Haven Beach Club offers a variety of sailing programs for our young sailors. Children are invited to participate in our sailing programs at the age of eight. The program’s primary goal is to teach the fundamentals of sailing in a safe and fun environment. Whether your child is of the competitive nature or just wants to sail for fun, he or she will find a place in one of our programs.

Our youngest sailors begin in Optimist (Opti) dinghies. There are several levels within the Opti class. Our beginner program is designed to teach boat safety, responsibility, rigging and boat handling. Classes run three mornings a week for 1-1/2 hours each day. Class size is limited to ten students per class. Every child is encouraged to provide their own boat; however, for an additional fee, there are a limited number of Club Optis available for a one season use by a beginner sailor. These boats are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Intermediate Opti sailors learn the more advanced skills of sail trim and boat handling. Students at this level are introduced to racing. HBC sponsors Saturday morning races at the Club each week.

The more advanced Opti classes emphasize learning the skills necessary to navigate a craft under variable wind and water conditions. Techniques are taught which enable the sailors at this level to optimize the performance of their boats. The rules, tactics and ethics required for more advanced sailing competition are included in the instruction.

In addition to the Opti classes, there are instructional programs for single-handed boats, such as Lasers and Sunfish, and double-handed boats, specifically the 420. The single-handed boat instruction is geared toward the level of competence of the individual sailor; the 420 instruction emphasizes competitive sailing and working as partners to successfully manage a collegiate-level craft. Students must provide their own boats for these programs.

Our Instructional Staff

Our sailing instructional staff includes a highly qualified sailing master and several skilled assistants. Instruction is provided both on and off the water. During inclement weather, students receive instruction in boat maintenance, sailing knots, sailing vocabulary, fundamental rules, racing tactics and a variety of other sailing-related subjects. All of our more competitive sailors–Intermediate to Advanced Opti, Sunfish, Laser and 420–are encouraged to participate in the Club’s Saturday series, as well as the LBIYRA sponsored Wednesday inter-club races.

All sailors must be able to swim and will be tested at the start of the season.

Meet Your Instructors

Thomas Vecchio

Your head instructor is back for his 5th summer as a sailing instructor for HBC. He spent the last year at Saint Joseph’s University studying Food Marketing. He will be teaching the Opt Beginner class as well as the Sunfish Beginner/Cruising class and the afternoon Sunfish/Laser/420 racing class. He is very excited for a fun and safe summer.

Drew Lorenz

Drew is returning for his 2nd summer as a sailing instructor for HBC. He is a rising sophomore at the University of Miami and is studying Finance. He will be teaching the Opt Intermediate class, the Opti Beginner class and Sunfish/Laser/420 racing class. He is excited to watch how our sailors progress in inter-clubs throughout the year.

Christy Verhoog

Christy is returning for her 2nd summer as a sailing instructor for HBC. She is going to be a sophomore at Boston College and is studying Economics. She will be teaching the Opti Beginner classes and the Opti Intermediate class. She is eager to watch new students learn how to sail and all students discover to love to sail.

Clayton Johnson

Clayton is returning for his 2nd summer as a sailing instructor for HBC. He is finishing up his junior year at Conestoga High School. He will be teaching the Opti Beginner class, Sunfish cruising class and the Opti racing class. He is excited to help kids hone their knowledge and skills in sailing and work as a team.

Important Reminders & Events

  • Sailing students must wear shoes at all times on the beach and in the water. Safety is our first priority.
  • Sailors should arrive before class time so they can be rigged and ready at the start of their class time.
  • Parent volunteers are needed to trailer boats for the Saturday Series races. Skippers meeting at 9:30 am. All are welcome to participate and watch.
  • Always check the bulletin boards for other fun events like the Junior Safety at Sea Seminar at Raritan Yacht Club.