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Learn to Sail: Youth Sailing Programs

West Vancouver Yacht Club has one of the highest quality Youth Sailing Programs in the country. We incorporate Sail Canada's  "CANSail" standards into our own unique training programs, enabling us to offer the most memorable, educational and rewarding experiences possible.

There are many courses to choose from, each suited to a particular age and skill level. Even sailors as young as 6 years old can learn to sail! At WVYC, we introduce basic sailing skills, develop existing skills, and improve racing performance for youth sailors in both a safe and fun environment. Students can progress at a comfortable pace while having one of the most exciting and memorable summers of their lives.

Sailing is a very social activity and sailors are encouraged to register with their friends. Our programs allow sailors to develop their skills and achieve their CANSail levels without being confined to a specific course curriculum.  Coaches will work with sailors and base instruction around sailors' needs, allowing them to have fun with their friends and improve on sailing skills at the sailor's own pace.



Commodores Cup

At the end of each summer, Royal Vancouver Yacht Club hosts a regatta for junior sailors from around Greater Vancouver. Competitors must have taken part in a Learn-to-Sail program over the summer. For many, this event was their very first regatta. For all, it is a great learning experience and often a stepping stone onto joining race teams. West Vancouver Yacht Club’s Junior Program has been attending for many years fielding a team of keen and enthusiastic sailors: In addition to WVYC, clubs participating included Sea Cadets, Mac Sailing, Hollyburn Sailing Club, Eagle Harbour Yacht Club, Bowen Island Yacht Club, Squamish Yacht Club, and of course, Royal Vancouver Yacht Club to name a few.The Regatta concludes with a fabulous buffet banquet where Commodores of the various participating clubs are invited to be part of the prize giving dinner. Regatta details are now available by clicking the links below.

This year you just need to register with us and we will make sure you get registered for the event, and have a coach and boat to sail.
We would like all sailors to meet at RVYC at noon on Monday August 26th for a team meeting and check in.

For more information please contact the Learn to Sail Office at sailingdirector@wvyc.ca.

Notice of Race (has a schedule and information about the event. DO NOT register using their link though)

Click here to register for the Commodores' Cup



Multi-Activity Program

SAILING, SUP AND KAYAKING

Course description: 1 week
This program is open to children 7 years and up. Students will get the chance to try SUP and kayaking in the calm waters around Fisherman's cove, and get up close to the wide range of nature. With sailing, they will seek adventure on one of our 22-foot keelboats.  This camp allows you to dip your toes into a few of the programs we have to offer, without being restricted to a curriculum, and has been the highlight of many kids' summer.

Online Registration / Check Availability >>



Optimist Programs



The Optimist dinghy is a small, very stable single sail boat. It is also sailed all over the world and has become one of the most preferred boats to learn in. Many world famous sailors got their start in an Opti. We like to place very young children or those children brand new to the sport, and those weighing less than 50kg in Optimists. We want their first sailing experience to be a positive one and hopefully they develop a life long love of the sport, like we have.



Opti Intro

(Ages 5 - 7)

Who should take this course:
Children who are new to sailing or have never been on the water and that are between the ages of 5 and 7.

Course description: 1 week
Children are introduced to sailing in an environment that focuses on fun and safety. Small and stable Optimist dinghies are used for this course with 2 students per boat. Topics include boating safety, steering and pulling in the sail, and how to balance, sit and move in an Optimist dinghy. Participants will have the chance to explore the water as they paddle and sail around in our protected marina and harbor. Additional activities may include arts and crafts, games and beach play.

Opti Intro Registration / Check Availability >>


Opti Basic

(Ages 7 - 11)

Who should take this course: 
Children who are new to sailing or have never been on the water and are between the ages of 7 and 11 or weigh less than 50kg. If you have a confident athletic 7 year old child who has taken summer camps before they will fit into this class just fine. Also children who have already taken the Opti Intro course and are comfortable being on the water now.

Course description: 1 week
Opti Basic is based on the CANSail 1 syllabus. This course creates a more confident atmosphere for the introductory sailor with one to two students per boat. By the end of the course, students will comfortably be able to sail around on the water in almost all directions relative to the wind while also developing the skills to sail solo. CANSail 1 material.

Opti Basic Registration / Check Availability >>


Opti Intermediate

(Pre-requisite Opti Basic or CANSail 1)

Who should take this course:
Children that have already spent at least one year in Opti Basic or who have taken Opti 1 in a previous year, and received their CANSail 1 certificate, or come from a family of sailors and have significant sailing experience.

Course description: 2 weeks
Sailors will learn more advanced skills including to sail on all points of sail with increased independence. By the end of the course, they are able to sail comfortably in light to medium winds by themselves. CANSail 2 material.

Opti Intermediate  Registration / Check Availability >>


Opti Advanced

(Pre-requisite Opti Intermediate or CANSail 2)

Who should take this course:
Sailors that have completed Opti Basic and Opti Intermediate and are 11 years of age or older. This is when we start to learn how to go fast. If your sailor is over 50kgs (100lbs) we suggest moving to the LTS Basic course path, unless they are interested in joining our race team and doing regattas in an Opti. This is something they can do right up till they are turning 16 or weigh more than 50-55kgs. 

Course description: 2 weeks
Sailors are introduced to the exciting realm of sailboat racing. Topics include starting, tactics, strategy, and advanced boat handling skills that will enable students to be competitive at the local sailing level. Sailors are required to compete in a weekend regatta to complete the level. The Commodore's Cup regatta at the end of the summer is a fantastic event to complete this requirement. CANSail 3 material.

Opti Advanced Registration / Check Availability >>


Learn to Sail Programs
for sailors 11 and older or more than 50-55kgs



These courses usually take 2 - 3 weeks per CANSail level to complete depending on the amount of experience the sailor has and whether or not they have done extra sailing with friends, family, or part of a race team.


LTS Basic

Who should take this course:
Children 11 years of age or older that are new to sailing or are transitioning from the Opti Basic or Opti Intermediate program are advised to take this course. Or perhaps they have taken LTS Basic before but have yet to receive their CANSail 1 and 2 certificates. They should weigh at least 50kgs as the course is taught in bigger boats with more sail area.

Course description: 2 weeks
This course allows new sailors or those with limited sailing experience to learn the fundamentals of sailing in double-handed (two-person) Flying Junior dinghies. Boat handling, safety and sail trim are a few of the many components taught in a socially rewarding environment. Sailors will refine their basic skills as both skipper and crew. Students begin to understand how to make boats sail quickly and efficiently. It is recommended that they participate in a regatta to further implement the skill set. CANSail 1/2 material.

LTS Basic Registration / Check Availability >>



LTS Intermediate

(Pre-requisite LTS Basic or CANSail 2 or CANSail 3 or Opti Advanced)


Who should take this course:
Children 11 years of age or older that have received their CANSail 2 or 3 certificate and are ready to explore more advanced skills. Sailors who want to become a Learn to Sail instructor need to have their CANSail level 4. Sailors should weigh at least 50kgs as the course is taught in bigger boats with more sail area.

Course description: 2 weeks
This course emphasizes boat speed and maneuver efficiency while introducing students to an environment that emphasizes technical accuracy. Advanced sailing skills, sail tuning, tactics and mental skills are integrated into the fun and development-based curriculum. Coaches help sailors achieve performance and personal goals in a team atmosphere. Additionally they are required to compete in a weekend regatta to complete the level. CANSail 3/4 material.

This course is also taught on weekends in the Spring and Fall as part of the WVYC sponsored North Shore Sailing Team. You can save big by becoming a Jr. Member of WVYC and becoming part of the race team prior to taking this course. In Club 420s, Fevas or Laser dinghies, sailors develop their on-water skills as well as continue to improve on tactics and strategy.  This is a racing-focused course designed for athletes to experience the fun of training and racing. Sailors will also get a chance to participate in keelboat sailing and racing should they wish. As part of the North Shore Sailing Team sailors will satisfy the Regatta component of the course by participating in one or more BC Circuit regattas. Boat Charter is included.

CANSail 4 is required for those sailors wishing to become Learn to Sail Basic Instructors.


LTS Intermediate Registration / Check Availability >>



LTS Advanced

(Pre-requisite LTS Intermediate or CANSail 4)

Who should take this course:
Sailors that have received their CANSail 4 certificate and are ready to race or are interested in becoming a race team coach or Learn to Sail instructor.

Course description:
This course is taught on weekends in the Spring and Fall as part of the WVYC sponsored North Shore Sailing Team. You can save money by becoming a Jr. Member of WVYC and becoming part of the race team prior to taking this course. 

CANSail 5 is required for those sailors wishing to become Learn to Sail Basic or Intermediate Instructors.
CANSail 6 is required for those sailors wishing to become Race Team Coaches or Learn to Sail Advanced Instructors.

To sign up for the race team and take Level 5 and/or 6 see the details at learn-to-sail/nsst