Youth instruction

Youth Instruction

2020 Youth Sailing Program

Update: July 8, 2020
If you are interested in enrolling your child in the Youth Program for 2020, we may still have space. Please email right away with your child’s name and skill level.

Update: June 19, 2020
During the Youth Program 2020, the following practices and procedures will be in place to ensure, to the extent possible, a safe and sanitary environment for sailors and staff alike. We are following State of R.I. Dept. of Health and CDC’s recommendations closely as we make these plans, are working closely with our partner the Dept. of Environmental Management, and are prepared to adapt as and when necessary.

  1. All participating students and their parents/guardians will need to sign an updated waiver and behavioral guidelines that address the use of masks/buffs while on land, social distancing, and staying home if they show any symptoms or come into contact with someone who has shown symptoms.
  2. All SN staff are also required to complete a Covid-19 screening each day, wear face masks/buffs and to isolate at home if they show signs or symptoms.
  3. In an effort to provide adequate class management, class sizes will be limited to a 1:6-8 ratio depending on the age and skill level of the participants.
  4. Drop-off and pick-up procedures will be modified to spread classes out across the facility and to ensure that participants are only interacting with the other sailors in their immediate group.
  5. Participants will stay with their assigned class for the duration of the session, using the same boat each day.
  6. SN will be following CDC, RIDoH and RIDEM approved guidelines for the cleaning and sanitizing of boats, equipment and storage areas used each day.
  7. Session orientation and graduation festivities will be conducted remotely (online).
  8. Saturday Free Sail has been suspended for the 2020 season

Skill levels and classes

Sailing is both a very physical and a highly conceptual sport. Students learn at different rates and in different ways. Some students grasp the practical side quickly, while the theory eludes them. For others it is just the opposite. Students also retain information very differently. Sail Newport’s goal is to make sure students are placed in a class (boat and skill level) that will help them succeed to the best of their ability, and have fun while they are learning! Factors that we take into consideration in making placements include:

  • Age
  • Height
  • Weight
  • Personal interest
  • Goals (cruising, racing)

Designed as an introductory, hands-on class, the focus is on making kids comfortable in and around boats. Lots of games will be intermingled with an introduction to sailing with the goal of having fun! Must be able to pass a swim ‘check’ to participate. The ratio is 1:5 instructor to Guppy. Applicants must have a DOB of 2013 or 2014 for the 2020 program.

Beginner Classes are for students who may have little or no experience on the water, in sailboats, or, they do not have a history of organized instructional experience. These classes cover the fundamentals: how to rig, de-rig and care for the boats and equipment, capsize recove r y, understanding the wind, how to tack and jibe. Students are introduced to the different points of sail, and basic “rules of the road.” Beginner dinghy classes are taught using Prams (ages 7–11), and RS Quests (ages 11–16) and in the keelboat program J/22s (ages 12 – 17).

For students who have completed just one session as a beginner, most will move to a Beginner/Intermediate class where they can continue to solidify their skills. This is particularly true of students who are only sailing for a few weeks each season. Beginner/Intermediate dinghy classes are taught using Optimists, Hartlie 10’s and Bugs (generally ages 7–12), and RS Quests (generally ages 11–17) and in the keelboat program J/22s (ages 12 – 17).

Pre-requisite Sail Newport Beginner Class and recommendation of the instructor, or its equivalent.

Builds on the basics with students learning the finer points of boat handling and sail theory. There is an emphasis on developing confidence for sailing alone. Other topics can include currents, weather, a little navigation and more. Dinghy classes are taught in Optimists, Hartlie 10s and Bugs (ages 7–14), Quests and 420s (ages 13–17) and in the keelboat program J/22s (ages 12 – 17).

Pre-requisite Sail Newport Intermediate Class and recommendation of the instructor, or its equivalent.

  • Club 420s (typically for ages 14–17 with two sessions of intermediate 420 classes)
    Covers advanced boat-handling, spinnaker and trapeze use, tuning and sail trim. Popular with students who are interested in learning advanced boat handling skills, possibly with a future interest in racing.
  • Opti’s (after completing intermediate level, typically ages 10 – 14)
    Covers advanced boat handling. Everything from fine-tuning sail trim and shape to roll tacking and gybing. Popular with students who are interested in learning advanced boat handling skills, possibly with a future interest in racing.
  • J/22s are used for advanced boat handling as well as beginner and intermediate. Skills including fine tuning sail trim and shape, using spinnakers and advanced seamanship.

2020 Schedule & Fees

For ages 7-17 (must be 7 as of Jan 1, 2020).  Beginner through advanced.

Dinghy Session 1
  • Dates: June 29 – July 3 – Because of COVID-19, this session has been reduced to one week.
  • Time: 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
  • Fees: $291, each additional sibling $273 (This represents 50% reduction because of the loss of one week’s instruction)
Dinghy Session 2
  • Dates: July 6 – 17
  • Time: 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
  • Fees: $582, each additional sibling $546
Dinghy Session 3
  • Dates: July 20 – 31
  • Time: 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
  • Fees: $582, each additional sibling $546
Dinghy Session 4
  • Dates: August 3 – 14
  • Time: 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
  • Fees: $582, each additional sibling $546

DOB 2013 or 2014. Beginner level only.

Session 1: June 15 – 19 (One week session)
Session 2: August 17 – 21 (One week session)


  • Morning Session: 9:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
  • Afternoon Session: 12:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Fees: $155

For ages 12-17 (must be 12 as of Jan 1, 2020). Beginner through advanced.


  • Session 1: June 15 – 19
  • Session 2: June 22 – 26
  • Session 3: June 29 – July 3
  • Session 4: August 3 – 7
  • Session 5: August 10 – 14
  • Session 6: August 17 – 21

Time: 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., Monday-Friday (One week session)

Fees: $483, each additional sibling $442

  • Program will run June 22 – August  18
  • Optis, Lasers and Club 420s
  • Green Fleet and Championship Fleet training

For more information please visit our youth racing page.


All registration is handled online on this site, if you are unable to register online, we will be more than happy to help you fill out your registration over the phone.

No payment is due with your registration and submission of the registration is not a guarantee that space is available in the class/session appropriate for your child (ren). Payment will be due once a student is placed in a class and you will be notified by email as to availability. 

Please double and triple check for accuracy in your contact information (especially your email address), as this can be the cause for confusion with the auto-responder email that serves as your confirmation of registration. If you do not receive this email (it will come from, then something has gone wrong with your registration, and we might not have it. Check your spam/bulk boxes and if you don’t have it, give us a call and we can check on it for you.

The best way to increase your child’s chances of getting a spot in the program is to be flexible. If you are able to attend different sessions, add them to your list of preferences. Be sure to check your schedule and ours so you don’t add sessions that your child can’t attend. There is a chance that they will be selected for one of their alternates.

As always, if you have any questions about the programs, dates, age restrictions, anything at all, really, don’t hesitate to give a call and we will be happy to help you out. We’re looking forward to another great summer of sailing!

Confidential financial aid is available by application for those who qualify. Financial aid forms are made available once a student is accepted into a session. Any questions or concerns regarding financial aid for the youth sailing programs can be directed to Brad Read, Executive Director.

Once a student is accepted, confirmed and paid for a summer session, cancellations will be accepted and refunds given following these guidelines.  Students who are unable to participate at the time of payment deadline have no obligation. Cancellations before April 15, 2020 will be refunded less a $25 administrative fee. Cancellations April 16 and later will be refunded less a $45 administrative fee if the student’s spot is filled. If the student’s spot is not filled we cannot issue a refund.

Volunteer Sailing Assistant Program

Each summer, a great team of volunteers between the ages of 13 and 18 work as sailing assistants (SAs) to help the instructors with the day-to-day activities of the SN Youth Program. SAs must have solid fundamental sailing skills, but no previous teaching or work experience is necessary, outside of a willingness to learn new skills, be a team player, and have enthusiasm for sharing the joys of sailing with other kids.

We strongly recommend that SAs continue with their own program of instruction–this opportunity is not meant to replace participation in sailing classes of their own, whether here at Sail Newport or in another program.

The schedule is flexible–some volunteers help out specific hours or days for multiple sessions, others help for part or the entirety of a whole session (two weeks, M-F, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.). SAs are required to commit to a minimum of 15 hours of volunteering. The registration below will ask for your expected availability.

In return for helping out and contributing to the success of the program, SAs get a special edition Youth Program tee shirt, the opportunity to learn new skills and gain new experiences. SAs will also be able to participate in a US Powerboat Safe Powerboat Handling course at Sail Newport. We will provide a letter for each SA documenting volunteer hours that can be used towards school, church or other youth group requirements.

Have questions?

Contact Kim Hapgood, Program Director

Phone: (401) 846-1983