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Home / Training hub / Youth Dinghy Training (RYA Youth Sailing Scheme) / RYA YSS Stage 1

RYA YSS Stage 1

Aim of course:

The aim of Stage 1 is to give young people the perfect introduction to sailing by; giving them a basic understanding of how a boat sails, some experience of steering and handling the boat and maximised water time. There is a little associated theory but tuition is delivered in a fun and efficient style. The course gives young people the opportunity of learning in single-handed dinghies best suited to their age.


For younger sailors:

The Optibat or Oppie (the rotomoulded variant of the the Optimist) is a sprit rigged single-handed dinghy and at just under 8 foot long it suits sailors aged 6-14, 25-45kg. It is an excellent boat for the young beginner due to it's simplicity and durability but still retains all the performance and components needed to effecively teach the basics of sailing.

For older young sailors

The Topper is an 11 foot single-handed sailing dinghy. Constructed from polypropylene, it is lightweight and robust making it ideal as a training boat for sailors aged 11+, 40-60kg. It has all the performance and components needed to effecively teach the all the elements of single-handed sailing. The Topper is raced at SSSC as a Youth class boat.

For instructor demos

The Mirror is an 11 foot sailing dinghy, that isof either fibreglass or wood construction with either a gaff or bermudan rig. It is a small robust boat with all the performance and components to make it ideal for young sailors learning to helm or crew a double-handed boat. The Mirror is raced at SSSC as a Youth class boat.

The GP 14 (General Purpose 14-foot dinghy) can be cruised, raced, rowed or even powered by a small outboard motor. As a training boat it is stable and large enough to accommodate an instructor and two (or more during demos) students. The GP14 is raced as a two person adult class at SSSC.

Instructor ratio


The course will operate on an instructor to student ratio of 1:6.


The SI will have an overview of both the Singlehanded and Doublehanded courses, monitoring any safety issues ensuring the standard of course delivery and timely progress through the sessions by the DI's. The SI will brief and debrief DI's as required.

Course delivery

Classroom, Onshore and Onwater sessions will be by DI's in accordance with the relevant method.

Course structure Overview:

Day 1:

Equipment & parts of the boat

Rigging, Wind awareness

Land drill basic boat controls

Sailing across the wind, steering, slowing and stopping

Land drill going about

Going about practice

Knots and cleats

Safety procedures

Day 2:

Getting out of irons

Introduction to Crewing

Being Towed

"Pleasure cruise"

Capsize theory / practice (weather permitting)

Detailed lesson plans


Fleet:Toppers, Optibats

Safety boat: T40 RIB

Classroom: Training loft

Sailing areas:

The course will use both left and right jetties and sailing areas 1 & 2 or 2 & 3, depending on the wind direction.

Youth Sailing Scheme Stage 1

Day 1

9:30 - 10:00 Classroom

    • Registration
    • Introduction to Day
    • Safety Procedures
    • Clothing

10:00 - 11:00 On Shore

    • Wind Direction
    • Rigging a Boat (head to wind)
    • Securing to trolley
    • Basic boat controls (sail trim, stopping, rudder, centreboard)
    • Launching (think about wind direction)

11:00 - 12:00 On the Water

    • Practicing basic boat controls on a reach - controlling speed, stopping

12:00 - 12:30 On Shore

    • Going about, theory and land drill

12:30 - 12:45 LUNCH

12:45 - 13:45 On the Water

    • Going about practice

13:45 - 14:30 OnShore

    • Knots - Figure of Eight and Round turn and two half hitches
    • Cleating a halyard

14:30 - 15:30 On the

    • Paddling a boat
    • Voyage round the lake

15:30 - 16:00 On Shore

    • Putting boats away
    • Calling for assistance and dealing with others in distress


    • Find a weather forecast for the next training day from whatever source you like and bring it along to the next training day

Day 2

9:30 - 10:00 On Shore

    • Clothing
    • Basic boat control refresh
    • Going about refresh, including getting out of irons

10:00 - 11:00 On the Water

    • Practising basic boat controls on figure of eight course, reach to reach (no gybes)

11:00 - 11:30 On Shore

    • Calling for assistance and dealing with others in distress
    • Parts of a boat (quiz)
    • Crewing - principles

11:30 - 12:30 On the Water (in GPs or Mirrors)

    • Crewing

12:30 - 13:15 LUNCH

13:15 - 13:45 On Shore

    • Preparing for a tow
    • (Sail down if possible, centreboard up, crew sit aft, use rudder to steer)

13:45 - 14:30 On the Water

    • Towing

14:30 - 15:00 On Shore

    • Capsize theory

15:00 - 15:45 On the Water

    • Capsize practice (optional)

15:45 - 16:15 Classroom

    • E.O.D. procedures
    • & certificates

Last updated 22:48 on 3 January 2023

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