Cowes Yacht Club

Learn to Sail

Cowes Yacht Club – New to Sailing

Accredited as a Discover Sailing Center by Australian Sailing

Bookings are open for all events including Tue - Fri 2nd-12th January 2024 - please click the following to book or scroll down for more information:

Course Information Link Dates & Times Booking Link
Free Discover Sailing Day Session 1: 10AM - 2 PM Thu 28 Dec 2023; 
Session 2: 10AM - 2 PM Wed 10 Jan 2024

Session 1: Register here
Session 2: Register here

Tackers 1 (7-12) 9AM - 1PM Tue - Fri 2-5 Jan 2024 Register here
Tackers 2 (7-12) 1:30PM - 5:30PM Tue - Fri 2-5 Jan 2024 Register here
Tackers 3 (7-12) 1:30PM - 5:30PM Tue - Fri 2-5 Jan 2024 Register here
OutThere Combined (12-17) 1:30PM - 5:30PM Tue - Fri 2-5 Jan 2024 Register here
Start Sailing 1 & 2 (12+) 9AM - 1PM Tue - Fri 2-5 Jan 2024 Register here
Better Sailing (12+) 1:30PM - 5:30PM Mon - Fri 8-12 Jan 2024 (no lesson on Wed 10 Jan) Register here
SheSails "Changing Our Game" course (12+) 9AM - 1PM Mon - Fri 8-12 Jan 2024 (no lesson on Wed 10 Jan) Register here

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.

Sail Training Programmes will be run for 4 days per course around the first & second week of January 2024 for three age groups. Tackers 7-12 years, OutThere Sailing for Youth 13-17 years, and Start Sailing 1 & 2 and Better Sailing for Teens/Adults 13+ years. Course cost is approximately $330 for each course.

Sail Training Programme:


Free Discover Sailing Day: Thursday 28 December 2023 (10am-2pm) & Wednesday 10 January 2024 (10am-2pm) - More Information here - Bookings to open in December 2023.

Tackers(kids): Tue 2nd to Fri 5th January 2024 - Register here

Start Sailing 1& 2: Tue 2nd to Fri 5th January 2024 AM - Register here

OutThere Combined(Teens): Tue 2nd to Fri 5th January 2024 PM - Register here

Better Sailing: Mon 8th, Tue 9th, Thu 11th & Fri 12th January 2024 PM - Register here

SheSails Sailing Course: 4x4hr sessions for Women/Girls - Mon 8th, Tue 9th, Thu 11th & Fri 12th January 2024 AM - Course will be tailored to participants experience & based on above Start Sailing & Better Sailing course content. - Course will open for bookings once sponsorship has been confirmed - please register here to be notified when bookings open

Green Fleet (supervised sailing - suitable for Tackers/Adults/OutThere): Please see our Sailing Calendar. 
Participants in Learn to Sail courses are given a 3 month membership of Cowes Yact Club & encouraged to join in Green fleet sessions post their course to build on their skills & socialise with Club members at same skill level. OutThere participants receive current season junior membership.

Please click the links for an explanation of each course. 

  • Tackers Program
    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.
  • OutThere Program
    OutThere is designed for teenages (13 - 17 yrs) as an introduction to water based fun including Sailing, Windsurfing,& Powerboating. 
  • Start Sailing Program & Better Sailing
    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. Better Sailing caters for those wanting to advance their sailing skills & follows on from Start Sailing courses.
  • Free Discover Sailing Day  - 28th December 2023 & 10th January 2024 - 10am -2 pm
    Discover sailing through an open day at Cowes Yacht Club - open to all members of the Public.
  • Green Fleet
    Green fleet is the step between sailing training & racing. Cowes yacht club runs multiple days through out the season to encourage kids & adults to get out there & sail. Open to Cowes Club Members & Learn to Sail participants

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.

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.

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 shops.
  • 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)

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.

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