Learn to sail

The Learn to Sail Keelboats is a hands on course that introduces people to sailing on keelboats. No experience is necessary. We will teach you all of the principles needed for your journey to become a great sailor. You just need to be over 16 years old!

On successful completion of the course participants will be awarded a Yachting NZ Level 1 Introductory Keelboat Sailing Certificate. From here we can help get you involved in club sailing to add to your skills and experience as well as offering you follow on courses such as Racing Crew and Cruising Crew.

The course covers the following topics:

  • essential safety skills
  • boat parts, rigging & boat terminology
  • knots and rope work
  • all crew positions including helming
  • tacking, gybing and sail setting
  • reefing
  • man overboard drills.

The course is 28 hours long and involves both classroom and on-the-water elements. Courses run in a variety of formats – 4 consecutive weekend days, 4 day block courses (usually over public holidays) or evening courses two nights a week for five weeks.

Upcoming courses

Intro 602  –  Mid-week course: Tuesdays & Thursdays: 17, 19, 24, 26, 31 January and 2, 7, 9 February 5:30 – 8:30pm each day. Last session Friday 10 February is an evening Rum Race with the Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club 5:15pm – 9:00pm. $650. Fully booked. Please email ocean@rpnyc.org.nz to join the waitlist.

Intro 604  –  Waitangi Block course: Saturday 28 January + 4, 5, 6 February. 9am – 4pm. $650.

Intro 605  –  Saturdays / Sundays: 11-12 February + 18-19 February. 9am – 4pm. $650.

Intro 606  –  Sundays 26 February & 5, 12, 19 March. 9am – 4pm. $650.

Intro 607 – Mid-week course Tuesdays & Thursdays: 28 February, 2, 7, 9, 14, 16, 21, 23, 28 March. 5:30 – 8:30pm each day. $700

NB: we are currently in the midst of reviewing our courses and prices in the context of changes to Coastguard and Yachting NZ requirements. The following courses and dates will be going ahead. These are not yet bookable on our website, but there for your own planning purposes:

Intro 608 – Saturdays 11, 18, 25 March & 1 April. 9am – 4pm.

Intro 609 – Saturdays / Sundays: April 1-2 April + 15-16 April. 9am – 4pm.

Intro 610 – Easter Block 7, 8, 9 , 10 April. 9am – 4pm.

Intro 611 – ANZAC Block: 22, 23, 24 April & Saturday 29 April. 9am – 4pm.

Mid Week courses – if you are interested in doing a course on a weekday email us ocean@rpnyc.org.nz. These are run based on demand and availability of participants.

To book, please select the course start date and number of people attending from the book now box on this page.  If you need help check out our booking help.  Please note all courses are subject to minimum booking numbers to run.

If these course times don’t suit please email ocean@rpnyc.org.nz to be notified when new courses are scheduled. Note additional courses may be scheduled based on demand.

What to wear

This is a hands on course that spends lots of time on the water. For going out on the water dress warmly, even in summer. A wool or polypropylene base layer is a good idea, with at least one more warm layer on top. We provide you with a good quality set of MUSTO wet weather gear (pants and jacket) along with a lifejacket. A hat and sunglasses are also a good idea. Make sure that you have a strap or similar so that you don’t lose these overboard!

Weather information

We are subject to the joys and challenges of Wellington’s wind and weather. Course components are flexible and instructors will use their best judgement to adjust the course components to suit the weather. If the weather is unsuitable for sailing, often we can get ahead on some of the classroom based sessions. On rare occasions where we have sustained bad weather we may have to reschedule a session.