Sailing with St. Bart's:
You Can't Beat the Experience

St. Bart's Sailing Members' Handbook 2003



The Executive Committee meets monthly. Meetings shall be scheduled and space arranged for them by the Vice Commodore--Events. Executive Committee meetings are open to all interested Sailing members. In addition to the Commodore and Vice Commodores, all Sailing members who are actively participating in the organization of an upcoming event should attend. All attending may discuss and vote on Sailing business, except in those specific cases where a vote of the Commodore and Vice Commodores alone is required.

The General Committee shall meet monthly to hear announcements about business matters conducted by the Executive Committee. The Vice commodore--Events shall oversee arrangements for these meetings, which will include, but not be limited to: general announcements, election of the Commodore according to Community Club guidelines; election of the Sailing's annual member of the year according to Community Club guidelines; recruitment for help with upcoming activities like boat maintenance and party planning; sailing sign-ups; and participation interest lists for special trips and activities.


St. Bart's Sailing has eight levels of participation (the application fee structure for each is indicated in parentheses).

Guest: Anyone who is not a member of St. Bart's Sailing, regardless of their sailing skill level. No responsibility beyond what is assigned during the sail.

Crew: Sailing member with limited sailing experience. Expected to help with basic sailing tasks. No responsibility beyond what is assigned during the cruise.

Second Mate: Sailing member with moderate sailing experience and an expressed interest in advancing. Expected to help with basic and intermediate sailing tasks. No responsibility beyond what is assigned during the cruise.

Day/Evening Sail First Mate: Sailing member who has recently taken and passed the written and practical First Mate tests. First Mate responsibilities are explained elsewhere in this handbook.

Cruising First Mate: Sailing First Mate who has participated in a number of day and evening sails and has the greater range of experience necessary for a weekend trip on Bright Star or on a chartered vessel. The First Mate's specific responsibilities are explained elsewhere in this handbook.

Day/Evening Sail Skipper: Skipper who has recently taken and passed the written and practical tests for both First Mate and Skipper, and who has filed a sailing resume with the committee. The Skipper's specific responsibilities are explained elsewhere in this handbook

Cruising Skipper: Skipper who has commanded a number of day and evening sails and has the greater range of experience necessary for a weekend trip on Bright Star or on a chartered vessel. The Skipper's specific responsibilities are explained elsewhere in this handbook.

Charter Skipper: Skipper who has commanded cruises on Bright Star and developed the appropriate skills to command a charter boat for a full week.


Promotion to the level of Second Mate is informal. Sailing members who actively participate are automatically second mates.

Promotion to First Mate requires: passing the written and practical First Mate tests, recommendation for promotion by the Vice Commodore--Education to the Commodore, and approval of the Commodore. Promotion from day and evening First Mate to cruising First Mate is informal and automatic after the candidate has sailed with several different Skippers in a variety of conditions.

Promotion to Skipper requires passing the written and practical First Mate and Skipper tests, recommendation for promotion by the Vice Commodore--Education, and approval of the Commodore. Promotion to Cruising Skipper is informal and automatic after the candidate has commanded Bright Star on a number of sails in a variety of conditions.

Charter Skippers are promoted from cruising Skippers based on experience, need, and acceptance by the charter company.

Membership and Dues

Sailing membership is open to all members of the St. Bart's community and their friends. People who are not members of St. Bart's Sailing may sail on Bright Star, but are asked to pay fees to help offset maintenance costs.

Any non-Sailing member may sail up to three times in a season. After that, he or she is asked to join St. Bart's Sailing. Guests who sail more than three times are subject to increased fees for each sail.

Fees paid for the first three sails in one season are credited to toward the first year's dues. Sailing dues are annual and payable at any time throughout the year. Sailing members who participate in seven or more maintenance days (or perform tasks of equal value) receive a rebate of $50 on the next year's dues.


Sailing member may bring one guest to any Sailing activity. The member is responsible for their guest's fee. If space is available, members are allowed to bring more guests. Non-Sailing members who sign up independently are considered guests of the Skipper.


Sailing sign-ups are handled via the Sailing InfoLine. Sign-up messages left on the line must include a name, a desired date, any guests names, and phone numbers all sign-up messages are confirmed within 48 hours. All sails are on a first-come-first-served basis, but reservations are considered tentative until payment (check or money order) arrives. If a sail becomes overbooked, unpaid sailors and their guests are placed on a waiting list and contacted.

When confirming a sail, participants should always ask for the names and phone numbers of the Skipper and First Mate for the day they're sailing. All questions about the sail including what train to take, food to bring, duration, etc., should be directed to the VC--Scheduling or the Skipper.

Payment Policies

St. Bart's Sailing accepts cash and checks made out to St. Bart's for payment of Sailing dues, Sailing fees, or social event charges. All sailing must be paid for in advance. If the cruise becomes full, participants who have called in to sign up but have not yet paid will be moved to the waiting list in favor of any later participants who do pay in advance. If for any reason a sailor fails to pay in advance but attends the sail, he or she should pay the Skipper by cash or check.

No refunds are granted for sailing, only dollar-for-dollar credits for future sailing. No credits are given to non-Sailing members. Credits for non-Sailing members are given to their sponsoring member (who may use them for future guest sails).

Waiting List

Whenever a sailing event is filled, a chronological waiting list is created. Sailors on the waiting list do not need to make any payment or deposit unless and until a slot becomes available, at which time their payment becomes due if the wish to participate.


Pre-paid sailors who cancel via the Sailing InfoLine or the Skipper at least 24 hours in advance are granted a credit for future sailing. Credit is issued for cancellations within a 24 hours if a replacement sailor is available. No credits or refunds are given for no-shows. Sailing members who cancel with 24 hours or do not make the boat are charged the guest fee if there was a waiting list for the sail.

As a matter of courtesy, always call your Skipper if you cannot make a sail, even at the last minute. The Skipper may know of someone to take your place, and will not hold the boat waiting for you.

If the Skipper determines that a sail should be canceled due to bad weather before leaving home for the boat he or she must contact all sailors signed up for the event. If the Skipper cannot reach all participants and believes that they might be en route to the boat, he or she must get a message to them at the boatyard or go in person to tell them of the cancellation. Participants in any sail should contact the Skipper before assuming the sail is canceled due to bad weather.

Safety and Security

Successful sailboat cruising requires a clear command structure and mutual understanding of the duties of all aboard. In all activities aboard the Skipper is the final authority. This authority ranges form stereo use and alcohol consumption to sail trim and navigation. The First Mate is the Skipper's right hand, required to follow the Skipper's orders in a cooperative manner. The rest of the participants in any sail must cooperate with the Skipper and First Mate, bearing in mind that their own safety and fun are the officers' primary concern. Participants who establish a pattern of difficult behavior while aboard or who deliberately disobey the officers' orders face the possibility of suspension from sailing.

Float Plan Cruising Skippers are required to file a float plan with a member of the Executive Committee or another Skipper or First Mate prior to each cruise. The member receiving the float plan should be available throughout the weekend. The float plan may be verbal and informal. The Skipper must adhere to the float plan to the best of his or her ability or make a reasonable effort to notify either the member charged with it or the Commodore by telephone if a change occurs mid-cruise.

Sailing Area Bright Star's normal cruising waters are Long Island Sound between the Throg's Neck Bridge on the southwest and the line created by Norwalk, CT and Port Jefferson, NY on the east. Common sense is to be exercised at all times when navigating inlets, bays, and channels along the included coastline. Cruising Skippers proposing destinations beyond these cruising waters should chart their proposed trip and present their plan to the Executive Committee in advance.

Weather Skippers are responsible for checking the weather forecast before embarking on any sail. In threatening conditions, the Skipper may determine not to sail. Weather conditions that cause an immediate cancellation of sailing activities include thunderstorms, hail, fog, and excessively heavy winds. Simple rain is not a reason for immediate cancellation. Cancellation of a sail due to weather is entirely up to the Skipper. Guests who choose not to participate because of bad weather are required to pay for the sail.


At the outset of each sail, the Skipper or the First Mate asks all participants if they know how to swim, making special note of those who do not. The Skipper or First Mate should show everyone where the life jackets are stored and, if there are non-swimmers on aboard, how to put one on.

An average to high level of swimming ability is required for all participants in trips that are longer than a weekend and outside of our cruising area.

The Skipper and/or First Mate should demonstrate the use of the marine toilet to any who need it. The combination to Bright Star's lock shall be known to all Skippers, First Mates, Commodores, and the Commodore. On cruising weekends, Sailing members who may need access to the boat while not in the company of an officer may be given the combination at the Skipper's discretion (guests are not given the combination under any circumstances).

Bright Star's cabin heater is not to be used. It requires smokeless coal that is not a regular part of Bright Star's inventory. Skippering of cruising weekends at the extreme beginning or end of the season may discuss the possibility of using the heater with the Commodore in advance.


It is the responsibility of each Skipper and First Mate to see that Bright Star is left in the same or better condition than before their sail. Specific tasks to be performed are listed in the log. Routine maintenance after a cruising weekend includes all of the daily chores plus:

  • A thorough cleaning, including the cooler
  • Cleaning the head including the floor and sink
  • Refilling the fresh water tanks

Regular maintenance on the engine, sails, safety gear, electrical systems, etc., is coordinated by the Vice Commodore--Maintenance. Skippers and First Mates may be requested to perform simple tasks before their sail. Maintenance problems during sailing should be noted in the log. In addition, the Skipper must contact the Vice Commodore to report the problem verbally.

If the head holding tank is used, it is the responsibility of the Skipper to empty it at the conclusion of the sail.