Learn to Sail programme

SYC Instructors teach a programme of sailing based on the Yachting New Zealand (YNZ) Learn to Sail programme.  

We currently (2018) have Steve Cartwright teaching LTS3 and Greenfleet sailors, Brooke Adamson teaching LTS2 sailors, Kate Niccolls taking the Sunday LTS1 class, and William Paterson taking the Wednesday LTS1 class.  Parents assist the coaches out in RIBs also.


The primary school run an excellent Have A Go programme and this is often the first chance the children get to go out in sailing dinghies.  From this, children often join up to the 8-week Learn To Sail programme.  We teach sailing to children from the age of 9 years at which stage they are water-confident and eager to learn. We have 7 Optimist dinghies available for learner sailors to use free of charge during the Learn to Sail Level 1 Course. We also have a number of 'Open Bic' boats in which to learn.

Sailors progressing to Learn to Sail Level 2 and above, will need their own boat. A beginner Optimist dinghy ranges in price from $150 to $1000. It is best to buy a boat as soon as possible, so your child can have maximum time on the water. A wooden dinghy is a wise choice for beginners (as the boats will get knocked around), advancing to fibreglass if your child shows intent on progressing with his/her sailing.  The boats are constantly being re-sold and we can help you find one. We encourage the use of Optimist dinghies in the LTS programme but P-Class or any other type of sailing boat is equally acceptable if you have one.

The training system consists of a series of tasks, to be completed to the satisfaction of the coach, for the sailors to be awarded a final certificate. Some of these tasks are undertaken on shore (such as boat rigging and safety) others are achieved on the water with patrol craft in attendance for safety. There is a lesson plan booklet included which covers the content of the training, a valuable tool for parents and young sailors.

When sailors are confident they progress to racing which is an important part of learning to sail, because to be a competent sailor you have to be able to sail in any direction, in heavy and very light conditions.  We understand that 'racing' is not for everyone, but we encourage racing just so we can teach the rules of sailing, apply fundamental applications such as point of wind opportunities etc.

The Club Day runs all day on Sunday with practising in the morning, come ashore for lunch and then for those who are keen, racing in the afternoon. Bring your lunch and picnic on the beach. When the weather is too rough to sail, we use those club days to catch up on onshore training such as knots, rules, and safety lessons.  Children will need water and snackfood so be sure you have plenty available to them.

Life jackets must be worn in all yachts by all ages. In rescue boats, children must also wear life jackets and the adults are expected to set a good example. Please bring a life jacket, a hat, sunscreen, swimsuit, wetsuit, or a light parka that can be worn in the water, along with towel, lunch and drink.  Be prepared to get wet at launching and/or on the boat at sea.

We look forward to talking with you and teaching your child/children to sail.  All enquiries welcome.  Email Glenys at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it for more information or 094259008. Check out information on the sections within the Centreboard Division, and those pertaining to other divisions too.