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Children are assessed by our professional instructors and placed in the level most appropriate to their skills, experience and confidence. They progress from level-to-level when instructors say they are ready, including mid-course for talented and confident individuals.

 The courses are open to anyone who can swim 50m but generally suited to children 7 to 15 yrs of age.

Level 1: Fundamentals

Juniors completely new to sailing will normally start at Level 1 with an introduction to the fundamentals.

The level 1 course includes:

  • Proper preparation, use of safety equipment, understanding weather and tides

  • Understanding the different parts of a boat

  • Simple knots

  • Learning how to rig a boat

  • How to recover from a capsize

  • Single boat towing

  • How to launch a boat

  • Paddling the boat

  • Basic control of the boat, including tacking

  • Basic sailing theory - port and starboard

Level 2:
Develop Skills

After initial exposure to the fundamentals, we develop the skills so that juniors can begin to sail independently. 

The level 2 course includes:

  • Developing independent preparation skills including pre-sailing warm-ups

  • Learning to rig a boat unassisted

  • More advanced knots

  • Capsize practice

  • Man-overboard recovery

  • Multiple boat towing

  • Unassisted boat launching and recovery

  • Developing boat control, including gybes

  • Learn to sail around a triangle course

  • Developing sailing theory - windward/leeward, overtaking, points of sailing

  • Altering centre-board position to suit points of sailing

  • Reading the wind, reacting to gusts and lulls

Level 3:
Build Confidence

Having learned how to sail, we next focus on developing the confidence needed for independent sailing. 

The level 3 course includes:

  • Rigging the boat to suit conditions

  • Increasing capsize recovery speed and from a fully inverted position

  • Roll tacking and roll gybes

  • Sailing backwards

  • Sail shape adjustments to suit conditions

  • Slalom and trapezoidal courses

  • Coming alongside another boat

  • Maintaining a position

  • Applying basic rules of fleet sailing

  • Reading wind shifts

  • Working with tidal flows

Level 4:
Learn Racing 

Juniors that have fully developed their confidence are now ready to learn how to race. 

The level 4 course includes:

  • Learning starting procedures

  • Identifying line bias and favoured end

  • Controlling boat speed at starts

  • Optimised mark rounding

  • Using a tuning and sailing log

  • Sailing specific fitness and warm-up exercises

  • Optimising rigging for performance

  • Mast adjustment to suit conditions

  • Aerodynamics theory and optimising sail shape

  • Optimising boat trim for all points of sailing

Level 5:
Improve Racing

Having learned to race, juniors are ready to improve their competitiveness. 

The level 5 course includes:

  • Implementing a training program for  sailing fitness and injury management

  • Identifying goals - short, medium and long term

  • Time-management

  • Regatta planning

  • Optimising rigs for individuals

  • Rafting up with regatta support boats

  • Using wind shifts for tactical advantage

  • Building consistency on optimised boat trim

  • Identifying wind patterns and developing a race plan

  • Offensive boat positioning

  • Tactics at starts and mark roundings

  • Using Racing Rules for tactical advantage

  • Understanding the effects of geography on wind patterns and tidal effects

Post course

Graduates from the GFS Learn to Sail program are prepared for a lifetime of sailing.

Activities at the club for graduates include:

  • Becoming an volunteer assistant coach, helping with beginners.

  • Interclub-racing

  • Moving into Lasers for older students

  • Casual sailing alongside the courses

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