Log in



© Southport Yacht Club - SYC
  • Home
  • Sailing Program

Southport Junior Yacht Club

Sailing Foundation

2023 Summer Sailing Program

About the Southport Yacht Club Sailing Program

The Southport Yacht Club located in Cosy Harbor, Maine offers sailing instruction to young sailors on the mouth of the Sheepscot River.  For almost 100 years our sailing program has grown to provide its participants exceptional instruction and the opportunity to share with friends the pleasures of sailing the Maine Coast. The Southport Junior Yacht Club Sailing Foundation has an eight week summer program that provides opportunities to develop sailing skills at all ability levels. In addition to providing a unique sailing experience on the Coast of Maine, the program fosters a love, appreciation, and respect for the ocean and emphasizes seamanship and sportsmanship at all levels.  Our sailing program is open to any young person turning 7 years old this calendar year to 18 years old, with or without prior experience on the water. We offer weekly sessions, though we strongly encourage students to participate for two weeks or more. Membership at Southport Yacht Club is not necessary, though warmly encouraged.  Registration is online via CampDoc. We welcome any child who desires exposure to the joys of sailing.

Beginner Turnabout Morning Program

Beginner sailors take part in an instructional program that teaches basic sailing skills, terminology, and seamanship. In this course our new future sailors will learn how sailboats work in the Turnabout dinghy. Young sailors will experience plenty of fun sailing opportunities and hit the water with the help of our coaches and experienced older sailors. This is an excellent opportunity for beginners to sail in a fun, safe, social, and nurturing environment. Guided by a lead instructor, students will work on the foundational skills of sailing: parts of the boat and sail, steering, wind direction, points of sail, sail trim, knots, seamanship, etc.  Over the course of the program, students track their progress utilizing the “star chart” as a way to share their progress and skills both on and off the water. Students crew with more experienced sailors in Turnabouts for sailing drills, exploring the coast, and fun racing. Sailors will begin as “Boatswains” and advance to “Mates” and then to “Skippers” as they acquire and master sailing skills and concepts. After sailors develop their foundational skills, confidence, and ability to sail independently they become “Skippers” at which point they may sail in Turnabouts alone or transition into our Beginner Optimist Morning Program to further develop their skills as a skipper.  

Beginner Optimist Morning Program

Upon successfully mastering the foundational skills in Turnabouts, morning class students may move into Optimist sailboats, a developmental racing dinghy. Beginner sailors take part in an instructional program that teaches basic sailing skills, terminology, and seamanship. Sailors registering for this class should have already completed "Mates" in the Beginner Turnabout class, as the expectation in Optis is that you are in a boat alone.  There is an additional Star Chart to track the progress of sailors in this class.  We have some club-owned Optis available for use or you may provide your own. Students in this program are introduced to the basics of sailboat racing, parts of the boat, terminology, sail controls, tuning, weight positioning, and point of sail.

Intermediate Turnabout Afternoon Program

This course allows our intermediate sailors to continue gaining valuable sailing experience in a more stable, two person Turnabout. Intermediate sailors learn to fly a spinnaker, compete in weekly racing amongst their peers on the Sheepscot River and use their skills in a wide variety of activities.  There is a greater focus on learning to race at this level.  To register for this class, sailors should have completed all levels of the Beginner Turnabout class (Boatswains, Mates, and Skippers). This course focuses on the development of boat handling skills, basic racing tactics, seamanship, weight placement, sail trim, fine tuning sail controls, spinnaker work, and teamwork.  

Intermediate Opti Afternoon Program

Intermediate sailors compete in weekly racing amongst their peers on the Sheepscot River and use their skills in a wide variety of activities.  Many will compete with other yacht clubs and represent the Southport Junior Yacht Club Sailing Foundation in regional sailing competitions.  There is a greater focus on racing tactics at this level.  Sailors registering for this class should have already participated in “Beginner Optis.” This course focuses on mastery of boat handling skills, advanced racing tactics and techniques, team racing, fine tuning sail controls, and the physics of racing sailboats. Sailors practice using sail controls, body weight and aerodynamic/hydrodynamic theory to make their boats go faster. Sailors will be taught to ask questions about evaluating and learning about their own performance, integrate on the water coaching, and advanced equipment preparation to enhance their sailing experience.  Participation in regional regattas will be based on experience, intra-club race results, staff assessment, availability, and intra-club “race off” results. Sailors attending regattas will be taught to plan, prepare, and execute a successful experience.  

Recreational 420 Program 

Recreational 420 sailors will continue to grow and develop their skills through various activities and adventures on the Sheepscot River without the pressures of the racing scene.  This group may occasionally combine with the Advanced 420 group for certain activities throughout the summer, but this group will be more focused on exploring the Sheepscot through distance sails and other fun activities.  Sailors registering for this class should have completed either “Afternoon Turnabouts” or “Afternoon Optis” and be at least 13 years of age.

Advanced 420 Program