JP Frequently Asked Questions
How Our Junior Program Operates
The 2021 Junior Program operates during the following hours:
June 14th to August 20th 8:30am to 3pm on Weekdays. Closed Weekends and Holidays.
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!
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!
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.
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 under protection*. Most classes continue on land during weather closures.
*In 2021, our maximum student capacity will allow for social distancing when a protected environment is required. We will use all of the (well ventilated) spaces within the building, as well as the fenced area under the Longfellow Bridge to continue our activities while mitigating risk.
Unfortunately, due to social distancing protocols and the need to limit the number of children at the facility at any given time, Junior Program members will only be allowed inside the facility during their class period in 2021. We will continue to monitor requirements and adjust protocols when it is safe to do so.
Safety is a bedrock of our Junior Program, and this year, it also means doing our best to stop the spread through daily symptom screenings, mask and hygiene requirements, and capacity limits.
We have upped the minimum age, closed communal spaces, and paused additional programming to reduce “pod” mixing. All of these changes are in the spirit of providing fair access to our limited offerings in a manageable way, so we can remain true to our mission of “Sailing for All.”
Note that for most of our classes, students will sail in pairs. Mercury sailboats allow for limited distancing while sailing, and masks will be required on and off the water.
For details, please see this message we are sending to parents.
Our Mercury Sailboats are 15 feet long, but the space in the cockpit is shorter than that. While the two farthest points in the cockpit are six feet apart, during sailing, two-person crews will frequently be within six feet of each other as they work to balance the boat and properly position themselves.
It’s important to pair up novice and intermediate youth sailors to provide the best learning outcomes in a collaborative and supportive environment, especially in challenging conditions. In addition, it increases on-water safety for young sailors.
Safety and quality education are priorities, but so are efforts to stop the spread of Covid-19. Two-person crews must exhibit proper hygiene and PPE, and children will remain with the same partner when possible. Other steps we are taking for Covid-19 safety can be found here.
Many parents will choose to have their children attend sailing lessons with a friend or sibling, and we encourage everyone who is able to do the same. For all others, we ask for understanding as we strike a balance between full social distancing and proper boating safety and education.
JP Membership & Registration Questions
All youth who turn 11 before August 31 and do not turn 18 before the first day of the Junior Program. Youth must also be able to swim 50 yards (two lengths of a standard pool).
We strive to make Junior Membership affordable to all. Our fee is on a generous need-based sliding scale from $1 to $395 and includes membership, classes, and boat usage; everything we offer! During registration, our fee calculator offers discounts based on household income and family makeup.
Memberships are non-refundable and non-transferable.
In the spirit of providing fair access to our limited offerings in a manageable way, some aspects of our program are different this year. As we learn more about summer program COVID restrictions, and as it becomes safe to do so, we hope to be able to offer more.
A Summer 2021 Junior Program Membership includes two weeks of classes. Novices should plan to take the two-week Beginner class, while more experienced sailors can choose up to two one-week classes, including One-Week Intermediate, 420, Windsurfing and Laser. (Merc Fast-Track does NOT count against the 2-week limit).
We are actively monitoring whether we can adjust these limits which allow us to stay true to our mission of “Sailing For All!”
We don’t administer a swim test, however we require that all junior members be able to produce 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
Please keep your swim proof on file at home, as we may request it at any time.
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.
New CBI families will be able to sign their children up for beginner classes when purchasing a membership.
Families with existing parent accounts will first need to register sailors for a Summer Junior Program Membership. Classes are included with this membership at no extra charge. See our Getting Started and Classes pages for more details.
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:
- Ellis Memorial
- Philips Brooks House Association
- Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity (METCO)
- YMCA of Greater Boston
- East End House
- Cambridge Adventure Camp
- Boys & Girls Club – Jordan, Boston
- Moses Youth Center
- Cambridge Youth Programs
- Graceworks Childcare
- Boston Green Academy
- Fayerweather School
- Brimmer Eco Extreme
- Hill House
- Waltham Recreation Department
- Burlington Recreation Department
- Wilmington Recreation Department
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:
- Aspire Group
- Mayor’s Summer Youth Employment Program
- ABCD SummerWorks
- Save the Harbor/Save the Bay
- Sailors for the Sea
- SEA Association
- Boston Central
- Rozalia Project
- Zim Sailing
- The Storm Trysail Foundation
- Community Boat Building
- New England Aquarium
- Mass Dpt. of Conservation and Recreation
- EF Education First
- Polar Beverages
JP Class Sign-Up Questions
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
It is still too soon to tell what the world will look like over the summer. With this in mind, our aim is to promise what we are sure we can deliver while remaining hopeful that it might be possible to offer more programming. In the meantime, we will work hard to run the best program we can under current restrictions.
As such, some additional programming is on hold until (and if) we can confidently offer it safely. This includes Kayak Adventure, Stand-up-Paddleboard, Fun & Games, Environmental Science, our Keelboat class, and Open Sailing.
In normal years, we publish many upcoming class and spot openings on our public calendar. We stagger these openings throughout the spring as to have availability as different school and summer planning programs ramp up, and through the summer so students will have access to new classes as they pass proficiency tests.
In 2021 we are proceeding cautiously in planning these staggers due to uncertainty both with demand and guidelines on group sizes. While we are certain we will have some additional availability, we can’t know yet how much. We do hope to be able to offer more robust schedules for all levels of classes, however, we cannot at this point guarantee anything that has not been published. Join our mailing list to be notified when we publish additional class staggers.
Glossary - JP Lingo & Terminology
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).
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.
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 ?
Before kids can sign up for advanced classes, they must demonstrate the ability to competently sail a Cape Cod Mercury to a high standard. The Mercury Red rating represents this ability. Juniors who pass an on-the-water test in Red Flag (heavy) wind or whose instructor determines they qualify within a class session can receive this rating.
With that said, often heavy wind days are hard to come during the time of our Junior Program. For that reason, the Mercury Yellow Plus rating exists. If in Yellow Flag (moderate) wind, a Junior completes the necessary skills for a Red Rating in a testing or class environment, they may receive the Yellow Plus rating.
Effectively, this rating is almost entirely equal to the Mercury Red rating, and allows Juniors to sign up for advanced classes. It does not, however, entitle Juniors to sign out a Mercury on a Red-Flag-wind day. In that instance, they can simply ask the dockhouse to take their Mercury Red test. If they pass, they can stay out on the water.