Camp FAQs

1How do I sign up?
Registration for Summer 2023 is now open!

Sign up here!

2When is camp?
Camps for Summer 2023 will open June 19th and end September 1st. Each camp session is one week long.

Full day programs are from 9:30 – 4:00 and half day programs are from 9:30 – 12:30 and 1:00 – 4:00.

During the school year, we offer after school classes as staff are available.
3What is the capsize drill like?
The capsize drill is a learning and practice opportunity for sailors to self-recover their sailboat if it has tipped over. Students are taught a lesson on capsize procedure, then take turns capsizing and righting a boat in a controlled environment with an instructor close by to give feedback. This test is a safety measure for camp participation, as sailors build safety knowledge and independence through this practice. All sailors participating in Youth, Teen, and intermediate classes, will participate in the capsize drill the first day of camp. Jellyfish campers do not complete the capsize drill. Plus, it’s a great way to cool off in the summer! Here are some examples of sailboat capsize recovery:

Youth Capsize Recovery

Teen Capsize Recovery

4What does my child need for camp?
In order to prepare your child physically for sailing camp, make sure they have all the essentials:

A change of clothes! Dress in layers, it will always be several degrees colder on the water, so warmer clothes will be necessary.

A Well-Fitted Life jacket (not orange horseshoe type). If you don’t have your own, we have lifejackets available to borrow.

A Wetsuit. If your child gets cold easily, it will be important to provide them with a wetsuit to wear during on-the-water sessions. Wetsuits are more important at our West Shore Marina location due to colder water. We have very few wetsuits available to borrow.

Closed toed water shoes (tennis shoes and socks will get soggy, but work in a pinch! Flip flops do not work well on the docks).

Jewelry should be removed before class, except for waterproof watches

Packed lunch (or snacks for half-day classes)

Sunscreen

Water

Towel

Hat and or sunglasses

Raincoat
5Where should I buy a PFD (lifejacket)?
We have many PFDs available. If you would like to purchase your own for Sail Camp, we suggest a paddling or sailing PFD that leaves the lower torso more free for movement.

Ship to Shore Marine in Gig Harbor carries paddle style PFDs.

West Coast Sailing in Portland carries a range of sailing specific life jackets. Use code ISSA at checkout for a discount.
6When will I receive camp information after I've signed up?
After you sign up for our camps, you will receive a confirmation email that includes information on the session, schedule, and location you signed up for, as well as all of the items your child will need to be successful at camp. For all of our full-day camps, video will be included in this email of our capsize drill, which will be performed on the first day of camp and is required to continue the camp.

At least one week before your camp session starts, you should receive a reminder email with camp location & schedule, items checklist, capsize drill video, and a reminder of our Monday morning parent meeting. Please check for this email as your camp session comes closer.

If you don’t receive one of these emails, please first check your spam or junk folder, and/or double-check which email address you signed up for camp with on ACTIVENET. Then, please let us know so that we can give you the important information you need and troubleshoot our systems!
7Is my child ready for camp?
Sailing Camp is an excellent place for kids to build confidence, and challenge themselves.

Our instructors are well-trained at adapting their lessons and activities to meet students at their level, but ultimately it’s up to you and your child to decide whether they are ready for camp. If your child is 8 years old and not feeling ready for our full-day sailing camps, then our Jellyfish and Guppies half-day programs (6-8 years old) might be a better fit for them. Please feel free to ask us any questions you may have about camp activities and/or readiness, we’d be happy to help!

Email: info@ghycjuniorsail.org

Phone: (253) 214-613
8Which class is the right fit?
We take age, skill, and sailboat fit into consideration with our different class offerings. Camps for younger kids focus more on building comfort and familiarity with sailing, water-related activity, and the local environment. Our camps for older kids focus on building a solid skills foundation so that they can be confident and independent in their sailing. All of our classes are held up by the pillars of SAFETY, FUN, and LEARNING!


How to Choose a Class

9What are the height and weight limits for?
We want to make sure that your sailor has the best experience that they can in learning how to operate their own vehicle! In order to create an atmosphere conducive to learning and comfort, sailors must be matched with a boat that works for them. If a sailor can’t move underneath the sail of a small boat, or can’t handle the size and wind forces of a bigger boat, their safety and comfort will be compromised. This is why we have guidelines for which class to register for based on height and weight.

Youth and Opti Intermediate classes use Optimist and Open Bic sailboats – these small one-person sailboats are best for youth under 5 ft tall and under 115 lbs. Open Bics are slightly larger than Optimists, good for sailors that are close to 115 lbs or 5 ft. tall, but are only at our West Shore Marina location.

Teen classes use c420’s, FJ’s, and Lasers. All of these boats have more space in the cockpit and have larger sails, best fit for older sailors. If your child is over 115 lbs or over 5 ft tall, then sign them up for a Teen class!

If your child falls in the middle of our guidelines, consider their physical and social comfort. If they are hesitant to try new things or fit better with a younger crowd, sign them up for a Youth class! If your sailor is adventurous and/or enjoys older company, sign them up for a Teen class!

10What should my sailor expect on the first day?
Our camps focus on safety, fun, and community, so all camps start with an introduction on the first day.

The day will start with a group game to foster social interaction and activity, while the GHYC or TYC Member of the Week runs a Monday Morning Parent Meeting. This gives parents opportunities to learn more about our programs and organization, and for us to answer any questions you may have to set your child up for success! Attendance of our Monday Morning Parent Meeting is important for establishing channels of communication, so please plan to attend.

Once the camp day has started, sailors and instructors get to know each other, play games, and learn how to navigate the camp location safely. In all camp sessions except for Jellyfish, sailors will learn how to self-recover their sailboat from a capsize to build comfort and familiarity.

After lunch and a camp game, sailors learn the basic controls of their sailboats hands-on with a lesson on land, followed by a water session. Instructors adapt their approach to the needs of their class, ensuring that sailors can learn at their own pace!

11What's the difference between camps at Wollochet Bay and West Shore Marina?
West Shore Marina is located in the main Gig Harbor, surrounded by decades of marine history in industry and recreation. West Shore Marina generously allows us to use a portion of their parking lot and dock slips to run sailing camps and our race teams. This location in the heart of the Harbor offers amenities for city-front views and exploration! By the way, the Harbor is dredged for large boats, so the water can be chilly!

The TYC Wollochet Bay Facility, graciously offered to us by the Tacoma Yacht Club for sailing activities, is tucked into the forest surrounding the head of the bay. Teeming with life and close to protected waters, the site encourages sailors to have an adventure!

Both sites share camp curriculum, staff, and employ similar equipment, all of which are regularly adapted to program needs. Whichever location you choose, your child will have all they need to be safe, learn, and ultimately have FUN!
12How can I watch?
If you want to watch your sailor at our West Shore Marina location, there are a few locations you can watch camp activities from! The Ancich Waterfront Park and the Gig Harbor Public Boat Launch provide good vantage points for our primary sailing area in the first half of the week, and as sailors grow their skills, they sail farther from the camp’s main location. Later in the week, you may be able to spot them from the Jerisich Public Docks. On the last day of camp, sailors will venture to the sandbar at the opening of the harbor, across the harbor from the Old Ferry Landing Beach

Another great option is to rent a boat during class from the Gig Harbor Boat Shop

If you want to watch at the main camp location, we ask that you park your car on the street above West Shore Marina so that we are respectful of their tenants. The instructors leading your child’s camp will have more specific information on their daily sailing plans, so make sure to check with them!

Parents of campers at our Wollochet Bay location also have the option to watch their sailors during their on-the-water sessions! The TYC Wollochet Bay Outstation has benches and picnic tables that overlook the protected portion of the bay above the waterline. If you want opportunities to see the sailing or take pictures closer to the action, talk to the Tacoma Yacht Club Member of the Week or the site supervisor! Your child’s instructor will have more information on when and where you can expect to see them sailing.
13How do we join the race team?
Once sailors graduate from their beginner and intermediate camps, they will receive an invitation to the Narrows Race Team. It is crucial that sailors build proficiency in the fundamental skills of sailing through our camps so that safety on the water can be maintained during racing. This level of safety opens the door for greater learning and practice of high-performance sailing skills.

If you are interested in the race team program, we encourage you to let your instructor know so they can help you build skills!

Our race teams offer opportunities for sailors to not only continue building their skills, but also make close friends, travel around the Pacific Northwest, and learn leadership skills! Our community of sailors support each other and push each other to be the best sailors and people they can be, contributing to a mission greater than themselves. We would love to have your sailor join the team when they are ready!

14What opportunities are available for my child after camp ends?
We have several opportunities for your child to continue sailing after their camp session ends:

Multiple levels of camp – at the end of your child’s camp session, they will receive a recommendation for which program they should sign up for next. Sailors usually take each level of camp 2-3 times to solidify their skills!

Youth class progression: Youth Sailing -> Opti Intermediate -> Opti Race Team

Teen class progression: Teen Sailing -> Teen Intermediate/Lasers -> Junior Varsity or Varsity Race Team

Private lessons – Depending on instructor availability, we sometimes offer private lessons for individuals, groups, and even families! This is a good option for sailors looking for more personalized instruction, or a group looking to bond through shared experience.

Narrows Race Team – once your child has graduated from their intermediate camp, they will receive an invitation to join the Narrows Race Team! This team races sailboats competitively around the Pacific Northwest from February to November in several classes of boats. There are two-to-three evening practices a week, with competitions on some weekends. It’s a blast!

15Still need help?
Feel free to ask us any questions you may have about camp, sailing, the Narrows Race Team, private lessons, or our organization via email or phone!

Email: info@ghycjuniorsail.org

Phone: (253) 214-6131
 

Program FAQs

1Do you offer adult classes?
Not yet, but we hope to in the future!
We do offer Private Lessons for adults and families.

Other area programs that offer adult lessons include:
Tacoma Women's Sailing Association


Puget Sound Sailing Institute


Olympia Community Sailing


Sail Sand Point


Center for Wooden Boats


2Are you run by the yacht club?
GHYC Junior Sail is an independent 501(c)3 and is a completely separate organization from the Gig Harbor Yacht Club. Because of the generosity of the Gig Harbor Yacht Club, we are allowed to use their facility for meetings and our annual auction. There is also a long standing tradition of volunteers and financial support from yacht club members.

GHYC Junior Sail also has a partnership with Tacoma Yacht Club. The non-profit manages youth programming, and the Tacoma Yacht Club hosts camps at their Wollochet Bay Facility.

Our Yacht Club partnerships allow GHYC Junior Sail to get many youth in our community on the water.
3My sailor is not interested in racing, how else can we get on the water?
Someday, we hope to support additional programming. For now, please check out these organizations:

Tacoma Youth Marine Foundation: the Sea Scout program offers development in sailing and seamanship


Sail Sand Point: Open Boating allows sailors to check out a boat after a skills check


Center for Wooden Boats