junior program fleet

Back    Optimist      Laser      Club 420       FJ      Topaz UNO

Boats We Sail

NERYC's training fleet consists of a variety tried and tested and internationally recognized sailing dinghies. Three classes: Optimists, Lasers, and 420s represent the standard for all Junior/Youth, one design racing in the United States. Our fleet is carefully selected to allow us to can structure curriculums to suit all ages (7-18), sizes, skill levels, interests and abilities.

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The Optimist is the largest junior racing fleet in the world and the international standard in junior instruction. The boat’s simplicity and stability make it ideal for teaching young beginners while the popularity of the Optimist class makes the boat extremely challenging for pre-teen racers.

A skipper can race Optimists until December 31st in the year they turn 15. On December 31st of that year, they age out of Optimists and can no longer race the boat. To promote participation across a wide range of skill levels and ages. Optimist racing events are typically divided into fleets. Green fleet is a special fleet for beginners. Green 'fleeters' can be any age up to 15. A Green fleet might have skippers who are as young as 6 and as old as 15, but sooner or later they will move into either the red, white, or blue fleet depending on their age. Green fleet typically sails relatively close to shore and on short courses. Sailors may be coached at any time including during a race. Skippers who are 10 or under sail in the White fleet. Skippers who are 11 and 12 sail in the Blue fleet. Skippers who are 13, 14, or 15 sail in the red fleet. In all fleets, the determining date is the skipper’s age on the first day of the regatta. Skippers move up to blue fleet on their 11th birthday and red fleet on their 13th birthday. At most regattas, the red, blue, and white fleets all start at the same time and race on the same course. Coaching for the red/white/blue fleets is permissible before and after, but not during individual races. Coaches can observe the racing from designated areas and provide feedback to the sailors at the completion of the race(s) observed.

For more info visit the class website


The Laser is the single-handed option for sailors who are too big or too old to sail the Optimist. The Laser can be configured with three different sail plans, providing great versatility across a wide range of sizes. Lasers are best suited to sailors 13 years of age or older, over 125 pounds, and focused on racing. Lasers are one of the fastest growing one-design classes in North America and the primary single-handed boat used in youth sailing events. In 2008, the Laser Radial will debut as the Women’s single-handed event at the Olympics. Because of this, a number of young women are now sailing in the Radial. It is not atypical to see a significant number of female sailors at Laser Radial events, something that was not as prevalent even a couple of years ago.

Additional information about the Laser Class Association found at /span

Club 420

The club 420 is the most popular and versatile double-handed junior boat in North America. The 420 is sturdy and safe while providing the challenge of having a spinnaker and trapeze. The boat is best suited for sailors 13-18 years of age and over 100 pounds. NERYC has a fleet of Club 420s for use in the summer program for racers. Since 420s are a double-handed boat they provide opportunities to learn crew work with a Jib and main sail and start to prepare sailors for competing at the HigH School and college level.


Flying Junior (FJ)

Fleet of 8  Flying Juniors (FJ). Similar to Club 420.but sailed without Spinnnakers and trapeze, The The boat is best suited for sailors 13-18 years of age and over 100 pounds. FJ's are used in most college programs..

Topaz Uno


The TOPAZ comfortably holds two people of any size so can be sailed single handed or as a two person dinghy.

The TOPAZ ‘UNO PLUS’ is the most popular rig option and one of our best sellers. It is easy to handle and very robust. Can be sailed with a main only or jib and Main. The main can easily be reefed around the mast. This rig option provides a great introduction to sailing. a fleet of 3 new boats arrive 2022.


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