- Listing Type: Summer Programs
- Program Delivery: Day
- Session Start: June, July, August
- Session Length: One Week, Two Weeks, Six Weeks, Four Weeks, Two Months, Other, Three Weeks, Five Weeks
- Entering Grade: Below 6th, 6th, 7th, 8th
- Gender: Coed
- Category: Outdoor Adventure
- Sub-Categories: Sailing
- Selective: No
- Ages: 12, 13
- Minimum Cost: <$500
The Manhattan Sailing School “Operation Optimist” is a summer sailing camp run by the NY Harbor Sailing Foundation. It was started in 2007 with 10 Optimists and has grown to 30 boats! This is one of the greatest summer experiences your child can have in the harbor!
Manhattan Sailing School “Operation Optimist”
Boats – Kids learn to sail “Optimist” dinghies. These boats are used for teaching juniors in more than 110 countries around the world! Kids can sail these boats all by themselves. Check the video below to see what it is like to sail an Optimist dinghy.
Ages – Operation Optimist is open to kids from 8 to 13 years of age. Kids must have reached their 8th birthday before they begin sailing.
Where We Sail – We sail the Optimist dinghies in the protected waters southwest of the Statue of Liberty. This is a shallow part of the harbor separated from the shipping channels by a reef. Our Optimist dinghies are stored on floating docks anchored in this sailing area. During lunch, the kids and instructors sometimes go ashore at Liberty State Park to sit in the shade of trees.
Meeting Location & Time – For the past 8 years, we have run our launch out of North Cove marina in Lower Manhattan. But the management of the marina changed last winter and now Brookfield is in charge. They have not yet given us permission to pick up and drop off kids from North Cove. Therefore, we will run our launch from Liberty Harbor Marina in Jersey City. This will open up our program to many more kids from NJ. For NYC kids who have participated in the past, you can still sail with us. We will just take a ferry over in the morning, departing from the World Financial Center ferry dock. Then at the end of the day, you will be able to ride the ferry back to Manhattan as well. For kids coming from NJ, drop off at the Liberty Harbor Marina is between 8:45 to 9:00 am and pick up is from 5:00 to 5:15 p.m. For kids coming from Manhattan, you will catch the 8:45 am ferry to Jersey City and arrive back in Manhattan at 5:15 pm.
Transportation – Transportation from Liberty Landing Marina in Jersey City to the sailing dock and back is provided by Big Toot, a 40 foot US Coast Guard certified launch.
Schedule – Operation Optimist runs Monday to Friday during the summer school vacation. There are 10 one-week sessions. Students may enroll in any number of sessions (2 weeks is suggested to allow kids to develop skills and gain confidence).
Green, White & Blue Fleets – Sailors are divided into 3 fleets - Green, White & Blue. The Green Fleet is for novices who have never sailed before. They learn safety, terminology, how and why sailboats work and basic seamanship. The focus of the Green Fleet is having fun and gaining confidence in the boat. The White and Blue Fleet are for kids who are ready to take their sailing to the next level. They will already be proficient in the Optimist and are set to learn advanced maneuvering and boat handling. The Blue Fleet emphasizes racing, rules and tactics.
Race Team – If you child is really into sailing, they can join our Race Team. Each summer, we participate in several day-regattas at neighboring yacht clubs. Our Foundation arranges for the delivery of the Optimist dinghies and kids car-pool with parents. Sailing in a regatta with kids from all over is a great growing experience for your child.
Parent Fridays – On Friday afternoons, parents are invited to come out and watch their kids sail. Parents should drive to the Liberty State Park public launching ramp on the south side of Liberty State Park. Please arrive by 2 pm and our powerboat will pick you up and bring you out to the Optimist docks. You can watch until 3:00 p.m. when the kids begin putting away their boats. You can also meet the kids back at Liberty Harbor Marina on Friday afternoon at 4 p.m. when we present weekly medals and trophies.