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Sailing Progression Chart


Above is the Nantucket Community Sailing Progression Chart.   It outlines the way in which NCS encourages youth sailors of all ages and all ability levels to participate in our programs.  As a result, the "track" that each student takes as s/he advances through our programs, at unique ages and ability levels, will differ.  A parent, who is registering a student and has a question about which program their student should be placed into (if a new student) or has been placed into (a returning student), should call the NCS office at 508-228-6600 to verify the best program/proper placement.

NCS instructors make a large effort to ensure they recommend students for the appropriate programs at the end of each season for the subsequent season.   In addition, NCS instructors assess ability levels of students throughout the summer - approaching the Program Director, who will approach the family, if we think a change in placement should be made during the season. 
After you have reviewed the below notes and the Junior Sailing Progression Chart above, we would be happy to answer any additional questions you may have.  Our goal is to ensure that your student is placed in the most appropriate class for their age and skill level, so that they feel confident and safe on the water.    

Some examples of "tracks" within our sailing programs are included here.

  • Beginner students ages 5 and 6 may enroll in our Guppies program.  The student will remain in our Guppies program until the age of 7, whereby s/he is welcome to enroll in our Whalers Program (beginner students ages 7-12.)  A student may not participate in our Whalers program until the age of 7.

  • Beginner students ages 7-12, have two options: They may start with community sailing at the age of 7, in our Whalers program in Polpis (ages 7-12), or they may enroll, if age 8, in our Keelboat Green program (ages 8-12).  Students do not need to "stay" in keelboats or "stay" in dinghies - they may switch freely between the two groups, as long as they match their classes according to age and ability.  If a student begins at the age of 7 in our Whalers program, s/he will likely spend 2-3 seasons in that program, before acquiring the skills so-necessary to move into our Opti Green program Students in the Keelboat Green program may consider their next step the Opti Green program or, if age 13, the Keelboat Blue program. Students may not advance into Opti Green on their own accord (please call the NCS Office to see where your student has been placed), but instead will be placed in the class after prior seasons sailing with NCS and instructor assessment.

  • Beginner students ages 10-12, have three options: Whalers, Mariners, or Keelboat Green.  All three programs will feed into either Opti Green (if the student is 12 or under) or Teen Green or Keelboat Blue (if the student is 13.)

  • Opti Green students should consider Opti Blue their next step - with Opti Red/Race the subsequent step after that.  Although our Polpis programs are primarily for students ages 12 and under, Opti Red students (only) may sail with us through ages 13 - 15.  Opti Green and Blue students who are 12 - and not yet ready for Opti Red - will be placed into either Teen Green or 420 Blue for their next summer with us (per their instructors' recommendation), since they will be 13 years of age. They are also welcome to place themselves into Keelboat Blue, if they would prefer to (or additionally) try "big boat" sailing.  Opti Red students, who are ages 13-15 and too big for an Opti, will be placed into our 420 Blue program.

  • Beginner students ages 13-17, have two options: Teen Green or Keelboat Blue. Again, students do not need to "stay" in keelboats or "stay" in dinghies - they may switch freely between the two groups, as long as they match their classes according to age and ability. Teen Green students should consider 420 Blue, and subsequently 420 Red/Race their next steps. Keelboat Blue students who want to spend time in dinghies, should be placed in Teen Green (no dinghy/tiller experience) or 420 Blue (intermediate dinghy/tiller experience) as their next step.

  • While, Water Sports Beach Class and Windsurfing Clinic are not considered part of our traditional "sailing" program tracks. We welcome these students moving into our sailing/dinghy programs.  They should follow the placement guidelines above - and on the chart - to find the most appropriate class.

Students who are new to NCS, but have a background in sailing from another organization, and would prefer not to be placed in a beginner class, should have their parent call the NCS Office to make a joint-determination with the Program Director as to which class might be best for them.


P.O. Box 2424, Nantucket, MA 02584
Office: 508-228-6600 / Jetties Beach: 508-228-5358
© 2015 Nantucket Community Sailing, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization