Centreboard Division

Learn to Sail

Register Now for our Learn To Sail (LTS) Classes held at the SYC Algies Bay facilities
43 Gordon Craig Place, Algies Bay.


We offer 8 week x 3hr courses in Term 1 and Term 4 of the school year for sailors ages 9-14yrs.

There are three levels: LTS1, LTS2 and open fleet racing. 

Classes are held each Sunday morning, 9am-12noon (all levels).

On Sundays, from 12.30pm, there is the opportunity for any sailor, including adults to join in with their own boats, to make up a decent sized fleet for a series of three short races. Focus is on fun, and along the way, learning rules. Finish 2.30-3pm. 

2022 Dates:

 2022 Term 4

Sunday 16 October 2022 to Sunday 11 December 2022 inclusive.  No sailing Labour Weekend.

During the year there are opportunities for extra coaching, extra practice days, destination sails and interaction with the SYC Keeler Division. All based on sailor enthusiasm, numbers and coach being available.

centre board sailing

Centreboard Sailing on Sundays

The mornings are dedicated to 3-hours tuition of the Learn to Sail and Greenfleet classes. Sailors arrive at 8.30am to get their boats and themselves ready for a prompt 9am on-the-water start. After sailing, all the gear and boats are washed down and put away. Then we have a 5minute de-brief followed by a sausage-sizzle. 

We ask that sailors and parents assist with launching and retrieving the sailing boats and the RIBS/patrol boats, washing down all the boats and helping to store all gear before leaving for the day. 

By 12-noon we aim to be finished so that sailors and parents can have a half-hour break before the casual sailing/racing part of the programme beings for those interested in further practice. Afternoon sailing is for any sailor, including adults; this starts at 12.30pm with a briefing with on-the-water racing starting 1pm, finishing 2.30-3pm. 

learn to sail auckland

Boats and the pathway forward

‘Learn to Sail 1’ sailors have the free use of a plastic Optimist dinghy provided by SYC. We have 7 such Optis, so with a class of 12, we start with two children in one boat, swapping in/out of the patrol boat for the first few classes. Each sailor must have his/her own life-jacket (suitable for sailing/not head pillow attached). For older/heavier/taller sailors, we have O’pen Bic boats, again free for LTS1 sailors.

LTS2 & LTS3 & Greenfleet sailors must provide their own sailing dinghy (Opti, P-Class, Starling, Laser, Sunburst, O’pen Bic etc – anything). This is because we can only teach so much – it’s time on the water that is needed to improve one’s skills and this can only be done if sailors have their own boat. Or, in LTS2, you can hire an O’pen Bic*.

After doing LTS1, if your child really enjoys his/her sailing, and you want to take sailing to the next level, then we suggest you hire a Bic for one season or, better still, commit to buying a wooden or fibreglass Opti, or a second-hand P-Class and getting the most out of it for the next 12-month period. (Yes, a P-Class is difficult to sail as there as so many things to tweak, but it teaches you far and beyond anything you will learn in an Opti, but only if your son/daughter is capable of coping with a more sophisticated boat). During this time, sailors can do two more classes (LTS2 & LTS3; one in each term) and by having their own boat, these sailors can make full use of it in the summer holidays by going sailing with their new sailing buddies. This will increase confidence and skills exponentially not to mention the fun they’ll have.

By applying this strategy, your child will be an excellent and very competent sailor and hopefully will be keen to take his/her sailing to the next level with a ‘Greenfleet’ course. They can also join in with the afternoon racing/sailing programme offered at Algies Bay, on Sundays 12.30-2.30pm.

From here on their skills will be such that they will make an ideal selection to join the Mahurangi College sailing team, sailing two-up in the 420 boats. This is a great team sport and very social, with a new skill-set being established. At this point, your sailor may have outgrown his/her boat, so you sell the original boat for the price you bought it for and give thought to selecting a boat at the next level to further independent sailing.

By keeping an eye on the fortnightly/monthly SYC newsletters, you’ll see when the SYC Sailing Division has races on and the opportunity is there to secure a spot on one of the ‘big’ boats and race regularly in the SYC Sailing Division races.

* We encourage sailors to stay in Optis until they have outgrown them, rather than see the Bics as the next step up. The 10 Bics were very kindly donated to us by various entities, and we are fiercely proud and protective of them. They cost a lot of money, and require a lot of respect, hence, not everybody is entitled so sail them. As such, potential Bic sailors must demonstrate their skills before sailing in them for the season. 

Bics are like skiffs; they require no bailing, are easy to rig; they are light and fast and a lot of fun. And the big appeal to parents of course, is that you don’t have to bring them home and store them. But! they don’t teach the fundamental skills than an Opti will. Lighter sailors can sail a Bic in light airs but simply don’t have the weight required to hike/stack out when the wind and waves get up; Hence, we use the Bics as the alternative to an Opti for novice sailors who are physically too big for an Opti; and as a stepping-stone to assist the undecided or uncommitted sailor or those not ready to commit to the purchase of a boat, so they can sail see the variance in sailing different boats and how much fun one can have. We have only 8 Bics available for hire, on a first-come-first-in basis providing we feel the age/stage of sailor is appropriate. The cost for this is $200 for the 8 week season. All costs include GST.

sailing classes


For membership information and/or to complete a registration form.

For further enquires, and to get a registration form please email admin@sandspitlearntosail.org.nz.

centreboard sailboat


The Centreboard Division is run by volunteers, and parent participation is paramount. We need parents to help with launching sailing boats and patrol boats, retrieving them at the end of the class, washing down and putting them away. Whilst sailors are on the water we prefer that parents stay to keep an eye on the sailors from the beach or assist coaches on water. Those running the programme are not baby-sitters, and like to feel that parents are sufficiently engaged to want to learn along-side their children. As the sailors grow in skill-set and confidence they are able to do more for themselves, less parent help is necessary so you will not have to stay for the 3hr duration. You will be able to gauge this as you each week goes along. 

For the duration of the 8 week course, there will be a roster, with small tasks on it requiring one parent of each sailor to do his/her bit. As we struggle to get a quorum of people with whom to have discussion at our monthly meetings, we now require one parent from each family to attend the monthly Centreboard meeting which is held on the second Wednesday of each month, 7-9pm. This is so that parents are kept informed, so they can have a say, and so that matters pertaining to the weekly running of the club can be discussed and measures put in place to constantly enhance what we do. Without such parent participation, these courses can not be run. It is also an opportunity to become aware of the greater club and the opportunity it affords.

sailing classes


$285 for one sailor of the family. $100pp for subsequent sailors*

LTS1 = Opti supplied free of chargeAll other classes, sailors may provide their own boat or hire one of the Club’s O’pen Bic boats.

centreboard sailboat

SYC Membership

Course fees above are based on a six-month Centreboard membership for the whole family, which covers use of the facilities, cost of maintenance, administration and general running of the division from the main Sandspit office located at Sandspit.

They also include affiliation fees to YNZ, cost of a handbook, insurance, running fees and coaching fees. We keep our fees at an absolute minimum in order to give every child the opportunity to join these classes. Members are kept regularly informed with emails/texts from Centreboard Division and receive monthly newsletters from the main Sandspit Yacht Club encouraging the whole family to participate in activities put on by the greater club. Centreboard Membership does not entitle one to a vote, but attendance at and participation in the SYC AGM is actively encouraged (AGM held second Tuesday in July, 7.30pm).

*Those whose parents already hold Full Membership to SYC, pay just $200 for each course.

Full SYC membership is available also.

Convenor Contact

Brett Howlett

021 390 965

sailing centreboard yachts


09 425 9008