Photo by: Karen Tenenbaum

Junior Sailing Program

Session 1: June 25 - July 13  •  Session 2: July 16 - August 2  •  Session 3: August 6 - August 24
Scroll down to explore the program overview, read details about our classes, and download the registration form!
Our sailing program is designed to teach students to sail in a safe, fun, and noncompetitive environment; building a young sailor’s confidence so that they feel comfortable and secure on the water. Each session is three weeks long: Mondays through Thursdays. We offer morning sessions for beginning sailors (8:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.) or afternoon sessions for intermediate sailors (1:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.) sessions. Sailors must be entering at least 1st grade and be able to pass a swim test to participate. Many of our sailors continue with our junior sailing program through their middle school years. Sailors are grouped in boats by age and previous sailing skills, with programs in both Sonars and Optimist prams. The BYC's Junior Sailing Program is open to both members and the general public.

We also offer private lessons for groups or individuals of all ages. MAY-SEPTEMBER:  Inquire Here

Which program is the best fit for my child?

The Sonar Program

Our Sonar program is intended for the child new to sailing or returning sailors who prefer to sail in larger boats. With a small group of sailors learning together on each boat, children learn the basics of boat handling while growing a lifelong appreciation for the ocean and the sport of sailing. Our youngest and most inexperienced sailors are highly encouraged to participate in the morning programs. Older sailors or those returning to the Sonar program with confidence and skill should consider the afternoon sessions!

the opti program

Our Opti program promotes solid sailing skills and lifelong friendships. The Opti program is for the sailor who has some sailing experience, is ready to sail solo, and is looking to increase their self-reliance on the water. New to an Opti? The morning program will be your best fit! Comfortable on your own and in a good breeze?  Then the afternoon program is the place for you!


Looking to brush up on your skills, take a few turns around the harbor, or learn in an individually-tailored environment? The BYC Junior Sailing program offers private sailing lessons with our US Sailing certified instructors throughout the summer season! Lessons are offered after 5 PM on Mondays-Thursdays, and Fridays-Sundays from morning to sunset, per instructor availability.  Lessons are open to sailors of all ages! Find out more information and schedule your first lesson by emailing Head Instructor, Alex Kerai, at  

Please note that private lessons cost $45/hour for the first student in the boat, and $10/hour per additional person in the boat. Lessons must be scheduled at least 24 hours in advance (we recommend scheduling early to secure your spot). Cancellations within 24-hours of the scheduled lesson, or missed lessons, are subject to the full fee. In the case of inclement weather, lessons may be rescheduled at the discretion of the head instructor.

  • Course Description
    • Sonar Program

      Our emphasis is on safety, familiarity with being on a boat, having fun on the water, and cultivate a love of sailing so they may grown in a worldwide co-ed sport that can be enjoyed for a lifetime. Our junior sailing program is for suitable for children that can swim and likes the water.  

      Learn to Sail: Age 6-8

      Ages 6-8, Introduces young children to sailing in a safe and enjoyable way.  Daily sessions are filled with great activities based around sailing in the harbor.  A good choice for kids who are too young for the Opti program or who need to build confidence on the water before joining the Opti program.

      Beginner: Ages 9-15

      Ages 9-12.  No prior experience required.  Each session covers basic familiarity with sailing terms and boat handling required for the intermediate class. Boats are grouped by both age and ability. Have a friend request? Let us know and we will do our best to group sailors together when possible. 

      Intermediate: Ages 9-15

      Ages 9-15.  Completion of BYC’s Beginner or Introduction to Sailing class (or equivalent) required for admission.  Class focuses on creating competent, confident keelboat sailors using full main and jib. Boats are grouped by both age and ability. Have a friend request? Let us know and we will do our best to group sailors together when possible. 

      Advanced: all ages

      Advanced students should take advantage of private lessons that are tailored to their individual needs. To set up private instruction please email the sailing program.


      Opti Program

      The optimist program is run with up to 4 students per instructor. Each student has their own boat and our emphasis is on safety and fun! The program mixes a “learn to sail” curriculum with other activities to help foster a connection between sailing and fun.

      Beginner: Ages 8-15

      For sailors who have completed the Sonar program or equivalent. Beginning Opti sailors will learn basic familiarity with water safety, rigging, sailing terms, and boat handling.

      Intermediate: Ages 8-15

      Completion of beginner Opti program or its equivalent. The intermediate Opti program focuses on creating a competent, confident sailor who is able to safely navigate the harbor and surrounding areas.

  • Registration
  • Program Facilities
    • Fleet

      Optis: The sailing program also utilizes Vanguard prams to learn steering and sail-trimming skills necessary to continue in the sport of sailing.

      Sonars: The sailing program has 2 club Sonars to take a small crew of students and build crewmanship along with developing and understanding the separate skills involved in sailing and how they work together.


      Although emphasis is placed on spending time on the water, classroom time is used to explain to the student basic sailing knowledge including terminology, safe boat handling. The classroom is also utilized on bad weather days to provide fun and educational time when it is not appropriate to be out on the water.


      Our waterfront facility is set up specifically for the easy and safe access to the boats and harbor for the students. It is recessed from boat traffic and in plain view of the waterfront personnel, the dock house and the sailing instructor office. Boats are launched, rigged and returned to this dock each day giving the students the experience of rigging, handling and caring for the boats by helping the instructors.

  • Sailing Staff

    • Alex Kerai – Head Instructor

      Alex Kerai, a long-time Marblehead sailor and instructor, will be leading our sailing education program again this season! Returning to the BYC from Hobart & William Smith Colleges varsity sailing team, Alex is an alumni of the MHS varsity sailing team as well as a former award-winning Pleon sailing instructor and 420 racer.  Over the years Alex has sailed Yinglings, Cape Cod Mercuries, Prams, Optis, Sonars, Club and Z420s, and FJs.  When not sailing, Alex can be found designing lighting in theater, practicing music, or reading and writing outside by the water.  Building on last year's success, Alex will continue to develop our sailing curriculum.  Under Alex's leadership, the tradition of our strong BYC Junior Sailing program will continue on.  He is very excited to work with kids and his fellow instructors as he returns to the BYC for another summer of teaching and sailing! 

      Garrett McKinnon - Instructor
      Garrett McKinnon is a freshman at the College of Charleston.  He sails competitively for CofC and is a former tri-captain of the Marblehead High School sailing team.  He has competed in numerous national and local competitions in multiple boats: C420s, Z420s, J70s, Sonars, Lasers, FJs, and a custom Taylor 38'. When Garrett is not on the water either racing or just relaxing, he can be seen at the gym or enjoying the company of his friends. Garret is very excited to be returning to the BYC sailing staff this summer!

      Tucker Braun - Instructor
      Tucker Braun is a rising freshman in college who will be attending Mass Maritime, majoring in Marine Engineering. He is currently tri-captain of Marblehead High School's sailing team, the Fishwagons, and will continue to sail in college on the big boat team.  He has competed in numerous sailing competitions in multiple boats' Optis, C420s, Sonars, FJs, and a custom Taylor 38' EOS at last year's Halifax offshore race.  This year Tucker will take part in the Newport-Bermuda race as part of a crew who will all be under 22 years old.  He is excited to be part of the BYC Junior Sailing program and is looking forwards to teaching sailing this summer!

  • Frequently Asked Questions

      Sailors need to bring closed-toe shoes (e.g. tennis shoes, Crocs, neoprene sailing boots), not flip-flops; a properly-fitting life jacket; sunscreen; and a water bottle. It is also recommended that sailors bring a towel, snack, and change of clothes. Please label all items so that they return to the same home they came from..!


      Sailors will need to pass a short swim test on their first day. This is done at the Crocker Park float. It is to make sure sailors are comfortable and safe in the water.  Sailors will need to swim twenty yards and tread water without a lifejacket.  Make sure your child comes to the first day of sailing wearing a bathing suit and has a towel and that your child is prepared to swim in the ocean.


      Please be on time dropping off in the morning and be prompt picking up at the end of the session. We cannot offer supervision outside of our normal class times.  Running late or absent for the day? Email if your child will be late getting dropped off or picked up, so that the instructor can be informed.  Please note that there are no provisions for lunches, snacks, or supervision between morning and afternoon sessions.

      Can i sign my child up for private lessons?

      Contact the head instructor at $40/hour for first student in boat, $10/hour per additional person in boat.


      Any question should be addressed directly to the Head Instructor who will be available Monday through Thursday from 8:00am to 5:00pm. Email is the primary and preferred method of communication:  The sailing office has a phone with voicemail that can be reached via the front desk at the BYC (781) 631-3100.  The BYC's sailing committee can be reached at

      What does parent INVOLVEMENT look like?

      We have a parent orientation on Thursday June 21st at 6PM where you will meet the sailing staff, learn about what a day on the water will be like, and review safety routines; please plan to attend. While your child is on the water there are great parks all over Marblehead where you may be able to view your sailor in the harbor.  Crocker Park, Chandler Hovey Lighthouse, and Fort Sewall are just a few!

      Are there any family activities?

      The Family barbeque is open to any sailors, their siblings and parents who have participated and takes place on the last Wednesday afternoon of each session.  Sailors have free access to the grill, but other family member are welcome to join to cookout, the bbq is a cash-only event for non-sailors.  The celebration is followed by an informal ceremony where awards and certificates are presented  This is always a huge hit in the past, don't miss out!


      We will always put safety first at BYC, but will not cancel for inclement weather. We always monitor the weather in addition to all instructors being trained to run safe, fun classes. We will hold class inside in the case of thunderstorms, but will sail in most other weather. Come prepared!


      Sorry, for safety reasons, guests may not participate in classes.


      Although the primary purpose of the program is to foster the love of sailing, at times it is appropriate to have some other local sailing-related activity at the discretion of the Head Instructor.


      Email is the primary and preferred method:  Inform the Head Instructor if your child will be missing a class before the class begins for the day.  There are no make-ups for absences. 



      In the event that the school year is extended due to snow days, any missed sailing days at the beginning of the program will be made up on Fridays.