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 ~12 – 15 year-olds learn in the bigger Topaz Unos. We also run groups for different ability levels – Improvers, Intermediates and Advanced sailors. The programme is divided into ‘Holiday Programme Courses’ in the October, Summer and April holidays and ‘Term Time Training’ during Term 4 and Term 1.

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

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

Holiday Programmes

Latest groups and availability (8/01/2021):

Summer 4 (5-day): 11th – 15th Jan 2021

    • Windsurfing Drop in Days also available!

Summer 5 (5-day): 18th – 22nd Jan 2021

  • Optimist Beginners (8-9yrs) – FULL
  • Optimist Beginners (9-11yrs) – FULL
  • Optimist Improvers – FULL
  • Topaz Beginners – (12-15yrs) – FULL
  • Topaz Improvers – FULL
  • Windsurfing Beginners – FULL
  • Windsurfing Improvers/Intermediates – 2 spaces

Summer 6 (5-day): 25th – 29th Jan 2021

  • Optimist Beginners (8-9yrs) – FULL
  • Optimist Improvers 1 – FULL
  • Optimist Improvers 2 – 1 Space
  • Optimist Green Fleet (own boats) – 3 spaces
  • Topaz Beginners – (11-13yrs) – FULL
  • RS Fevas – Intro to Spinnakers (adv) – 1 space!!
  • Windsurfing Beginners – 5 spaces
  • Windsurfing Imp/Int/Adv – 6 spaces

The groups/levels available will guided by initial bookings and are subject to change depending on demand and viability. Please contact us with your needs!

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. https://www.nelsonyachtclub.org.nz/learn-to-sail/booking-form/

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

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 ($135 for NYC members)
  • Drop-In Days – $80/day ($68/day for NYC members) if space allows – I.e. can’t be booked in advance

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 1 Training will start after Waitangi Weekend, with the first session being Tuesday 9th February. The sessions will run for 7 weeks.

Free use of a boat as part of Saturday club sailing activity 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 use of a boat for Saturday afternoon club sailing activity, subject to booking and availability!! 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.
  • Prices for windsurfing detailed below.

Proposed Groups:

Tuesdays (starting 9th Feb) 15:45 – 17:45
Optimist Improvers –
Topaz Improvers –
Topaz Intermediates –
Windsurfing Improvers –

Wednesdays (starting 10th Feb) 15:45 – 17:45
Optimist Improvers –
Topaz Beginners/Improvers –
Windsurfing Advanced (14:00 – 16:00) –
Windsurfing Intermediates –

Fridays (starting 12th Feb) 15:45 – 17:45
Optimist Improvers –
Green Fleet – Opti / O’Pen Skiff –
Green Fleet – Topaz/Starling –

Saturdays (starting 13th Feb) 10:30 – 12:30
Optimist Beginners –
Optimist Improvers –
Opti/Topaz Advanced –

Sundays (starting 14th Feb)
Optimist Improvers/Intermediates – 10:30 – 12:30
Optimist Improvers/Interediates – 13:00 – 15:00

Mondays (starting 15th Feb) 15:45 – 17:45

Optimist Beginners –
Optimist Improvers –
Topaz Advanced – Double-Handed –
Windsurfing Advanced –

N.b. If there isn’t a session that works for you, then let us know and we’ll see what we can do.

Learn to Sail courses for young children

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

Which Group!?

  • Beginners: Students will be introduced to the marine environment safely and learn how to stay safe on, in and around the water. They’ll have heaps of fun learning the essential skills for sailing a small sailing boat like the Optimist, plus capsizing, swimming, loads of games and races.
  • 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!

Each week of the summer school holidays there will be a dedicated group for windsurfers, sometimes a beginner group and a more advanced group.

We recommend a minimum age of 10 for kids windsurfing – although it is more 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 this term and we’re planning the same for Term 1.

  • 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.