Junior Watersports Programme

The Junior Watersports Programme at Nelson Yacht Club has been going from strength to strength over the past few seasons and we are looking forward to another exciting summer ahead!

Sailing adventures with Nelson Yacht Club

The ‘Oyster Island Adventure’ crew 2019

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 the team on info@nelsonwatersports.co.nz or 021 0250 3767

Holiday Programmes

Sailing a Topaz hard near the Nelson Lighthouse

Hiking hard in the Haven!

Most of our holiday courses are the full 5 days (Monday-Friday), but occasionally we run 2, 3 or 4 day courses as necessary with Public Holidays.

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!

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 us on 021 0250 3767 or email info@nelsonwatersports.co.nz

Holiday Programme Course Details:

  • 9am – 4pm each day.
  • A five day course costs $340 ($285 for NYC members)
  • A four day course costs $280 ($235 for NYC members)*
  • A three day course costs $220 ($185 for NYC members)*
  • A two day course costs $150 ($125 for NYC members)*
  • *NB. Only for scheduled shorter courses. If a sailor wants to join for three days of a 5 day course, they will be charged at the Drop-In Day rate.
  • Drop-In Days – $80/day ($68/day for NYC members)

October School Holidays:

  • Week 1 (5 days) – Mon 30th Sept – Fri 4th October
  • Week 1 (3 days) – Mon 30th Sept – Weds 2nd October
  • Week 2 (5 days) – Mon 7th – Fri 11th October
  • Week 2 (3 days) – Mon 7th – Weds 9th October
  • We will have groups for both Optis and Topaz, and will aim to accommodate all ability levels.

Summer School Holidays:

  • Week 1 (2 days) – Thurs 12th & Fri 13th December 2019
  • Week 2 (5 days) – Mon 16th – Fri 20th December 2019
  • Week 3 (4 days) – Mon 6th – Thurs 9th January 2020
  • Week 4 (5 days) – Mon 13th – Fri 17th January 2020
  • Week 5 (5 days) – Mon 20th – Fri 24th January 2020
  • Week 6 (5 days) – Mon 27th – Fri 31st January 2020
  • Groups to be confirmed.

Sailing courses from Nelson Yacht Club

Heading towards Tahunanui Back Beach

Term Time Training:

During the school terms we run programmes of after-school and weekend sailing sessions. These are great for doing some regular sailing and practising your skills!

Term 4 training will start after Labour Weekend, with the first session being the Tuesday groups on Tuesday 29th October. The sessions will run for 7 weeks up to the Christmas break.

We’re trying a few different things this year!

Warm Up Sessions:

Between the start of term and Labour weekend we will have a number of ‘warm-up’ or ‘shake-down’ sailing sessions where you can just pitch up and join in, to blow the cobwebs away and get ready for the sailing season. Book on to a Term Time Training group and you’ll get one of these sessions FREE. Fancy doing another? It’ll be $30 per session.

  • Tuesday 15th October – 15:45 – 17:45
  • Wednesday 16th October – 15:45 – 17:45
  • Tuesday 22nd October – 15:45 – 17:45
  • Wednesday 23rd October – 15:45 – 17:45
  • NB. These could be subject to change due to weather, so follow the NYC Facebook page for updates

Free Saturday arvo boat hire for Improvers & above!

  • Beginner groups – NYC Member $150
  • Beginner groups – Non-Member $190 (first course only)
  • All other sailing groups – must be an NYC Member – $175. This includes FREE boat hire for Saturday afternoon club sailing activity, subject to booking and availablity!! So, you could be doing double the amount of sailing!
  • Drop in sessions are $30 per session, subject to availability after the start of the courses.

The proposed groups are:

Tuesdays (starting 29th Oct) 15:45 – 17:45
Optimist Improvers
Topaz Improvers
Topaz Intermediates
Windsurfing Improvers

Wednesdays (starting 30th Oct) 15:45 – 17:45
Optimist Intermediates
Topaz Beginners
Topaz Improvers
Omega/Tarlair – Spinnakers & Seamanship
Windsurfing Intermediates

Thursdays (starting 31st Oct) 16:00 – 18:30
Starling Coaching?
29er Coaching?

Fridays (starting 1st Nov) 15:45 – 17:45
Optimist Green Fleet
Topaz Advanced – Single-Handed
Open Bic Coaching?
Windsurfing – tbc.

Saturdays (starting 2nd Nov) 10:00 – 12:00
Optimist Beginners
Optimist Improvers
Optimist/Topaz Advanced

Sundays (starting 3rd Nov) 11:00 – 13:00
Optimist Improvers
Optimist Intermediates

Mondays (starting 4th Nov) 15:45 – 17:45
Optimist Intermediates
Topaz Advanced – Double-Handed
Omega/Tarlair – Spinnakers & Seamanship

N.b. These are proposed groups at this stage and we reserve the right to change them at any time, so if you would like to see something else on the schedule, get in touch asap and we’ll do our best to accommodate.

Learn to Sail courses for young children

Sailing in pairs in an Optimist, helping each other out 🙂

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.

Learn to Sail for teenagers

The Topaz boats can be fiesty in a breeze and tend to suit the older kids!


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 as part of the Term Time Training programme. A great way to practise and meet other windsurfers. We have groups on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays & Fridays.

  • 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 (Eg. your board & our rigs): $25 per session or $150 for the 7 weeks
  • 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.

Safety Notice:

While safety is paramount at Nelson Yacht Club all participants attend at their own risk. Participants are supplied with buoyancy aids (if they do not have their own) 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.