Hello and welcome to the Abbot Fletcher Sailing School.
Since 1999, Orr’s Bailey Yacht Club has offered sailing instruction through the Abbot Fletcher Sailing School on Casco Bay in Harpswell, Maine. The program has provided an enjoyable, safe, hands-on educational experience, making memories to last a lifetime. The consistent involvement of committed OBYC members, parents, and, most importantly, the efforts of our dedicated instructors, has made our program one of the very best in Maine. A word about the school.
The name sake of the Abbot Fletcher Sailing School is Abbot Fletcher. Abbot was a long time member of the Orr’s-Bailey Yacht Club. He raced and sailed on Merriconeag Sound with his grandfather, Rear Admiral William B. Fletcher, in a 32 foot gaff-rigged sloop “Juanona” from the 1930s to 1950s. He later owned a 38 ft. sloop “Majek” in which he had a long and distinguished career, winning dozens of races including multiple Monhegan Island and Marion, MA to Bermuda Races. Abbot shared his love of sailing with his family and with all who sailed with him, including the Bowdoin College Sailing Team of which he was coach for many years. Abbot’s son, Max, has been an active member of OBYC for many years and carries on his father’s tradition of sail boat racing and extensive cruising. Abbot’s grandson, Christopher, was a founding instructor of the Sailing School and served as Program Director in 2013 and 2014.
We are looking forward to the 2017 season. It may be cold now, but summer is ahead, that is a certainty. We are pleased to announce that last year’s Head Instructor, Andrew Hartnett, will be returning this coming summer, as well as Instructors Augie, Chelsea, and Ashley.
We teach sailing, boating safety and sailboat racing skills to children ages of 8-18. Our instructional programs offer opportunities to develop greater sailing ability, self-confidence, social skills, goal setting, achievement, and an understanding of seamanship and interaction with others in a unique ocean environment. We accept junior sailors from both member and non- member families. The Abbot Fletcher Sailing School is an organization that encourages diversity and equality. Most of our instructors began sailing in our Junior Program. We invite all to join us as we grow and learn in a spirit of camaraderie and respect, passing on the heritage of Maine sailing.
The Beginner sessions are held in the morning. We use our Hunter sailboats, and an instructor is always on board to guide the student to impart the basic knowledge of sailing. As a sailor progresses, the Opti’s are introduced so that the student gains confidence to be in an Opti or 420 sailboat in order to progress to the afternoon Intermediate sessions.
It is highly recommended that a student attend a 2-week session. However, we recognize that some schedules do not allow this commitment. A student with no prior sailing instruction may sign up for a 1-week session ony during week #1 of a 2-week session.
Student sailors use Opti’s and 420’s in the afternoon Intermediate sessions. We will continue the skills needed to be a proficient sailor, using the time for building sailing knowledge. We will have the markers set up to learn racing skills, but the emphasis will be on a skill-based program. We feel this will prepare any student to enter a full-time racing program or be a part of our non-competitive team should he/she have the desire to do so.
The 2017 enrollment application can be found below. We encourage early sign-ups as classes are limited to 12 students per sessions, and we anticipate they will fill up quickly.
A swim test is required on the first day of each class. This is not a difficult test but demonstrates a student’s swimming ability and comfort level around water.
The test requires the following:
- Each student swims approximately 30′ while wearing a life jacket.
- At the end of the 30′ swim, the student must remove the life jacket, tread water for 30 seconds
- Swim 30′ back to the where they started without the life jacket.
- Any stroke is acceptable. Please bring a bathing suit, towel and dry clothes on the first day.
We hope you‘ll join us this summer.
Sue Baker, Bob Gill, Nick Nichols
Abbot Fletcher Sailing School Committee Co-Chairs
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