The New Plymouth Yacht Club provides lessons for adults who wish to own or crew on a yacht and sail with the club in our regular racing during the season which runs from October through to April. The lessons provided are aimed teaching the basics of sailing centreboard yachts.

Adult Learn to Sail Pathway

This pathway is to lay out the steps for any adult wishing to start the Adult Learn to Sail program, or those wishing to continue with their sailing development after completing the Adult Learn to Sail Program.  There are no prerequisites and we will endeavour to make this pathway as clear as possible, with as few barriers to adults wishing to learn to sail through NPYC.

Step 1: Prior to lessons

- Complete the application form 

Boats used will be two-handed 420 centreboard yachts, ILCA 6 (Laser Radial) and two Elliot 5.9s.

Learn more about the classes sailed here:

ILCA - Laser       420        Paper Tiger         Elliott 5.9          Hartley 16


Learners are encouraged to access the following documents/clips to gain a basic understanding of how to sail.  By watching these clips, you will speed up not only your understanding of the basics, but feeling safe and comfortable heading out on the water.

Basic knot tying:

Reef Knot

Figure 8


Clove Hitch

Tidying Halyards:



Step 2:  Pick your Pathway

There are two basic pathways for beginning your ALTS (Adult Learn to Sail) journey here at NPYC.  


Stage 0/Women on Water is for women who wish to experience this learning opportunity, in the company of specifically other women and will take place on a boat with 3 other women learners, in addition to a qualified and experienced Skipper who will be leading and educating at all times.  This introductory stage will take place over 3 sessions.  The Wow pathway will be offered several times a season and can be booked in advance.  If this is for you, please refer to the WoW specific pathway in the flowchart below. 

Stage 1/Adult Learn to Sail is for any adult, male or female who wishes to learn to sail, with or without having completed Stage 0 or any other basic sail training.  This is a twice a week learning opportunity which runs for the entirety of the season and may be joined at any stage of the season subject to availability.  Please see ALTS pathway below for details 

Stage 2 is for any adult who has completed Stage 1 who wishes to continue to learn and develop their sailing skills and experience in a safe and supported way through NPYC.  This will take place alongside Stage 1 on a Wednesday and Saturday and when feeling ready, will include support to join Saturday afternoon racing.  This stage will bridge the transition between full support and purchasing their own yachts (individually or a joint purchase with other learners) to enhance learning and confidence in independent sailing and yacht handling.

Stage 3 is graduation from the ALTS program and is full membership of the club with your own/joint ownership of a dinghy/yacht wherein you are keen to join Saturday racing, and/or take part in regattas, pleasure sailing etc where you will still receive lots of advice, support, camaraderie and encouragement as you embark on your independent sailing adventures!

For those who have sailed previously, entry stage into the ALTS will be dependent on skill level.

There is no time limit on how long you spend in any stage. That is dependent on your capability and confidence.  Due to demand from new learners and a finite availability of coaches, priority will be given to those learners joining or continuing to Stage 2 who have their own yachts and who have demonstrated their intention to participate in club activities.    

Having completed the Learn-to-Sail programme it is recommended participants continue to develop their knowledge and skills by joining the yacht club, spending time on the water sailing and purchasing a boat.  The Club will try to provide opportunities to crew on others’ yachts and help learners manage their own boats.  The yacht club can assist learners to identify and purchase a suitable yacht.  Learners will also be encouraged to volunteer as part of the racing management group, as an opportunity to learn how racing works. 


Stage Zero/One

$300 Learn to sail Fee

3x sessions on Elliot Trailer Sailers

Use of Club Learn to Sail yachts

One on one sessions until competent 

Supervised sailing Wednesday nights and Saturday mornings

Stage Two

$ Full Membership Fee * + $200 Development Fee** (reduces to $100 if using your own boat)

Use of Club Learn to Sail yachts

One on one sessions until competent 

Coached sailing Wednesday nights and Saturday mornings

Saturday racing when confident

Now you’re a sailor

$ Full Membership Fee

Expected to have purchased own yacht

Supervised sailing Wednesday nights and Saturday mornings

Saturday racing when confident


*Membership Fee gives access to the yacht club facilities and members cash prize draw each Saturday evening after senior sailing

** Development Fee pays for the ongoing maintenance and operational costs of the NPYC learn-to-sail yachts and patrol boats.

Stage 0/1 – you are part of the club.. Our club stays open on Saturday afternoons! Come along to purchase cheap beverages from our bar, or join our weekly raffles, while the kids hangout on the beach with fellow sailors.


Please contact John Pitman 027 669 3991 or for any further information.

Please register your interest on the linked form below and we will be in touch for next summer’s programme.

We currently have fleets of Lasers, Paper Tigers, 420s, Hartley 16s, Noelexes and Ross 780s.  However we welcome all centreboard classes to sail with the club.  The principle club contacts and class websites for our regular fleets are:

Laser: John Pitman, NZ Laser Class Association

Paper Tiger Catamaran: Mark Hatch, NZ PT Class Association

Hartley 16:  Jason Holdt; Hartley 16 Class Association

A Class Catamaran: John Coplestone; NZ A Class Association

A list of NZ Yachting affiliated class associations and how to get in touch with them can be found here: Class Associations.  Regionally and nationally, there are regattas in each of these classes with friendly and competitive events for sailors of all ages.

The lessons provided are not by themselves an adequate basis for bareboat yacht charters for which responsible operators should demand further sailing experience together with a formal boating qualification such as completing the Coastguard Boatmaster course.