November 25 - December 1, 2012: Issue 86  

RPAYC School Holiday Program - Uploaded by RPAYC on Apr 15, 2010

Video footage from the School Holiday program run by The Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club from the 13th to 16th April 2010

Youth Development - Uploaded by RPAYC on Aug 19, 2009

The Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club runs a Youth Development program every winter. This video contains some of the highlights of the season 2009

Copyright Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club, 2012. All Rights Reserved. Photos by A J Guesdon, Nov. 2012.

 The RPAYC Teach Over 600 Children How To Sail Each Year.

For many, getting their children or grandchildren into the sport they love sits high on the list of priorities.  For sailors this generally starts at a young age onboard a family or friends yacht.  However the times comes, usually at about the age of 7, where kids need to take the step and learn to sail through one of the Club’s programs.  In years gone by Mum, Dad or Grandparents took on the role of instructor and bought a Manly Junior or Sabot. In recent years junior sailing has been revolutionised by the increase in professional instructors and introduction of the Optimist dinghy to Australia.  The Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club took a leading role in the adoption of this boat, the most sailed junior boat in the world.

The changes taken place have seen the Club program move to a professionally delivered, nationally based course. For many years Yachting Australia have used the “Get into Small Boat Sailing” (GISBS) program as their primary dinghy learn to sail. Clubs around Australia have adapted the program’s syllabus to suit their clubs needs.  RPAYC has been doing this for many years and this program is still the foundation for the majority of sail training.

Children at different stages in their development learn very differently. With this in mind a national learn to sail program was established by Yachting Australia which goes by the name of Tackers. Tackers is aimed at children aged 12 and under, mixing learn to sail with fun games.

RPAYC has a couple of key programs for getting youngsters interested in sailing.  The largest of these programs is the School Holiday Learn to Sail Camps, running during the October, Summer and Easter school holidays.  The second of RPAYC’s programs is the Tackers learn to sail program run on Sundays during school terms. Learning is just one aspect of the children’s programs at RPAYC.  Experienced instructors work to create a fun and safe environment allowing the opportunity to feel comfortable.  With this, established learning comes easily.

Learning to sail is an activity many children undertake as a holiday activity.  Holidays are the perfect opportunity for children aged 7 - 14 to get out on the water. Sailing is an active and healthy holiday option for many families. Sailing during school holidays is an undertaking children can do on their own or with a group of friends, the program looks to tailor itself to different situations. Variety is offered to participants through the use of the different training boats at the disposal of RPAYC.  Optimist, Pacers and Hobie Waves allow children to learn and experience sailing across various platforms.

In addition to the Holiday program the very successful Tackers program aims to provide a course tailored to the needs of younger sailors. Tackers was designed to use the rotor moulded plastic Optimist as the training tool.  These boats are easy to sail and almost indestructible. Furthermore, it allows for the continuation from learn to sail into the fibreglass optimist, the continued pathway for young sailors. Tackers is a 3 stage course; starting with Tackers 1 for beginners, with staged development  through to Tackers 3 which is about getting kids ready to move into their own boats and ready for centreboard green fleet training and racing.

At the completion of RPAYC’s learn to sail programs families need to look to purchase a fibreglass optimist for their budding young sailor.  For many families this is a large and daunting step. With this in mind the Green Fleet, an optimist concept for sailors just starting in racing, assists the parents as much as it does the sailors themselves. Green Fleet training, a session on Sunday mornings before club racing, gives the sailors a basic introduction to racing and integrates them into the Club environment.  Additionally, parents are introduced into the RPAYC culture and given an opportunity to have their various questions answered. 

To establish further how you can get your budding young sailor into this great sport please contact the Sailing Office at the RPAYC and have a chat with Mitch Watkins, the training and centreboard administrator.  He can take you through the various options available and help establish which fits your child and families circumstances.

The RPAYC Sailing Office can be contacted on 02 9998 3771 or email