Learn to sail

Michelle and sailors

Learn to Sail Programme

Sailing is a great family activity and encourages children to develop some valuable life skills such as independence and resilience. The social side of spending time in the outdoors with other young sailors also appeals to many children. The sheltered waters of Charteris Bay make an ideal spot for children to experience sailing for the first time.

We offer a two-day camp in Spring and a three-day camp in Summer and a Term 1 and 4 after school programme for beginners. The after school programme runs every fortnight (due to the tidal nature of the club) on a Monday and Tuesday from 4.00pm to 6.00pm. Green fleet sailors are encouraged to sail at our club days on Sundays as well. Children should be 8 years or older to participate in any Charteris Bay sailing programme. The cost of a Learn to Sail after school programme or Summer camp is $170 for members and $200.00 for non-members. Spring camp is $150 for members and $180 for non-members.

The content of a camp and a term participating in the after school programme is similar, it is just delivered over a different time frame to fit with family commitments. Absolute beginners will start their first camp/course in the Learn to Sail 1 group then coaches will make decisions about their progression after that. The aim is for children to develop their skills so they can participate in the Green Fleet programme. (Usually after 1 ½-2 years of sailing)

The Learn to Sail programme is run by volunteers (experienced sailors within our club) and paid coaches. The children learn to sail in optimists, which are ideally suited to children under 55kgs. The club has a fleet of 12 plastimists (plastic optimists), which are provided for children participating in their first and sometimes second year of learning to sail. If children are keen to continue beyond this point, it is necessary for families to purchase a boat. Club members are happy to provide advice in this area. In fact we strongly recommend you ask for advice!

The content of the camps/courses covers elements of on-shore theory, rigging, launching, on-water coaching and fun activities, capsizing and retrieving boats. Parents are expected to be actively involved and to stay at the club while children are in the programme.  It is a great opportunity for adults to learn some new skills and the club runs courses from time to time to up-skill parents.

Once children have progressed to the Green Fleet the focus is more about learning the basic rules of competition and how to complete a simple triangular course as well as going on ‘adventure’ type sails. Some children are interested in taking this further and competing in regattas and others enjoy trying out their new skills within the club environment. Our club encourages children in either of these pathways. At the Green Fleet level we expect children to be club members and to own and maintain their own boat. We encourage all Green Fleet sailors to participate in club day sailing, every second Sunday during the season as well as their Monday and Tuesday instruction.

CBYC also has an Adventure Sail Group. This is aimed at children who have completed the Learn to Sail programme and are more interested in sailing for fun than learning to race. The aim is to continue to build the sailors skills and confidence and extend their range with the safety of a rescue boat and instructor. They may also choose to join some club races just for fun. Adventure sailing is a 2 hour session, run on the last Club Day sailing of each month and costs $105 for the season. (See programme for dates). Participants are required to be a club member.

 Safety Requirements

To participate in the Learn to Sail programme, children must be comfortable being in deep water in capsize situations as well as having some basic swimming skills. We recommend that sailors are capable of swimming 50 metres unaided. If they are unable to do this it is important that you let their coach know.


Sunhat, sunscreen, warm and wind proof clothing such as thermals under a wet suit with a fleece and spray jacket for colder conditions. The club has some life jackets available although you may prefer to bring your own. Some children like to wear beach socks for warmth and protection.


Club members will have priority in our Learn to Sail programme and remaining spaces will be filled on a first come basis.

Registration for 2018/19 courses can be done online here.

For further information please contact the following people, email is preferred:

Learn to sail and Green fleet: Sarah Nicholl  0211790587  cbyccoaching@gmail.com (Subject: LTS or Green fleet)

Adventure Sail Group: Sarah Pritchett 02108254606  cbycadventure@gmail.com (Subject: Adventure Sail)

Open fleet: Kathy Catton 021 0650 959  cbyccoaching@gmail.com (Subject: Open Fleet)

Sailing Camps: Sarah Nicholl 021 1790587  cbyccoaching@gmail.com (Subject: Camp)

Adult learn-to-sail: Position vacant or  cbyccoaching@gmail.com (Subject: ALTS)


Learn to sail information and gear list

Open Fleet Welcome Letter