Learn to sail with our teen sails

Why not try something different for the school holidays? Our teen sails are exclusively for young people (13-17 years old) and run over five days. Starting and ending from Chichester harbour, the five days are spent onboard. Everyone is involved in all aspects of sailing the boat, learning along the way as we stay in a different place in the Solent waters each night. Accommodation is in bunks onboard and we cook and eat together. During the five days we can cover the syllabus of either RYA Competent Crew or RYA Day Skipper. RYA Competent Crew gives you a basic knowledge of yachting, how to sail a boat and how to be a useful crew member. RYA Day Skipper is focused on you being the skipper! You’ll learn how handle a yacht at sea, in harbours and marinas, leaving you with an extensive skill set. The Day Skipper practical course assumes that you have navigational knowledge to RYA Day Skipper theory standard. We recommend that you complete the RYA Day Skipper theory course first. (RYA minimum age for the Day Skipper practical course is 16).

See dates and book »

If you want to try out a two day introduction to sailing, you can book on one of our regular RYA Start Yachting courses that run on the first weekend of every month.

All our instructors are commercially qualified RYA instructors and on these courses will hold valid DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) checks – formerly known as CRB checks. On our teen sails we always have a DBS-checked volunteer First Mate as well. If you want to discuss any aspect of our teen sails please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Course content

The course content will vary according to the course you book on. Click on the links below for more details:

RYA Start Yachting

RYA Competent Crew

RYA Day Skipper

This chartlet gives an idea of the sailing area we have to choose from during this trip. The shelter afforded by the Isle of Wight keeps many options open with plenty of anchorages and marinas to choose from.


Our rates are all inclusive, covering all food onboard, hire of sailing waterproofs and visitor mooring costs.
10% lower rates are available in March, April and October.

Our teen sails run from Itchenor reach in Chichester marina.

A Typical Day

Arrival and stick the kettle on.
Introduction to the boat, where things are.
Safety briefing, open up a lifejacket and look inside.
Look around deck, what are the bits of rope called an what do they do?

Prepare mooring lines to leave the pontoon safely.
Fenders and lines away.
Student on the helm as we motor down river, get used to steering the boat.

Pick up a mooring buoy using boathook, communicating as a team.
Cup of tea while we look at the running rigging (lines) in more detail.
Raise the main sail, understanding what order to do things in.
With the sail up, leave the mooring, with the engine on for back up.

Sailing practice in open water with the engine off! Turning the boat’s direction through the wind (tacking)

Drop the anchor and prepare lunch.
Chance to go through the sailing we did and review what was happening.
Use of diagrams to learn ‘points of sail’.
Watching other boats sailing around and describe what they are doing.

Practise sailing the boat around a three point course.
Experience giving way to other vessels, with an explanation of the ‘rules of the road’.
Cup of tea underway!
Make use of an empty pontoon to practise bringing the boat alongside and stepping off safely with mooring lines.

Put pontoon practise into action, moored back on home pontoon, or we might decide to stay out at anchor overnight.
Go over the day and a chance to ask questions you’ve been saving up.

Dinner onboard and a stroll to the pub, a dinghy ashore if we’re at anchor or just watching the stars come out.


How many other people will there be onboard?
On our RYA courses we have four students per instructor, although occasionally we might also have a volunteer onboard.
For our sailing trips we have up to six people onboard plus skipper and volunteer first mate.
We can have up to ten people onboard for group activities.

Where do we sleep? Do we go back to the marina each night?
We all sleep onboard, with a berth allocated to you. We usually stay in a different place each night, which could be at anchor or mooring in a marina with walk ashore access to showers and toilets. A lot depends on people’s needs, which we’ll check with you at the start of a course or trip and as we carry on.

Do we eat onboard? Do you cater for special diets?
All meals and snacks are included in our rates and our vessels are well stocked for your time onboard. We provide vegetarian and vegan food by default as part of our commitment to lowering our company’s carbon footprint, although please feel free to eat anything you want ashore. Thanks to our partners at Infinity Foods we have plenty of great snacks and ingredients. While we all take turns making meals, there are always some homemade pre-prepared dishes so you can make the most of your sailing and learning time. Please let us know about any other dietary needs – we are pretty familiar with various allergies and diets.

Is there a toilet onboard?
Each of our vessels are equipped with at least one sea toilet, called a ‘heads’, and by boat standards they are quite roomy, with washbasins. They have a slight knack to using them, which your skipper will show you, but they are pretty similar to a home flush toilet. We do ask you to use toilets ashore when in a marina.

Do you provide waterproofs?
Yes, we provide salapette trousers and jackets which are wind and waterproof, as well as sailing boots which provide a secure grip on deck. Please feel free to bring your own gear or to ask us for advice on where to purchase affordable sailing gear. Lifejackets and safety harnesses are provided.

Will it be rough, what if I feel sick?
Due to where our vessels are moored, the first days’ sailing you will experience will be in sheltered waters, and we’ll stay in such waters for entry and beginner levels. We want you to enjoy your sailing and our skippers remain very aware of how people are feeling and do their best to avoid unnecessarily unpleasant conditions by planning ahead.

What if the weather is really bad, what weather don’t we go out in?
Sailing is obviously very weather dependent. We reserve the right to cancel trips and courses at our discretion, due to adverse weather. If we are forced to do so, we will be in touch with you in the days beforehand to advise and we will work with you to attempt to find you a suitable replacement or if not we will refund all of your money. However, Sail Boat Project cannot be held responsible for any other loss that you may have incurred due to cancellation of your course or trip. The final decision on whether a course or trip goes ahead is always based on the capabilities of those onboard and we are not interested in forcing anyone into being forced into a position they are uncomfortable with.

Will I get a certificate?
All the RYA practical and theory courses we deliver lead to a nationally recognised qualification within the RYA’s sail cruising scheme, if you have met the syllabus requirements. We also issue certificate sof achievement as part of the RYA Sailability scheme and we have our own certificates of achievement for groups.

Do you make arrangements for people with special needs, learning or physical?
Yes, we have experience of taking people out sailing with a range of different needs. Our ethos is to make things possible and we will always work with you to allow inclusion and participation from everyone. While our vessels are not specifically adapted, for example for wheelchair users, we will always think about what changes we can make to get people out on the water. We use a variety of learning materials that engage and include people and our skippers and instructors are always learning and sharing with each other techniques to help people make the most of their time with us.

Can I talk to an instructor or skipper in advance?
Yes, if we can’t put you through to one of our instructors or skippers when you call the office, we will pass on you details and have someone get back to you as soon as possible to have a chat with you.

Do you allow alcohol onboard?
Yes we do, in moderation! We may share a bottle of wine onboard or visit a pub during a course or trip, but please remember alcohol and getting used to the motion of the sea don’t mix well.

Should I bring my log book?
Yes, if you have a sailing log book this is really good to bring along. For courses it will outline your syllabus, help your instructor see what experience you have and you can get it signed off at the end. For sailing trips you can record the nautical miles sailed and treat it as a mile builder towards any examinations you go for. They are also a useful record for your own interest. We always have log books available for sale onboard for £6.

Is it all sailing, is there time to explore places we visit?
Depending on the level of course you are on, there is usually time to explore a couple of the places we visit. The Competent Crew course includes using a dinghy, so you’ll be able to explore from the water! On our sailing trips part of the idea is to have a look around sowewhere new. We usually agree as a group when to have time ashore as we always need to work around the weather and tides. If you have any particular requests make sure you let your skipper know.

Will I see any wildlife?
Plenty of birdlife and the odd seal – in Chichester harbour there is a whole seal colony at certain times of the year. Marine mammals are not as abundant as we’d like them to be, although porpoises in Poole Bay and dolphins off Chichester bar have been recent sightings. If we are lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time we would never move in close or cause any undue stress. We have marine wildlife spotter guides onboard to help you prepare.

What to bring

  • Clothing layers – even if it’s sunny or warm on land it can get quite chilly when sailing
  • Hat, sun cream, lip salve, sunglasses, gloves
  • If you’re staying overnight or longer you’ll need to bring a sleeping bag, pillow, towel, toiletries
  • Any medication you would normally require
  • Pack your belongings in a soft bag that can be easily stowed
  • Do bring any of your favourite snacks or soft drinks as we may not be near any shops
    (If you have your own foul weather gear you are welcome to bring it)
  • If you haven’t been sailing before and don’t know if you might get seasick, some good advice is to have a sensible breakfast and don’t drink lots of alcohol the night before!
  • Bring seasickness pills if you might need them.

What We Provide

  • Lifejackets
  • All meals & snacks while on board (vegetarian/vegan)
  • Sleeping berth
  • Course books in advance (if applicable)
  • Access to our onboard sailing library, including RYA course books (copies available to buy)
  • Quality XM foul weather trousers, jackets and waterproof deck boots
    (If you have your own foul weather gear you are welcome to bring it)
  • Please feel free to discuss equipment concerns with us prior to your sailing trip or course, we will happily advise on purchases if you would like to buy your own gear.
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