Saturday Children's Sailing
Students must be 8 years old prior to Sept 1.
Enrollment is limited and regular attendance is required.
Come join our Learn to Sail Opti program for a fun and exciting experience on the beautiful Indian River Lagoon. Students will get acquainted with sailing by first riding with a US Sailing Certified Level 1 Instructor. As sailors gain confidence in the boat and develop a basic understanding of sailing terms and seamanship, they will then be given the opportunity to pilot their own 8-ft Optimist. These prams are sailed and raced all over the world by children ages 8 to 15.
This is the beginning Opti class, which takes place in the morning when the wind tends to be light. At this level they will be taught how to hold and maneuver a tiller and how to tack through the wind with an emphasis on proper form. Sailors will learn about wind direction, velocity, points of sail, and sail trim. They will also be taught how to right a capsized boat and how to retrieve a sailor in man over board drills.
Once students gain confidence in the Opti and can demonstrate basic boat handling skills, they are moved up to the Opti 2 class, where their skills are refined and tuned. At this level they will be enabled to master points of sail and sail trim, and they will continue to build their knowledge and skill, becoming more and more familiar with the boat and its capabilities while sailing in light to medium winds. Once they demonstrate the ability to sail up and downwind, they may progress to Opti 3.
Sailors who have demonstrated the motivation and skill to get to this level begin to practice with the Shelby Race Team, thereby gaining exposure to more challenging conditions and more accomplished sailors. They are introduced to racing skills and concepts and are taught to sail fast. Skills learned at this level include pointing the boat upwind, holding the boat on a line, acceleration, and buoy rounding. Opti 3 sailors are encouraged to compete, but are not required to do so.
Shelby Race Team
This is a selective group of sailors who travels the Treasure Coast competing in the Opti. The fleet of six state-of-the-art fiberglass boats was donated in memory of longtime YSF supporter David Shelby, and a seasonal fee is charged for use of the boat and more comprehensive instruction. At the racing level, sailors learn the finer details of Opti sailing and are working towards mastering their boat handling skills in all wind conditions. They are taught rules, strategies, tactics, and are expected to travel as a team to local regattas.
The YSF Opti program follows the US Sailing Small Boat Curriculum. Sailors with previous experience in the Opti may join the program by taking a practical with the Sailing Director and then being placed in the appropriate level.
All classes are held on Saturdays during the school year. Children (ages 8-14) must be residents of Indian River County and pass a swim test. The introductory class, Opti 1 and Opti 2 are offered free of charge. Opti 3 and Shelby Race Team practice 2 days a week and involve a nominal fee. Scholarships are available.
Equipment required to participate in class:
- Closed toe shoes (they will get wet)
- Refillable water bottle
- Sunglasses with lanyard (so they will not be lost in water)
- Change of clothes
- Knap sack or bag to carry the above