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Do I have to own a boat?

No! MSA has a fleet of boats for both sailing classes and regattas. This is a great opportunity to learn to sail without having to buy a boat.

What to bring to class?

Sailors should come to class prepared for changing weather conditions.

Important Items:

  • Proper attire (non-cotton, wicking fabrics are highly recommended) 

  • Close-toed shoes (boat shoes, sailing booties, crocs, Natives, old sneakers)

  • Flip flops are NOT allowed

  • Hat/sunglasses

  • Sunscreen

  • A filled water bottle and snacks

  • A change of clothes

  • Towel

On cold, windy and/or rainy days, sailors should bring warmer clothes and rain gear.


All sailors must bring a USCG-approved life jacket. Life jackets must meet the following requirements:

  • Must satisfy one of the following performance designations...

  • USCG Type I, II, III

  • USCG Type V (Sailing activity specific)

  • USCG Level 70, 100 or 150

  • Must rely solely on foam for flotation (inflatable lifejackets are not permitted)

  • Must be well-fitting. See here for instructions.

  • Must have an attached whistle secured to the jacket with a lanyard, cordage, or other tether.

Please note buoyancy or flotation aids meeting the ISO 12402 standard are NOT life jackets and are not USCG-approved. These devices do not count as a life jacket and are not allowed at MSA (or regattas) in lieu of an approved life jacket.

Most recreational life jackets are USCG Type III or V. West Marine offers a wide selection of life jackets that are affordable and of good quality. If your sailor plans on sailing for many years a life jacket from a brand like Astral, NRS, Gill, or Stohlquist may be good investment.

While under the supervision of MSA, sailors must wear their life jackets while on the floats, beach, or in a vessel. Life jackets must be worn as intended with all buckles, zippers, and closures fastened and snugged. MSA takes this matter very seriously. Sailors who do not abide by this rule may be referred to the Program Director or dismissed from class.

What happens on rainy days?

MSA classes are held rain or shine. Classes sail in the rain if the wind is not too strong, so students must bring rain gear and be prepared to sail. Appropriate on-shore activities will be conducted if sailing conditions are too severe.

Pick-Up/Drop-Off Instructions

Please park in the Tuck's Point parking lot for MSA drop-off and pick-up. Cars stopping on the roadway next to the Tuck's Point lawn create a very dangerous situation with children darting between moving cars, therefore, please DO NOT stop on the road next to the lawn. Parents may wish to accompany children across the road. The Manchester Yacht Club parking lot should not be used under any circumstances.

Morning classes start promptly at 9 AM and are dismissed at 12 PM. Instructors have only one hour between morning and afternoon classes, so parents are encouraged to arrive on time for dismissal. Instructors will stay with children until parents arrive. Afternoon classes start promptly at 1 PM and are finished at 4 PM. Race teams end at 4:30 or 5:00 according to the team.

What if we are going on vacation and will miss class?

If you know your child will miss a class, please tell the Program Director ahead of time

How may a sailor's progress in class be monitored?

Parents should feel free to communicate with the Program Director before or after class time.

Can I watch my child sail? How can I get involved?

The best opportunity for parents to watch or sail with their child is during Saturday Sailing. We ask that you avoid being a visible presence during class time. Parental involvement is expected for Race Team members. All other parents are encouraged to speak with the Program Director if they are looking for ways to become more involved or if they have any questions about their child's class.

Who is eligible for Saturday Sailing?

Saturday Sailing is for all MSA participants to try out what they have learned in class, and for parents to sail with their child if they so choose. Sailing is supervised from 9 AM to 12 PM every Saturday during the season. You must arrive before 10 AM because the instructors will be out on the water after that time. Members of all classes may participate in the boat used in class. Children are expected to be able to rig the boat themselves, with parental help if needed. The instructor is present to sign out the boats and supervise on the water and is usually not available to help in rigging, launching and de-rigging. Both children and parents must bring their own life jackets and wear them at all times.

May I bring a friend to class?

Unfortunately, for liability reasons, MSA cannot allow guests.

Where can we store our privately owned boats?

Rack space is usually available for MSA participants. Demand for private boat storage has increased dramatically. MSA reserves the right to place and move boats as we feel appropriate. Please register storage of your boat with the Program Director.

Are boats available for away regattas?

Racers will participate in regattas throughout New England. Details about what regattas MSA participants typically attend and the arrangements necessary to attend these is available on the Race Info pages of this handbook and at the Race Team orientation held at the beginning of each summer. At the discretion of the Program Director, sailors may charter an MSA boat for a fee and take it to a regatta. Sailors and parents must fill out the charter form, a copy of which is provided in the Race Team packet handed out at the Race Team orientation.

Are there Instructor-in-Training opportunities?

There are generally openings for several Junior Instructors. This is a position hired during the winter by the Program Director. These sailors assist the Senior Instructors with morning classes. Junior Instructors are high school age sailors, highly recommended by their instructors, chosen by merit.

If you have additional questions regarding the program, please do not hesitate to call the Program Director at (978) 526-8345 (during sailing season only) or contact any member of the MSA Board.

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