing School with classes taking place during the day. The Advanced Race Team is run in the evenings by the Youth Racing Program and headed up by John Hoctor. All kids start out in the Learn to Race program before graduating on to the Advanced Race Team program.
The Green Team is a beginner and intermediate level Optimist Racing Program, designed to build on the basic sailing and rudimentary racing skills learned in our Opti program for those ready to hit the race course! Younger sailors who have shown advancement in boat handling, seamanship, and general knowledge are eligible to participate in the Green Team, using personally or club owned Optimist dinghies. The focus of the Green Team curriculum is to improve sailors’ boat handling skills and rules knowledge and to teach them more about small boat racing, including tactics, courses, with a particular emphasis on sportsmanship and the ability to care for their own equipment. The Green Team sailors may travel to local and Midwest regattas including the Midwest Junior Olympics. The Green Fleet builds a strong foundation for important sailing skills as well as personal connections and relationships that will prove important as the sailors become more exposed to the world of racing.
To read an explanation of the USODA Green Fleet policy, please look in the FAQs at usoda.org
The Gold Fleet Race Team is for experienced Opti sailors who are ready to compete at the highest level and are under 15 years of age. The Opti Race Team races in many local and regional events, but also prepares sailors for National Optimist events, focusing on advanced boathandling and tactics. The sailors become exposed to a strong team atmosphere, learning both fleet racing and team racing skills. Sailors who have advanced past the Green Team curriculum and have their own Optis are eligible for the Race Team. The Race Team places an emphasis on travel, participating in many local and regional regattas, including Opti Nationals, Great Lakes Championships, CORK and Junior Olympics.
For Regional, National, and International Opti news, visit the official US Opti website, usoda.org.
In addition to the Opti Teams, the Advanced Racing Program at Hoover Sailing Club consists of the Laser Race Team and the 420 Race Team, which is split into two levels, A and B. Both 420 teams focus on specific skill sets and seek to build sailing knowledge in a progressive curriculum. The three teams do much of their training together, doing a large amount of fitness and agility workouts on land focusing on raising the overall level of skills on the water. The A Team, however, is reserved for sailors with the most experience and greatest knowledge, extensively working on advanced racing tactics and fine boat tuning, while members of the B Team are beginning to learn how to race 420s with the trapeze and spinnakers, and getting comfortable racing in double handed boats. Acceptance to all Race Team programs is based on prior sailing experience and instructor evaluation. The teams are coached by highly qualified and experienced sailors who have extensive upper level racing experience. *All members of any of Hoover Sailing Club Race Teams are expected to be active and productive members of the team at all times, both in practice and at competition, contributing equally to the success of the team as a whole.
The Laser Team is comprised of individuals who already have some racing experience, and are looking to improve on their skippering skills in singlehanded boats. Sailors on the team use their own privately owned boats, practicing and competing in either the Laser Radial or Full Rig classes at local or regional regattas. Emphasis is put on advanced boat handling and strength, two vital components to successful sailing in a Laser. In addition, the team learns racing tactics, strategy, seamanship, and other skills to excel on the race course. The team travels throughout the summer to participate in highly competitive events in the area. In addition, further travel opportunities exist for those who are interested in racing during the fall, winter, and spring as well.
The B Team introduces experienced sailors to the specific skills necessary for double handed sailing in 420 racing dinghies. The B Team is the primary placement for Opti sailors who have aged out of or are too big for the Opti class or for those advancing out of the Intermediate Sailing Classes. Sailors entering the B Team must either show competence in boat handling and have knowledge of rules and tactics or demonstrate a strong willingness to learn, since the B Team places strong emphasis on development of racing skills and teamwork in competition. The B Team focuses on learning how to maneuver with trapeze and spinnaker in fleet racing, as well as some basic rules and tactics for team racing. The sailors travel to local and regional regattas to gain valuable experience in larger fleets, and to prepare them for more advanced racing. By the end of the summer, hardworking and dedicated members of the B Team will be ready to join the A Team.
The A Team represents the most experienced and diligent sailors of Hoover Sailing Club’s Sailing Program. Most A Team sailors have been a part of the program for several years and are active sailing in the summer program and even in the fall, winter, and spring as well. Extensive knowledge of tactics and seamanship as well as advanced boat handling skills are requisite for A Team members, and are consistently improved upon throughout the summer. These sailors travel often and participate in local, regional, and even national events, including the Junior Olympics, 420 North Americans, Youth Championships, and US Sailing Championships in the summer and Orange Bowl and 420 Midwinters during the winter months. The sailors learn valuable skills both on and off the race course as they travel together throughout the country and are trusted with the safety of themselves, their teammates, and their equipment.