Our 2022 summer of fun-based instruction begins June 27, and continues for eight weeks. Classes use Widgeons and 420s owned by Buzzards Sailing School (BSS) and a combination of school-owned and privately-owned Optimist dinghies. BSS requires a minimum of two weeks of enrollment (with the exception of the Widgeon classes). Scholarships are available to local children, please email for further information.
Safety is a top priority at BSS. 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. All classes are held on the water, and for many sailors without instructors in their boats. All parents should advise us upon registration of any swimming limitations their students may have. Any student who is not able to swim, tread water, nor comfortable in the water should not sail. BSS relies on parents and/or guardians to inform us of swimming limitations and any other relevant issues such as anxiety or nervousness.
Which class is right?
Please read the class descriptions below, and contact the Program Director if you are in doubt. It is very important that sailors are placed into the appropriate class prior to summer. Please note that if your student participated in Buzzards Sailing School last summer, you should have a class recommenation on your sailor evaluation form.
Learn-to-Sail and Introductory Classes
Monday-Thursday 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM
If this is your student’s first time sailing, we strongly recommend starting with our Learn-to-Sail (LTS) Widgeon Class, our largest class with the emphasis on fun! LTS Widgeon classes have two to four students per boat along with a Junior Instructor and are geared towards students aged 8-12. As our most popular class, there will typically be six to eight Widgeons sailing each morning. Classes start with land-based games and sailing trivia, followed by 1 1/2 to 2 hours of sailing. Sailors learn rigging and boat part names, gain confidence being on the water, learn points of sail, sail trim, and take the tiller as appropriate. On-water classes consist of fun sailing, playing games, sailing to Bassetts Island, swimming, and more. More skilled sailors may be introduced to spinnaker handling. Widgeons are suitable for students of all weights and heights. All sailors must be able to swim, tread water, and be comfortable in the water, but prior boating experience is not required.
The best class for young students with sailing experience and the desire and confidence to sail solo. Classes begin land-based games and sailing trivia, following with rigging instruction on land. Sailors then launch and sail to the Mill Pond or on light mornings into the Bay where they play games, refine sailing techniques, swim, and sometimes sail to Bassetts Island. This class typically has 9 to 14 sailors aged 9 to 12. Optis are small boats; if your student is taller than 5′ 3″ or weighs more than 100 pounds, we recommend one of our Widgeon or 420 classes, depending upon skill level.
Green Fleet – our introductory racing class. This takes place during our LTS Opti Class. Sailors are selected to participate depending upon skill and interest. As students can progress quickly throughout the season, participation typically increases week by week. There is age and skill-level appropriate racing at Unkie Cups and the Beverly Junior Regatta. For more information please contact the Program Director.
This is an introductory class taught in a high-performance racing dinghy, and not a course for beginning or small/lightweight sailors. To qualify, sailors must have previously sailed in Intermediate Widgeons or Racing Optimists for a minimum of four weeks (the four weeks can be cumulative over multiple seasons). Sailors who have not yet sailed at BSS must contact the Program Director to discuss their experience before signing up.
Sailors need an understanding of basic sailing terminology and must be able to handle the boat through all points of sail. The course builds on basic sailing skills while focusing on the specific demands of a 420. Trapezes and spinnakers may be introduced to eligible sailors. Most classes combine sailing instruction, games/fun time, and a swim.
Intermediate and Racing Classes
Monday – Thursday 1:15 PM – 4:15 PM
Friday Junior Race Series 8:30 AM – approx. 1:00 PM
This is a fun and non-competitive class for teenage sailors eager to explore the joy of sailing in Buzzards Bay! Students with some previous sailing experience, including those who have previously taken LTS Widgeon at BSS, are eligible for this class. The class may also be suitable for beginner students aged eleven and older. This class places a greater emphasis on optimal boat handling as well an introduction to racing as appropriate. Additionally, spinnaker handling can be taught (one of the advantages of the Widgeon). This class sails in the afternoon when the winds are higher so sailors should be comfortable with a boat heeling and potentially capsizing. Instructors do not join students in the boats. Participation in the Friday Morning Junior Racing Series is encouraged for interested sailors.
Race Optimist - BSS Opti Race Team
The afternoon Opti class is designed for competent Opti sailors between the ages of 10 and 14 interested in racing. Classes will focus on refining Opti race skills including roll tacks and gybes, optimal sail trim, proper hiking technique, race tactics, and more. Participants will have the opportunity to race in Friday Morning Junior Racing Series, Wednesday Unkie Cup Regattas (held at nearby Buzzards Bay clubs), the Beverly Junior Regatta, and possibly the Scituate Junior Regatta and Wianno Junior Regatta. Approval by the Program Director is required for registration.
Race 420 - BSS 420 Race Team
This class is for intermediate and advanced 420 sailors who are looking to improve their sailing and racing skills. Sailors range from 13 to 18 years of age and have sufficient weight and strength to sail this high-performance dinghy. Instruction is geared towards racing and preparing sailors for a number of skill-appopriate regattas including: Beverly Junior Regatta, Edgartown Yacht Club Jr. Regatta, Friday Morning Junior Racing Series, Gill Trophy, SMSA Team Racing Championships, VHYC Jr. Regatta and the Wild Harbor Invite.
Learning focuses on advanced boat handling, hiking, trapezing, roll tacking/gybing, flying spinnakers, and racing rules. Instruction includes skills needed for both skipper and crew, with emphasis on teamwork.
Sailors must have previously sailed in LTS 420s for a minimum of four weeks or have Program Director approval.