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Starting Sailing & Junior Sail Training

Dinghies are small sailing boats and they are a great way to get into sailing. There are a wide variety of dinghy types suitable for children through to adults of all ages and abilities. 

Our sailing courses are taught by qualified and experienced instructors, all of whom hold a current first aid certificate and working with children check. With a strong focus on water safety, we provide all life jackets and other safety equipment required to ensure everyone has a positive sailing experience.

In addition to providing a fun, enjoyable way to develop new skills, our junior training program has produced a number of students who have reached State Champion level and successfully represented the State at National Championships.

For all our learn to sail courses, we provide temporary membership of our club, along with boats and equipment.

Adults Learn to Sail

For adults we prefer to offer small group, or single-person tuition. Contact us for details, and to find a time that suits both you and our volunteer instructors. If you are not yet ready to take the leap to learning to sail, but would like to see what dinghy sailing is like, we can also arrange for you to head out in a boat on a calm day, with an experienced sailor at the helm. 


Junior Learn to Sail

Junior Learn to Sail is a fun, introductory sailing course for children aged 7-15. Kids don’t need to have any sailing experience to participate. All the equipment, including the boats, is provided. Classes of around 12 to 18 students learn mainly in Pacer dinghies in groups of three or four, with an experienced, qualified instructor and younger, assistant instructors from our club.

Learn-to-Sail courses are run in October and January each year. These courses are the club’s biggest, single investment of volunteer time. While we welcome holiday-makers, we aim to see a high proportion of students living in the locally in the Fleurieu Peninsula and Adelaide Hills areas. Despite the flooding in January 2023 we managed to run one of our most successful courses to date.

Bookings, once opened, can be accessed via the following link: or by clicking here.

Junior Sail Training

After completing one of our Learn to Sail courses, students are encouraged to return to the club to continue their skills development in single-handed, Optimist dinghies. The junior program generally operates on Sunday mornings from 8:30-11.30 (times for this season to be confirmed), with rigging and preparation generally from 8.30 am and on water by 9:00 am (confirm timing with the training coordinators). It includes introductory, intermediate and advanced sail training facilitated by a dedicated and professional volunteer team. Parents are requested to volunteer where possible, helping with safety boats, launching and retrieving dinghies and packing and storing equipment.

Keep an eye out on our Facebook page for the full details of the next series of Sunday morning junior training sessions.  Once announced, you can book via the following link:

The Optimist is the most popular dinghy class in the world today. Optimists are single-handed dinghies designed for kids. They can handle them without danger, fear or back-strain. Safe and simple enough for an 8-year old, exciting and technical enough for a 15-year old. Getting started in the Optimist fleet is an exciting time for many kids – hopefully, their experience sailing this child-friendly dinghy will be the starting point for a lifelong enjoyment of sailing.

The club has a few Optimist dinghies stored at the club available to hire or rent for the season for new students graduating from our Learn to Sail program. Optis are also regularly for sale, and can easily be transported on top of a car.

As soon as students are able to sail confidently around a triangle course, they are encouraged to join the rest of the club in racing on Sunday afternoons. 

GAC Sailing is currently promoting the ILCA 4 (formerly known as the Laser 4.7) as a next step for young sailors moving out of the Optis, and already has a strong fleet developing.

Further information is provided here.

For any questions around junior sailing, email us at, or contact the Junior Sailing Coordinator: Adam Spees 0437 664958

Junior Sail Training Anchor
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