Learn to Sail

Learn To Sail Courses

Portarlington Sailing Club is an Accredited Discover Sailing Centre with learn to sail courses.


During the season of 2023/24  the Club is running  a Green Fleet Program . These are held on Sunday mornings for 9.30 to 11.30

Current Dates are

19/11/2023 am Junior Program 9:30 to 11:30
10/12/2023 am Junior Program 9:30 to 11:30
17/12/2023 am Junior Program 9:30 to 11:30
21/01/2024 am Junior Program 9:30 to 11:30
11/02/2024 am Junior Program 9:30 to 11:30
18/02/2024 am Junior Program 9:30 to 11:30
17/03/2024 am Junior Program 9:30 to 11:30
24/03/2024 am Junior Program 9:30 to 11:30


Learn to sail programs run regularly throughout the sailing season. Try sailing dates can be found via the club's socials and on the website. Contact the club with any queries you may have.





The Sailing Pathway – 10 Steps

Like many sports, sailing offers a pathway for new participants to use as their guide to building experience, skills and confidence.

The Sailing Pathway has 10 steps and is applicable to participants of all backgrounds, ages and abilities, in different types of boats.

The first few levels introduce new participants to the sport, the intermediate levels are for people who want to race at their club and achieve results locally, and beyond that there are a range of further options including high performance and international competition.

The Introductory Levels

Step 0 – Discover Sailing Day or Discover Sailing Experience

Discover Sailing Days and Discover Sailing Experiences offer participants the chance to visit a club and get out on the water to see if they like the sport. Discover Sailing Days can be offered by any affiliated sailing club.

Discover Sailing Experiences are delivered by a Yachting Australia Qualified Instructor at an accredited Discover Sailing Centre.

Step 1 – Start Sailing

Step 1 of The Sailing Pathway is the Yachting Australia Learn to Sail programs available in dinghies (Start Sailing) or keelboats (Start Crewing and Start Helming). These courses involve a syllabus and set number of hours, and are run by Yachting Australia Qualified Instructors at accredited Discover Sailing Centres.

Step 2 – Better Sailing

The courses at Step 2 of The Sailing Pathway are Better Sailing in dinghies or Start Skippering in keelboats.

Step 3 – Start Racing

For participants who want to progress to racing, the Learn to Race course in dinghies and the Start Racing and Spinnaker courses in keelboats are the next step. Skills learnt in these courses provide enhanced boat handling and management skills.

Clubs & Racing

Step 4 – Introductory Racing

Step 4 provides a modified form of competition that gives participants a chance to experience racing using the International Introductory Rules. The emphasis is on practising skills with a group of people of a similar level. In keelboats, social racing provides a type of introductory racing. For kids, introductory racing is usually called Green Fleet.

Step 5 – Club Racing

Club racing is one of the core activities available at most yacht clubs. Races are conducted under the International Rules of Racing. Participants with this level of skill can also be more confident about their ability to go cruising from their club, undertake the specialised disciplines of Teams and Match Racing, or progress to higher levels of fleet racing. At this level, many participants investigate buying a boat, however many continue to participate as a crew or charter a boat.

Step 6 – Club Coaching & Interclub Racing

Sailors wanting to progress to the front of their club fleet will normally participate in their club coaching program, run by Yachting Australia qualified Club Coaches. They will enter class championships and large regattas away from their club, including state and national class championships. Coaching programs tailored to the needs of individual sailors are applicable to both dinghies and keelboats.

Advanced Options

Beyond Step 6, there are a variety of options to continue to develop interest, experience and skills in the sport, including international competition, offshore racing in keelboats, officiating as either an Instructor or Race Official, or vocational training and employment on one of these pathways.

For Youth (secondary school age) and adults Development and High Performance Pathway beyond Step 6 is:

Step 7 – State Development (or Emerging Talent) Squads.

This step is for youth sailors wanting to progress to the highest level of competition in the international classes. Some States have development programs that develop competitive sailors who perform at major regattas.

Step 8 – State High Performance Squad

Youth sailors who have ongoing results at major regattas may be eligible for selection to a State High-Performance program (available in some states).

Step 9 – The Australian Sailing Squad and Australian Youth Team are for sailors identified with potential to attain the performance requirements for the Australian Sailing Team.

Step 10 – The Australian Sailing Team is the highest level of The Sailing Pathway and consists of sailors who meet national selection criteria.


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