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Cowes Yacht Club – New to Sailing

Accredited as a Discover Sailing Center by Australian Sailing


Cowes Yacht Club Discover Sailing Program is run over the summer period. The Discover Sailing Program was established with the aim of providing the most economical means possible for anyone who might like to have a go at sailing. The Discover Sailing Program which is held over the summer holiday period has introduced many people to the fun and enjoyment of sailing.

All Programmes will be run for one week around the second week of January 2020 for three age groups. Tackers 7-12 years, Start Sailing 1 & 2 for Youth 13-17 years and Start Sailing 1 & 2 for Adults 18+ years. Course cost is approximately $350 for each course.

Course registration and payment will open around October 2019.

Please read on below for an explanation of each course. 

Participants don’t need to have any sailing experience or club membership to participate. All the equipment, including the boats, is provided.

All programs are delivered in small groups by Australian Sailing Qualified Instructors and Assistant Instructors.

Tackers Information

Tackers is a fun introductory, games-based sailing program designed for kids aged 7-12 yrs, the same program is delivered at accredited Tackers Clubs around Australia.

Tackers: There are three levels that kids can progress through:

  • Tackers 1 – Having Fun - 20 hour program $330- Introduction to fun sailing and confidence on water for those just starting. What to Bring – Clothing applicable to the weather and that you are happy to get wet, footwear you are happy to get wet, change of clothes and footwear, towel, snack lunch.

  • Tackers 2 – Tricks & Techniques - Sailing Solo $330- Be ready for better sailing, tricks, techniques and sailing safely by yourself and starting to learn about how to race. For those Kids that have completed Tackers 1.

  • Tackers 3 – Sailing Fast! - Sail Fast and get into racing $330. Tackers 3 is all about how to sail as fast as you can. We will introduce some racing concepts but still keep the competitive element out of Tackers. For anyone who has completed Tackers 2 and feeling comfortable sailing by themselves.

Each level involves 20 hours of participation structured as a 4-5 day holiday program.

The fun doesn't stop when kids finish Tackers 3. Cowes Yacht Club has "Green Fleet' programs for the kids to progress on to. Green Fleet is a type of introductory fun racing where kids learn how to go round a race course with kids of similar ability, where the main focus is on enjoyment. If kids want to do more racing they move from Green Fleet into club racing.

Kids receive a Tackers kit at the start of every level and a certificate of achievement at the end.

Tackers is all about having a great time with other kids, playing loads of games and going on adventures while learning how to sail together. There isn’t a court, a pitch or an oval like other sports, instead you have a beach to explore.

Tackers Instructors and Assistant Instructors are there to teach you how to sail and make sure you are having loads fun at the same time!

When you start sailing in Tackers you will be with a group of kids and get the chance to sail with someone else in the boat so you can learn and have fun together.

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Start Sailing for Teenagers and Adults

Cowes Yacht Club Discover Start Sailing Program caters for both teens and adults, from beginners to advanced levels. The course includes off the beach sailing theory plus on the water sailing using Cowes Yacht Club Discover Sailing Program boats.
The Start Sailing Program provided by Cowes Yacht Club is accredited by Australian Sailing and caters for adults and youth with the intention of progressing the sailors skill levels in a fun and family environment.

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Course – Start Sailing 1 - Youth and Adults

Your Discover Sailing journey starts here as you learn the fundamental skills of sailing and are introduced to the fun of dinghy sailing in a safe and supportive environment. 

The course covers: Basic clothing and equipment selection, sailing terminology, boat launch and recovery, capsize recovery in shallow water

Course – Start Sailing 2 - Youth and Adults

Your Discover Sailing journey continues as you master all of the fundamental dinghy sailing skills. You are now equipped to sail your dinghy on your own voyages of discovery.

This course covers: Rigging of the boat, capsize recovery in deeper water, sail a triangular course, basic sailing rules and theory.

Is it safe?

Sailing carries an element of risk. However, safety is a fundamental requirement of our Club in all aspects of
sailing activities. All sailors are required to register ('Sign on') prior to sailing, and after leaving the water ('Signoff').
This procedure applies prior to the start of Discover Sailing Program and at the end of the session. Club patrol boats
are on duty at all times during on-water activities, under supervision of the Officer of the day. It is essential
that all who attend Discover Sailing Program are adequate swimmers and are capable of climbing into a boat
after a capsize. Adults particularly should ensure they are physically fit. Please inform the Administrator or Head
Instructor of anything which may impact on your sailing ability.

training 2

Buoyancy Vests:

The wearing of a Personal Flotation Device (PFD) AT ALL TIMES WHILE ON THE WATER is a strictly
enforced club rule. The Sailing School recommends:-
Children under 12 years PFD Type 1 (AS1512). Persons 12 years and over - PFD Type 2. During training appropriate PFD's are made available for all sailors from child sizes XXS through to XXL Adult.


Training will be held regardless of the weather. If the conditions are unsuitable for on-water activities, theory
sessions or other activities will be held in the clubhouse or on the lawn.

What to wear and bring with you

This list provided below outlines what you should bring to the program. Even if it is a beautiful day, it is still
COLD on the water!

  • WETSUIT this is mandatory not an option especially for Tackers! - full body type if possible and not too tight. Wetsuits are available at low cost from many opportunity
  • Woollen (non synthetic) jumper –close fitting and thin if possible. This will be worn underneath the
    wetsuit. Thermal tops / leggings are also good.
  • Windproof / water proof jacket / slicker.
  • Warm Beanie (polar fleece or wool, not nylon)
  • Sun hat and sunglasses
  • If you wear spectacles, bring some elastic to tie them on with.
  • Sunscreen, and if you have a fair complexion, zinc for your nose as well
  • Bathers
  • Sailing or surf booties - woollen socks with an old pair of runners will suffice (no bare feet)
  • Towel and a complete change of warm clothes including socks.
  • Garbage bag to put wet clothes into at the end of the day.
  • Water bottle
  • Life jacket – PFD (this will be loaned to you for the course from the Club if you don’t have one)

training 3

Parents – get involved too!

Parents of children sailors are encouraged to assist in various ways – on the beach, launching and retrieving
boats to and from the water. Please let us know how you can help. The club house will be open with hot drinks and other beverages available.
As a member of the Cowes Yacht Club you are encouraged to become involved in the club activities on and
off the water, use the facilities, make friends and join us at social events.

Purchasing a boat

The choice of boat will depend on the age, skill and weight of the sailor. For young sailors (under 50kg), we
recommend an ‘Optimist’. Adult sailors should consider purchasing either the Sabre dinghy
(one person) or Pacer dinghy (two persons). Please speak to one of our Instructors to discuss the most
suitable boat for you.


Payment is required at the time of enrolment, please go to the top of this page to register..

The number of places available in both adult’s and children’s training squads is limited, so enrolments will be accepted on a first-in basis in the order completed Enrolment Forms are received together with full payment, until the squad limit is reached. This rule applies to all applications, including Club members and in the interests of fairness to all will be strictly enforced

The Cowes Yacht Club hope to provide an informative and invigorating Discover Sailing Program and encourages all students to have fun, because that is what sailing is all about!

Come and join in a great family club environment. The whole family is welcome and encouraged to be involved with the many aspects of the sailing club.