Our summer of fun-based instruction begins in June, and continues for eight (8) weeks. Classes use Widgeons and 420s owned by Buzzards Sailing School (BSS) and a combination of school-owned and privately-owned International Optimist dinghies. BSS recommends multiple weeks of enrollment to learn the basics of sailing and to advance to greater levels of proficiency.
BSS limits class sizes in order to foster safety and provide high-quality instruction for students to master sailing skills. All staff has Red Cross Certification in First Aid and CPR.
Which Class is Right?
For first-time sailing students, we recommend starting with Learn-to-Sail Widgeons, then progressing from there. The Widgeon is a popular, time-tested, sailing dinghy with room in the boat for other students. The Learn-to-Sail Optimist class sails solo in a smaller boat called an Optimist, often preferred by smaller children with some boating familiarity, and/or a stronger desire for independence. Lessons are held Monday through Thursday for all classes. The Friday morning Junior Racing Series (JRS) follows the regular Monday – Thursday teaching week. The JRS Is available to students in the afternoon and intermediate racing classes and offers a venue for sailors to put into practice skills learned during the week.
The following information is meant to help in the class selection process and to ensure an enjoyable and safe experience for all. Please also refer to the “Classes” tab for more information on each class.
Learn-to Sail and Introductory Classes
If this is your student’s first time sailing, we recommend starting with Learn-to-Sail Widgeons and then progressing as skills evolve. Our morning Learn-to-Sail Widgeon classes have two to four students per boat along with an instructor and are geared towards students aged 8-10. Our afternoon widgeon class is oriented to beginners who have some familiarity with widgeons or sailing but who are not yet advanced sailors. The afternoon class is also suitable for students over 10 years of age. The opportunity to be in a boat with other students is a helpful part of the learning process. This boat is suitable for students of all weights and heights.
Since students are solo in an Optimist, often referred to as an Opti, this class is better for students with previous experience skippering a boat or for students who are very independent with a strong confidence level. Please note that Optimists are not large boats. Therefore, if your student is over 5’ 3” or over 90 pounds, we recommend the Learn-to-Sail Widgeon class or private lessons.
This is an introductory class but is not a course for beginning sailors. To sign up for the course, sailors must have previously sailed in Intermediate Widgeons or Intermediate and Racing Optimists for a minimum of four weeks (the four weeks can be cumulative over multiple seasons). 420s are performance boats. Due to their size and speed, they are not ideal for small or lightweight students. Sailors who have not yet sailed at BSS should contact the program administrator to discuss their experience before signing up.
Intermediate and Racing Classes
Students with previous sailing experience, including those who have previously taken Learn-to-Sail Widgeon at BSS are eligible for this class. The class is also suitable for beginner students aged ten and older. This class places a greater emphasis on optimal boat handling as well as rules of racing. Instructors generally do not join students in the boats. This class sails in the afternoon when the winds are higher so
sailors should be strong and comfortable with a boat heeling or a faster-paced environment.
Students who have learned to sail an Optimist are eligible for this class. Students who have not yet sailed an Optimist are encouraged to take the morning Learn-to-Sail Optimists class. This class places a greater emphasis on optimal boat handling as well as rules of racing. Students sailing solo in a boat and are expected to have a great degree of comfort on the water. This class sails in the afternoon when the winds are higher so sailors should be strong and comfortable with a boat heeling or a faster paced environment.
This class is for the sailor who has successfully completed Learn-to-Sail 420s and is ready to progress to the afternoon breeze. To sign up for the course, sailors must have previously sailed in Learn-to Sail 420s for a minimum of four weeks (the four weeks can be cumulative over multiple seasons). The class is for intermediate and advanced 420 sailors who are looking to improve their sailing and racing skills. This class sails in the afternoon when the winds are higher so sailors should be strong and comfortable with a boat heeling or a faster paced environment. 420s are performance boats. Due to their size and speed they are not ideal for small or lightweight students.