The Big Boat Program

The Big Boat Program

Ida Lewis Yacht Club

The Big Boat Program will resume in 2022. Please check back here for dates.

Sail Newport is teaming up with Ida Lewis Yacht Club and members of the vibrant local marine industry to provide a new program which will expand young sailors’ access to big boat sailing.  Taught by a mix of professional coaches, selected mentors and pro sailors with a wealth of varied sailing experience, students will experience both competitive and non-competitive lessons.

Using high-performance keelboats, coastal and offshore cruising boats, the newly developed Youth Big Boat Program will grow the sailing knowledge base of skills of our students. The variety of experiences will be available to every student.  One evening a sailor may learn how to plan for and navigate a weekend cruise while the next they could be two-boat speed testing on a high performance one design such as a C&C 30.

Mentors from some of the most high-performance racing programs in the world and some of the regions most experienced offshore cruisers will share their knowledge with our students!

Our inspiration – Edward Oliver “Tad” Sanchez, III

The Big Boat ProgramThe Big Boat Sailing Program at Sail Newport was established in 2018 in memory of our dear friend and incredibly skilled sailor Tad Sanchez. Pro sailor Jim Gibson and Donna Kelly brought the idea to Sail Newport and rallied many of his friends in the sailing community to create a program in keeping with Tad’s spirit for recreational and competitive sailing. The goal is to provide local youth with opportunities to experience the sport of sailing that Tad loved. Besides being an incredible person, Tad was the consummate sailor, gentleman and crew mate.

Sailors in the program will be inspired to develop and strive to achieve “Tad-worthy” qualities such; punctuality, selflessness, a dedicated work ethic, decorum, respect for people and traditions, commitment, perfect preparation of a race-ready boat, strong communication skills and respect for the sea.

Edward (Tad) Oliver Sanchez, III

Who’s brilliant life and sailing talent inspired the Youth Big Boat Program at Sail Newport

Growing up on the waterfront in New Bedford and Block Island, our dear friend, Tad had a lifelong love for the sea and everything it represented.

Edward (Tad) Oliver Sanchez, IIITad was a team member of some of the world’s most magnificent yachts ever built such as: “Titan,” “Harrier,” “Shockwave,” “Interlodge,” “Akela,” “Encore” and “Laura (KZ-5).”

Tad supported Sail Newport’s public access mission over the years and the memorial fund established in his memory will live out his passion.

The youth Big Boat Program at Sail Newport in keeping with Tad’s spirit for recreational and competitive sailing, the “Tad Fund” will provide the youth in our community the opportunity to experience the sport of sailing that Tad so loved.  Also, young sailors will develop the life skills that the sport provides.

Program goals

Using the sailboat assets that Sail Newport already has – 14 J/22s, two J/24s, a Melges 24, a J/29, an Etchells and a pair of C & C 30’s – as well as the many local marine resources within the community, coupled with the many talented sailors who call Rhode Island home, the Sail Newport Big Boat Program will provide on land and on-the-water recreational and competitive opportunities.

  • Boat handling
  • Advanced sail trim
  • Advanced seamanship
  • Navigation
  • Working with multiple crew

For sailors ages 13-20.

Sailors must have a solid base of sailing experience. This is not a learn-to-sail or beginner program.


The J/22 is a hugely popular one-design class throughout the world.  This 22′ keelboat is an ideal transition boat for youth sailors stepping out of dinghies and into boats with lead in their keels.

Some of the features of the J/22s are:

  • The boats are rigged with, jib sheet/halyard winches, a jib roller furler, adjustable sheet leads, adjustable backstay, mainsail reef points. All these elements are miniaturized versions of aspects of all “big boats” and can help build integral seamanship skills.
  • The boats are rigged for symmetrical spinnakers, so our students can learn skills to effectively transition to sailing in the variety of one-design and PHRF boats that sail and race on weeknights in Newport.  (Shields, J/22, J/24, Ensign and others).
  • These skills (learning the different positions on the boat) will be taught in a non-competitive environment.

We’re confident that after a few lessons with our coaches and mentors, students will be able to sail the boats without the need for onboard instruction.

C&C 30

With two C&C 30s this summer, the program will give even more opportunity for youths to get out on these exciting high-performance machines. Greater emphasis will be placed on teamwork and learning the various roles, as this boat is often raced with eight sailors, each integral to the boat’s performance.

Students will learn to operate aspects of the boat like running backstays, mast tuning using hydraulic mast jacks, halyard locks, and two-speed winches and asymmetrical spinnaker handling. With a large inventory of sails to choose from, students will learn the difference between the various headsails and learn to quickly change from one to another.

Coastal Cruiser

Sailing auxiliary cruising boats reinforce the lessons learned on the J/22s. Reefing, headsail changes, understanding marine systems, making a mooring, docking under power, rules of the road, anchoring and more.

On top of all of the sailing-specific teamwork and seamanship skills that boats of this category will invariably teach, students will learn an entirely new category of parts of the boats and systems.

Young sailors will also learn about:

  • diesel engines
  • alternators/batteries
  • hydraulics
  • thru-hull fittings
  • propane/refrigeration/galley systems
  • heads/holding tanks
  • navigational instruments
Two 4-week sessions
  • Session I – July: 6, 9, 13, 16, 20, 23, 27, 30  – CANCELLED
  • Session II – August: 3, 6, 10, 13, 17, 20, 24, 27


  • 4:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
  • Skills-building days with multiple learning stations on and off the water


  • 4:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
  • Students will be assigned to specific boats based on their interests and skill levels in smaller groups

Extra days

  • Students will take field trips to such places as sail lofts, marinas, boat builders, rigging companies for first-hand demonstrations and hands-on learning
  • Sailors will have the opportunity to earn documented volunteer hours and learn how to properly maintain our fleet of boats

$288 per sailor per 4-week session.

Sail Newport is teaming up with Ida Lewis Yacht Club to provide a new program which will expand young sailors’ access to big boat sailing programs. The program will be taught by a mix of our coaches, selected mentors and pro sailors with a wealth of varied sailing experience.

It is our goal that students will learn both competitive and non-competitive sailing skills and lessons. Using high-performance keelboats, sportboats coastal and offshore cruising boats, students will grow their sailing skills and knowledge base.

  • For sailors ages 13 – 18
Session days and times
  • Days: Mondays and Thursdays
  • Times: 4:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

2020 Session dates – two 4-week sessions 

  • Session I – July: 6, 9, 13, 16, 20, 23, 27, 30
  • Session II – August: 3, 6, 10, 13, 17, 20, 24, 27

You may volunteer for one week or one session or all sessions. There is a place on the application where you can indicate how much time you have available.

If you would like to become a mentor and help teach a new generation of sailors, please email

Also, please know that when working with youth, Sail Newport requires a criminal background check which is a quick procedure through the attorney general’s office. The fee is $5 and information on how to obtain a written BCI check is here.

Have questions?

Contact Nick Ewenson, Race Program Manager

Phone: (401) 846-1983