Sailboat Skipper Rating System

Basic Skipper Ratings - Junior and Novice

The Junior Skipper Rating is the rating achieved by the majority of active CSC sailors. This rating allows a member to sail most of the smaller boats in the daysailing area between Berkeley and Emeryville. Jr. Skippers can bring non-members out sailing as guests, and can also earn credits towards free memberships by teaching lessons (so can Novices, but a Novice can teach only one person at a time in the Novice Area).

First of all, you should read the Dinghy Sailing Manual. It has a lot of information about how to rig and sail a CSC dinghy.

The Jr. Skipper rating can be obtained by members who have contributed (and been signed off for) at least 4 hours of work and who can pass three tests: a written test covering terminology, basic sailing skills, and CSC rules (all covered in the CSC online "handbooks"); a rigging test demonstrating ability to properly rig and launch a CSC boat; and a practical sailing test demonstrating the skills listed below. The sailing test requires at least ten knots of wind, and includes a capsize.

How long will it take to get a Junior Rating?

The answer, of course, is "it depends". But the way to think about it is in terms of hours, not calendar time - hours of lessons and practice. If you're a beginner, it will probably take between 20 and 30 hours of lessons and practice to be ready for the on-the-water test. If you have sailing experience, it will take less time. Even very experienced sailors from other places may need time to adapt to the conditions on the SF Bay in the summer. And different people learn these skills at different rates.

Jr Skipper Sailing Skills Checklist:

1. Know the sailing circle and be able to sail a steady course on each trim:
· Close haul
· Close reach
· Beam reach
· Broad reach
· Run

2. Be able to sail on a close haul and close reach tack and be confident in sitting on the gunwale (AKA "Rail"), hiking out, and using the tiller extension.

3. Come about from a close haul course to a close haul course.

4. Heave to.

5. Gybe from a run to a run or a broad reach to a broad reach.

6. Slow sailing:
· crew overboard and recovery
· docking

7. Sailing backwards from the dock.

8. Capsize and recovery.
· Capsize prevention, by releasing mainsheet and jibsheet as needed, hiking out
· Preventing crew from climbing cockpit when masthead float is submerged
· Directing crew to hold bow when capsized, if needed to keep bow into wind
· Use of righting lines on Bahia
9. Anchoring especially while capsized

10. Reef underway.

11. Sail in tight circles around a buoy.
12. Right of Way Rules
Here is what to expect on your on-the-water Junior test and how to prepare for it.
Novice Rating
If you're not ready for the Junior rating, the Novice rating may be useful for you. It's a sort of Learner's Permit that lets you sail in the low-wind area under the Day Leaders supervision, either by yourself or with one other person, who needs to be a Club member (but doesn't need a rating). The rating allow you to go out and practice for the Junior test or just sail. You can even earn volunteer hours by teaching (one student only in the boat, and only in the Novice area, but great experience).  To earn the Novice rating, you need to pass the same Written and Rigging tests required for Junior and to pass a practical (on-the-water) test. The practical can be given by a sailing Senior in any wind conditions that can move the boat. You'll have to demonstrate taking the boat away from the dock by yourself, tacking, gybing, capsizing and anchoring while capsized, righting the boat and recovering the anchor, and docking.

Advanced Skipper Ratings - Senior and Cruising

More advanced ratings are earned by members who demonstrate an extremely high level of sailing skill and a commitment to the club's programs (teaching, maintenance, public service). See the links below for details on how to acquire each rating.

These ratings are obtained by passing advanced written and sailing tests, and (for the Senior Skipper rating only) contributing a work project of at least 10 hours. Refer to the Club Operating Rules to see specific requirements, sailing areas, and required equipment for advanced ratings.

The Senior Dinghy Skipper rating allows members to sail any CSC dinghy at any time, whether the club is open or not, in a much larger area than the Junior area.

This is a comprehensive guide ocusing on the Senior Dinghy rating.

The Senior Skipper rating allows members to sail any of the CSC sailboat fleet, including the larger keelboats, within an area extending out into the Bay along the Berkeley Pier, and, for keelboats only, within a much greater area ranging from Emeryville to Richmond.

The Cruising Skipper rating allows members to sail the Club keelboats anywhere within the entire San Francisco Bay and Delta system. 

The Cruising Dinghy Skipper  rating allows members to sail the Club dinghies in a wider area on the San Francisco Bay.

Click here to see who can sign off on tests and ratings.