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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.

On this page you will find information about: 

Aims 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

  • Windfoiling

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 2021 Youth Sailing World Championships the sailors must be under 19 on December 31, 2021, to be eligible.

National Programme - sponsored by Aon New Zealand

The key features of the 2020/2021 programme are:

  • The programme will run from December 2020 through until October 31, 2021
  • There will be continued involvement from guest speakers and High Performance Sport New Zealand (HPSNZ)

Youth team selection and trials for the NZL Sailing Foundation Youth Team to attend the Youth Sailing World Championships is reviewed annually.

Results and information about the 2020 New Zealand Youth Championship can be found here 

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.


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