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What's New - 2018

Hello MSA sailors and parents,

We are looking forward to another great summer of sailing at MSA. We always take our sailors' and parents' feedback seriously and find ways to enhance sailors' learning, fun, safety, and overall experience. We had several take-aways from last year's feedback.

1. Adventure Sailing

There was a strong desire to have an adventure sailing program that was not focused on racing. We heard you loud and clear and have established Advanced Adventure Sailing for both the 9-13 and 14-18 age ranges. These class are explicitly non-race-oriented formats. Emphasis is on learning life-long valuable sailing skills while exploring Salem Sound and surrounding waters. With a priority on fun and safety, sailors will learn seamanship on all points of sail, the most useful sail configurations for different situations, setting and weighing anchor, sailing in a variety of weather conditions, navigation, sailing rules of thumb, right of way, and a variety of other adventures and skills.

To create a clear path of continued learning, we no longer offer stand-alone advanced sailing. Instead we have two tracks; 1. the Advanced Sailing Adventure track, and 2. the Advanced Sailing Learn-to-Race track. If you are unsure which class your sailor should be in, please let us know and we will help figure it out.

For more information, check out our class descriptions page.

2. Safety

MSA has a strong safety record, but we are always looking to improve. We asked for input and received feedback that a helmet policy oriented towards safety and self-choice was important. The awareness of the impact of head injuries in sports in general - particularly in children's sports - has grown substantially in recent years and MSA is seeking a path to best insure the safety of sailors using the best information and guidance currently available.

Parent feedback gathered through the annual feedback survey, guidance from US Sailing, consultation with junior sports specialist physicians, MSA's own experience, and the steady adoption of helmet use by high school and college sailing programs, MSA has decided to implement a helmet policy for the 2018 season.

The 2018 Helmet Policy is currently in draft form and we have published a proposed 2018 policy to our website. We would like your feedback before it is finalized and implemented. Please take some time to read the proposed policy and let us know your thoughts.

3. Fun factor and class dynamics

At MSA the fun factor for sailors, parents, and instructors is critical. Increasing the level of fun means adding roles to help ensure all sailors have a great experience, continuing to invest in our instructors' level of knowledge and expertise, and setting standards of expected behavior for all. To help achieve all of the above, we are adding a new On-the-Water Director role, investing in US Sailing Level 2 training for instructors and coaches, and establishing a guideline of of behavior for sailors.

We are very pleased to announce that Grace Papp has accepted the On-the-Water Director role. Grace is the team captain of the St. Mary's College of Maryland sailing team, a long-time volunteer as a Special Olympics Coach, a black belt, and is currently living in Rockport. Grace will be responsible for setting a positive, fun, safe, and learning oriented tone on the water. To make that happen she will work closely with the MSA Program Director to ensure the overall success of the MSA program, its coaches, instructors, and sailors. Welcome Grace!

US Sailing's Level 2 course focuses on developing knowledge and skill in teaching sailing theory, sail controls, introductory management skills, the general instruction of sailing, and powerboat operation in emergency situations. As an organization, the MSA board felt so strongly that this was an important investment, that we will be hosting a US Sailing Level 2 course in conjunction with the Manchester Yacht Club this June. All MSA senior instructors and coaches will take this class.

To help ensure the best possible experience for junior sailors, MSA is introducing a behavioral guideline for sailors that will be reviewed at the beginning of each session with all the sailors in each class. Sailors will be expected to follow the guideline.


To make the most of your sailing experience, MSA asks that you follow these guidelines:

  • Sail for fun and the love of the sport.
  • Work hard to improve your skills.
  • Listen, ask questions, and watch others to see how you can better your skills.
  • Learn teamwork, sportsmanship, discipline, confidence and self control.
  • Be a team player – get along with others.
  • Appreciate the contribution each person makes to the learning environment.
  • Learn the rules, and play by them.
  • Always be a good sport and set a positive example for others.

We hope you are looking forward to this summer of fun as much as we all are. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to reach out to us at

Thank you,

Manchester Sailing Association Board of Directors

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