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Learn to sail at cyc

Our high quality Learn to Sail courses at CYC are a great way to introduce your children to the lifelong sport of sailing. Our youth coaches are enthusiastic about getting people hooked on sailing, and put many hours into planning great courses

Level One - Start Sailing

This course is aimed at 9 – 14 year olds and generally follows the Yachting New Zealand 'Start Sailing' curriculum that is delivered New Zealand wide. If you have done a Have-a-go day with your school and want to do more sailing, this is a great option as a next step.

The course will cover a range of subjects, including: water safety, names of boat parts, setting up boats, capsizing, launching and retrieving, tacking, gybing, points of sail, basic knots, rules and meanings. 

The course costs $250, this includes a Junior membership for the remainder of the season, as well as use of club boats, buoyancy aids and facilities, both during the course, and for the remainder of the season, should your child want to continue sailing.​ Our coaches are all qualified Learn to Sail Coaches, and run highly effective, well managed courses.


On successful completion of the course the sailor will have achieved Level One of the YNZ Learn to Sail framework, which is nationally recognised.


Registrations for our October Courses have now closed. Check back later in the year as we may run a February Course. You can email our Head Coach (Address Below) and ask to be added to a waitlist for a February Course

Please read all the information on this page before registering

Additional courses may be run to reflect demand. 

If you have any questions, or need some help, please contact our Head Coach, Luke via email -

(We endeavour to reply within 3 working days, but please note that we are volunteers)


Course Information

Our next Learn to Sail courses are offered in October. This year, we are offering two courses, one course at the start of the October School Holidays, and the other on Sunday Afternoons, as per the table below. When you register for a course, you will have to choose either the School Holiday, or the Sunday course. There are 10 spaces in each course, with a minimum number of registrations of 3 per course. Each course covers the same content. Each session is designed to be 3 hours long, from when you arrive at the club to the end of the debrief. Participants will spend the majority of the course sailing one-person Optimist dinghies (As featured in the photos on this page) We may utilise other boats at various stages of the course, but the majority of the time, the Optimists will be used.

The School Holiday Course has its first session off-site, at our Learn to Sail partner's facility at Lake Rua, in Harewood. All other sessions, of both courses are held at the Christchurch Yacht Club, in Redcliffs

2023 course dates and times.png

We Provide

  • A qualified Yachting Instructor and assistants

  • A club optimist dinghy

  • Buoyancy Aids for the duration of the course

  • Full use of the club house and facilities

  • Free tea and coffee for parents / guardians

Your Child Should

  • Be able to swim 50 metres

  • Be confident around water

  • Have appropriate clothing, and bring it to each session - wetsuit, polyprops, raincoat, sunhat/beanie

  • Wear beach shoes or sneakers

  • On warmer days wear a sunhat, sunscreen and sunglasses

  • Have snacks and a water drink bottle

  • You must let us know if your child has any health issues we should know about

A Sailing Day

  • Arrive at the club

  • Set up the boats, and get changed, ready to go sailing

  • Have a quick pre-sailing briefing about the activities for the day

  • Go sailing

  • Come ashore, wash down and pack away all the boats

  • Have an after sailing de-brief


What Happens After Learn to Sail?

Immediately following the end of the Learn to Sail courses, we have our annual sailing camp at Takamatua, on Akaroa Harbour. This camp provides an excellent opportunity to consolidate the skills learnt during the course, gain experience in the boat, and get to know all the other junior sailors and their families. To find out more about the camp, click the button below.

  • You can enrol in our level 2 coaching programme, which is run by the same coaches as the Learn to sail. At this level we teach more advanced boat handling, and sailing skills.

  • After completion of Level Two, your sailor will be able to compete in our weekly club racing, sailing in the junior fleet.

  • After level 2, we run both adventure/fun sailing courses and also a dedicated racing programme, coached by a range of racing sailors, including ex-Olympic sailor (Tokyo 1964) and coach (Los Angeles 1984) Bret de Their. Sailors at this level can travel to regattas at other yacht clubs, both around the region, and New Zealand.

We currently have a very active fleet of juniors who race Starling dinghies both at our club and at events held around the South Island. Some of these young sailors will be helping out with the Learn to Sail course, providing you an excellent insight to the next steps in yachting

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