Getting Started


School Sailing competitions are great fun because our competitors are challenged to embrace the highest standards of sportsmanship. This is critical in a “self-policing” sport where competitors are expected to follow and enforce the rules.

Students conduct themselves with decorum, integrity and great manners. Even in the last final of our state championships, the fundamentals of sportsmanship shine, despite the high levels of tension, adrenalin and excitement that prevail.

If your school hasn’t got its sailing program organised yet, please contact us and we’ll help you to establish a program.

Also, check out the Bill Bell Trophy. The Bill Bell Sprint Sailing Championships have been set up so that anyone can represent their school as long as the competitor has parental permission.

Teachers and Coaches

School Sailing can help you establish a Sailing Team in your school: contact us to find out how.

School Sailing is using very different methods to our sport’s High Performance programs. At the London 2012 Olympic Games sailing achieved the most Gold Medals of any Australian Team. We were the dominant nation in sailing even denying the USA any sailing medals for the first time in Olympic Sailing History.

Whereas coaches and team managers are regulated and managed at arms length at so many sailing championships, School Sailing has gone in the other direction: Rather than exclude coaches from the course area, our umpires will be happy to take you afloat and view your school racing from just meters away in an umpire boat.

This is not common in sailing, but we’ve found that uncompromising commitment to the best outcome for students and our competition has developed a culture where teachers, coaches and officials collaborate for everyone’s benefit.

Only competitors are included in the Racing Rules of Sailing, so the management of expectations and requirements of coaches and teachers (who are not racing) is by these codes of conduct that they conduct themselves in accordance with:

Yachting Australia Membership Protection Policy

Yachting Australia Coaches Code of Conduct

New Policy for 2014-15 Season – Safe Motor-Boating for Teachers and Coaches

Going on water at a School Sailing event is a fundamentally safe activity when the right preparation is undertaken. It is generally unusual in sailing to have coaches and officials on the same boats, but we see it adds invaluably to the learning opportunity, so we encourage it.

The on water skills of teachers in the competition varies from never having been on the water before, to multiple World Champion and Australian Olympic team members, and almost everything in between.

For the less experienced teachers we offer an on water induction, which is conducted by the Chief Umpire (or their delegate) in the umpire boat. This induction enables teachers to learn the safety aspects of being a crew member / passenger in a boat used for school sailing.

To drive a boat, you must have a Boat License and be assessed to be of a competent standard – as a guide this means the boat handling skills that are required for a YA Boat Handling Course. We will also induct you to our on water safety plan.

To umpire or officiate, you will be assessed by and inducted by the Chief Umpire, for the role you are undertaking.

It is expected that Coaches will as a minimum be a YA assistant instructor and therefore hold a boat handling certificate.

During the induction you will be advised of the observer requirements:

  • To listen to the official(s) on board and assist in the running of the event
  • To question respectfully and only at appropriate times
  • To refrain from communicating with participants whilst they are racing

Re-induction occurs every 2 years, but if we make changes to our policies, we will update them on our website and email you a notice of change. We register and manage all inductions and accreditations on the YV MyCenter database and will contact you on the email you register with us.

The following are the key differences in motor-boating at School Sailing that differentiate us from standard boating requirements

  • Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs) worn by coaches/managers at all times. We recommend an auto inflating yoke type PFD.
  • In addition to the standard PPE for sport teachers (Slip, Slop Slap, and water) please wear flat non-slip footwear that can get wet and a sailing jacket or equivalent.
  • Kill switches (with extensions where necessary) worn by all rib drivers operating alone.
  • All boats have VHF Radios
  • Chief Umpire carries immediate first aid kit with Ice Packs and Bandages (other treatment is from school first aid kit)
  • When a competitor blows a whistle – Official boats attend immediately, as do other competitors if in a position to do so.
  • You must attend the competitor briefing if you are going on water.
  • In some conditions, based on the weather and the boat type, officials may decide to limit or not carry additional people.


Medical Records, emergency contacts and consents

Schools are responsible for obtaining the necessary medical records, emergency contacts and parental consents required for competition and to have appropriate details available at the competition. Yachting Victoria relies on the school to collect assess and review these and does not require copies.

Upon review of the medical records, the teacher in charge shall inform the Race Officer of any medical conditions that he should be aware of that are necessary to ensure the safety of the student on the water.

Capsizing is a normal part of sailing

Capsizing is a normal part of sailing. Students need to be proficient in righting a capsized boat and re-boarding it including some swimming in sailing gear if they are temporarily separated from the boat during the capsize.

As a part of training and preparation for competition, schools should ensure that their students have these proficiencies. Some schools have run a survival simulation. This involves

  • Students dress in full sailing gear, including shoes, hats and PFDs
  • Diving head first into a swimming pool
  • Swimming 15 meters
  • Floating for 5 minutes
  • Climbing out of the pool on the edge without the aid of steps, but with ropes or hand holds.

Interacting with Officials

Schools should brief their students on interacting with officials. In particular explain the green and white flag protocol.

  • Where an umpire does not see an incident or did not see enough of an incident to be certain that a boat broke a rule, they will green flag it.

There are lots of reasons why umpires don’t see full incidents, Watching another incident, another boat blocks their view, boats change course and the ovelap can’t be seen etc…

The umpires will be happy to explain what they saw, why they made a decision and how that rule works, but they will not enter a debate into what they saw and therefore made a call on.

Encourage students to ask for such an explanation from the umpires whenever they are unsure how or why a call was made.

Safety equipment and clothing

PFDs: Competitors are required to wear a PFD at all times while afloat. There are a variety of PFDs available and many students will usually have their own one. PFDs should be suitable for racing and not be excessively bulky or restrict movement in the boat or getting back into the boat following a capsize.

Whistle: All competitors are required to carry a readily accessible whistle while afloat to be used to attract attention if they require assistance

Footwear: While afloat, footwear must be worn to protect against hazards such as sharp objects which have been found on the bottom of lakes and shores.

Sunscreen: As the sun also reflects off the water, sunscreen should be applied before students go afloat

Change of clothes: The weather we sail in varies, competitors should have a complete set of dry warm clothes to change into after racing.

Hydration: Ensure sailors plan to drink sufficient quantities of water, consider a routine whereby all sailors rehydrate each time they come ashore and debrief.


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