Junior Learn to Sail

From Beginner to Adventurer...

Sailing is a great way to build independence and self reliance for your child, and it’s a terrific activity that you can do together.

Clarks Beach offers a sailing education pathway for children aged 9+ in Optimist class boats and we actively encourage parental involvement.

All our courses utilize the Yachting New Zealand developed program and are run by volunteer club members who have been trained and assessed to meet the Yachting New Zealand Learn to Sail Coach (Dinghy) programme.

What Will the course be like?

Well most definitely, fun! If the weather is good you will usually begin by rigging the boats. You then get changed and have a classroom briefing before heading out, some in dinghies with an instructor to start with, and some on the safety boat. We are of course at the mercy of the weather. We try to spend as much time on the water as possible but there will periods of classroom type work.

Parental Involvement!

Parental involvement is a very important, and parents are expected to assist with getting their child’s boat ready before coaching, to launch and retrieve their boat and pack it down and may be asked to join rescue boat crews and help out with other club activities.

Children attending this programme remain the responsibility of their parents or caregivers.

What Gear do I Need?

The basic gear participants will need are:

  • Wetsuit if you have one

  • Warm clothes / thermals

  • Sun hat / cap and sunscreen

  • Sailing jacket or parka

  • Wetsuit type shoes

Life jackets are provided although you may prefer to bring your own.

How Much?

Course cost for is $150.00 - payable in full prior to commencing

This includes:

  • Clarks Beach Yacht Club Junior membership for 1 season.

  • Use of club supplied plastic Optimist Boats during course and further coaching days

  • Use of club supplied Life Jackets

  • Yachting New Zealand Learn to Sail log book

Learn to Sail Pathway




Details Below


Learn to Sail has limited spaces!

Book early to secure place!

2021/22 Dates

14th Nov - 12th Dec 2021

6th Feb - 6th Mar 2022

Level 1 - Start...Sailing!

This year’s Start…Sailing! Runs over the season dates ........ T.B.C .

As part of the course they will be expected to swim (by any means) at least 50 metres, dressed for sailing and with a buoyancy vest on. They will also learn to capsize and right a boat in deep water.

Course Content includes:

Safety first | Getting to know your boat | Capsizing | Getting your boat in & out of water | Tacking | Gybing | Points of sail | Rules and Meanings.

Level 2 - Sailing...Fast!

Having graduated from Start…Sailing! Children can utilize our fleet of 5 plastic Optimist dinghies to continue to development skills to a point at which they are comfortable sailing on all points sail in up to moderate breezes. Coached by club members on coaching days T.B.A. these children will mix in with the Learn to Race sailors when weather permits.

Course Content includes:

Learn more Lingo | Safety advanced| Knot Knowledge | Weather tides & currents | Balance essentials | Points of sail Advanced | Launching & Retrieving | the art of gibing | Boat handling.

Level 3 - Go…Racing!

After a season in Sailing…Fast! (or sooner!) Children should be equipping themselves with their own Optimist to get racing. Continued coaching on TBA and racing for the Optimist group is on TBA with the Adult fleet. At this level the club encourages young sailors to spend as much time on the water as possible and even venture to other clubs to try ‘Green Fleet’ racing against other sailors.

Course Content includes:

Learn the basics of racing | Getting your boat balance & fast | How wind, water and weight affects your boat | Learn how to start & finish | Thinking smart & planning ahead | Good technique for mark rounding | Read & understand forecast | Preparing for the Regatta.

Need to Know more?

Please feel free to email our learn to sail coordinator if you have any questions or concerns.


Or please feel free to come along to a club sailing day (ideally at least 60 minutes before the race starts) and ask at the club house– the helpers there will introduce you to our committee members who will be able to help with any questions you may have.