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Sailing Schools Story Series: The Sailing Academy

Sailing Schools Story Series: The Sailing Academy

There is nowhere better to be than on the water in particular on the beautiful Gold Coast! It is a great sport that you can enjoy solo or with a team, whether it be fast, exhilarating and competitive, or relaxing and laid-back. The Sailing Academy of Southport Yacht Club at Hollywell provides great entry-level opportunities for beginners to jump on a boat and give it a go no matter what their age or ability.

How to get started

The Funsail sessions are how the kids can get started. The 1.5 hour sessions are perfect for all kids aged 7 to 17. The sessions teach them the basic safety requirements and run them through a demonstration on the beach, teaching them how to operate the boat. An hour and a half later, the novices are converted into sailors! Parents watch on and are amazed at the fact that their little ones are sailing a boat.

Twilight Sail Racing Experience is offered persons over the age of 17. It is perfect for those who just want to give it a go and to see if they have a passion for the sport. Participants get the opportunity to crew in an actual Southport Yacht Club race on board a 23-foot yacht with a fully qualified instructor as the skipper. They take part as working crew members under the direction of the skipper as they compete for prizes and bragging rights among the club sailors. Those who are not too keen on the ‘racing’ side can just enjoy a twilight sail with the rest of the fleet. At the completion of the sail, they are invited back to the Bar and served a complimentary drink in time for the presentation ceremony. Racing is on throughout the week, with great keelboats, trailer sailors, catamarans and dinghies on the water.

The Academy has welcomed over 4,000 kids through the school sailing programs and has introduced sailing to over 300 adults through the corporate sailing and twilight sail racing experiences. It has also ran approximately 400 club races.


Benefits of sailing

Sailing is a great sport and everyone should at least try it! It opens doors to new friendships and experiences for kids, adults and families all together.

Sailing is not gender specific, both girls and boys have a fair chance out on the water. There are also no age limits.

Sailing teaches skills you can use anywhere in the world. Sailing is ‘one language’. You can learn how to sail in Australia and jump on a boat in Spain (or anywhere else).

It teaches kids the skills that encourage tactical thinking. Sailing provides you with the knowledge and understanding of wind and tide conditions, and awareness of the ocean.

You can get involved as a crew member without having to purchase anything in particular for the sport. You can do it individually or as part of a team. There is a great opportunity to travel around the country and internationally for regattas and meet people from all over the world.

It is also a great way to stay fit and to release stress at the end of a busy day!

Sailing is not expensive

The Funsail lessons start from just 13.80 dollars per visit (five-visit pass) or single session pass for 20 dollars (1.5 hour session) on the weekends. The Twilight Sail Racing Experience is only 29 dollars for approximately two hours of sailing. The School Holiday Camps are only 240 dollars for three full days.

The Club also offers boat leases for juniors for only 100 dollars per month—the Club’s way of making sailing more affordable while also giving parents and sailors some time before committing to purchasing a boat. The Academy offers Discover Sailing Days to try out sailing for free.

The SYC Sailing Academy is located at 1 Marina Crescent, Hollywell. Contact +61-7-5537-7030 or

By Yassmina Hamie


Basic Sailing Terms

Aft – The back of a boat. If something is located aft, it is at the back of the sailboat. The aft is also known as the stern.
Bow – The front of the boat is called the bow. Knowing the location of the bow is important for defining two of the other most common sailing terms: port (left of the bow) and starboard (right of the bow).
Port – Port is always the left-hand side of the boat when you are facing the bow.
Starboard – Starboard is always the right-hand side of the boat when you are facing the bow.
Boom – The boom is the horizontal pole which extends from the bottom of the mast. Adjusting the boom towards the direction of the wind is how the sailboat is able to harness wind power in order to move forward or backward.
Rudder – Located beneath the boat, the rudder is a flat piece of wood, fiberglass or metal that is used to steer the boat. Larger sailboats control the rudder via a wheel, while smaller sailboats will have a steering mechanism directly aft.
Leeward – Also known as lee, leeward is the direction opposite to the way the wind is currently blowing (known as windward).
Windward – The direction in which the wind is currently blowing. Windward is the opposite of leeward. Sailboats tend to move with the wind, making the windward direction an important sailing term to know.
Tacking – Turning the bow of the boat through the wind so that the wind changes from one side of the boat to the other side. The boom of a boat will always shift from one side to the other when performing a tack or a jibe. The opposite of jibing.
Jibing – Turning the stern of the boat through the wind so that the wind changes from one side of the boat to the other side. Jibing is a less common technique than tacking, since it involves turning a boat directly into the wind. The opposite of tacking.

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