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Frequently Asked Questions

Learn-to-Sail Lessons Questions

  1. When do the lessons start?
  2. Do I need to sign up in advance for a Learn-to-Sail Lesson?
  3. I'm an MIT student. Can I bring a guest for the Learn-to-Sail Lesson?
  4. What are the requirements?
  5. What should I wear to the lessons?
  6. Can I reserve a spot?
  7. When should I show up?
  8. What's next?
  9. Can I go sailing outside of class?
  10. If I have already taken the Wednesday Class 1, can I just take the second half of the Sunday class?

Membership & Cards Questions

  1. I'm an MIT student. Can I become a member?
  2. I'm not an MIT student. Can I become a member?
  3. What happens to my sailing card after I leave MIT?

Swimming Requirement Questions

  1. Do I really need to meet the requirement?
  2. I'm bringing my little brother along with me. Does he have to pass the swim test?

Boats, Ratings, and Wind Questions

  1. Is pollution in the Charles something I should be concerned about?
  2. I have a sailing card. Can I go sailing? (Is there's too much wind?)
  3. Can I take out a Lynx Catboat with some friends?

Sailing Team Questions

  1. Is Sailing a Varsity Sport at MIT?
  2. Can any MIT undergraduate join? Do I need lost of prior experience?
  3. Who do you sail against?
  4. When do you practice and compete?
  5. It sounds like a big time commitment. Will I be able to handle it with my course load?
  6. Sailing sounds expensive. What am I going to have to buy?
  7. I have a small build and am usually too small for other sports. Can I sail?
  8. Is there a women's team?

Bluewater Questions

  1. What is "Bluewater" sailing?
  2. Can I go sailing on <i>X Dimension</i>?
  3. Do I have to know how to sail?
  4. How do I sign up?
  5. How many people can sail on X Dimension?
  6. Can I bring friends?
  7. How long are the trips?
  8. What should I wear?
  9. What should I bring?
  10. What about seasickness?
  11. How often can I sail on X Dimension?
  12. How can I become a skipper?

Other Questions

  1. What do I do with my wallet or other valuables while I'm sailing?
  2. What's up?

Learn-to-Sail Lessons Answers

  1. Q: When do the lessons start?
    A:
    • Wednesday lessons start early May. See the schedule for details.
    • Sunday lessons start mid-May. See the schedule for details.

    Last edit by: mbwall
  2. Q: Do I need to sign up in advance for a Learn-to-Sail Lesson?
    A: Depends on which type of class:
    • Wednesdays: Preferred that you pre-register, especially for Class 2.
    • Sundays: Limited space, so you should pre-register in the week prior to the class. Priority will be given to confirmed registrants, then overflow pending registrants, then walk-ins.

    Last edit by: egibber@alum.mit.edu
  3. Q: I'm an MIT student. Can I bring a guest for the Learn-to-Sail Lesson?
    A: Yes, you may bring one guest. However, on Sundays non-MIT guests will not be confirmed registrants, so will be fit in only if space available.
    Last edit by: egibber@alum.mit.edu
  4. Q: What are the requirements?
    A: Learn-to-Sail classes are available and free for the MIT Community. You need:
    • Valid MIT ID (student, faculty, staff, alum, or affiliate (including spouse))
    • Meet the swimming requirement, although no certificate is needed. But everyone sailing must know how to swim.

    Last edit by: mbwall
  5. Q: What should I wear to the lessons?
    A: Wear clothes you don't mind getting wet! And remember that it's usually colder on the water than inland. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes with a good rubber sole (preferably sneakers). Because there is always the chance you may capsize, you may want to bring along a dry change of clothes. If you wear glasses, please tie them on with string from the front desk or with your own sports leash. (Learn-to-Sail lesson 1 does not go in the water, so you can wear any clothes for that one).
    Last edit by: alvarso
  6. Q: Can I reserve a spot?
    A: Depends on which day you're interested in:
    • Wednesdays: Encouraged that you pre-register. If you do not show up on time, walk-ins will take spots available on a first-come first-serve basis.
    • Sundays: Limited space, so you should pre-register in the week prior to the class. Priority will be given to confirmed registrants, then overflow pending registrants, then walk-ins.

    Last edit by: egibber@alum.mit.edu
  7. Q: When should I show up?
    A: Show up at:
    • Wednesday: Between 5:00pm. and 5:15pm.
    • Sunday: Lessons start at 9:00am. But normally the class is over-subscribed, so we suggest you show up by 8:45am to check in. Pre-registered students must show up no later than 8:55am to retain their spots. Don't show up before 8:30am, since nobody will be around!

    Last edit by: egibber@alum.mit.edu
  8. Q: What's next?
    A: Please see the What next? page...
    Last edit by: theodric
  9. Q: Can I go sailing outside of class?
    A: You need to get a Sailing Card so that once you learn to sail (usually after Lesson 2 or the Sunday All-in-one), you can practice on your own, and ultimate to take friend with you, outside of class. The Sailing Card section of the site has full information.
    Last edit by: theodric
  10. Q: If I have already taken the Wednesday Class 1, can I just take the second half of the Sunday class?
    A: No
    Last edit by: theodric

Membership & Cards Answers

  1. Q: I'm an MIT student. Can I become a member?
    A: YES!!! Just bring your MIT ID and, if you're under 21, your small boat swim test certificate. Please see the General Information page for details.
    Last edit by: alvarso
  2. Q: I'm not an MIT student. Can I become a member?
    A: All members of the MIT Community who have an 6 or 12 month MIT athletic membership, can obtain a Sailing Card.

    If you already have athletic privileges (ie, bought a 6/12mo MIT Athletics Membership) proceed to the New Account page to register. Then bring your MIT ID or Athletic card (and swimming certificate if under 21) to the Pavilion.

    If you do not have athletic privileges please visit the Z-Center Membership Information Page to learn about memberships and short-period passes.

    You can also get a Racing Membership if you are interested only in our racing series.
    Last edit by: mbwall
  3. Q: What happens to my sailing card after I leave MIT?
    A: We keep old sailing cards in the card catalogue behind the desk (how retro!) If you come back later and get an athletic sticker, we can renew your old card. There are cards dating from 1937, when the pavilion first opened and issued cards. Since some of the first cardholders were faculty, we have cards for people who graduated significantly before 1937.
    Last edit by: alvarso

Swimming Requirement Answers

  1. Q: Do I really need to meet the requirement?
    A: YES, there are no exceptions. If you're under 21 you must take the test; if you're over 21 you must sign to the fact that you know how to swim.
    Last edit by: alvarso
  2. Q: I'm bringing my little brother along with me. Does he have to pass the swim test?
    A: A MITNA member who signs out a boat is responsible for ensuring that their guests can swim. The Pavilion requires everyone in a boat to be wearing a lifejacket. Everyone under the age of 12 is required by law to wear a life jacket.
    Last edit by: alvarso

Boats, Ratings, and Wind Answers

  1. Q: Is pollution in the Charles something I should be concerned about?
    A: The Charles River is much cleaner today than it was 20 years ago, though there is still room for improvement. There is extensive monitoring and flagging (including at the Pavilion). More information can be found at the CRWA Water Quality Monitoring page.
    Last edit by: alvarso
  2. Q: I have a sailing card. Can I go sailing? (Is there's too much wind?)
    A: We recommend that any new Pavilion members take Lesson 1 before sailing; it includes a Pavilion orientation as well as a demonstration of how to rig a Tech Dinghy.
    In general, anyone with a sailing card can take out a Tech Dinghy, wind conditions permitting. If there is too much wind, you may be asked to put on a small sail; sometimes only members with Provisional ratings may be allowed to sail. (If it's really windy, “only Helmsmen need apply”!) Ask the dock staff.
    (See the Ratings page for more information.)
    Last edit by: alvarso
  3. Q: Can I take out a Lynx Catboat with some friends?
    A: If you have your Provisional rating, you can check out a Lynx in light wind conditions, but we would prefer that you attend one of the Lynx classes first. If you have your Lynx rating you may sail them in stronger wind. In stronger winds, you should sail with one or two reefs in the sail.
    Last edit by: theodric

Sailing Team Answers

  1. Q: Is Sailing a Varsity Sport at MIT?
    A: Yes, MIT Sailing is a varsity sport at MIT. This means that you are well supported through the Department of Athletics and have access to all varsity athlete privileges including Athletic Training and the Varsity weight room.
    Last edit by: alvarso
  2. Q: Can any MIT undergraduate join? Do I need lost of prior experience?
    A: EVERY MIT undergraduate is welcome to join the Sailing Team at MIT. In fact, some of our most successful sailors have come to us having never sailed before college. All that is required for success is a great attitude and desire to learn a new and fun sport. Of course, we take experienced sailors as well.
    Last edit by: alvarso
  3. Q: Who do you sail against?
    A: As one or the Charter members of college sailing, MIT competes at the top level of Intercollegiate sailing. We compete every weekend against the best in the country and have had a great level of success in the storied history of the program.
    Last edit by: alvarso
  4. Q: When do you practice and compete?
    A: Our normal practice times are from 4-7 on Tuesdays through Friday. We compete on the weekends.
    Last edit by: alvarso
  5. Q: It sounds like a big time commitment. Will I be able to handle it with my course load?
    A: We are VERY realistic about the amount of work our student-athletes have. Facing such challenges in the classroom requires a lot of hard work and we feel it is important that the Sailing Team takes NOTHING away from your student experience. However, we can provide some much needed distraction and social support from the pressures of school.

    With such a wide range of experience on the team, we try hard to offer something for everyone. Some sailors compete every weekend and are working hard to be the best in the entire country. Others on the team are sailing on only a few Saturdays or Sundays per season.

    Of course, MIT hosts regattas almost every single weekend and with all the other schools in Boston, you can sail almost all of your regattas on the River, which means no time wasted traveling. As long as you communicate with the coaches about your desired time commitment, we will do our best to make it work for you and the team.
    Last edit by: alvarso

  6. Q: Sailing sounds expensive. What am I going to have to buy?
    A: Nothing! At MIT, we have excellent support for our student athletes. We take care of all of the major expenses, like a drysuit, lifejacket, and boats. Other gear is all optional and we leave the rest to personal preference. Usually some fleece long underwear, gloves, hat, and old sneakers is the minimum you would need. Even our team travel, lunches at regattas, and gas and hotels are covered by the Institute.
    Last edit by: alvarso
  7. Q: I have a small build and am usually too small for other sports. Can I sail?
    A: YES! Sailing in college has no limitations to size, and in many cases, the smaller the better. Athleticism, balance, and endurance are always pluses but in many cases, sailing can help you gain some of these attributes.
    Last edit by: alvarso
  8. Q: Is there a women's team?
    A: Yes, there is a Coed Team and a Women's team, so women are invited to come and sail on both teams. Women are always welcome to compete against the boys, and often sail in the same boat together. We support our Women's team as well as our Coed, with coaches at most events and comprehensive travel.
    Last edit by: alvarso

Bluewater Answers

  1. Q: What is "Bluewater" sailing?
    A: We use the term "Bluewater" to describe sailing that is done in Boston Harbor and in the Atlantic Ocean where the water is blue (well... it's much bluer than the muddy Charles River!). MIT's current bluewater sailboat is X Dimension, a 43-foot C&C sloop.
    Last edit by: theodric
  2. Q: Can I go sailing on <i>X Dimension</i>?
    A: Yes! Sailing on X Dimension is open to all members of the MIT community and their guests, with preference going to persons with an active Sailing Card.
    Last edit by: mbwall
  3. Q: Do I have to know how to sail?
    A: You do not have to know how to sail to sign up for a trip on X Dimension. We welcome sailors of all skill levels and abilities. A boat the size of X Dimension needs a crew to sail her and we're always eager to teach new sailors the skills that they need to help keep her on a steady course.
    Last edit by: theodric
  4. Q: How do I sign up?
    A: Trips will be scheduled through the Sailing Calendar. Often, trips will be announced on the Bluewater mailing list. If you would like to schedule a trip, send email to one or more of the captains to let them know what you would like to plan. How many days? What destination? Who will go? What stops will be made along the way? The captain on each voyage has the final say on who may sail on any given trip.
    Last edit by: mbwall
  5. Q: How many people can sail on X Dimension?
    A: X Dimension needs at least two people to sail her, preferably three or four. Most trips have no more than eight or nine people aboard as it tends to start getting crowded with much more than that. The actual number of crew is up to the discretion of the captain on each trip. There are nine berths on X Dimension, so most overnight trips are limited to nine people, although, if the weather is nice, people could sleep out on deck with a sleeping bag.
    Last edit by: theodric
  6. Q: Can I bring friends?
    A: Yes, you may bring friends, but the captain has final say on who may sail on each trip. All persons, including your guests, must sign up for a trip on the website and must be confirmed by the captain. Please keep in mind that the captain may prefer to have one or two experienced crew aboard to help sail the boat, so there may not be enough room for too many of your friends.
     
    To sign up a guest who is not affiliated with MIT, select "Other Non-Student" as their MIT affiliation".
    Last edit by: theodric
  7. Q: How long are the trips?
    A: Most bluewater trips are short afternoon or evening sails, the shortest of which are usually about 3-4 hours long. Day-long, overnight and weekend sails are common. Usually once or twice each season, a captain will take her up to Maine, or down to Martha's Vineyard for a week or so. The length of each trip will be announced beforehand by the captain.
    Last edit by: theodric
  8. Q: What should I wear?
    A: Wear comfortable clothing that protects you from the sun. A hat and sunglasses are recommended. It can get chilly out on the water, especially after dark. Check the weather forecast for the day of your sail and assume that it will be 15-20 degrees colder than that out on the water. So bring a sweater and/or a light jacket even on hot summer days. Several layers of clothing work best because the temperature can change quite drastically. If the weather forecast calls for rain, you should bring a waterproof jacket or other foul-weather gear.

    While on board, wear comfortable shoes with non-marking soles. For multi-day trips or trips where you will go ashore, bring both boat shoes and shore shoes. Sandals and flip-flops are not recommended aboard the boat, especially for novice sailors, as there are many fittings on the deck on which one can easily stub toes. Do not wear black-soled shoes, even if they are touted as 'non-marking', as they will mar the white deck.
    Last edit by: theodric
  9. Q: What should I bring?
    A: As mentioned above, bring a sweater or jacket with you in case it gets cold. Bring footwear for both the boat and shore. For the boat wear shoes with non-marking soles and toe protection.

    You'll stay warmer, be more alert, be more resistant to seasickness and generally have a better time if you're well fed, so bring something to eat, even on short trips. There is usually plenty of drinking water aboard, but it is a good idea to bring some yourself. A good rule of thumb for hydration is one gallon of water per person per 24-hour period. For longer trips, check with your captain, as he or she may be planning to provision the boat for the whole crew. There is an icebox and cabinets for storing food.

    Feel free to bring a camera or binoculars. Reading material and playing cards or other games are good for multi-day trips.
    Last edit by: theodric
  10. Q: What about seasickness?
    A: Check the marine forecast before the trip. Most people don't get seasick in 1-2 foot waves, but 4 foot waves or more can make even our most experienced skippers queasy. If you know that you get seasick easily, let your captain know and he or she may choose a different course or destination to accommodate you with flatter seas.

    To prevent seasickness before the trip, avoid alcohol and get plenty to eat and plenty of sleep the day before the trip. On the day of the trip avoid caffeine and stay well hydrated. If you have seasickness medication, take it before you set sail. During the trip, drink plenty of water and eat frequent small snacks instead of a few big meals. Keep your eyes on the horizon and avoid going down below. If you start getting sick, let your captain know and move to the downwind side of the boat.

    More information about seasickness and its prevention can be found in the following articles:
    Last edit by: theodric
  11. Q: How often can I sail on X Dimension?
    A: You may sign up for trips as often as you like, but people who sail often on X Dimension are expected help in the maintenance of the boat. A loose rule of thumb is that for every three trips that you sail, you should come to at least one work party. Work parties are often announced on the bluewater mailing list. Peruse the list of tasks, then talk to the captains about what you can do to help keep her shipshape and seaworthy.
    Last edit by: theodric
  12. Q: How can I become a skipper?
    A: We encourage anyone with a current MIT sailing card to get out and sail MIT's bluewater boat. However, only bluewater skippers can schedule trips. So if you would like to organize a trip, contact a bluewater skipper or become one yourself.

    The first step is to start sailing! Sign up for trips and let your captains know that you're interested in becoming a skipper. They may assign you various responsibilities on the trip. The next step is to start helping work on Nevermore. Get familiar with the systems on board and do your part to help keep her in good shape.

    Please see the Bluewater Skipper Rating page for full details on what it takes to be rated as a bluewater skipper.
    Last edit by: theodric

Other Answers

  1. Q: What do I do with my wallet or other valuables while I'm sailing?
    A: Put your wallet, keys and/or other valuables in an envelope, write your name on it and put it through the hole in the front side of the desk next to the dock. This is the lock box. The dock staff have keys and will unlock the box for you when you get back in from sailing. The lock box is limited in size, please leave computers and larger valuable items at home.
    Last edit by: alvarso
  2. Q: What's up?
    A: Port beam cross aft.
    Last edit by: alvarso

MIT
Updated: 2014/05/05 12:31:34
MIT
Updated: 2014/05/05 12:31:34