junior sailingRoyal Brighton Yacht Club (RBYC) has been running a training program for junior sailors for many years on Sunday mornings. The program was originally initiated to teach the children of senior members to sail. The program has been expanded in recent years to include children of members and non-members alike with the aim of introducing children to the sport of sailing.

The program has two basic tenets:

  • Sailing is Fun
  • Safety is First

The RBYC Junior program provides club boats initially and encourages parents to look at leasing or buying their own Optimists, Sabots and O’PenBics. All sailors are supported by rescue and coaching boats.

The object is to get the children onto the water and having fun as quickly as possible and then to teach them the necessary sailing and racing skills while they are there. Children should be able to play and work independently and be confident in the water. The prerequisite is Tackers 1 & 2 and the minimum age is 8 years to have the capability to learn basic sailing skills.

The Program


The Junior Program is divided into three levels:

  • Group 1

The Training Fleet is where the children start. There they are taught safety on water and the basic elements of sailing. The children are not required to own their own boat at this stage. They will sail two-up or one-up in one of the Club’s own OziOpti dinghies.

  • Group 2

Group 2 is the next port of call for children who have mastered the basics of sailing and safety and are looking to start racing. This group provides the initial racing and more advanced sailing training. In this group, children are encouraged to own their own boat but there are some Club Optimists, which can be allocated to children. In Group 2, children are encouraged to sail one-up to develop sailing techniques.

  • Group 3

Group 3 are the most advanced children who are expected to have mastered the sailing and safety skills and who have a good grasp of the racing skills. They actively participate in the Junior racing program both within the club and at inter-club, state and national regattas. Racing sailors must have their own boat.

Under the supervision of qualified and highly experienced coaches the children are taught to sail with the aim of introducing them to the joy and experience of sailing and perhaps eventually racing . The young sailors work to a program combining theoretical and practical sailing exercises where the emphasis is on fun and safety. Games and competitions reinforce the learning and encourage the more advanced sailors to help others. Progress is rewarded through the completion of Discover Sailing dinghy courses with certificates being presented.

When and Where


The program runs on Sunday mornings commencing at 0900 from the Junior Sailing Centre located in the South west corner of the Yacht club. The morning session finishes around 1200 noon followed by lunch ordered from the canteen by the children prior to commencing the morning’s activities.

The program is run in two sessions following the fourth and first term of the school year as follows:

Spring Session: Commencing around October each year, this is our largest intake time.

Summer Session: The Summer session commences around the same time a Term 1 in public schools each year.

NB there is no sailing over Christmas school holidays and weekends with public holidays. However sailors are also encouraged to take part in our school holiday programs.

If weather permits, the children spend most of the session on the water. Otherwise inside activities are used to teach theory and practical skills such as knots, seamanship and tactics. This program relies heavily on parent participation. Children need assistance in carrying, launching and rigging boats.

Fees and Joining

To join our program you can email Juliet at discoversailing@rbyc.org.au or call on 03 9592 3092 to register your interest in joining the next session. Please keep in mind that the minimum age is 8 and that Tackers 2  or Start Sailing is a prerequsite for joining.

Fees are set each season and differ depending on membership status, club boat usage or private boat usage and the level of training.




Children will be splashing in and out of dinghies which will occasionally tip over. Inevitably, they will get wet and their clothes should be selected with this in mind. They should wear clothing that will become wet but remain warm. A wetsuit or similar is suitable.

Enclosed footwear needs to be worn at all times. Examples include wetsuit boots, sandshoes or surf socks. Thongs, sandals, bare feet and the like are not acceptable. The requirement of enclosed footwear relates to safety of the children.

A hat and sunscreen is also required. The hat should be attached to the rest of the clothing by a lanyard (sailor talk for a bit of string) to avoid getting lost. Parents should supervise the application of sunscreen to their children. UV reflects off the water, increasing their exposure.

After sailing, children will require a change of clothes. A small bag with the change and a towel is useful. If the children are cold and wet, showers are available.


Do I require a lifejacket? Yes, a PFD1 lifejacket be purchased for the child and worn at all times on the water. We have organised discount vouchers with selected retailers. Enquire at the RBYC office when you register your child.



The program relies heavily on parent participation. The children need assistance to rig and unrig the boats at the beginning and end of each session. No experience is required! We will teach you the required skills along with your child.

Instructors need assistance to maximize safety on the beach and on water (e.g. checking children wear appropriate attire for sailing, ensuring Sabot equipment is put away etc). Parents who have a boat license and can assist with manning a safety boat are encouraged to participate.

A canteen is run from the Junior Sailing Centre. Volunteers will be rostered over the season to assist with staffing of the canteen.

Parents are required to sign the children in at the start of each session and to sign them out again at the end.



The success of the Club’s Sabot training is nowhere more evident than in the selection of the Victorian team to represent the State in the National Sabot Championships each Christmas. Selected through competitive trials, the team usually comprises a high proportion of Royal Brighton Yacht Club junior members. It is no surprise that many Senior RBYC members started their sailing life in Sabots.

The Club always welcomes sponsors of Junior Sailing and of the Sabot program. You can sponsor a new mainsail or even a new boat to assist children in the Transition phase. Contact Paul Jenkins, our sponsorships coordinator (see contact list below).

The Sabot Section of the Club actively works with, and supports, the Victorian Sabot Sailing Association



For more information, please contact any of the following or email: discoversailing@rbyc.org.au

Steve Ingram  (Chairman) 0437 674 604