Frequently Asked Questions:

    What sort of gear do students need to bring to class?
    Students should dress with this fact in mind: you will go in the water, almost every day. We have a few loaner life jackets, but students should bring their own. Do not bring gas-filled, self inflating PFDs. Dress for cold, wet weather. Knit hats are a must, and some like sailing or diving gloves. Dress in layers, with long sleeves and pants. Try to avoid cotton. Drysuits do not protect your feet, so bring closed-toe shoes (no sandals or rubber boots) that can get wet, and warm socks to wear wet on the water, as well as dry socks and shoes for the end of the day. Avoid jewelry and other items that can get caught on gear. Please read more here.

    My student is interested in being a Junior Instructor, who do I talk to?
    There are no Junior Instructors in 2021, but the need may return in 2022. Let's wait and see how that season looks, but, in general, send us an email letting us know and we'll put you on the list.

    I want to cancel, can I get a refund?
    Our goal is to make this as fair to all as possible. Easy refunds are available upon request up through the end of the last Monday before the class in question starts (basically a week before class starts). Send us an email as soon as you can if you need to change plans. Closer than that last Monday, refunds are only offered if the class is not already full, because otherwise, your unused registration is likely to have prevented someone else from enrolling, which denies the program funds it would have otherwise received. If we can fill the newly-unwanted spot within that last-Monday-before timeframe, either through luck or the waitlist, then we're happy to provide a refund anyway.

    Where do classes meet?
    At the Juneau Yacht Club on Norway point, just north of Aurora Harbor, every day, regardless of weather.


    When do classes meet (when can I drop-off / pick-up my child)?
    Please make arrangements for your child to be dropped off and picked no more than 15 minutes before and 15 minutes after class. JYSailing cannot be responsible for students outside of class times, and it costs the program a lot of money to pay staff overtime when parents are late. Classes are from 8:30 to 4:00 and require distanced check-in with an instructor before you depart. (Drop off between 8:15 and 8:30, and pick up between 4:00 and 4:15.)

    The weather is terrible today, are you still going sailing?
    The decision to go out or not every day is made by our instructors, who err on the side of caution -however, it's amazing what one can still safely sail in. Regardless of the weather on any given day, please always bring your kids to class, as there are plenty of on-land sailing activities available, and each day builds upon what was learned on previous days.

    What are the age limits for classes?
    12 and up. Students 12-18 should enroll based on their experience and skill level. The primary reason for age limits is to ensure that students have both the mental and physical capacity for sailing. The boats are fast and need to be handled responsibly, and students need to be large enough and strong enough to counterbalance their boat in high wind and to right it when it is capsized, as well as be big enough to fit into our smallest drysuits (XXS). Size and strength matter as much as mental readiness, and all those factors are more important than swimming ability. Feel free to contact us on this one and ask.

    What level class should my child take?
    Anyone 12-18 who has little or no sailing or dinghy experience, or who has only taken a Juniors class, should take Level 1. We encourage students to take the same level class more than once at all levels, as practice makes perfect, so the best place to go after Level 1 is usually Level 1 again. It is possible to take Level 1 for the first time and then go to Level 2 right after, but most 12-year-olds aren't quite ready for a transition this fast, and should do Level 1 at least twice before advancing. Kids 13 and up are usually able to make the transition more quickly, simply because they are slightly more mature and, more importantly, physically large and strong enough by that age to feel confident in Level 2 without a Junior Instructor with them (and in 2021 there are no JIs at all). After reading these guidelines, whatever your gut tells you is probably correct, but if you have questions, please send us an email.

    Are there adult classes?
    Sometimes! They are essentially fundraisers for the youth program. When they happen, they are all-day on a Saturday (focusing on the youth program does not leave much time for anything else, so it has been a while). They tend to happen towards the end of the summer. If you’re generally interested in the idea, let us know via email and we’ll contact you next time one is scheduled.

    I have my own boat, can I use it instead of JYS's?
    No. It’s important that we all use class-standardized, interchangeable boats that everyone is familiar with. And if you happen to own your own 420 (the kind of dinghy we use), you don't want it anywhere near our fleet : )

    I have my own drysuit, can I use it instead of JYS's?
    Sure thing, we even prefer that - we’ll just want to look it over as a standard safety check. Make sure it works, you will be going in the water.

    Is there a weight limit for students?
    Not expressly, but there is a practical limitation to how large a person and how much weight these boats can carry, and we have drysuits up to XXL, but that isn’t always large enough. Generally, between 80 and 200 pounds is a good rule. In all our years of operation, this has only been a problem once, so you’re probably fine, but if you're concerned, shoot us an email.

    What do classes cost?
    All 2021 classes are $300. This is less per hour than the half day Juniors and Level 1 classes of past years. We charge 50-75% less than comparable programs down south.

    Are there scholarships?
    Yes, financial aid is available in the form of the Jay Ginter Youth Sailing Scholarship. Click here to learn more.

    How can I volunteer with JYSailing?
    Ah! We love you. JYSailing is run entirely by unpaid, over-worked volunteers who have been doing this for too long. We are always happy to have another set of hands around. The ideal is to have people join the Board (we meet once a month or less during the season) and be there when work is discussed and divided. If the idea of meetings is just more than you can bear, but you still want to give time, send us your email address so we can put you in the volunteer pool when needs arise. Most commonly, we need: people to manage the repair of drysuits (bring them to the shop), a motor-boat manager to tend and care for our three safety skiffs, a finance saint who turns in our taxes and records payroll, and Adult Race managers if we're trying to hold races. We also rely on a large group of people to show up at the beginning and end of each season to launch the dock and boats for the Summer and bring them in for Fall. We also need responsible youths to be Junior instructors (usually, kids who have taken Level 1 at least once, are 13 or older, and have earned the recommendation of an instructor). Click here to learn more about volunteering.

    Do I need to buy a drysuit?
    No, we provide the drysuits for the kids to damage. Please note that they contain latex.

    Is it safe?
    It's as safe as it can be. All sports are dangerous though, and being on the water is an added complication. We do everything we can to mitigate these dangers. A standard liability waiver is required.

    Is JYSailing a 501(c)(3)?
    Yes we are. EIN 92-0161479. Here’s our paperwork.