Learn to Sail is a national programme developed by Yachting New Zealand.  The programme covers the basic skills and is offered in both a Dinghy sailing option and a Keelboat sailing option. While the programme is taught mainly at Yacht Clubs it is also offered by affiliated Commercial Sailing Schools.

Learn To Sail Programme – For Dinghies

Course Content and Levels

Start... Sailing! (Learn to Sail 1)

  • Safety first
  • Getting to know your boat
  • Fun with knots
  • Capsizing
  • Getting your boat in and out of the water
  • On the land, get set... go!
  • Tacking
  • Gybing
  • Points of sail
  • Rules and meanings

Sailing... Fast! (Learn to Sail 2)

  • Learn more lingo
  • Safety advanced
  • Knot knowledge
  • Weather, tides and currents
  • Balance essentials
  • Points of sail - advanced
  • Launching and retrieving - more tips
  • Tacking technique
  • The art of gybing
  • Boat handling
Go... Racing! (Learn to Sail 3)
  • Ready to race1!

- Learn the basics of racing

  • Set-up and adjustments

- Getting your boat and sails fine tuned for racing

  • Boat balance

- How to keep your boat balanced and fast

  • Forces on the boat

- How wind, water and weight affects your boat

  • Start and finish lines

- Learn how to start and finish like a pro

  • Tide and current

- How these affect you and how to use them to your advantage

  • Tactics and strategy

- Thinking smart and planning ahead

  • Mark rounding

- Learn good technique and positioning for clean roundings

  • Ways of the weather

- Learn how to read and understand a forecast and what this means for your race

  • Race preparation - Mind, body and soul

- Preparing yourself for a regatta

  • Boat handling skills for two-handed boats

- Two handed techniques and spinnakers

  • Communication and teamwork

- Learn how to sail together as a team

  • Racing rules

- A look at the most common rules situations racers encounter


Disability Supplement

Click here to download the Disability Supplement for Learn to Sail - to be used by coaches when their sailors have a physical disability that prevents them from completing the full checklist.

Levels 1 & 2 are commonly offered together. This will take approximately 20-30 hours.