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About Our Program

The Junior Sailing Program and Greenwich Flying Squadron is a volunteer led program backed by qualified coaches, aimed a delivering a structured approach to learning to sail. The goal is to learn to race because that is the best measure of skill progression. See our Courses page for specific detail on the levels offered in our program.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What kind of boats do they learn? Children learn to sail Sabots, which is a traditional learning boat. Two other clubs in the area use the same class of boat, providing opportunities for interclub competition.

  • What is the age group? The courses are open children from approximately 8 years of age to 14 years, but really depends on the size and confidence of the sailor. Children should not start too young as they can be easily scared and the small size of the boat is not suitable for larger sized children. Children can be assessed during the Open Days. 

  • Can my child sail with their friend? In the beginners course, children sail two up in a boat. However, we have found it is better for learning if children do not sail with the best mates. There is plenty of time for interaction with their friends when on the deck. In the advanced course, children sail one up and they can compete against their friends on-water.

  • Do I have to buy a boat? The club provides boats for all students - beginning and advanced. Students are assigned a boat at the start of the season which they sail the entire course. Students/parents are responsible for maintaining their boat in good working order, using club resources and assistance if required. Advanced students/parent may wish to purchase their own boat. Storage of your own boat in the club is subject to space availability (we aim to accommodate) and storage fees apply.

  • What equipment or gear does my child need to have: The club provides life jackets (compulsory) and helmets (recommended and compulsory when instructed). Your child will need to have appropriate clothing. Wetsuit booties are highly recommended, as well as thin, flexible wetsuits on colder days, and a peaked cap, worn under the helmets.  Dry clothes for after racing should be brought as well as a water bottle and snacks.

  • What happens if it's raining or super windy? In the event of torrential rain or gale force winds which we deem dangerous, the club will run theory sessions indoors, especially for beginners. We do have other on-water options for such days. The club reserves the right to cancel training in exceptional circumstances.

  • Do I get a refund if my child can't turn up on a particular day: Sorry but we don't offer refunds if you choose not to come.

  • What happens if my child decides they don't want to sail anymore? If you withdraw your child part way through the season, we do offer a refund for the balance of the season. Similarly, if the coaches deem the child not suitable for the program (see expectations below) we will provide a refund for the balance of the season.

  • Do they need to be confident swimmers? Children must be able to swim 50m. 

  • My child is scared of capsizing: Rest assured that after our capsize training in the early stages of each course, the child's favourite activity will be capsizing and we have to tell the children to not deliberately capsize their boat.  It's all part of the fun. 

  • How many course are needed to learn to sail? This varies a lot from child to child. Most spend around two seasons in the beginners/intermediate group before progressing to the advanced group, where they spend another few seasons till they need to move to a larger boat. 

  • When can a child progress from Beginners/Intermediate to Advanced? Children can change levels at any time subject to approval of the head coach and space availability. 

  • My child is now an Intermediate. Why do they have to start with the beginners again? If a child is not yet ready to move to the Advanced Course, then they will benefit from learning by repetition. Also, with a little more experience, Intermediate sailors are pared with a complete beginner, and learn by demonstrating to others what they have learned and progressing their skills in the process. Advanced Course sailors sometime voluntarily help out with the Beginners course as well. So its all part of being in a club. 

  • Are their grades or certificates? We primarily recognize and reward effort and improvement on a weekly basis during the debriefing. Certificates of attendance are issued at the end of the season. A club championship trophy is given at the end of the season for advanced sailors based on results at the state and zone championships.

  • Why do parents need to become members?  The constitution of our club requires that all people making use of the facilities need to be members. Parents of Junior Sailings who do not participate in any other activities are given a free annual Associate Membership, valued at $110. 


Students are expected to:

  • Turn up on time, with sunscreen on, ready to sail. 

  • Rig and unrig their assigned boats, then assist others when finished their own boat.

  • Participate actively in group discussions and debriefings, without disrupting proceedings.

  • Strive to master the skills of sailing and continually improve.

  • Take instruction from coaches without argument, including swapping in and out of boats on water.

  • Wear lifejackets at all times on the water and helmets when instructed. 

  • Do not jump or swim from the pontoon unless given permission, and only when all boats are packed away.

  • Avoid damaging the boats through collisions with other boats or the pontoon. 

  • Take care of sails and wash them after sailing.

  • Report all damage/loss of parts and assist in repairs.

  • Place personal belongings in their bag on the hooks and keep the deck area tidy and organized.


Parents are expected to:

  • Learn how to rig Sabots and be present to encourage/supervise their children during rigging and unrigging on every sailing day (approximately the first 30 and last 30 minutes).

  • Assist in one or more other activities at least every second week. Activities include on-water support, deck duty, sausage sizzle. See the Duties Booking Roster on the Parents page. Parent must contact other parents via the course What's App group to organise a replacement if they cannot make it.

  • As an optional extra, attend one twilight racing event in support of their child. 

  • Parents of Advanced Sailors are expected to support their child at a small number of regattas away from the club (see above).

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Vision and mission 

We want children growing up in touch with the real world, able to deal with the elements and confident in their ability to deal with shifts in wind and other adversities in life. 

We aim to be a fun and exciting learn-to-sail option for juniors. At the same time we seek to instill positive attitudes toward learning, care of their assigned boat, and fostering a desire to be the best sailor they can be.  We want to attract children to the sport of sailing and coach them through to full competence, as demonstrated by racing.


We want parents to become actively involved in their child's journey, learning along side of them, participating in the social aspects of the program and helping steer development of the right learning attitudes of their children in a new environment. See the Parents page for more information.


About GFS

Greenwich Flying Squadron is a rare gem in the Sydney sailing scene, hosting both dinghy sailing for juniors and yacht racing for adults.


Tucked away in the entrance to the Lane Cove River, our location offers a relatively sheltered location for beginners with easy access to the open harbour as students develop their skills. 

We are one of the very few clubs in Sydney catering to the needs of both dinghy and yacht sailors. This combination provides a rare opportunity for the whole family to get involved in sailing.

See the GFS home page for more information.

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