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Boat Selection Quick Guide


Optimists or "Optis" are 8 ½’ beginner boats with 1 sail and 1 sailor for kids age 8-15.  Kids larger than about 5'4” and 115 lbs will be better off in an FJ.

For kids who can fit into them, it is far better to start out in an Opti because it’s simpler and easier to sail and the kids learn more quickly because they have no one else in the boat to depend on.


Lasers are intermediate/advanced 14’ high performance single sail boats that carry one experienced youth sailor weighing more than 100 pounds.  The reason for this weight requirement is that Lasers are quick and fast and you can’t keep them from tipping or “heeling“ over if you don’t weigh enough to offset the wind force on the sail.

Lasers are Olympic-class boats. Almost every world-class sailor started sailing in a Laser and raced them regularly to maintain top-notch proficiency.  One week sailing in MBYC classes, or the equivalent experience, is all you need to qualify for lessons in these terrific boats.  There are over 200,000 Lasers worldwide and young sailors LOVE to sail them, because they are zippy, fun and very competitive. Racing technique will be addressed much more in the Laser classes.


These boats are used for advanced sailors.  420’s are a 13’ 9” international race class two sailor boat with three sails, main, jib, and spinnaker.  They are very exciting boats for older advanced students, especially racers, because they have a spinnaker and trapeze which allows them to easily plane.

Spinnaker experience is not required and spinnakers will not be used for less experienced sailors.


FJ’s are beginner/intermediate boats with 2 sails and 2 sailors for kids age 11-16, weighing at least 90 lbs each, who have outgrown the Optis and

want a more challenging, sophisticated, and faster boat.  They are Olympic-class boats, but they are well-known for being excellent learning platforms even for beginners.

We can put younger kids in them if they’ve had previous sailing lessons or are physically too big for an Opti.  We can mix experienced kids with less experienced kids or beginners in order to accommodate the schedule and fill our classes.