Revised June 2017


Hermit Crabs to Seamen

Note: Students advance to Seamen class when they turn 8 years old and are entering at least 3rd grade and are not required to demonstrate full mastery of the information below in order to advance to Seamen.

Knots: Loop, bight, half hitch, slip knot, belay a cleat, coil a line

Terminology: Burgee, buoy, mooring, channel, shoal, cut-through, dock, float, lighthouse, lobster pot buoy, proper commands when tacking and gybing

Geography: Stage Harbor, inner harbor, outer harbor, Mitchell River, Mill Pond, Little Mill Pond, Oyster River, Oyster Pond, Nantucket Sound, Atlantic Ocean, clubhouse, sailing center, Chief’s pier, SHE pier, shanty

Parts, Boats and Equipment:

Boats: inboard, outboard, sailboat, windsurfer, kiteboard, stand up paddleboard, rowboat, kayak
Classes: Sprite, Opti, 420, BIC, Day Sailer, Laser, Boston Whaler, inflatable coach boat, committee boat
Spars: mast, boom
Sails: mainsail, jib, spinnaker, sail bag
Fittings: cleat
Equipment: dolly, boat cover, dock box, proper sailing clothes head to toe, life preserver



Sailing: skipper, crew, sailing upwind, reaching, sailing downwind, use of centerboard and dagger board, side slipping
Wind: light, medium, heavy, how to tell wind direction, SHYC flags  
Safety: life jacket, pick up / drop off rules, sun block, sun glasses, first aid kit


Sailing Performance: Sail with an instructor taking turns as skipper and crew, trim and ease sails, use of cam cleat, use of centerboard and dagger board, hiking out.

Boat Etiquette: Leave a boat shipshape, lines coiled, use of bailer and sponge


Seamen to Mates

Knots: Loop, bight, half hitch, slip knot, belay a cleat, figure 8, square knot, coil a line (some repeated from Hermit curriculum)

Terminology: Starboard and port tack, bow, stern, windward, leeward, sloop, forward, aft, amidships, helm, tack, jibe, ease sail, trim sail, irons, puff, lull, current, capsize, anchor, bailer

Parts of the boat:

Hull: Centerboard trunk and pennant, flotation tanks, transom, gunwale, tiller, rudder
Sails: head, tack, clew, foot, luff, leech, batten, batten pocket, boltrope, headboard, gooseneck
Riggings: forestay, shrouds, traveler, sheets, halyards, outhaul
Fittings: snap hook, clevis pin, o-ring, cotter pin, fairleads
Rigs: Sloop


Knowledge:  Capsize procedure, demonstrate how to: put sails on; raise and lower sails; take sails off, fold sails, leave boat properly, basic safety rules, use of life preservers, required and suggested equipment for sailing, tiller towards trouble, describe how to: dock a sailboat; sail a course to windward with proper trim

Sailing Performance: Confidently sail a Sprite without an instructor while performing the following: sail with crew upwind, round a mark while maintaining proper crew position and sail trim, make two proper landings at dock and paddle a skiff with one oar around a mark and make a landing at the dock.

Boat Etiquette: Sportsmanship, proper conduct on water

Instructor Discretion: Before advancing, the instructor should feel confident that this student is able to identify the basic parts of the boat, feel comfortable using and following sailing terms and have the confidence to rig and sail a Sprite inside the harbor without an instructor.


Mates to Old Mates

Knots: Clove hitch, bowline, heave a line properly, secure a coil

Terminology: Head up and head off, beating, reaching, running, trim, luffing, current, cat’s paw, sculling, launching, landing, swamp

Parts of the boat:

Hull: planking, ribs, deck, stem, forward transom, daggerboard, fiberglass, mast thwart, bulkhead, air bag, hiking straps
Spars: gaff, sprit, mast step, mast hole, mast collar, boom jaw
Sails: sail tie, grommets, throat, peak, class insignia, telltales
Riggings: downhaul, boom vang, mainsheet bridle, masthead fly
Fittings: shackle, turnbuckle, chainplate, block, pintles, gudgeons


Knowledge: Simple right of way rules (SLO), channel marks and how to leave them, taking proper care of a boat and sails, folding sails, boat and sail storage, furling sails properly, personal conduct (do’s and dont’s in boats), use of dolly, proper skipper posture and positioning, explain how to get out of irons, properly hold and control tiller

Sailing Performance: Confidently sail a Sprite in moderate to heavy wind without an instructor and perform the following: sail with crew to windward completing at least three tacks, properly round a mark and return to starting point completing at least two controlled jibes, wing the jib, make a proper landing at dock, demonstrate getting out of irons, retrieve a person overboard and row a skiff around a mark and make a proper landing.

Boat Etiquette: Conduct at a protest meeting

Instructor Discretion: Before advancing, the instructor should feel confident that the student is able to skipper a Sprite without an instructor around the harbor in moderate or heavy winds and is familiar with basic racing rules and tactics.


Old Mates to Skippers

Knots: Two half hitches, sheet bend, rolling hitch, whip a line, secure coil 2 ways

Terminology: Irons, pinching, pointing, footing, close hauled, close reach, beam reach, broad reach, run, abeam, abaft, yawl, ketch, schooner, catamaran, catboat, cutter, motor sailer, bilge, lift, header, backwind, blanket, covering, lee and weather helm, sailing by the lee, standing rigging, running rigging, pitch pole, apparent wind, true wind, pumping, ooching, rake, broaching

Parts of the boat:

Hull: skeg, keel, coaming, bowsprit, thwart, fiberglass (cloth, resin, gel coat)
Spars: spreaders, mizzen mast, boom crutch, backstay
Sail: draft, roach, reef points, scallops, ripstop, spinnaker, cunningham hole
Rigging: spinnaker pole, spinnaker sheet and guy, spinnaker uphaul and downhaul, traveler bar
Fittings: cam cleat, clamcleat, winch, boom vang, trapeze rig, harness, midships traveler, bridle, guy hook, chock
Rigs: square, lateen, marconi, gaff

Knowledge: Fully rig a 420, center of lateral resistance, center of effort, basic sail shape, proper equipment for a boat, anchoring properly, direction of wind by name (all 16 points), rounding all marks properly, basic racing rules, favored end of starting line, basic starting techniques, current and tide, basic knowledge of SHYC race circular, lodging a protest, windward-leeward course, triangular course, knowledge of 5-minute starting sequence, knowledge of important code flags, drop sail landing sea breeze, direction of wind in relation to the club

Sailing Performance: Confidently sail an Optimist in moderate to heavy wind in Nantucket Sound and perform the following: proper roll tacks, S jibes and dock landings; safety position. row a skiff forward and backward, feather oars and land properly by shipping oars at moored boat and dock. Compete in one or more series and in two or more regattas during the season.

Boat Etiquette: Corinthian sailing, conduct as a visiting yachtsman.

Instructor Discretion: Before advancing, the instructor should feel confident that this student is able to skipper an Optimist without an instructor to all parts of the harbor and in Nantucket Sound in moderate to heavy wind and is familiar with all racing rules and tactics.