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Yachting New Zealand’s Learn to Sail programme is the only nationally recognised learn to sail programme in New Zealand. This program is run by Yachting NZ qualified coaches, and hosted at clubs affiliated with Yachting NZ. The program is standardised across all clubs, which means that no matter where you go, everyone is taught the same skills.

Cambridge Yacht Club’s Learn to Sail Program is aimed at children aged 9-12, and is taught in our fleet of 12 Rainbow Optimists. These boats are perfect for teaching in, as they are indestructible, easy to rig up, and fun to sail. As we only have 12 of these boats available, this restricts the number of Learn to Sail Level 1 and Level 2 spots each season.

There are three levels to Learn to Sail:

Level 1: Start Sailing

Level 1 is our entry level sailing program. This is where all children are taught the basics of boat setup, water safety, boat launching, and boat handling. By the end of this program, all sailors are able to set up their boats, launch themselves, and sail with minimal help.

Level 2: Sailing Fast

Level 2 is the next step from Level 1. This program is designed to further develop the sailing skills from the previous level, and start introducing more complex skills around boat handling, reading the conditions, and an introduction to the racing rules. By the end of this program, all sailors are able to set up their boat by themselves, launch by themselves, sail confidently without assistance, and have knowledge of sailing rules.

Level 3: Go Racing

Level 3 is our stepping block from Learn to Sail to Green Fleet racing. This program is focusing on sailing technique, boat speed, racing rules and preparing for racing in regattas. At this stage, many of the sailors have shown interest in racing, and are preparing to buy their own boats. Cambridge Yacht Club has a selection of racing level Optimists for the Level 3 sailors, which allow them to rent the boats as they begin sailing. Level 3 is also a great introduction to the Youth Program, depending on the child's age.

What is included? What does my child need to bring?
Everything your child needs to participate in the Learn to Sail program is included - boats, buoyancy aids, wet weather gear, and course book.

Your child needs to bring a change of clothes as they will get wet! We recommend a "Spring" wetsuit, which has short legs and short arms, as this will keep them warm when they are in the water. 

We also recommend that kids have food and water before hand, and some for after. Our sessions last 2.5 hours, and everyone is hungry after!

Learn to Sail is never cancelled due to weather - there is lots to learn both on the water and off, with sessions affected by lack of wind or too much wind will be held on land.


Learn to Sail is currently CLOSED to registrations.
Send us an email at to be added to our waitlist.

Learn to Sail begins on 6 February 2024

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