The Y Canberra Region Sailing Club are a family orientated club catering for off-the-beach dinghies and catamarans. We focus on developing young sailors. People with disabilities welcome.

Originally our sailing experience was centred on Lake George before relocating to our current home at Yarralumla Bay when Lake Burley Griffin was filled in 1964. 

The Sailing Club provides members with learn to sail courses and club racing for beginners through to advanced sailors in an environment that is inclusive, fun and safe for all ages. Family and junior sailing activities are the ideal place for families to start sailing together and with access to boat hire and the help of our volunteers and staff, you need no prior experience or your own vessel to start.

News & Cancellations
Events & Regattas
Learn to Sail Courses
Boatshed Storage

About the Sailing Club

The YMCA Canberra Sailing Club is a youth and family-oriented club, which also welcomes people with a disability. We provide racing for off-the-beach dinghies and multihulls. We provide sail training for all ages, but with a focus on youth and families. Our membership ranges from pre-teens and upward.

The Club operates under section 8.1(a) of the constitution of the Y Canberra Region. It operates under a set of rules approved by the Y’s Board and also operates within the policies of the Y Canberra Region. This results in our risk management procedures and our safeguarding children and young people procedures complying with the appropriate Y Canberra Region policies.

The primary object of the Sailing Club shall be to provide a club for members to engage in competitive and non-competitive sailing and other aquatic recreation activities.

The Sailing Club caters for family groups and encourages participation and training of young people.


YMCA Sailing Club has been providing sailing courses for children and adults since it was founded in 1963. Originally our sailing experience was centered on Lake George before relocating to our current home at Yarralumla Bay when Lake Burley Griffin was filled in 1964.

The initiative to form the Club came from two members of the YMCA of Canberra, Val Moran and Ralph Weston, who were keen sailors and worked together at the ANU. A key topic at the time was the building of the Lady Denman Dam and the possible recreation activities once Lake Burley Griffin was filled. They gathered together a band of like minded people and rest is history.


Our Executive Committee manages the affairs of the Club on behalf of the Board of the Y Canberra Region. The Committee operates under a Charter and within the Constitution of the Y Canberra Region, and the our Sailing Club Rules. See Current Executive Committee here.

The Club has two major activities: Sailing and Training. Each activity is governed by a committee (effectively sub-committees of the Executive Committee).

Charters and membership for all committees can be found under Resources tab which also includes our Sailing Club Rules and other useful downloads.

Communicating with Members

The Club communicates with members through two major channels. The first is our Club magazine Mains’l, which is published at least bi-monthly during the sailing season and quarterly during the off season. The second is a weekly email to all members from the Commodore.

Another communications channel is our Resources tab, where you can find links to Australian Sailing and Club documents that members need to consult from time to time.

Our Resources tab includes links to annual reports to members such as the Sailing Report (from the Sailing Committee), the Training Report (from the Training Committee) and the Membership Report (from our Membership Secretary).

Latest News and Cancellations

For updates on news and cancellations, visit the website here


We race many off-the-beach dinghy and catamaran classes with all levels of experience catered for, from beginner to national champions. We race every Saturday from late September to early April. Results are provided after racing and, for pointscore races, prizes awarded to the winners.

On Tuesday evenings during daylight saving we provide twilight sailing for juniors and novices (but all sailors welcome).


Racing starts at 2pm on Saturdays throughout the spring, summer and into the autumn.


Results are posted to our website as soon as possible on each racing day (normally by 1730 hours).

Club Calendar

Racing starts at 1400 hours on Saturdays (1500 hours January and February) from late September to early April. Our Club Calendar gives a Saturday-by-Saturday view of our Club sailing program. To access the Notice of Race and Sailing Instructions for the club racing click here


Occasionally, we have to cancel racing at short notice because of unfavourable weather conditions. Check our cancellations to avoid an unnecessary trip.

Racing Classes & Associations

We currently provide racing for off-the-beach multihulls and monohulls in the following Divisions:

  1. Multihulls
  2. Pacers, Lasers, Herons and other high yardstick monohulls.
  3. International 2.4m
  4. Sharpies and other low yardstick monohulls

All classes are welcome at the Club. Classes sailed at the Club include (Click on the links to visit the relevant association):

Racing Formats

Twilight Sailing

Three to four short races comprising a triangle and a windward return leg. On-water coaching provided. Racing starts at 1800 hours. Sailors from the ANU Sailing Club participate and we often have more than 20 boats. More information and our Twilight Sailing schedule here.
Cancellations here.


Two races completed on the same day. Eight championship races per season. Fleet split into divisions (see above). Results and scoring are done on scratch timing and Australian Sailing Yardstick.


Two races per day weather permitting, Point Score A series runs over eight Saturdays (16 races) before Christmas. Point Score B series runs over seven Saturdays (14 races) after Christmas Same format as championship, however scoring and results are determined by an individual’s handicap and Australian Sailing Yardstick. Championship races also count towards point score series.

Alternate Course

Shorter fun races. At least 2 and up to 5 races per day (weather permitting). Run over different race formats and courses with a high emphasis on fun. Very user friendly format. Scheduled when out-of-town regattas will impact the Club fleet.


Start by yourself or fleet race, do as many laps as you want and your fastest lap will be recorded. Results then decided on corrected time (Australian Sailing Yardstick).

Stern Chaser

One long race around the lake, each class has its own start time. If the handicapper is correct all finish together. Traditional season opener.


One long race around the lake, all start together and scoring done on corrected times (Australian Sailing Yardstick). Traditional season closer.

Events & Regattas

Each year the Club runs three ACT championships. Regular Championships are the ACT Multihull Championships, in October of each year, and the ACT Team Racing Championships, in late February. The Canberra Yacht Club and ourselves alternate (every two years) in running the ACT Dinghy Championships and the ACT Youth Championships.

In most years, the Club, on behalf of class associations, runs one or more national championships. We also run, with assistance from the Canberra Yacht Club, a twilight Team Racing Series.


Our Events and Regattas Calendar shows the timing of each championship or other event, the Notice of Race and Sailing Instructions and links for entry and for results.

Our Equipment

We have a Committee Boat and four RIBs as safety boats. Australian Sailing has a RIB stationed in Canberra, which can also be available to assist with large fleets. We have a set of buoys and associated equipment suitable for fleet racing.

For team racing we have a set of buoys, an autohoot and associated equipment. Our teams racing venue has a beach change-over and spectator point within 50 meters of the course. Other sailing clubs in the ACT assist with team racing regattas so that we can provide a committee boat, a finish boat, six umpire boats and a utility boat.

Our Skills

The Club has experience in conducting large regattas at State level and in conducting National regattas for class associations. We have a pool of experienced regatta managers, and, for Team Racing, a pool of people experienced in key positions.

The Club also has a pool of members who have many years of experience as a race officer at State and National level events, both in fleet racing and teams racing.

The ACT has built a pool of Team Racing umpires, to the extent that at the 2021 ACT Team Racing Championships we were able to supplement three invited umpires with nine local umpires, allowing two umpires per umpire boat.

Our Race Secretary and assistants are experienced users of Sailwave, our scoring software and have shown that they are capable of quickly and accurately processing results for large fleets.

Learn to Sail

We offer a range of exciting training activities, making it easy for people of all ages and abilities to get into sailing. We are an Australian Sailing accredited training center. Our courses follow Australian Sailing syllabuses and are conducted to Australian Sailing standards.

Australian Sailing courses are offered at five levels:

  1. Start Sailing 1 – An introduction to basic sailing techniques
  2. Start Sailing 2 – Builds on Start Sailing 1 to complete your introduction to basic dinghy sailing techniques. Graduates of this course are ready to skipper a dinghy.
  3. Better Sailing – Further develops your dinghy handling skills and introduces you to spinnaker handling and trapezing.
  4. Start Racing – An introduction to the basics of racing.
  5. Better Racing – Takes your racing skills to a higher level.

For a fuller explanation click here

Our primary course is a combined Start Sailing 1/Start Sailing 2 course. You can come to us with no previous sailing experience and if you successfully complete the course you will be ready to skipper a dinghy in light to medium winds.

Our courses are suitable for all ages, from 8 upwards (if you are chronologically advantaged and you can still kneel and have good balance you can still learn to sail).

Course Calendar and Registration

Click here for course fees, our course timetable and to enroll. Please note courses may be cancelled if the minimum number of students required is not reached. If we have to cancel a course we will contact you the week before to rebook you or arrange a refund.

Sailing Courses

School Holiday Programs (Level 1 and 2)

Holiday programs are five day courses for children run from 9am to 5pm during ACT school holidays. Please complete the enquiry form below to find out about Sea Scout and Group discounts for these programs.

Adult Sailing Courses (Level 1 and 2)

Our adult courses are offered on weekends. Saturday courses are accelerated courses, with less time on the water and are best suited to people who are fit and adept at learning new physical skills. The Sunday course is slower paced and has more time for on-water practice.

Family Sailing (Level 1 and 2)

These courses are designed to enable parents and children (aged 8 and above) to learn to sail together. Open to adults and children with and without sailing experience. If you have a large family please complete the enquiry form below to find out about discounts. The course runs over four Sundays, from 9 am to 5 pm.

Better Sailing (Level 3)

Level 3 courses allow sailors who have completed a Level 2 certificate and sailed consistently for at least half a season to improve their skills. The course introduces sailors to spinnakers and trapezes, navigation buoys, wind on the lake, sea breezes and other more advanced sailing techniques. The course is open to adults and juniors and runs over two weekends. For safety reasons candidates for this course must have reached suitable minimum skill levels and the YMCA Canberra Sailing Club reserves the right to refuse admission to the course.

Start Racing and Better Racing (Level 4 and 5)

Not currently offered. However, with increasing junior membership and increasing numbers of course graduates we are examining the possibility of introducing these courses.

Out There Sailing

This activity is designed to challenge and extend the skills of sailors and non-sailors through time on the water and exposure to sailing techniques and different types of craft including spinnakers, trapezes, mono and multi-hull dinghies, stand up paddle boards (SUPs), kayaks, canoes and windsurfers. Participants who can demonstrate the necessary skills will be awarded a Discover Sailing Level 1 certificate. The activity is designed for participants who are 12-17 years-old looking to try a new activity, have some fun and engage with other teenagers.

Power Boat Handling/Safety Boat Operator

These courses assist the club to maintain a core of qualified drivers for the Club’s power boats which are required as safety boats during club races, regattas and training courses. Successful completion of a Power Boat Handling course is recognised as meeting the full requirements for a New South Wales General Boat License. Non-members are welcome to enrol, however preference will go to club members if the course is full. We also welcome enrolments from participants in other aquatic recreation sports who need to drive safety boats. Enrol here.

Course Prerequisites

Participants enrolling in any of the courses must be able to swim at least 50 meters. Enrolments for Family Learn to Sail Courses must comprise at least 1 adult and 1 child. Better Sailing and Safety Boat Operator courses have pre-requisite skill levels for enrolment. Please see the Course Calendar section for further details. Participants minimum age is 8 years old.

Our Instructors

All our instructors have successfully completed an Australian Sailing Dinghy Instructors Course or Dinghy Assistant Instructors Course. To gain this qualification a Dinghy Instructor must have:

  • completed a two day Australian Sailing Dinghy Instructor course;
  • an Australian Sailing Powerboat Handling Course;
  • a State powerboat licence;
  • a Senior First Aid Certificate
  • a Working With Vulnerable People card; and
  • completed a Better Sailing (Level 3) course.

Duke of Edinburgh International Award

We recognise that some of our course participants are completing the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award and may be using sailing and/or club membership to complete one or more sections of The Award. Visit the Sailing Resources website to find out how sailing courses can contribute to your Award.

Fees & Memberships

Saturday Club Race Fees

  • Club race fees are included in your membership fee.
  • Non-members $20 seniors, $10 juniors.

Reciprocal Race Fees

The Canberra Yacht Club and the YMCA Canberra Sailing Club have entered into an agreement whereby members of each club can, by paying a reciprocal race fee, race with the other club without paying race fees. This is not a membership and does not entitle you to membership privileges with the other club.

Boatshed Storage Fees

Available only to Members, with prices starting from $250 per year. See the Boatshed Storage tab for more information.

Membership Fees and How to Register

All membership registration data is held on the Australian Sailing member database which is accessed through RevolutioniseSPORTS. Click here to join the Club, renew your membership, Sail Pass and for current membership fees.

Membership Types and Benefits

We have various memberships to suit our members as listed below.

  • Junior: For under 19 years. Can rent space in the boatshed and access to members only pricing for club activities. 10% discount on Learn to Sail Programs and Club merchandise.
  • School: Same as Junior but cannot rent space in boatshed, hire club boats to travel to away regattas or participate in Youth Squads. Must pay race fees if sailing in Club races.
  • Student: Full time tertiary students aged 19-24 years. Senior membership benefits included.
  • Senior: Can rent space in the boatshed and access to members only pricing for club activities. 10% discount on Learn to Sail Programs and Club merchandise. Entitled to 1 vote at the Club’s Annual Meeting.
  • Kayak/Canoe: For non-sailors wishing to purchase kayak or canoe storage. Senior membership privileges included.
  • Family: Membership for families who have 3 or more Sailing or Associate Members within the family including at least 1 Junior Member. Respective Senior and Junior membership privileges included.
  • Associate: For those who wish to belong and contribute to the club but not sail. Covered by Club insurance when participating in Club activities but Associate members cannot race, rent space in the boat shed or hire club boats.
  • ANU Sailing Club Sailing: Restricted membership available to student and graduate members of the ANU Sailing Club who wish to participate in YMCA Sailing Club club races only. No other membership privileges included. 
  • ANU Sailing Club Australian Sailing Registration: Obtains Australian Sailing membership but no privileges with the YMCA Sailing Club.
  • Temporary Trial Membership – Sail Pass: The traditional route into dinghy sailing for a beginner is either to crew for a mate who owns a boat or to do a course. If you are not part of a sailing circle finding someone willing to take on an inexperienced crew is a challenge. Completing a course is a significant financial commitment. If you follow either of these paths you then have to become a member of a club before you can crew in races. Sail Pass is a way of easing into sailing without a large financial commitment via a temporary membership. A Sail Pass package entitles you to participate in Club races, sample our culture and decide if sailing really is for you at a very reasonable price. Sail Pass packages are for 4 or 6 days.

Boatshed Storage

Boat, kayak and canoe storage is only available to current members of the Club. We have various storage options including undercover and outdoor space for small to larger boats and kayaks and canoes. You can renew your storage (pay your annual fee) and find more information including storage prices and conditions here.

To enquire if space is currently available please use the Contact form below.

Contact Us


Spring, Summer and into Autumn.


(02) 6281 0124


35 Alexandrina Drive
Yarralumla ACT 2600

YMCA Sailing Club

35 Alexandrina Drive
Yarralumla ACT 2600