Class Descriptions

Intro to Pleon: Age 8-9

The Intro to Pleon class is a two week class for sailors who have little or no prior single-handed sailing experience. It is open to sailors 8 years or older who have completed 2nd grade and is intended to make them feel comfortable in Pleon's environment and build confidence on the water. Fun will be a main focus and topics will include boat rigging, water safety and basic sailing.

Sailors will sail in an Opti solo or paired up with another sailor.
Instructors explain concepts and skills using 'chalk-talks' on land, through concept-related games, and in daily morning meetings. Instructors reinforce classroom concepts using on water demonstrations, individual coaching, and on the water sailing drills.


Optimist 1: Ages 9-10

This class is for sailors who have little or no prior single-handed boating experience, including those who have taken the Intro to Pleon class last season. The Opti 1 class is taught in the single-handed Opti, with occasional days sailing Sonars. Pleon maintains a strong emphasis on fun sailing and sailing-related games throughout the Opti 1 class. By the end of the program, sailors are expected to demonstrate knowledge of the parts of the boat, sail and rig, sailing nomenclature, and the fundamentals of rigging, boat handling, points of sail, water safety and seamanship.

Instructors explain concepts and skills using 'chalk-talks' on land, through fun games like knot tying competitions and during daily morning meetings. Instructors reinforce classroom concepts using on water demonstrations, individual coaching, on the water sailing drills like sailing around a course, and fun games like capture the flag in the harbor. As students progress they learn to be more confident, responsible and independent in rigging and sailing their boat.

Optimist 2: Ages 9-11

This class is for sailors who have successfully completed the Opti 1 class or equivalent. The curriculum is an extension of the Opti 1 class with an emphasis on independence in rigging, boat handling and boat care. This is primarily a non-racing class. For those sailors recommended to take part in Marblehead Junior Race Week, the basics of racing will be covered. Classes will be taught in Optis, with occasional sailing in Sonars. Sailors who choose to only sail in Session 1 will likely be recommended to repeat Opti 2 the following summer.

Instructors explain concepts and skills using 'chalk-talks,' fun sailing-related games, and during daily morning meetings. Instructors reinforce classroom concepts using on water demonstrations, individual coaching, on the water sailing drills like sailing around a course, and fun games like capture the flag in the harbor. Coaches teach sportsmanship and teamwork on and off the water.

Optimist 3: Ages 10-12

Opti 3 class is for sailors who have successfully completed the Opti 2 class or equivalent. Opti 3 will be the first introduction to racing for most sailors. Sailors will continue to improve their sailing skills through more advanced boat handling techniques and simple tactical planning and decision making while they learn basic racing skills through drills and practice racing.

Skills Taught: Proper sail trim and body positioning to maintain control at all points of sail (upwind, downwind, reaching); Tack and gybe from/to any point of sail in control; Sailing in crowded situations; Sailing around a triangular course; Understanding basic race courses, starting sequence, and basic racing nomenclature.

Typical Regattas: There are several regattas throughout Mass Bay to expose sailors to low pressure 'Green Fleet' regattas that cater to first-year racers, such as: Manchester Green Fleet Regatta, Squam Day, and Marblehead Junior Race Week.


Optimist Development: Ages 11-13

Opti Development class is for sailors who have completed Opti 3 and are motivated to continue sailing in a more race-focused environment. The sailors in this class are introduced to more advanced rigging and boat handling techniques. The class will have a heavier racing focus and sailors are encouraged to compete in local and regional regattas in their age-appropriate fleet (White, Blue and Red Fleets are age-based subsets of 'Championship' racing). Sailors in this class are encouraged to own their own boat.

Skills Taught: Introduction to racing in the Championship Fleet; Understand weight placement and sailing in different wind and wave conditions;

Describe how to determine favored end of the start line; Understand concepts of clean air and wind shadow; Basic racing tactics.

Typical Regattas:Sailors in Opti Development compete in local and regional Championship Fleet regattas, such as: New Bedford Junior Regatta, Hingham Bay Junior Regatta, Marblehead Junior Race Week, Squam Day, Duxbury Junior Regatta, Scituate Junior Regatta.

Optimist Race Team: Ages 11-14

Opti Race Team is focused on competing on a regional and national level. Sailors in this class typically compete in regattas throughout New England during the summer and focus much of their time at Pleon on fine tuning race specific techniques. The sailors are taught to work together in order to achieve their collective and individual goals. The class schedule includes one full-day per week (Monday). Sailors in this class are encouraged to own their own boat.

Skills Taught: U""nderstanding starting techniques and reading the race course; Controlling boat speed and fine-tuning boat handling; Regatta preparation; Understanding racing rules.

Typical Regattas:"" Sailors in Opti Race travel to several regattas throughout the summer season, such as: New Bedford Junior Regatta, Hingham Bay Junior Regatta, Marblehead Junior Race Week, Duxbury Junior Regatta, Scituate Junior Regatta, USODA New Englands.

420 1: Ages 13-15

The 420-1 class is meant for sailors who are new to the 420 sailboat. The 420-1 class is typically comprised of sailors who have prior sailing experience, either in Optis or Keelboats, but who are looking for an introduction to a high-performance double-handed boat. The focus of this class is to familiarize sailors with the 420 and to understand the basics of a double-handed boat, including an introduction to trapezing, spinnakers and understanding sail trim and weight-placement. The 420-1 class continues to emphasize sailing in a fun, low-intensity environment with minimal focus on racing.

Skills Taught: Understanding rigging and parts of a 420; Understanding a high-performance boat; Understanding how to start and stop a 420; Tacking and gybing.

420 2: Ages 14-17

The 420-2 class is meant for sailors who have a desire to spend time both racing and improving their overall sailing ability. It is geared toward sailors who have prior experience sailing in 420s. In this class sailors will be introduced to more advanced boat handling maneuvers, race-specific rigging concepts, strategy and tactics, as well as overall sailing skills. While racing will be an important component of the curriculum, there is not an expectation that sailors compete in national/regional events. Furthermore, sailors will spend some classes exploring non-racing aspects of sailing.

Skills Taught: Communication with sailing partner; Moderate and advanced 420 boat-handling and sail trim; Introduction to racing concepts and racing rules; Broader sailing skills.


420 Development: Ages 14-17

420 Development Team (420-D) is meant for sailors who have raced - typically in Optis – at a high level for a number of years and are motivated to continue sailing in a very race-focused environment, but have limited experience sailing 420s. The class will have a heavy racing focus and sailors will be expected to compete in the appropriate local and regional regattas. The class will cover rigging and basic boat handling in an accelerated manner so that sailors can focus on more advanced concepts such as spinnaker and trapeze work, racing tactics, and 420 sail trim and tuning. Sailors in this class are encouraged to own their own boat.

Skills Taught: 420 Rigging & tuning; Skippering & crewing the 420; Basic and advanced boat handling and sail trim; Advanced racing concepts and racing rules.

Typical Regattas: Sailors in 420-D compete in local Mass Bay regattas, such as: Manchester Green (420), Hingham Bay Junior Regatta, Marblehead Junior Race Week, Squam Day, New Bedford Junior Regatta.


420 Race Team: Ages 14-18

The 420 Race Team is meant for sailors who have a desire to race on the regional and national level. Sailors on the team typically travel to regattas throughout New England during the summer and push each other to compete on a high level. There is a strong emphasis on independence as sailors are expected to prepare for regattas largely on their own. The class schedule includes one full-day per week (Wednesday). Off-site practice sessions may be scheduled to expose sailors to a broad range of sailing conditions (high wind, waves, current, etc). Sailors in this class are encouraged to own their own boat.

Skills Taught: Advanced starting techniques and racing tactics; Understanding starting and stopping a boat; Covering and wind-shadows; Advanced understanding of racing rules; Team racing

Typical Regattas: Sailors compete in several regional and national regattas throughout summer, such as: Hingham Bay Junior Regatta, New Bedford Junior Regatta, C420 Nationals, C420 North American's, Bemis Qualifier, CJ Buckley Team Race, Marblehead Junior Race Week, Buzzards Bay Regatta. Laser 1: For sailors new to sailing a Laser (high-performance, single-handed boat) Typical ages: 12-14 yr. olds

Laser 1: Ages 12-14

Pleon's Laser 1 class is for sailors who are new to sailing a Laser and would like to understand the fundamentals of sailing a high-performance single-handed boat. The class is comprised of sailors who have prior sailing experience, either in Optimists or in Keelboats. The sailors in the class will work on rigging, weight-placement and boat-handling. In addition, the Laser 1 class will begin to understand a race course and the fundamentals of racing, including starting, mark roundings, sailing upwind/downwind and tacking and gybing techniques.

Skills Taught: Rigging a laser; Developing comfort in a single-handed high-performance boat; Understanding sail-trim and basic maneuvering in a laser.

Laser 2: Ages 14-17

Laser 2 class is for sailors who have experience sailing in a Laser and would like to learn how to race the boat. There is an emphasis on racing techniques and strategies as well as general sailing knowledge and mastery of sailing in a wide range of conditions. Sailors in the class often race in local and regional regattas.

Skills Taught: Introduction to racing tactics and starting techniques; Develop comfort accelerating/decelerating a Laser; Introduction to speed-tuning with partners

Keelboat 1: Ages 11-13

Keelboat 1 is intended for sailors who wish to improve their fundamental sailing skills – boat handling, sail trim, skippering – while also getting some exposure to the basics of navigation and cruising. After completing Keelboat 1, sailors will either continue to Keelboat 2 or move into a dinghy program in (420/Laser). Keelboat 1 sailors will spend most of their time in the Pleon owned Sonars practicing fundamental sailing skills that will make them successful on any boat – skippering, sail trim, spinnaker sets and take towns, and boat handling in all wind conditions. Sailing a keelboat is social and creates a strong sense of teamwork among the class. Activities include long distance sails around the local islands or to a destination for ice cream. Sailing a keelboat is social and creates a strong sense of teamwork among the class.

Keelboat 2: Ages 13-15

Keelboat 2 is intended for experienced sailors who are interested in pushing their sailing beyond the boundaries of small one design boats and are excited to learn about the ocean environment and the marine industry. Sailors will spend time in the Sonars practicing fundamental sailing skills that will make them successful on any boat – skippering, sail trim, spinnaker sets and takedowns, and advanced boat handling in all wind conditions. Students will also learn the foundations of navigation and other key cruising skills. Guest instructors from institutions such as SEA (boat captains and scientists) and local boat builders and sail makers also join the class from time to time. Sailing a keelboat is social and creates a strong sense of teamwork among the class. Activities include long distance sails around the local islands or to a destination for ice cream.

42 Foster Street, Marblehead MA 01945     781-631-1076     kelly@pleon.org
Powered & Sponsored by Headway
© 2020 Pleon Yacht Club
A 501(c)(3) organization
© 2020 Pleon Yacht Club
A 501(c)(3) organization