Schools Sailing

A sailing experience is such a fantastic opportunity to give students and in Nelson we are lucky to have fantastic conditions, top quality equipment, and excellent instructors. Here, we talk about why sailing is such a great sport/recreation to get into, the costs for schools to add sailing to their curriculum, safety and equipment, as well as the NCEA credits that are available.

The Endeavour Programme associated with the America’s Cup in Bermuda showed how sailing can help teach “teamwork, leadership, communication and the importance of caring for each other and the marine environment”

Benefits of sailing: This is an extract from our “Vision For Sailing in Nelson” strategy document:

Sailing not only uses physical skills but, perhaps more than any other sport, develops intellectual skills. It is a sport that requires the sailors to take responsibility for themselves, their crew and for the boat. It is sensitive to nature and the environment, also requiring attention to changing conditions and appropriate reactions. Sailors learn valuable lessons and develop many transferrable skills and attributes that will help them advance in work, in business and in life generally.

Sailing is a powerful forum through which to learn essential life skills, about adjusting attitudes, taking wins and losses in your stride, never getting too high or too low. This is an activity that is appealing on any CV, making the applicant stand out. Regardless of the reason for sailing and your background, sailing offers many life lessons that help shape values and behaviours for later life. Sailing is also a sport to be enjoyed, one which often remains with you for life and which can be participated in and enjoyed at any age.

Developing awareness and understanding of the marine environment is extremely important for all of us. Someone who has capsized a sailing dinghy and feels at home in the water is less likely to panic in an emergency situation on the water; whether that be sailing, kayaking, fishing, recreational boating or any other activity afloat. Nurturing respect for marine wildlife and the ecosystem that supports it will result in people taking more responsibility for, and care of our marine environment. Getting out there on, in, and around the water is paramount in this educational process.

The huge variety of disciplines and ways to enjoy the sport range from competitive racing at Club, National, and International level in a vast array of different boats; to recreational sailing and cruising in boats of all sizes; lifelong careers in the leisure, travel, and superyacht industries; all the way to solo round the world yachting!

Costs: 2018-19 prices per instructor (6 students)

  • Half Day – 2.5hrs –       (10:00 – 12.30) or (12.00 – 14.30):     $120
  • Full Day – 4hr –            (10:00 – 12:00 and 12.30 – 14.30):     $192
  1. If these timings don’t suit, please contact us. We can often work around your requirements.

Whilst we generally advise smaller groups of up to 18 kids, with enough notice we can accommodate a full class of 30. We run to ratios of 1 instructor to 6 students. However, if you have an extra they can normally be accommodated on the powerboat with an instructor and swapped in and out of the sailing boats.


Full Risk Assessments & Operating Procedures are available on request.

Patrol boats will be on the water whenever sailing activity is taking place.

All instructors have either YNZ or RYA Qualifications (or both).


We have a variety of boats that can be used to suit different group sizes and purposes:

  • Optimists – The classic wee dinghy that is so well suited for getting smaller kids sailing on their own.
  • Topaz Uno/Duo – These are a versatile craft that can be used as single-handers or by adding a jib can be used as double-handers with two crew. With smaller kids, even three sailors can be great fun!
  • Topaz Omega – This is a 16ft training boat that can fit up to 6 kids and an instructor comfortably. It is much more stable than the Unos, but there is a bit more to it than the Unos so we tend to have an instructor on board with beginners. It is a great boat for progressing skills and building teamwork. Each crew member can have a job, whether it is steering, trimming the mainsheet or the jib, or keeping a lookout and just helping to balance the boat.
  • Whiting 16 – This is a small trailer-sailer with a weighted centreboard. It is a step up in size and stability from the Omega. It has a small outboard, anchor, etc… and you can accommodate 6 kids plus an instructor more comfortably. It is an excellent teaching platform for the more nervous, for stronger conditions and for teaching seamanship and more advanced sailing skills.
  • Powerboats – NYC has a fleet of small RIBs that make up the patrol boat / coach boat fleet. All our instructors have either an RYA powerboat Level 2 qualification or the Coastguard Boating Education ‘Club Safety Boat Operator’ certificate.
  • Buoyancy Aids – NYC has a range of suitable buoyancy aids, and a correctly fitting BA must be worn at all times when on the water.
  • Wetsuits, thermal tops & spray tops – NYC has a range of watersports clothing that is available for use. For larger groups, we may need additional gear, so if the school has any – bring it along!

NCEA – Credits available for sailing:

Yes, we can run programmes to teach the following Units:

Yachting New Zealand Learn-to-Sail: Level 1 & 2 Dinghy
20 – 30 hours

Make Safety preparations for sailing a dinghy – LTS 1Unit No 21929 2 Credits 
Demonstrate knowledge of basic principles of sailing – LTS 3Unit No 219313 Credits
Rig, launch & sail a dinghy in up to 10 knots of wind – LTS 4Unit No 219324 Credits
 Total9 Credits 

More information can be found here:

If you would like more information on schools sailing, to book a session, or to arrange a time for me to come and discuss the options, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Contact Tim on 02102503767 or