JP Frequently Asked Questions

How Our Junior Program Operates

When is the Junior Program?

The 2024 Junior Program operates during the following hours:

June 17th to August 23rd 8:30am to 3pm on weekdays. Closed weekends and July 4th.

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!

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!

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

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. 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.  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.

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 under protection*. Most classes continue on land during weather closures.

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. Youth must also be able to swim 50 yards (two lengths of a standard pool).

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 $435 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.

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, if asked, be able to produce a swim proof stating they can swim 50 yards without stopping. You are not required to bring your child’s swim proof unless asked. Your child can take a swim test at any YMCA by appointment. We also accept

  • YMCA Fish Level or above certificate
  • Red Cross Level V swimming certificate
  • a Boy/Girl Scout swimming merit badge
  • US Sailing Level 1 Small Boat Instructor certificate
  • a letter stating swimming ability signed by a lifeguard on pool or school letterhead
  • this form completed by a reputable pool/lifeguard

Please keep your swim proof on file at home, as we may request it at any time.

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?

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.

JP Class Sign-Up Questions

Is it possible to sign my child up for a class with their friend or sibling?

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 or separated from a friend or sibling.

My child took Beginner Sailing last year

Students who completed Beginner Sailing last year and received their green rating are ready for Intermediate 1. This class instructs students on the finer points of sailing, as well as reefing and may introduce using a jib. It aims to prepare sailors for their yellow test.

My child took Intermediate 1 and/or 2 last year

Students who took Intermediate 1 or Intermediate 2 last season and don’t have their yellow rating are best served by our one-week Intermediate 2 class, which includes a refresher along with instruction, lessons and games designed to challenge and support them. They may also take advantage of Open Sailing and on-the-water testing.

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 Junior Program hours
  2. Open-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 Windsurfing (requires Mercury yellow rating).
  4. Enroll in Sailing Adventure.
  5. Take Intermediate 2 as a refresher and to prepare for the yellow-plus and red tests.

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.

Why can I only enroll my child into one week of Intermediate 2?

When children begin in our program, the first classes they take (Beginner Sailing, Intermediate 1, and Intermediate 2) are designed to be taken in sequential order and , as such, you may enroll your child into all three. Once they reach the Intermediate 2 level, subsequent classes available to them depend upon the ratings they have at the end of the week. With a Mercury Green or Yellow rating, your child may retake Intermediate 2 and can also enroll into Sailing Adventure. With a Mercury Yellow rating, your child can begin to take our high performance classes with Windsurfing. With a Mercury Yellow Plus or Red rating, our remaining high performance classes open up: Laser, 420, and Keelboat. We reserve some spots in our high performance classes to open up the Friday before they are scheduled to begin so that children that earn the requisite ratings for them in-season still have the opportunity to enroll.

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

Depending on the situation, your child may be eligible for a higher level class. Please contact [email protected] and we will figure out what class is the right fit for your son/daughter. Please note that these requests often take longer to process in-season. Click here for more information.

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 1 and 2 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.

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.

Why didn’t my child receive their rating?

Other than Beginner Sailing, 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 23-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.

For those who have already taken Intermediate 2, we recommend informal instruction with an IIT or open sailing to practice their skills.

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 a Mercury Yellow Plus rating?

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.

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 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 also have a fleet of keel Mercuries which are great boats for beginners, they provide more stability, but slightly less maneuverability than our centerboard Mercuries. 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 23 foot Sonar and 18 foot Ideal are our fastest and most powerful boats on the river. Sonars also allow larger groups to sail, and both boats provide stable teaching platforms for learning spinnakers, or other advanced techniques and concepts.

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 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 420s 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 also dinghies, although they are not lightweight like our 420s or Lasers. They still provide the responsiveness and feedback that make dinghies such great teaching tools.

What’s a Stand-UP Paddleboard (SUP)?

SUPs 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 Paddling and hang with friends on the water. The board has a leash and they are required to wear life jackets.