The Bellport Bay Sailing Foundation (BBSF) is a non-profit organization dedicated to community sailing instruction.Housed at the Bellport Bay Yacht Club, our summer youth programs are open to sailors between the ages of 6 and 17. You do not need to be a member of the yacht club or a Bellport village resident to participate.
We offer a safe, fun-filled program for children as young as six years old. Young sailors learn self-reliance and responsibility -- all while having a wonderful time in the great outdoors!
It is vital for their success for young sailors to be in the class that best fits their size and skills.
Safety is always our highest priority. For this reason, we cannot allow children to sail in classes for which they are not adequately prepared. Our instructors base their recommendations for placement on a number of factors, and while occasionally exceptions are made (usually due to growth spurts over the school year) we ask that you register for the class that was recommended to you.
The wind generally gets stronger throughout the day, making the afternoon classes appropriate only for those older students and ones with a good amount of experience.
Children new to sailing always start in a Mercury sailboat pictured below.
Sailors can choose to attend either of our 3 1/2 week programs or join us for the entire 7 weeks. We offer 3 different time slots which depend on experience and age. Six to eight year olds generally do best in the 8-10 a.m. time slot. Nine to 11 year olds or those sailors who have successfully completed the 8-10 a.m. time slot are best suited for the 10 a.m. to noon class. Teen beginners or those with previous Mercury experience belong in the 1-4 p.m. time slot. As always, you can contact the registrar with any questions about which class is best for your child.
Children who have attained the necessary skills in the previous year's Mercury program may be invited to join the Optimist program. The Opti is a single-handed boat skippered by 8 - 15 year olds across the world. Since this is the best boat for young people to improve sailing skills, we encourage children up to age 15 to continue racing their Optimists as long as possible. There is good competition on the Great South Bay and across the country in the Optimist Class. The top sailors compete in the Opti until they age out (officially the end of the calendar year in which they turn 15) or until they no longer fit comfortably in the boat (usually over 5'2" and over 115-120 pounds.)
We have a limited number of spots and boats available for this program. There are different time slots for opti sailors. Beginner Opti sailors start in the 8 - 10 am time slot, and over the years, as their skills progress, they will move into the later time slots. Placement is based on experience as well as physical body size and abilities.
Our Opti program runs Monday through Thursday and is a 7 week session. Because they will be sailing by themselves, children must have significant previous sailing experience to participate. We have a limited number of club boats available for students to use and a limited number of rack spaces for those who have their own Opti.
This year we are once again offering an Intro to Laser Racing class for experienced sailors looking to learn single-handed racing techniques. The Laser program will run Monday through Thursday and is a 7 week session.
This is a high school and college double-handed racing boat. Once sailors are too tall (over 5'3" and approximately 115-120 pounds) or age out of Optis and have the necessary skills, they may enjoy the thrill of learning to sail the 420. All 420 sailors should be seasoned racers with several years of experience. We have a limited number of 420s available for class use. We also have some spaces 'on the pad' for boat owners. Therefore, class size must be limited as well. Like the Opti, the 420 class runs 7 weeks.
The 1-4 Opti and 420 classes are Intro to Racing classes. It is expected that sailors will compete in most of the Wednesday night races at the dock and be willing to attend some Friday regattas at yacht clubs across the south shore.
Race Teams meet from 10 am to 4 pm with a lunch break (unsupervised) from noon until 1 pm. The race teams compete in Friday Junior Regattas along the South Shore, as well as at occasional weekend regattas. Opti Race Team sailors must own their own boat and dolly. 420 Race Team members must register as a team (skipper and crew) and one of the participants must own a 420 and dolly.
Our race teams consistently dominate racing across the Great South Bay. Our sailors have gone on to compete not only across the country, but also internationally.