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 YNZ’s excellent Kōkōkaha programme, and why sailing is such a great sport/recreation to get into. There are also details on the costs for schools to add sailing to their curriculum, safety and equipment, and the NCEA credits that are available.

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

Contact Tim on 0225487501 or


Yachting New Zealand’s ‘Kōkōkaha‘ is an integrated unit of work that focuses on the science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) associated with harnessing the wind. Kōkōkaha’s learning experiences are designed for students in years 5 through to 10 and are intended to provide them with the skills and knowledge to design their own technologies to harness the power of the wind. Kōkōkaha learning experiences can easily be adapted for older or younger children. Kōkōkaha is available to schools and kura throughout New Zealand.

Nelson Yacht Club is an approved provider of Kōkōkaha Sailing Experiences, so register your class today and get in touch to get them on the water!

NB. If your class is not taking advantage of the excellent Kōkōkaha learning experiences, you are still able to get them involved in a sailing/watersports activity with the club…. See below 🙂

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!


2021-22 season prices per instructor (6 students)

  • Half Day – 2.5hrs –      (10:00 – 12.30) or (12.00 – 14.30):     $150
  • Full Day – 4hrs –          (10:00 – 12:00 and 12.30 – 14.30):     $240
  • If these timings don’t suit, please contact us. We can often work around your requirements.

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.

For large classes of up to 36 kids we recommend a Full Day, shared between two groups of <18, with one sailing in the morning and the other in the afternoon. The non-sailing group would be supervised by the class teacher(s) on shore. This is a great way of keeping the cost down, and would be $626.09+GST per day for the whole class.


Full Risk Assessments & Operating Procedures are available on the club website:

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.
  • Windsurfing/SUP – We can also utilise windsurfing and SUP equipment to add variety and accommodate extra numbers.
  • 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

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 1 Unit No 21929 2 Credits
Demonstrate knowledge of basic principles of sailing – LTS 3 Unit No 21931 3 Credits
Rig, launch & sail a dinghy in up to 10 knots of wind – LTS 4 Unit No 21932 4 Credits
  Total 9 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 us to come and discuss the options, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Contact Tim on 0225487501 or