Learn-to-Race

It’s time to get serious!

Macatawa Bay Junior Association (MBJA) offers an array of resources with the goal of teaching students how to sail. Additionally, we also provide expert instruction on how to race. Naturally, these learn-to-race courses—both our Optimist and 420/Laser programs—place a greater emphasis on racing tactics.

Sailboat racing classes also expand and solidify knowledge and confidence levels related to safety aboard. Repeated exercises in our sailboat racing course help students master techniques without even thinking about them. Even if the ultimate goal is cruising (and not racing), this experience in our performance sailing school is invaluable in establishing a robust understanding of what safe and efficient sailing means.

Optimist Learn-to-Race

This program is geared towards younger sailors who are enrolled in 2nd -7th grade (8-12 years old), possess some sailing experience, and have expressed an interest in competitive sailing.

The primary focus is on improving boat speed, rounding marks, starts/finishes, and basic racing tactics. Regatta participation on Fridays is included, and strongly encouraged. These are perfect events for beginners as they promote and establish a wide array of abilities.  To help students learn fundamental skills, they will participate in the WMYSA and MBJA Club Series on alternating Fridays. Tuition fees cover training at the sailing center and coaching at regattas. Fees for WMYSA regatta registration and travel are not included in tuition.

For this particular program, boats are provided. Students are encouraged to bring their own boat (storage fees apply), especially if they plan on using an Opti regularly, since sessions are limited to provided boats.

We recommend two or more two-week sessions for sailors who really want to improve their racing skills. Graduates from this class should consider joining the MBJA Race Team. The MBJA Race Team is an eight-week program designed to teach sailors advanced racing skills and tactics on a variety of boats.

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Macatawa Bay Yacht Club
Since 1993, MBJA has operated on the grounds of Macatawa Bay Yacht Club, serving the Holland community as a 501c(3) non-profit sailing school.

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US Sailing
MBJA is a proud member of US Sailing.