Above is the Nantucket Community Sailing Progression Chart. It outlines the way NCS encourages youth sailors of all ages and 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 notes below 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.
Examples of "tracks" within our sailing programs are included below.
- Beginner students ages 5-6 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.) Students may not participate in our Whalers program until the age of 7.
- Beginner students ages 7-12, have two options. 1) They may start with community sailing at the age of 7, in our Whalers program in Polpis (ages 7-12). 2) Or they may enroll, if age 8, in our Junior Big Boat program (ages 8-12). Students do not need to "stay" big boats or in dinghies, they may switch freely between the two groups. As long as their program matches their 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 Junior Big Boat program may consider the Opti Green program or the Teen Big Boat program (if age 13) their next step. Students may not advance into Opti Green on their own accord (please call the NCS Office to see where your student has been placed.) After prior seasons sailing with NCS and instructor assessment students will be placed in an appropriate program.
- Beginner students ages 10-12, have three options: Whalers, Mariners, or Junior Big Boat. All three programs will feed into either Opti Green (if 12 or under) or Teen Green or Teen Big Boat (if student is 13.)
- Opti Green students should consider Opti Blue their next step, Opti Race is the subsequent step after that. Although our Polpis programs are primarily for students ages 12 and under, Opti Race students (only) may sail with us through ages 13 - 15. Opti Green and Blue students who are 12 - and not yet ready for Opti Race - 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 Teen Big Boat, if they would prefer to (or additionally) try "big boat" sailing. Opti Race 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 Teen Big Boat. Again, students do not need to "stay" in big boats or dinghies - they may switch freely between the two groups. As long as their program matches their age and ability. Teen Green students should consider 420 Blue, and subsequently 420 Race their next steps. Teen Big Boat 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.