Learning and Development Program


Our Learning and Development Program is for children to start sailing between the ages of 7 to 10 years. It is run on Saturday Mornings from 8:30 to 12:00 during November, December, February, March and April. Your child will be guided through a structured learning methodology program beginning in club owned Training Optimist dinghies as pictured below. Needless to say all our programs are conducted with participant and instructor safety as the highest priority.
The first three stages of our program are:
1. Start Sailing 1 & 2
2. Better Sailing
3. Start Racing & Better Racing
Upon completion of Better Racing, participants can then join the McCrae Junior and Youth Development Squad. Further details below.

Start Sailing 1 & 2

Start sailing 1 and 2 take approximately 10 weeks to complete and children will learn the basics of wind craft. Theory is part of the program but the most important is the practical part of getting out on the water and sailing. Childen are carefully guided so that their confidence grows and they can begin to enjoy the achievement of sailing and learning independence and resilience.
Instructors and coaches are all Australian Sailing accredited and in most cases have themselves come through from our Learning and Development Program.  Costs for the 10 week course which includes a junior club membership is $350.

Better Sailing

Better Sailing is conducted in Minnow Class yachts, and it is a requirement that advancing to this level necessitates the purchase of a Minnow. Your own personal flotation device (PFD) is also required from this level onward. The price of an entry level minnow is from $600 to $1500. Of course we will guide new families through the purchase process. Better Sailing builds on the skills learnt in Start Sailing so that they learn to sail upwind and get prepared for starting to race. They will learn proper tacking and gybing technique and how to rig the boat properly themselves. They will learn some basic right of way rules as well as knots and flag signals. Course costs for Better Sailing are Junior Club Membership of $200 plus $255 for 17 weeks of course costs.

Start Racing & Better Racing

Start racing is also conducted in their own Minnow sailboats. This is when children begin to learn a range of new skills which prepare them for racing competition. They will be learning about windshifts, starting strategy, rules, signals and tactics a well as building on their boat handling skills, refining tacking, gybing, and steering. Once sailors have begun start racing it won’t be long before they can participate in Saturday afternoon club racing. Better racing builds on the skills further and prepares them for their transition to the next class of yacht as they continue to grow and develop. The course costs for this are the same as Better Sailing.

McCrae Junior and Youth Development Squad

Once children have finished in the better racing group they will advance to the squad coaching. This is conducted on Sunday mornings by coaches who have advanced knowledge in racing, boat preparation and physical training. As children grow they will advance to bigger boats as their growth and size determine. They will advance to the Laser 4.7 (photo at right) or 29er Skiff. At this stage squad members will be competing in club racing held on Saturday afternoons as well as state and national championships. There are other youth specific events where they will meet lots of other competitors from other clubs and interstate which provides a great opportunity to forge life long friendships.

Senior Club, National and International Sailing

After sailors finish their youth programs in their late teens they can move into any number of sailboat classes that we have at McCrae. Of course the pinnacle of sailing is the Olympic Games and some who wish to may advance to Olympic Class yachts such as the Laser Radial, Laser Standard, 470, 49er Skiff etc. Highly motivated sailors may wish to aim at selection for squads such as the Victorian Institute of Sport or the Australian Sailing Team. Sailboarding is also an Olympic class sailing event and dinghy sailors can transition easily with the skills they have learnt. Below are some photos of classes currently being sailed at McCrae Yacht Club.

Tackers Summer Holiday Program

Tackers is a fun, games based learn to sail program run by specially trained instructors. It is a week-long program and this season we will be running two sessions on the following dates:

Week 1 Monday January 13th to Friday January 17th 8:30 to 12:30

Week 2 Monday January 20th to Friday January 24th 8:30 to 12:30

Children will learn to sail on training optimist dinghies. Tackers is divided into three parts, Tackers 1, 2 and 3. In Tackers 1 and 2, children sail two up to help them with confidence and keep the fun and friendship element. Once they progress to Tackers 3 the course must be completed one up. The course includes lots of games and fun activities to keep the children engaged and all children receive a ‘Tackers Pack’ upon starting the course which includes a hat, shirt and drink bottle. The Tackers course costs $345 or $285 for McCrae Y.C. members.

Adult and Teenage Learn to Sail

We run a learn to sail course for adults and teenagers who intend to join our club, buy a boat and become active club members. Expert volunteer club instructors will sail with you on our club owned RS Quests. Adults and teenagers can learn to sail quickly with an onboard instructor guiding them. Please note that dinghy sailing requires a minimum level of fitness and strength. All participants must be able to pull themselves back into a boat after a capsize. Please note that if you have doubts about your level of fitness please make this known to us before you enter the course. The course content includes theory and practice in the basics so that when you purchase your own boat you are ready to begin sailing on your own. The four session course costs $320 for non members or $160 for members. Dates are as follows:

Saturday December 14th 9:00 to 12:00

Saturday December 21st 9:00 to 12:00

Saturday February 1st 9:00 to 12:00

Saturday February 8th 9:00 to 12:00

Learn to Windsurf

This course is for club members who wish to learn how to windsurf. There are two courses scheduled as follows:

Course1 December 27th, 28th, 29th, 30th. 9:30 to 12:00

Course 2 Sunday February 2nd, 9th, 16th and Sunday March 1st 9:30 to 12:00

Course cost is $140 per person.