Class Descriptions

Chicago Yacht Club offers Beginner and Intermediate Classes and Specialty Courses. Beginner and Intermediate classes are offered throughout the entire summer, and are meant for sailors age 7-18 who have sailed previously but are not yet at the competitive level, or for sailors who have no sailing experience. Specialty Courses are only offered at limited times, and are tailored for specific situations (i.e. children who are too young to participate in Beginner Classes, or teenagers who are preparing for High School sailing tryouts). Please see a list of classes in each category below. Scroll down for specific class descriptions. A flow chart is located at the bottom of the page to assist in choosing a class for your sailor. Information about Race Teams, which are offered for more advanced sailors, can be found on a different page. 



BEGINNER AND INTERMEDIATE SAILING CLASSES

Sea Monkeys (Ages 7-8)
Level 1 (Ages 8-11)
Level 2 (Ages 8-11)
Level 3 (Ages 8-11)
Beginner 420 Class (Ages 12-18)
Intermediate 420: "Chutes and Wires" (Ages 12-18)
Beginner/Intermediate Keelboat Sailing (Ages 13-18)



Specialty Classes

Keelboat Kids (Ages 5-7)

Dinghy Demons (Ages 5-7)
High School Pipeline (Ages 12-18)
Junior Powerboating (Ages 13-18)




BEGINNER AND INTERMEDIATE SAILING CLASSES


Beginning and Intermediate level classes are held in two-week sessions during June, July and August. The various levels are geared towards the different sailing abilities and interests of the students. The boats used are Sail Cubes, Optimists, 420s and Sonars. Parents should register their child in the desired session keeping in mind that movement between the classes is very fluid ensuring that children are in the best position for their age, size and experience. These classes meet from 8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. daily. 




Sea Monkeys (Ages 7-8)

Those in Sea Monkeys must have completed 1st grade and/or Dinghy Demons. Sailors are paired with one another and learn the basics of steering, trimming the sail, and balancing the boat in an exciting, hands-on way. This class sails in Bug sailboats. These 12 foot dinghies easily accommodate two sailors. Bugs provide a very stable platform for novice sailors. With 41 square feet of sail area, these boats are not overpowered and give young sailors a sense of control.

Sea Monkeys goals include:
--Learning the parts of the boat and sail
--Being able to recover from a capsize
--Tying a stopper knot
--Rigging and unrigging a Bug properly
--Stowing the equipment in the correct manner and place
--Coming about and jibing

Level 1 (Ages 8-11)

Students sail in pairs under the supervision of instructors and participate daily in classroom lessons and land-based activities. The Level 1 curriculum emphasizes the basics of sailing terminology, seamanship skills like knot tying and rigging, boat handling (maneuvering, sail trim, capsize recovery), and the enjoyment of sailing. Students are encouraged to work together as a team during practice drills and cooperative activities and exhibit sportsmanship in all areas of the class.

Level 1 goals include:
--Learning more advanced terminology e.g. windward, leeward, outhaul, halyard
--Being able to identify the points of sail
--Mastering capsize recovery
--Leaving and returning to the dock properly
--Practicing the proper hand position on the tiller
--Securing a line to a cleat with a cleat hitch


Level 2 (Ages 8-11)

The Level 2 class is for young sailors who have shown rapid progress and great improvement. The course is for sailors who are ready to sail a dinghy by themselves. Emphasis is placed on proper boat-handling skills, including sail trim, body positioning, weight placement, tiller use, tacking and jibing, and capsize recovery. The Level 2 course is specifically focused on developing the skills necessary for sailors to begin thinking about the racing program.

Level 2 goals include:
--Learning to sail on all points of sailing
--Getting out of irons
--Starting in a sailboat race
--Sailing a basic course
--Tying a bowline

Level 3 (Ages 8-11)

This is the next step on the way to the Race Teams. In Level 3 sailors practice starting a sailboat race and sailing a course. Daily drills and frequent scrimmages help them consolidate their skills. More advanced terminology, more refined boat-handling skills, and rudimentary racing rules are introduced in this course.

Level 3 goals include:
--Knowing the parts of an Optimist
--Rigging and unrigging an Optimist
--Hiking out
--Tacking from close hauled to close hauled consistently
--Controlling jibes
--Demonstrating mastery of all knots learned in previous classes
--Understanding windward boat and leeward boat
--Learning basic racing rules


Beginner 420 Class (Ages 12-18)

The Beginner 420 class provides an entry level class for older and/or more physically mature students interested in learning the basics of sailing, generally those who are 12 or older and/or weigh at least 110 lbs. Using the doublehanded Club 420 dinghies, students learn rigging and basic boat handling, seamanship, and rules. The course is designed as a way for newer sailors to learn at a comfortable pace with expert instruction in a team-oriented environment. The skills covered in the program provide the foundation for students to be able to move into the Chutes & Wires Class.

Beginning 420 goals include:
--Learning to tie a stopper knot, cleat hitch and bowline
--Leaving and returning to the dock properly
--Tacking and jibing safely
--Rigging and unrigging a 420
--Enumerating parts of a 420 and its sails
--Sailing on all points of sail
--Participating in basic course racing


Intermediate 420: "Chutes and Wires" (Ages 12-18)

Sailors must own a trapeze harness in order to participate in class.

The Intermediate 420 class provides a class for sailors who have had experience sailing, but who are just beginning to sail 420s. generally those who are 12 or older and/or weigh at least 110 lbs. Using the double handed Club 420 dinghies, students learn rigging and basic boat handling, seamanship, and rules. The course is designed as a way sailors to learn to sail the Club 420 at a comfortable pace with expert instruction in a team-oriented environment. The skills covered in the program provide the foundation for students to be able to move into the 420 Travel Program.

Intermediate 420 goals include:
--Learning to tie a stopper knot, cleat hitch and bowline
--Leaving and returning to the dock properly
--Tacking and jibing safely
--Learning how to trapeze and fly a spinnaker
--Rigging and unrigging a Club 420
--Enumerating parts of a Club 420 and its sails
--Sailing on all points of sail
--Participating in basic course racing


Beginner/Intermediate Keelboat Sailing (Ages 13-18)

Beginning/Intermediate Keelboat Sailing, as with the other classes of the Beginning/Intermediate group, meets M-F from 8:30-3:30. Students must be 13 years old at the start of the session to enroll.
This course is open to teens who are either new to sailing, or want to expand their sailing skills to a larger boat. Students will learn basic boat-handling, sail trim, and seamanship skills in the Sonars, 23’ keelboats. The class will focus on working as a team, skipper and crew members working together to sail the boat on its proper course. By the end of the course, the students will be self-sufficient at day sailing in a keelboat.

Beginning/Intermediate Keelboat Sailing goals include:
--Tying stopper knot, cleat hitch, bowline
--Leaving and returning to the dock properly
--Sailing on all points of sail
--Tacking and jibing
--Rigging and unrigging a Sonar
--Learning sailing terminology


SPECIALTY COURSES


These are courses that do not fall under either the Beginning/Intermediate group or the Race Teams. They are most frequently taken as "stand alone" classes. There are four classes in this group: Keelboat Kids, Dinghy Demons, High School Pipeline,  and Jr. Powerboating.

Keelboat Kids (Ages 5-7)

In this course, 5 to 7 year olds are introduced to sailing. The course is designed to help young children feel at ease on the water and be comfortable in boats. The emphasis is on the sights, sounds, and feel of sailing.

The course is taught by a Senior Instructor and a number of Instructor Assistants on a 23' Sonar Keelboat. The excellent student-to-instructor ratio not only provides a safe environment, but also allows the students to learn efficiently and effectively. Each day the class is divided into groups appropriate for the type of boat to be sailed that day. The boats are then rigged by the Demons with the help of the Instructor Assistants. The day's sailing activity takes place under the oversight of the Senior Instructor who supervises and directs from a safety boat.

The kids learn basic sailing terms, safety, and are taught to assist in rigging the boats. While sailing, the Instructor Assistant teaches them about the wind and 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 to enable them to have fun while sailing. A snack is provided to keep the young sailors nourished and engaged. On the last day of each Dinghy Demons session, the sailors are given awards noting their participation and recognizing their achievements.

Time: Keelboat Kids 12:30p.m.-3:30 p.m.                  

Date: June 19- June 23

Keelboat Kids goals include:
--Learning simple sailing terms such as mast, boom, tiller, rudder, and mainsail
--Practicing how to step into and out of a boat while it is at the dock
--Wearing a life jacket properly at all the appointed times
--Keeping hands inside the boat while sailing, never on the rails or dangling over the sides
--Steering the boat on a straight course for a short distance
--Throwing trash in proper receptacles, never in Lake Michigan

Dinghy Demons (Ages 5-7)

In this course, 5 to 7 year olds are introduced to sailing. The course is designed to help young children feel at ease on the water and be comfortable in boats. The emphasis is on the sights, sounds, and feel of sailing.

The course is taught by a Senior Instructor and a number of Instructor Assistants. The excellent student-to-instructor ratio not only provides a safe environment, but also allows the students to learn efficiently and effectively. Each day the class is divided into groups appropriate for the type of boat to be sailed that day. The boats are then rigged by the Demons with the help of the Instructor Assistants. The day's sailing activity takes place under the oversight of the Senior Instructor who supervises and directs from a safety boat.

The Demons learn basic sailing terms, safety, and are taught to assist in rigging the boats. While sailing, the Instructor Assistant teaches them about the wind and 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 to enable them to have fun while sailing. A snack is provided to keep the young sailors nourished and engaged. On the last day of each Dinghy Demons session, the sailors are given awards noting their participation and recognizing their achievements.

Time: Dinghy Demons AM -- 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
          Dinghy Demons PM -- 12:30 p.m.-3:30 p.m.
Date:  Aug 14 - Aug 18

Dinghy Demons goals include:
--Learning simple sailing terms such as mast, boom, tiller, rudder, and mainsail
--Practicing how to step into and out of a boat while it is at the dock
--Wearing a life jacket properly at all the appointed times
--Keeping hands inside the boat while sailing, never on the rails or dangling over the sides
--Steering the boat on a straight course for a short distance
--Throwing trash in proper receptacles, never in Lake Michigan

High School Pipeline (Ages 12-18)

This course is for either current high school students or those entering high school in the fall.

Time: Mon. - Fri., 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. 
Date: HS Pipeline 1, Aug 7 - Aug 11
          HS Pipeline 2, Aug 14 - Aug 18

This course is for high school students who are hoping to join their high school sailing team. Intensive training and frequent scrimmaging are used to equip participants with the necessary skills to try out for their team. Tryouts for the teams managed by Chicago Yacht Club are held as part of this program.

High School Pipeline goals include:
--Crewing and skippering a 420
--Practicing all racing skills
--Scrimmaging in short course drills
--Recovering from a capsize
--Becoming familiar with the kinds of personal equipment needed to compete in high school


Junior Powerboating (Ages 13-18)

In this course teens are taught the proper handling of small powerboats. There are daily classroom and on-the-water sessions. Those seeking Powerboat Certification can take the appropriate exams. If passed, certification is issued upon membership registration in US Powerboating. Before acceptance to the course, all registrants must pass the Illinois Boater Exam. To prepare and take the exam, go to www.Boat-Ed.com.
Please contact Martin Heft at powerboats@chicagoyachtclub.org for more information.
Time: Mon.-Fri., 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
Date: TBD

Which class is best for my sailor?