Youth Dinghy Skill Levels & Classes

Students learn at different rates and in different ways. Sailing is both a very physical and a highly conceptual sport. 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 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, size (height and weight) and personal interest and goals.

Beginner Classes

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 recovery, understanding the wind, how to tack and jibe. Students are introduced to the different points of sail, and basic "rules of the road." Beginner classes are taught using Vanguard Prams and Bugs (ages 7–11), and RS Quests (ages 11–17).

Beginner-Intermediate Classes

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 classes are taught using Optimists and Bugs (generally ages 7–11), and RS Quests (generally ages 11–17).

Intermediate Classes

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. Taught in Optimists and Bugs (ages 7–14), RS Quests and 420s (ages 13–17).

Advanced Classes

Club 420s (typically for ages 14–17)

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.