Junior Watersports Programme

The Junior Watersports Programme at Nelson Yacht Club has been going from strength to strength over the past few seasons. Last season we saw 225 kids undertaking 411 sailing courses (either 3-day, 5-day or term time).

Junior Programme Leaflet 2017-18

To book for this year, please complete a booking form here:


Learn to Sail!

The younger kids (from 8 to ~11) learn in Optimists, and the older kids (~12 – 15) learn in the bigger Topaz Unos. We also run groups for different ability levels – Improvers, Intermediates and Advanced sailors.

For more details and guidance on which group your child should join, see below or contact Tim on info@nelsonwatersports.co.nz or 02102503767

Holiday Programmes

Most of our holiday courses are the full 5 days, but in the April school holidays we’ll run a 3-day course as well and two 2-day courses either side of Anzac Day.

We generally try to fit in an adventure of some sort, such as picnic lunches on Haulashore Island, climbing the Lighthouse, scavenger hunts on the Boulder Bank or sailing to Tahuna beach. The end of the week shared lunch is always a mean feed!

Holiday Programme Course Details:

  • 9am – 4pm each day.
  • A full week course costs $320 ($272 for NYC members)
  • A three day course costs $195 ($165 for NYC members)
  • A two day course costs $130 ($110 for NYC member

Autumn Holiday Programme:

(Groups / ability levels to be confirmed shortly)

  • Autumn 1 – Full Week (16th – 20th April) – $320 ($272 for members)
    • Improver Optimists
    • Intermediate/Advanced Topaz
    • Windsurfing Beginners
  • Autumn 2 – 3 Days (18th – 20th April) – $195 ($165 for members)
    • Optimist/Topaz Group available
  • Autumn 3 – 2 Days (23rd & 24th April) – $130 ($110 for members)
    • Improver/Intermediate Opti
    • Beginner Topaz
    • O’Pen Bic??
    • Another group available if needed
  • Autumn 4 – 2 Days (26th & 27th April) – $130 ($110 for members)
    • Beginner Opti
    • Intermediate Opti
    • Improver Topaz
    • Another group available if needed

Please get in touch to book your son/daughter in. A completed booking form and payment will secure a booking. NB. If you have already completed a booking form this season, then you don’t need to complete another! Just email Jill at info@nelsonyachtclub.org.nz to notify her of your payment.

You can now complete a booking form online: http://www.nelsonyachtclub.org.nz/learn-to-sail/booking-form/

Any questions call me on 02102503767 or email info@nelsonwatersports.co.nz


Which Group!?

  • Beginners: You’ll be introduced to the marine environment safely and learn how to stay safe on, in and around the water. You’ll have heaps of fun learning the essential skills for sailing a small single-handed sailing boat like the Optimist. I wouldn’t rule out capsizing, swimming, loads of games and races, or the occasional pirate attack!
  • Improvers: This group is for kids who have done some sailing, but who have not yet completed the YNZ Level 1 Certificate. Often the smaller/younger kids, and the group focuses on fun and building confidence as well as working towards the Level 1.
  • Intermediates: Designed for kids who have already done quite a bit of sailing and are looking to extend their skills and maybe try different boats etc… We’ll be working on skills that are part of the YNZ “Sailing….Fast” or Level 2 syllabus. It can take a bit longer to achieve the Level 2 certificate, so you might be in this group for a few sessions before reaching the level and moving on to Green Fleet training.
  • Green Fleet: Learning to race! Sailing in either a club Optimist or your own boat, these groups of sailors can handle themselves around a course and in moderate conditions, and are now looking at how to start and compete in races.
  • Fleet Training: Sailors with their own boats, training and honing their racing skills.


Nelson Watersports will again be offering windsurfing courses run in conjunction with Nelson Yacht Club’s Junior Watersports Programme. This exciting sport is equally good for kids who have sailed before and are looking for the next challenge, or kids who’ve never set foot in a boat! Most weeks there will be a dedicated group for windsurfers. Please call us to find out which weeks will be running. We recommend a minimum age of 10 for kids windsurfing – a size/strength thing…


Nelson watersports runs regular windsurfing supervised hire sessions on Monday & Tuesday evenings throughout the season. A great way to practise and meet other windsurfers.

  • On Nelson Watersports gear: $30 per session or $180 for the 7 week term
  • On your own gear: $20 per session or $120 for the 7 week term
  • Half and Half: $25 per session or $150 for the 7 week term
  • You need to complete a Nelson Watersports Booking Form instead of a NYC one.

What to bring?:

  • Sun block
  • Sun hat
  • Clothing that dries quickly and provides sun protection. Cotton T-shirts or shorts are not recommended
  • Wetsuit. Full-length suits are essential for spring courses, and highly recommended at any time of year.  If you don’t have one there are a few old ones available to borrow, and Nelson Watersports Ltd has a small stock of GUL Response suits.
  • Waterproof / windproof jacket. This keeps the wind chill off, and is extremely important for watersports.
  • 2 towels
  • Footwear for wearing in the water – wetsuit booties are ideal
  • Thermals – lots of layers of poly-pro or merino
  • Pen
  • Lunch (if appropriate) and snacks
  • Drink bottle

Nelson Watersports Ltd stocks a small selection of sailing gear such as wetsuits, booties, spray-tops, gloves, buoyancy aids etc… from GUL and Rooster through a relationship with NZ Sailing Ltd. Get in touch with Tim on 02102503767 if you have any questions.

While safety is paramount at Nelson Yacht Club all participants attend at their own risk. All participants are supplied with buoyancy aids that are worn while on the water and in and around the water.

Everyone must follow the instructions given by the coach or instructors. A patrol boat will be on the water at all times when sailing is in progress.

Cancellation: If a participant is unable to attend, a refund will be given only if notice of cancellation is given at least 30 days prior to the commencement of the course. Course bookings are valid for 1 year from the booking date.

Regular Sailing

Here at Nelson Yacht Club there are many more opportunities to get out on the water. Our Club Sailing Day is a Saturday each week, when members get a chance to race against each other. There is a “Green Fleet Fun” session on most Saturday afternoons. This is a relaxed and fun session run by parents and volunteers aimed at our green fleet sailors – those who have been sailing for a little while and are starting to learn how to race.

Sunday afternoons are another great time to come down and go for a sail.

Once sailing in their own boats, kids often come down and sail independently, with a mate or two, or with a parent keeping an eye on them.

Green Fleet in the start sequence