JP Frequently Asked Questions

How Our Junior Program Operates

Is your program a camp?

While we schedule activities throughout the day, we are not a camp.

  • When not in class or Open Sailing, junior members are free to leave the building if they wish (many of our members take the T on their own to get to and from CBI). Please pre-arrange pick-up with your child each day.
  • Outside of class (but during JP hours), Junior members are welcome and encouraged to spend time on the dock, eat, and hang out with their friends.
  • Dock staff monitors sailors and paddlers for safety and keeps track of which juniors are on the water through our member database.
  • Only Junior Members and CBI staff are allowed on the dock during Junior Program hours.
When is the Junior Program?

The Junior Program operates during the following hours:

Summer 2020 (June 15th to August 21st) hours are 8:30am to 3pm on Weekdays. Closed Weekends and Holidays.

Do you provide lunch?

We do not provide lunch. We recommend that your child brings a lunch if they plan to spend the day at CBI. Our front office sells light snacks.

How can my child get to CBI? Busing? Parking? MBTA?

Unfortunately, we do not offer busing and there is no parking at our facility. We are on a state park and are unable to add parking to our building — we apologize for the inconvenience. The easiest way to get to CBI is by public transit; we’re a four minute walk from the Charles/MGH stop on the MBTA Red Line, or a 15-minute walk from Arlington Street on the Green Line. If your child is comfortable taking the T to get to CBI, we recommend that, as the footbridge leads to our front door. If you are coming by car, you can drop off your child at Charles Circle near the footbridge and they can walk over. You can also park in 15 minute parking near the intersection of Charles St. and Cambridge St. if you would like to walk over with them.

What should my child bring?

We have day lockers on our dock but members must bring their own locks. Your child should bring daily:

  • A change of clothes
  • A re-usable water bottle
  • Hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen
  • Close-toed shoes!
  • Snacks, lunch or a couple dollars to buy a snack at the front desk
  • Their membership card or $2 to buy a replacement card

A reminder that we sail unless the wind or weather is unsafe (lightning for example). On cooler days, children will want layers which are warm when wet and a change of clothing is crucial!

Are you open during bad weather?

Community Boating does not shut down due to rain, and all of our classes are offered rain or shine. However, if there is a risk of thunderstorms or other dangerous weather, we will bring everyone off the water and indoors. Most classes continue on land during weather closures.

Can I come sailing with my son or daughter?

We do not allow any adults on the dock during Junior Program hours, no exceptions. We will offer family sail days throughout the summer, when parents and relatives can come down and go sailing with their junior sailor, and get a chance to tour the facility and docks.

Junior Program Partnerships

Community Boating partners with non-profit and government organizations to offer sailing and paddling, enabling us to further our mission of “Sailing for All”. Some of our outreach partners include:

For more info, please contact JP Co-Director, Niko Kotsatos, at [email protected].

In addition to group outreach, we work with partners who provide support for our Junior Program. We would like to thank all of our partners for helping make our Junior Program a one-of-a-kind experience for kids in the greater Boston area:

Why didn’t my child receive their rating?

Other than Beginner Sailing and SUP, our classes are not designed to confer ratings. They do teach skills that help students pass On-Water Tests. If they’re having trouble with that, there are a few possibilities:

  • Don’t worry, many children retake classes before they’re able to master the skills. All sailors will learn at different rates, but they should still be having fun and learning valuable lessons regardless.
  • Did the child attend every class session? If not, it’s difficult for them to get enough practice.
  • The weather may play a role, as canceled classes or unsuitable wind can make both instruction and evaluation more difficult.
  • Our high-performance equipment often requires a moderate level of strength, weight, and/or athleticism to sail safely, and it’s possible that your child is not ready for this rating. Remember they must be able to right a 420 or Laser, or safely dock a 22-foot Sonar to receive those ratings.

We are strict about giving out ratings because a rating allows a child to sail on their own outside of class and to take other juniors sailing with them.

We do also offer occasional Mercury Clinics for those who have already taken Intermediate Sailing, as well as informal instruction as other avenues to hone skills. Lastly, while our instructors use the same curriculum to evaluate the sailors, they are aware that many sailors take the classes more than once, and they make sure to switch up drills and games so the class is not repetitive from week to week.

JP Membership & Registration Questions

Who is eligible?

All youth who turn 10 before August 31 and do not turn 18 before the first day of the Junior Program.

How much do membership and classes cost?

We strive to make Junior Membership affordable to all. Our fee is on a generous need-based sliding scale from $1 to $375 and includes membership, classes, and boat usage; everything we offer for ten summer weeks! During registration, our fee calculator offers discounts based on household income and family makeup.

Memberships are non-refundable and non-transferable.

Will there be a swim test? What swim proof do I need?

We don’t administer a swim test, however we require that all junior members maintain on file a swim proof stating they can swim 50 yards without stopping. Your child can take a swim test at any YMCA by appointment. We also accept

  • YMCA Fish Level or above
  • Red Cross Level V swimming certificate
  • a Boy/Girl Scout swimming merit badge
  • a letter on pool letterhead stating swimming ability signed by a lifeguard on pool or school letterhead
  • this form completed by a reputable pool/lifeguard
Can I pay for a class for my child, rather than the full summer membership?

We have a membership based payment system but please do not hesitate to apply for an instantly reduced fee during registration. Many youth in our program are only able to attend a couple weeks of sailing based on summer schedules, however surveyed parents have stated the price is a bargain for the quality of instruction their child receives!

Do you sell family memberships?

No, and our Junior and Adult Programs operate during different hours. However, Adult Members with guest privileges and a Yellow Rating may bring their children as guests during Adult Program hours.

I don’t see class sign up. Am I missing something?

In order to sign a child up for classes, you first need to register them for a Summer Junior Program Membership. All classes are included with this membership at no extra charge. See our Registration Info and Classes pages for more details.

When will you mail me my child’s membership card?

If your child is a new member, we will hold on to their membership card for them until their first day at CBI, where their instructor will have their card. If they are a returning member, their hard plastic black and yellow membership card is still usable, so please have them bring that. If they don’t have last year’s card, the first card they receive this year will be complimentary. After this point, replacement cards are $2 each.

JP Class Sign-Up Questions

I want to sign my child up for a class with their friend or sibling. Is that possible?

Children may only be signed up by their parent or guardian, but you may leave a note during sign up to request they are placed with a friend (or separate from a sibling if they’re anything like me and my brother).

My child took Beginner Sailing last year (or Mainsail prior to 2019)

Students who completed Beginner Sailing in 2019 (or Mainsail prior to 2019) are ready for Intermediate Sailing. This class instructs students on the finer points of sailing, as well as reefing and using a jib. It aims to prepare sailors for their yellow and red tests.

My child took Intermediate Sailing last year (or Jib prior to 2019)

Students who took Intermediate Sailing in 2019 (or Jib prior to 2019) and don’t have their yellow rating are best served re-enrolling in Intermediate Sailing, which includes a refresher along with instruction, lessons and games designed to challenge and support them. They may also take advantage of Open Sailing, testing, and Mercury Clinics.

Sailors with a yellow rating, but not a red (or yellow-plus) rating, have five great options:

  1. Test for their red or yellow-plus rating during appropriate wind conditions during JP hours
  2. Free-sail if unable to test. A yellow-rated sailor may go sailing any day we are open, either open sailing in light to moderate breeze or testing in windy conditions. This is the best way to improve at sailing, and also a core benefit of our Junior Membership.
  3. Enroll in daily Mercury Clinics designed as a supervised practice environment. Instructors will also attempt to assess sailors for new ratings during these clinics, wind-permitting.
  4. Enroll in Windsurfing (requires Mercury Yellow and SUP ratings).
  5. Take Intermediate Sailing as a refresher and to prepare for the yellow-plus and red tests. This is a fun option with two-weeks of classes, and is encouraged for sailors under 12 years old.

A Red or Yellow-Plus rating is required in order to sign up for advanced offerings such as high performance and keelboat classes. See our class description page for more info.

My child can only attend one or two weeks of the program, is that okay?

The Junior Program has no required length of time though our Beginner and Intermediate classes each run for two consecutive weeks. Sailors may attend as many or few weeks as they see fit, however we ask that students attend all days of classes they’ve signed up for. When not in class Junior Members may participate on a flexible schedule in open sailing, fun events, kayak adventures, clinics, and other opportunities.

Why am I not receiving emails about waitlist updates or class enrollments?

Many email spam filters mark our emails as spam because they are sent automatically. Check your spam folder, and please add us to your contact list so we are no longer marked as spam.

My son/daughter has prior experience sailing elsewhere, do they need to start with a Beginner Sailing class?

Depending on the situation, your son/daughter may be eligible for a higher level class. Please contact our Junior Program Director at [email protected] and we will figure out what class is the right fit for your son/daughter.

Why am I unable to register for high performance classes?

The prerequisites for high performance classes include red or yellow plus ratings which must be acquired through On-Water Tests. While Intermediate Sailing prepares students for these tests, many sailors will want to retake the class once or twice to help them acquire these ratings. This is normal. If a sailor has not passed the test by week’s end, they can sign up for the class again. We specifically stagger the opening of these classes so they don’t fill all at once, and our instructors vary the activities and lesson plans to keep each week fresh and exciting.

Once a sailor has acquired a rating, they can then register for any classes requiring that prerequisite.

Where are Learn-to-sail, Mainsail and Jib classes?

In order to provide the best experience for our junior members, we are now offering two 2-week introductory classes, Beginner Sailing and Intermediate SailingWe are aiming to provide improved instruction and retention for students, and allow parents to sign up for up to four weeks of classes in advance. While we know there will be a period of transition, we are confident that this program will provide an improved experience for parents and sailors alike.

Please note that these two classes cover all the material that was included in the previous three classes, and that we also will have Mercury clinics available as before to help students who only need a couple days of additional instruction.

Glossary - JP Lingo & Terminology

What are Ratings and On-Water Testing?

Ratings allow sailors to check out certain boats in certain types of wind during Open Sailing.

In order to achieve proficiency ratings, sailors often need to pass on-water tests of their ability (which sometimes occur during class). Confirming proficiencies in this way helps us maintain member safety. Sailors may test for ratings in appropriate wind conditions, during Junior Program hours. However, they may only test for ratings for which they’ve taken the appropriate class (eg. 420 class or previous 420 experience to take a 420 test).

What is Open Sailing?

Experienced Junior Members at CBI enjoy a level of independence unrivaled at any other sailing program we’ve seen… all while being in one of the safest sailing environments we know of. Once sailors achieve proficiency (green Mercury rating for example) they may check out that boat in appropriate weather conditions. When not in class, we encourage Open Sailing. Our sailing area is contained and we can see the entire stretch from our dockhouse. Furthermore, we track who is on the water, and monitor the river with instructors in power boats, all to provide a safe sailing area where youth can enjoy unprecedented freedom. Junior members use Open Sailing to test and practice their skills, to teach and learn from friends while on the water, and to explore the confines of our river basin.

What’s an Instructor In Training (IIT)?

Instructors-In-Training (IITs) are an essential part of the CBI Junior Program. These dedicated volunteers assist Instructors with everything from launching and catching boats on the front of the dock to shadowing classes and teaching basic lessons. Any junior member 12 or older who has their yellow Mercury rating can become an IIT and give back. IITs receive helpful training, get certain perks within the junior program, and also earn community service hours.

For more information on the IIT program, see the Instructor-In-Training page.

What is Informal Instruction?

Informal Instruction is run in conjunction with Open Sailing. Our staff help match up less experienced sailors wtih Instructors In-Training. They might have the opportunity to practice towards a new rating, learn a new skill, try out a more advanced boat, or even join a race or other game.

What is a Mercury?

Our Mercury sailboats, manufactured by Cape Cod Shipbuilding have been the backbone of our fleet for over fifty years. These 15-foot, sloop-rigged, centerboard and keel boats are a great learn-to-sail boat because of their stability, sturdiness, size, and handling abilities. We use them to teach all of our beginner and intermediate sailing classes, and sailors may check them out for Open Sailing as well. We ask sailors to be proficient in the Mercury before we allow them to progress to our faster and more complex 420’s, Lasers, Keelboats and Windsurfers.

What is a Keelboat? a Sonar? an Ideal 18?

Keelboats are any sailboat with a fixed counterweight fin underneath, which provides stability and lateral resistance… These tend to be bigger boats with more stability and more sail area! Our large keelboats, the 22 foot Sonar and 18 foot Ideal are our fastest and most powerful boats on the river. They also allow larger groups to sail, and provide stable teaching platforms for learning spinnakers, or other advanced techniques and concepts. We also have a fleet of keel Mercury’s which are great boats for beginners in heavier wind, but are not as fun or challenging as the centerboard Mercury.

What is a Dinghy? a 420? a Laser?

Dinghies are any boat with a movable fin underneath which provides lateral resistance and limited stability. They tend to be more maneuverable because they are lighter and allow more athletic sailors to get going quickly. CBI owns twelve Lasers — one of the most popular boats in the world — for sailing single-handed. We also own 18 420’s built by Zim sailing for double-handed fun. We use both for Race Team practices and both are among our most popular boats for advanced sailors. Our Mercuries are technically dinghies, although they are not lightweight like a modern dinghy. They still provide the responsiveness and feedback that make dinghies such great teaching tools.

What’s a Stand-UP Paddleboard (SUP)?

SUP’s are kinda like surfboards, but with grippy, cushy top decks… and a long-handled paddle. Members can check them out for paddle adventure (or a Kayak) or for Open Sailing and hang with friends on the water. The board has a leash and they wear life jackets of course. While jumping in the water isn’t allowed, they fall in occasionally ?