top of page

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 cost 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.


This season (2024/25), we have tentative dates for two courses in October/November, as outlined below. If you would like to be notified when registration for these courses opens (Probably end of July/start of August), please email our Head Coach at





Due to our location at the mouth of the Avon/Heathcote Estuary, our sailing activities are highly dependent on the tidal conditions. As such, we cannot run sessions at the same time each week, hence the start times jump around a little bit.

Each session is designed to be 3 hours long, from the stated arrival time, to the end of the de-brief at the end of the session.

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)

2024 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

bottom of page