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Helena Sanderson and Jack Honey

Youth Programme

Yachting New Zealand, Aon and High Performance Sport New Zealand support the ongoing growth and development of youth sailors on the path to fulfilling their potential.

Download the NZL Youth Sailing booklet

It is important you read about the programme before completing any registration process for a clinic. You can also go directly to the information you are looking for by using the quick links listed below:

Aim of the Yachting New Zealand youth programme

The Yachting New Zealand youth programme aims to develop and prepare young sailors who dream of international success at youth level and beyond. The programme aims to achieve the following:

  • Win medals at world championships

  • Inspire and educate sailors towards Olympic campaigns 

  • Develop the skill range of all sailors to a high level and open up future opportunities available in the sailing community


  • Many of our current NZL Sailing Team were previous medalists at either a Youth Sailing World Championships or international class world championships

  • Expose young people to exceptional life memories and experiences across different cultures

  • Sailing develops life skills and supports individual goals

The programme is based around key fundamental philosophies:

  • Striving to be your best
  • Love of the sport and enjoying the ride
  • Working together as squads and teams

Key targets of the programme 

  • Perform at the Youth World Sailing Championships

  • Perform at the class world championships – Laser Radial youth worlds, 420 worlds, 29er worlds and Nacra 15 world championships


The Yachting New Zealand youth programme focuses on the classes sailed at the Youth Sailing World Championships. These classes are:

  • International 420 men and women

  • 29er men and women

  • Laser Radial men and women

  • Nacra 15 mixed

  • Kiteboarding (2021 onwards) See the pathway here

Age limit

The age limit for sailing youth classes at international level is under 19 as of December 31 in the year of the event. For example, for the 2020 Youth Sailing World Championships the sailors must be under 19 on December 31, 2020, to be eligible.

National Programme - sponsored by Aon New Zealand

The key features of the 2019/2020 programme are:

  • The programme will run from September 2019 through until October 31, 2020
  • There will be continued involvement from guest speakers and High Performance Sport New Zealand (HPSNZ)

  • Clinics included in the programme;
    • Aon New to Youth Class Clinics
    • Aon Girls Clinics
    • Aon Regional Youth Clinics
    • Aon National Youth Clinics
    • NZL Sailing Foundation Youth Team Clinics

Aon New to Youth Classes Clinics

New to Youth Classes Clinics are designed for sailors who have moved into a youth class within the previous six months and are not already attending the Aon National Youth Clinics.

Clinic aims:

  • Explain how the boat works

  • Learn how to set up your boat for a variety of conditions

  • Learn the fundamental techniques that will help you progress your own training

  • Provide an opportunity to be assessed for eligibility to attend the Aon National Youth Clinics

Please register for an upcoming clinic here

Registration must be completed through the Yachting New Zealand website two weeks before each clinic.

Cost: $100 per sailor

Aon Youth Class Worlds Clinics

These clinics are for sailors who will attend their upcoming class world championships and will be focused on what the teams require to peak at that event.

Cost: Included in Aon National Youth Programme fee

Registration: Included in Aon National Youth Programme

Dates: Check programme calendar for dates and venue or speak with the youth coordinator

Aon Girls Clinics

These clinics provide a chance for female sailors to meet up with some of our most experienced and successful female Olympic sailors and learn about what it took for them to be successful on the world stage. The weekend will provide a great opportunity to build a sense of community, interact across all the classes and share the experience of being women in sport.

Classes: Starling, Radial, 29er, RS:X 8.5, 420 and  Nacra 15, Elliots. 

Aon Regional Youth Clinics

These are tailored to support clubs, coaches and sailors as they build their skills locally and, where possible, with more than one class at each clinic.

Clubs and class associations must apply to hold Aon Regional Youth Clinics.

The requirements needed for a club to apply are:

  • A minimum of three youth teams per class who train regularly

  • Sailors are training with the future aim of attending Aon National Youth Clinics, class nationals and Yachting New Zealand youth trials

  • The regular club coach is available to attend every clinic

  • The club can provide a RIB and cover cost of fuel for coaches

  • Provide a billet for the Yachting New Zealand coach

Please register for an upcoming clinic here 

Aon National Youth Clinics

Aon National Youth Clinics are focused on supporting the best young New Zealand sailors capable of competing for medals at international events and world championships.

This training enables sailors from different clubs and regions an opportunity to:

  • Share information on setup/technique

  • Access knowledge and advice from coaches and support staff

  • Build bonds (sailors, parents and coaches) and plans before international events

  • Train in world class youth squads and test themselves against the best in NZ

For information on the the Aon National Youth Clinics, including eligibility, click here.


NZL Sailing Foundation Youth Team Clinics

Clinics are held for NZL Sailing Foundation Youth Team sailors and are an important part in the fine-tuning process of sailors who will compete at the Youth Sailing World Championships. Additional sailors or teams may be invited on a class-by-class basis, depending on the individual requirements of each of the youth teams.

Clubs and sailors who would like more information on the changes to the programme should should contact the youth coordinator.

The calendar

These calendars are an outline of the training clinics and key regattas for the youth classes for the upcoming season.

Youth classes are those classes that are sailed at the Youth Sailing World Championships (29er, Int 420, RS:X 8.5, Nacra 15 and Laser Radial).

Click here to view the Youth programme calendar

If you have any further questions after reading the calendars and youth development page, please email them to the youth coordinator.

Youth team selection and trials

The Yachting New Zealand selection regulations for the NZL Sailing Foundation Youth Team to attend the Youth Sailing World Championships is reviewed annually.

The regulation sets out the criteria and procedure for selecting sailors to be part of the NZL Sailing Foundation Youth Team and will be publicly notified through the Briefings newsletter when published. The current NZL Sailing Foundation selection regulation can be found on the Information for sailors page.

For further information contact the youth coordinator.

Youth Olympic Games

The Youth Olympic Games are held every four years. It was most recently held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, from October 1-12, 2018.

The event is for sailors aged 14-18. 

The next event will take place in Dakar, Senegal in 2022.

Click here for more information.

Youth training resources

Off Water Training

Circuit Training options
General Strength options
Getting Fit
Injury Prevention and Recovery
Shoulder Conditioning


Training and Competition Nutrition
Drug Free Sport NZ


Media and Social Media Tips

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