Due to coronavirus pandemic: Booked buddy sailing only at present. Book in portal 'reserve activities'. Gate to be locked after entry and exit. Changing rooms closed.

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Home / Events / Junior Sailing - Block 1 / Junior Coaching
Home / Events / Junior Sailing - Block 1 / Junior Coaching

Junior Sailing - Block 1 » Junior Coaching

9th May, 13:30 - 17:00

There is no advanced group this week - most advanced sailors will be at the Eric Twinname Championships

Junior Coaching at Derwent

Information for Parents & Children


For 2020 we are planning to do things a little differently. Our Junior Coaching Sessions have become so successful and popular that we have reached the point where we need to restrict numbers to ensure good learning and safety of participants. Please read all of the information below as some of the arrangements have changed from previous years.


We aim to take junior members from beginner to highly skilled sailors. We have a number of sailors who compete at National Level. Sailing doesn't have to be about racing, but racing does tend to make people sail better and so most of our focus is on race training.

Times & Dates

Session Times

Sessions start at 13:30 each week unless advertised differently. For experienced sailors - this means you should be changed ready to go on the water with your boat rigged (if it is windy the sail should be furled or on optimists lying on your boat ready to step the mast). You will meet with your coach at 13:30 and agree the plan for the day. Most weeks - we would expect you to be launching by 2pm. You are likely to sail until 4:30 or later and then come ashore and debrief. (Consider bringing a drink / food for when afloat).

For beginners - on the first week - arrive around 1pm. We can lend you bouyancy aids, wetsuits and wet boots. Please be changed ready to meet your coach at 13:30. Part of the session will include rigging the boat.


Please check the website for the dates. We usually work in blocks of 5 or 6 weeks at a time and we ask you to book the entire block online on the website. On some occassions there will be major events at the club (or in the National Junior Sailing Programme) and so blocks may not be consecutive weeks.



We do our best to run sessions, no matter what the weather. If we can safely get on the water we will. Occassionally we will need to reduce numbers sailing at one time for safety reasons and we will try to still make the afternoon worth attending. If we can't sail at all - we will still normally meet and do some shore based actvities.

Medical Information

Please make sure the coach is aware of any relevant medical information that could be needed on the water, before the session starts (e.g. anaphylaxis, diabetes, epilepsy, asthma).

Parental Supervision

The club rule is that there should always be a responsible adult accomopanying any child under 16 at the club. If you wish to leave the club grounds while your child is undertaking a coachign session please agree with another adult that they will act in loco-parentis. Please tell your child too! Be aware that mobile telephone coverage around the reservoir can be patchy.

Personal Responsibility

All sailors should be aware of the content of the Water Safety Policy (available on the club website). A buoyancy aid is to be worn whenever in/on the water or on the Jetty. It is strongly recommended to wear a wetsuit (or drysuit). Thin (2 or 3mm) or short wetsuits are not usually adequate. If you want to discuss what equipment your child should buy please feel free to discuss with your coach.

Swimming is only permitted during official swim sessions. Children playing in the water near slipways are very difficult to see from incoming boats. Under no circumstances should children jump from the Jetty.

Sailing is like all water sports potentially dangerous. We will do our best to make activities safe, however, responsibility for deciding to sail rests with the sailor (and their parents)

What if I capsize?

Stay with your boat. If you are able to - re-right the boat and get sailing again. If you are unable - a safety boat will come to help you. We try to undertake a capsize exercise in a swimming pool once a year. All beginners will have undertaken a controlled capsize before progressing to Intermeidate.


Sailors with their own boats must have third party insurance. We would strongly recommend all boats have comprehensive insurance. In the event of a problem on the water our priority will always be the safety of sailors. Boats and equipment can be replaced, people can not. Therefore we can not take responsibility for ensuring boats are never damaged.


We normally work in three groups:

Group Beginners Intermediates Advanced
Boats Oppi Trainers provided by club Own Boat Needed (Usually Optimist) Own Boat Needed
Personal Gear Safety gear provided by club* Safety gear usually provided by sailor Safety gear provided by sailor
Prior Sailing Experience No significant experience. Younger children will benefit from having crewed a double hander for a season. Please come to a taster session to make sure you like sailing. Able to meet RYA Level 1, 2 and preferably 3. Can sail triangular course in single hander Regularly participates in club racing and/or Open Events at other clubs. Likely in RYA Zone Squad.
Maximum Group Size 6 sailors 8 - 9 sailors 10 - 12 sailors

*We do not supply gloves

Begginers will usually be ready to progress to Intermediate after 10-12 weeks of sailing.

Intermediates and Advanced Sailors will sometimes be coached jointly.

Sailors must be a member of Derwent Reservoir Sailing Club to participate in our Junior Coaching Programme. This could be as a family member, or a junior member with a parent who is a sailing or non-sailing member.

Minimum Age

Most RYA Training Centres are only take children over 8 years of age. However, children younger than 8 can learn to sail. Young children learn in different ways and will struggle with a full afternoon of intense sailing. Height and physical strength will also be important. Children under 6 are unlikely to manage to sail alone in an Optimist; it would be better to sail with Mum or Dad in a stable double handed dinghy like a Mirror. Children between 6 and 8 - can participate in our coaching but we would suggest they should have spent a season sailing in a double hander first to get used to how boats feel and handles. Younger children may need to stop sessions earlier and may take longer to progress. Water confidence and swimming ability will also affect how children feel when afloat. The most important thing is for children to enjoy sailing.

To help know if your child will enjoy sailing - we will occassionally offer a ???Junior Beginner Taster??? session. We will try to get children in double handers with more experienced sailors. This will usually be just prior to a beginner block.


We try to keep costs as low as possible, but we do need to make a small charge. The charge covers fuel and wear and tear on boats. The charge is ??5 for an afternoon session. Sailors improve better if they are all learning at around the same time so we book sailing in blocks (cost ??25 or ??30). Sorry, there is no refund if your sailor is unable to participate in a particular week. We do try to keep sessions to a minimum during school holidays and avoid major sailing events.

Should I buy my own boat? Should I buy my own lifejacket or wetsuit?

If you are thinking of buying a boat, we'd suggest discussing it with the coaches. While different sailors will suit different boats, there are some advantages of sailors learning in the same class of boat. Do not buy a plastic moulded oppi trainer your child will out perform it too quickly. Second hand GRP Optimists hold their value well.

Beach Wetsuits are not usually warm enough for sailing in British Waters. Bouyancy aids must have a 50N CE Mark. A Bouyancy aid should be fitted well enough that a child can be lifted by it without it pulling up over the child's face. We are happy to discuss options.


We rely on volunteers to make the junior sessions a success. There are jobs for various levels of experience. This year we are usign the Duty Roat to manage volunteers. If you are able to help please sign up (you can volunteer by logging in on the website and selecting the role you can help with).


Ideally coaches will have RYA Dinghy Instructor or Race Coach Qualifications - but if you are a competent sailor we'd be happy to find ways to make use of your skills.

RIB Drivers & Crew

If you have RYA Powerboat 2 please let us know. This is the minimum requirement to operate a powerboat on the reservoir. All our coaches have PB2, but sometimes it is easier to coach without needing to think about driving. Some of our coaches are under 16 and require an adult on board. We will normally ask for a second person in each RIB - you don't neeed any particular skills and will learn a lot. You will need to be suitably clothed and wearing a buoyancy aid.


Experienced sailors can usually launch and recover themselves, but younger sailors will need help. This doesn't need a lot of experience. There are waiders in the changing rooms. Please wear a buoyancy aid - just in case you find the edge of a slipway!

Shore contact

We like to have a nominated adult on shore who will act as our 'beachmaster'. They should be carrying a radio (which we will provide) and we will warn if a sailor is coming ashore and may require assistance. In the event of an emergency on the water the shore contact will ensure other club officials are aware of the incident and have activated the Club Emergency Plan.

Where to Meet

We usually meet on the lawn directly in front of the Club House. If the weather is particularly awful we will post a notice on the Club House door if we are meeting elsewhere. We will also post a notice if we don't wish you to rig.

Certficates & Awards

While we roughly follow the RYA Sailing Sylabus we do not normally run RYA Certified Courses. If your child has sailed elsewhere and has RYA Certification please tell us. There will be some differences in how different boats are rigged and our wind is often stronger and colder than a Med Beach Resort! It is better not to set your child's expectations too high!

At the end of the season we usually try to do some match or team racing. It doesn't matter what level your child has reached we will find a way for them to be able to participate. That is usually followed by a small celebration of children's achievements through-out the year.

Last updated 10:56pm on 15 February 2020

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