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The Program

Welcome to IJS program!  We offer sailing lessons to ALL!  Ages 8 and up.  We are located at Ipswich Bay Yacht Club and sail in beautiful Ipswich Bay and Plum Island Sound.

Course Description
Small boat sailing curricula and instruction, at its best, is done through a rich blend of classroom study and practical experience. By learning to sail a small boat with a US Sailing-certified instructor, students will have the opportunity to learn the skills and gain the knowledge needed to build confidence in their ability to sail a small boat well and safely. While the program is primarily designed to give students experience on the water, each day students will be offered engaging classroom instruction and hands-on activities that bring life to a variety of topics associated with small boat seamanship and safety. These topics will include knots and splices, techniques for small boat handling, understanding tides and tidal current, weather for the sailor, interpretation and use of the nautical chart, docking techniques and rules of the road for boating safety.
In addition to developing safe and sound boating skills, the IJS program seeks to inspire awareness and appreciation of the marine environment. With classes and activities that focus on the unique natural history of the estuaries and barrier beaches that define Ipswich Harbor, IJS instructors seek to inspire students to become environmental stewards and socially responsible individuals. In these classes, students will have the opportunity learn about many aspects of marine pollution, marine debris and the responsibility they have as citizens and boaters to help keep our waterways healthy and clean. Interested students may also have the opportunity to participate in a water quality monitoring project designed to research the health of the clam flats of the Ipswich Harbor area. With support from New England Biolabs, IJS is working in collaboration with Ipswich High School Robotics Team and the Ipswich River Watershed Association to conduct a long-term ecological study of the area. Please contact [email protected], volunteer, if you or someone you know are interested either as a participant or volunteer for this project.

Sailor Groups
Students enrolled in the program are organized into one of four groups depending on age and experience. Beginner Optis is for younger, new sailors while Advanced Optis is for younger sailors who have met Beginner Optis skills. Older, more experienced sailors generally sail in 420s and are organized into Beginner 420 and Advanced 420 groups as appropriate. Race training and opportunity to race in local area regattas is offered to advanced sailors. The size of each group varies depending on enrollment numbers and student profile but in general total Opti numbers can run from 10-18 sailors and 420 sailors can number about 12 on any given week. Each group will have one lead instructor and one to two apprentice instructors. Instructors will remain with their group during the program and help them learn the skills and concepts contained in the curriculum. Students can expect to have thoughtful mix of shoreside instruction and on the water experience throughout the course.

Curriculum and Instructional Resources
Of the many resources that IJS Instructors will use to offer a program that is both rigorous and engaging for all ages, the materials developed by US Sailing will continue to be a mainstay of the daily instruction. The US Sailing REACH materials and lesson modules provide examples of ways to connect science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) topics to the small boat sailing experience and The Learn Sailing Right! instructional books are the industry standard for small boat education, with step by step guidance for beginner and intermediate sailors. IJS students may become a certified Small Boat Sailor by completing the requirements in the Little Red Book, US Sailing’s Small Boat Sailor Certification Record Book, supplied and validated by your US Sailing instructor.
If you are interested in becoming a certified sailor please purchase the Little Red Book and bring it to your class. All of the US Sailing Education materials are available for purchase in the US Sailing Store.

Ipswich Junior Sailing, Inc. is a 501©(3) non-profit organization and admits students of any race, color, religion, or national origin…scholarships are also available.

Important Details

Week 1: Monday, June 21 to Thursday, July 1

Week 2: Tuesday, July 6 to Friday, July 9 (Monday 4th is a Holiday)

Week 3: Monday, July 12 to Thursday, July 15

Note: Week of July 19 is Marblehead Race Week – No IJS classes

Week 4: Monday, July 26 to Thursday, July 29

Week 5: Monday, August 2 to Thursday, August 5

Week 6: Monday, August 9 to Thursday, August 12

Week 7: Monday, August 16 to Thursday, August 19

August 20 – IJS End of Season Celebration Day

Program fee is $500, a discounted price of $475 is available before March 1. This price is for a session, Monday thru Thursday, 4 full days (9:15 am to 4:15 pm) or 8 half days. Mornings start at 9:15 am and end at 12:15 and afternoons start at 1:15 pm and end at 4:15 pm. Note: The week in which the 4th of July is celebrated we hold a makeup class on a Friday.

A discount of $25 applies for a sailor’s additional sessions 2nd and 3rd etc. during the summer.

Full payment and a signed waiver are required with each application. If a class is full and alternatives are not available fees are refundable.

All on the water activities are patrolled by 5 “chase” boats operated by a US Sailing Certified Instructor and apprentices. These boats consist of a 17’ Bristol Runabout, two 16’ Inflatable boats (Ribcraft and a Zodiac) and a two 16’ Carolina Skiffs.

The Ipswich Bay Harbormaster’s Boat patrols the area.

The IJS program is run by adult volunteers. We make every effort to honor your preferences while maintaining a quality program. Class assignments will be made according to skill level, age, and preference; we appreciate that friends make it fun and make every effort to keep friends together.  If there are more applicants than spaces for a particular class, preference will be given to the applicant whose application is received first. We will schedule siblings in the same time slot upon request. We reserve the right to change the schedule based on the number of applicants at each of the skill levels.

Refunds are not honored and all payments are final.

  • Are you interested in sailing with your friends this summer in a small group? Join us for a week of all-day adventure sailing in the Ipswich Bay and beyond!
  • Adventure sail is a full day program in which sailors learn to handle a larger boat in our Rhodes 19.
  • Expect to be on the water exploring and learning all day. Sailors will have the opportunity to eat lunch, but the location may depend on where they adventure to each day!
  • Requirements:
    • We require sailors sign up in a group to ensure appropriate class size and keep a consistent group of sailors to ensure cooperation with COVID-19 protocols
    • Open to new and experienced sailors
    • Groups of 2-4 sailors
    • Recommended for ages 10+
  • This program is great for younger sailors who are not yet big enough to sail 420s as well as groups of friends who are of different levels of experience, age, or size!

Sailors who have previously participated on the Race Team, in Opti or 420’s, or sailors who have completed three classes in that boat are invited to apply for the IJS RACE TEAM. New applicants will be evaluated based on class performance and instructor recommendations. Participation on the team is limited by the number of spots available; returning racers have priority if they signed-up by April 15.

There is a participation fee for the Race Team members who attend Marblehead Junior Race Week and parent participation is required.

IJS Race Team members can:

• Practice Monday through Thursday afternoons and Friday all day when no regattas are scheduled

• Race in local regattas (approx. 4 Fridays)

Essex Bay Yacht Club Mudflat Regatta (420s only) TBD

Sandy Bay Yacht Club, Linda Wieditz Memorial Opti Regatta

IJS Greenhead – (420s and Optis)

Annisquam YC Squam Day – (420s and Optis)

Marblehead Junior Race Week – (420s and Optis) Monday thru Wednesday

On Friday mornings there will be supervised Free Sail open to all IJS sailors from 9:15 am to 12:15 pm.  Instructors and staff will be present for safety and direction, however no instructed learning will be delivered.

On some Fridays we will compete in local regattas with other youth sailing programs in the Cape Ann area this may impact the boats available for free sail.  Sailors planning to attend the Friday Free Sail should sign up with the staff on the day before or that morning.

Schedule for Fridays To Be Determined closer to the start of the season.

Competition Day will be held on the Friday following the last class in August. At this event, sailors are welcome back to compete in various activities. Awards are given for:

Robert W. McKinley  –  Outstanding Young Sailor

Set-up & Rig  –  Quickest Bowline Knot

Most Fearless Sailor  –  Capsize & Recover

Most Improved Sailor  –  Various Racing Awards

Lawn Games

Students should arrive a 10 – 15 minutes prior to start of class wearing a swimsuit (or clothes they want to get wet in), closed toed shoes, and a life jacket, they should also bring a towel and water.  Sunscreen should be applied prior to coming and brought for re-application, hats and sunglasses are an optional preference

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