1. Regatta Participation
Taking part in regattas is an important element of Pleon's program. Race team members are expected to travel as a team and spend a significant portion of the summer attending regattas together. Other sailors may participate in just one or two local events. Pleon's top sailors take part in regional and national events throughout the summer.
Recommended events vary by boat type and skill level. Each team will hold a meeting early in the season to discuss the schedule and start planning. Some events, for 420's in particular, fill up early and sailors should register in April or May to secure a spot.
Many regattas require membership in your class sailing association, US Sailing or Mass Bay Sailing. Check the Notice of Race for requirements. You are responsible for making sure you have the appropriate memberships. Race Team members are given the option to be registered for US Sailing and Mass Bay Sailing when you sign up for Pleon - check with the Program Director if you are not sure what your number is.
2. Travelling to local regattas
You are responsible for getting your boat to the regatta. Pleon has an Opti trailer than takes 6 boats, a 420 trailer that takes 3 boats, and a trailer that takes one 420 and a rib. Usually the race teams use the trailers, but if they are not using one, you might be able to get your boat on it. See Expectations for Parents for using the coach trailer. Otherwise, you will need to transport your boat by car, or for short distances, by power boat. If you have a big car, you might be able to get an opti inside; otherwise you will need roof-racks, or a trailer for 420's. In all cases, you will need your own tie-down straps. The type that can be tightened are the best. Always take a dolly to put the boat on as it's hard to borrow one at the regatta. Think about taking a diddy bag with a few tools and useful spare parts with you.
3. Going away to regattas
The next step is to start travelling to regional regattas, where we stay overnight. Pleon usually sends sailors to New Bedford Junior Regatta (at the beginning of the season), and Hyannis Regatta and Buzzards Bay Regatta in August, as well as various Regional and National events. Sign up early for these events, particularly for 420 fleets since these fill up very early.
These regattas generally require that the sailor has a US Sailing membership, which could be through a family membership or individual registration. When you register for Pleon, if you are registering for a race team you have the option to be registered for US Sailing and Mass Bay Sailing. Otherwise it is your responsibility.
All Pleon sailors attending away events must have adult supervision. It is not the responsibility of the team parent, regatta point person or coach to supervise your child. If you cannot travel with your child, you must make arrangements for someone else to be responsible for them. The exception to this is national single, double and triple-handed championships where sailors are expected to be independent.
You should make reservations for away regattas as early as possible, since nearby accommodation can fill up early. Often the team will have reserved a block of rooms, but this doesn't always happen. The sailors have a lot of fun staying in a hotel together, and going out to dinner as a team. Finding a restaurant that can fit in 20 hungry sailors and their parents in Hyannis on a Saturday night can be a daunting prospect - advance planning is highly recommended!
If you are taking a private boat in order to watch races from on the water, contact the host club to arrange for a mooring or slip, and to find out whether you need to register your boat. At bigger events, there may be restrictions on how close to the sailors you will be able to get.
Let the team parent and the program director know you are attending the regatta.
4. Using club boats
Club boats may be available to borrow for away regattas. Often these boats will be needed for classes on Friday afternoon and Monday morning, so you may be limited in when they are available. Check with the program director as early as possible to request a boat. There will be a charge for check-in and check-out. You are responsible for any loss or damage to the boat while you have borrowed it.
5. Expectations for parents
- Parents provide support for the teams at regattas, on a rotating basis. This includes:
- Provide accommodation for coaches
- Provide transport for coaches
- Tow the coach boat to/from the regatta, including launching and pulling out
- Provide water and snacks for sailors. For green regattas (which most of them are now), provide water jugs instead of individual bottles.
- Provide lunch for the coach
- Ensuring there is gas in the coach boat
- Provide dinner for the coach, or give them money to buy dinner ($20-$30 should be plenty)
- Provide accommodation and meals for sailors
- Transporting boats to/from the regatta
It is important that all parents share in these responsibilities. In particular, please be prepared to tow the coach boat at least once per year. This may mean having a tow hitch added to your car.
Please make sure that you turn in any receipts promptly, and pay your share of expenses when asked. It's best to mail checks directly to the point person, since envelopes sent via Pleon sailors tend to end up in soggy wads at the bottom of backpacks.
6. Parent coaching
Outside of Optimist green fleet, it is NEVER permissible for either coaches or parents to coach during races. Examples include:
- Pointing which way to go, or leading boats by motoring up one side of the course
- Shouting instructions
- Obstructing racing boats or race committee boats
- Requesting clarification of instructions from the race committee
- Being on the race course
All of these are considered serious offenses and could result in your child (or the entire team) from being expelled from the regatta.
7. Expectations for coaches
- Be at the yacht club at least an hour before the skippers meeting or harbor start
- Make sure your boat is equipped for the day, with a full tank of gas, water and snacks for yourself and the sailors, a working radio, spare parts and tools, and anything else you may need for the day
- Do your homework - make sure you know the forecast, and check on any relevant local knowledge of tides, sea-breeze etc.
- Attend the skippers meeting and coaches meeting
- Check in with each boat during rigging. Especially for younger sailors, make sure they are rigged correctly and are aware of how the day's conditions may influence how they choose to rig
- Hold a team meeting to discuss conditions, weather, forecast, etc. Be alert to changing conditions throughout the day, particularly if storms or fog are expected.
- Ensure that everyone gets out to the race course
- Observe each sailor during each race, and be prepared to discuss their performance between or after races
- Provide water and snacks to sailors.
- Keep yourself and the sailors out of the way of the race committee and other classes that may be racing
- Ensure that everyone gets back to the beach after racing
- Assist with rescue efforts for sailors from any club as needed
- Hold a debrief with the team after sailing
- Stick around the yacht club until the protest period has expired, protests involving your team have been heard, and results are posted
8. Expectations for Sailors
Sailors attending regattas are expected to be good ambassadors for Pleon. Don't behave in ways that you wouldn't at Pleon. In particular:
- Be respectful of the host club, its members, property and rules
- Keep your trailer and/or dolly in the designated spots
- Don't "borrow" anything that doesn't belong to you
- Be polite to regatta organizers
- Always thank the race committee at the end of the day
- Stay for prize giving. Don't prevent others from hearing or seeing the proceedings
- Be gracious - in victory or defeat
- Keep track of your belongings. Try to keep the team's belongings (dollies, covers, back-packs etc.) together while you are on the water
- Check in with your coach before and after sailing
- Attend the skippers meeting
- Help one another with dollies
- Drink plenty of water
- Be prepared!
For each regatta, a point person will be assigned who should gather expenses and collect payment from each family attending the regatta. For every child attending the regatta and receiving coaching support from a Pleon coach, their parents are responsible for their share of expenses. If you attend the regatta but make it clear in advance that you are not receiving coaching support, you do not have to contribute to expenses - however you should not expect to rely on the coach.
Expenses typically include the following:
- Gas and tolls for the car towing the coach boat
- Coach's room or share of room
- Snacks and water for the coach boat
- Coach's breakfast, lunch and dinner if not included in the regatta or in the hotel rate
- Coach regatta bracelet if applicable
- Ferry, train or air fare for coach if travelling other than by car
Expenses do not include:
- Gas money for the coach if they drive themselves to the regatta
- Gas for the coach boat - this is covered by Pleon and receipts should be given to the program director for reimbursement
- Excessive expenses for dinner if eating without the team
10. Coach accommodations
Coaches should share rooms with other coaches or with team members attending the regatta. 2 or 3 coaches to a room is typical. Coaches generally stay in the same hotel as team members and their families. Someone attending the regatta should make the reservation and pay for it - don't expect the coach to cover this cost even though it gets reimbursed.
11. When we send coaches
Race teams: Should agree at the beginning of the season which regattas the team is attending. Typically a coach should be sent if four or more boats are attending. For national or regional regattas (Atlantic coasts, New Englands, etc.) a coach should be sent if three boats are attending.
Non-race teams: Laser and 420 sailors attending regattas will be supported by the race team coach if they are going. Optimist championship sailors attending regattas may be supported by the race team coach, or may take their own coach depending on numbers. Optimist green fleet sailors will need their own coach, and a coach would generally be sent if 6 or more sailors are attending the regatta.
Regatta coverage should be planned in advance so that there is adequate coverage for sailors remaining at Pleon. For instance, if sailors from the same class are attending two different regattas concurrently, it may not be possible to send coaches to both.
Typically all Pleon coaches are required to support Marblehead Junior Race Week, and it will not be possible to send coaches to regattas happening during that time.
12. Ideas for Snacks for regattas
Snacks should be easy to keep clean and dry on the coach boat, easy to hand to sailors, and easy to eat on the water. Younger sailors may require quick sugar boosts, such as Gatorade, chocolate bars, fruit snacks (e.g. fruit roll-ups) and granola bars. Older sailors prefer snacks that are healthier or give them some carbs or protein, such as pretzels, cereal bars, energy bars, apples, raisins and carrots. Home made cookies are always appreciated. Bananas make a good snack but don't travel well. Brownies tend to get very messy.