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Sailing Programs

RVYC Sailing Program Mission Statement

Sailing programs at RVYC provide adventurous, inclusive and quality programs for the community.We value sportsmanship, excellence and sailing for life.


About the RVYC Sailing Program

The Royal Victoria Yacht Club has one of the highest quality sailing programs in the country. Our Sailing Programs have been recognized by Sail Canada for our sailing excellence and our innovative programming. We've got an excellent team of coaches with award winning coach and Sailing Director, Stephen McBride at the helm.

We are leaders in developing Sail Canada's CANSail programs and offer a full range of programming from Opti Wet Feet, CANSail 1 - 6 & Chutes and Wires as well as our unique Intro to Skiffs, Intro to Keelboat and the Salty Sisters courses. We also offer many opportunites for school programs to experience our wonderful coast. We welcome all ages and abilities, from landlubbers to Olympic dreamers.  


All of our programs run on Holiday Mondays!

Learn to Sail - Youth Sailing Programs 

Our youth programs are designed for students between 4 & 18 years old. All of our youth programs follow Sail Canada's CANSail curriculum and all of our coaches are Sail Canada trained and certified.

CANSail Optimist Programs (Under 11 years)

A camp designed for little sailors wanting to familiarize themselves with salt water, sea life and sailing. Focusing on fun and being comfortable and safe on the water and on the docks. 


Sail Canada’s accredited introduction to Optimist sailing, this program introduces children to sailing in a fun environment. With two sailors per boat, children work on the basics of sailing in a comfortable and enjoyable atmosphere.


Sail Canada accredited advanced Optimist sailing course. Opti Advanced teaches sailors to sail all by themselves. Young sailors continue to develop basic sailing skills learned in Opti Basic as well as introduce more advanced skills with increased independence.


Sail Canada accredited course which uses games to integrate advanced Opti sailing skills with an introduction to elements of sportsmanship and teamwork. Learn how to sail fast in a team environment!


CANSail Programs (Over 11 years)

Basic sailing course for new sailors or those with limited sailing experience. Sailors will learn the fundamentals and be introduced to the sport of sailing. The course includes safety, crewing, steering and seamanship. Sailors also learn basic physical literacy through activities and games.


Sailors build on existing skills in all types of conditions and to a higher level of proficiency. Through on water games and activities sailors are introduced to concepts such as right of way, reading wind and waves, as well as many other skills.


CANSail Fast incorporates the higher level sailing skills. Focus is on integrating boat handling and fast sailing skills with fun. Centered around the training camp atmosphere, sailors will refine advanced sailing skills and learn tactics, strategy, racing basics and regatta preparation.


Build on your advanced skills with the addition of spinnaker and trapeze! Chutes and Wires is designed specifically to integrate these and other advanced doublehanded skills such as tuning and team communication; a must for double handed sailors.


For sailors looking for speed and excitement, this course offers an intro to the world of skiff sailing. Basic boat handling, trapeze, and asymmetrical spinnaker technique in the 29er will be the focus of this action packed course. Sailors must have instructor permission to register.


Learn to Sail - Adult Sailing Programs

Our adult programs are designed for students 19 years and older. Our programs follow Sail Canada's CANSail curriculum and all of our coaches are Sail Canada trained and certified. 

Adult CANSail Programs (Over 18 years)

Evening classes for Sail Canada accredited CANSail basic sailing skills. This is an adult class for the beginner sailor or those with limited experience to learn in our Club 420 dinghies. 

Mondays & Wednesday, 6:00-9:00 for 4 weeks.


Advanced sailing skills for those who have completed CANSail basic. Sailors will work on refining their sailing skills in heavier winds, work on boat handling and will be introduced to concepts of right of way and reading the wind. This will integrate skills around spinnaker and trapeze in the Club 420.

Tuesdays and Thursday, 6:00-9:00 in August.


This course introduces the novice or experienced dinghy sailor to the world of keelboat sailing. In our fleet of Martin 242’s, sailors will learn the art of sailing, crew work, docking and seamanship. Come enjoy sailing the picturesque waters of Cadboro Bay and Oak Bay.

Tuesdays & Thursdays, 6:00-9:00 for 4 weeks.


Join our intrepid group of ladies aged 18+ as they conquer the waters of Cadboro Bay in a fun and relaxed learning environment. Focus is on individual development and building confidence. Sessions run Saturdays from 9-12 and include debriefs over lunch. If you’re an 18+ lady and want to sail, then this group is for you!

Saturday mornings from 9:00-12:30, for 8 weeks.


School Sailing Information

Introduce your class to sailing in an afternoon or create a custom learn to sail program.

We're happy to work with a number of schools around lower Vancouver Island. Our school sailing programs are a great way for students to experience our wonderful coastline. They're also a great way to teach communication, teamwork and abstract and critical thinking skills in an engaging environment. Our school programs are designed to meet Sport Canada's Long Term Athlete Development Model by fostering fundamental movement skills and healthy play.

Our basic session is a two or three hour introduction to sailing, in a fun and safe way. We're very open to creating a program which suits your needs. Costs start at $20 per student per session.

We also have a wonderful School Sailing League which runs April to June. Check out our program guide here for more information.

Don't hesitate to get in touch with us at or 250-592-6113

As a student of the RVYC Learn to Sail Program, or as a parent of someone attending the RVYC Learn to Sail Program, you will be eligible for a Sailing Program Temporary Membership.  The Membership is valid for a one month period from the commencement of your, or your child’s, class. The Sailing Program Temporary Membership gives you access to the Chartroom (the pub - 19+ only) and the Swiftsure Dining Room.  This membership is valid anytime the facilities are open, you just need show your Sailing Program Temporary Membership card when placing your order.  There is no charge for this Temporary Membership other than what you spend on food and beverages and your guests are welcome to join you.  You can find the hours of operation by clicking here.

This program is made available in the hope that by enjoying some of the benefits of the Club you will think about becoming an RVYC member. The Club is an active and exciting place and it helps you enjoy the best parts of living on the West Coast. To read more about the benefits and costs of becoming a member, please click here.

In order to obtain your Sailing Program Temporary Membership card you need to complete a form and give it to the sailing instructors down at the Sailing Office. A copy of this form is available from the Sailing Office or from your instructor.

Cancellation Policy of Registered Classes

If you need to cancel a course, please let us know as soon as possible. If you cancel outside of two weeks prior to the start date of your course, you'll receive a refund, less a $50 cancellation fee. Unfortunately we don't offer refunds within two weeks of the start date of your course. 

Sailing Team Cancellation Policy:

A cancellation fee of $50 plus less any time spent training will be charged to all cancelled registrations.

The RVYC Sailing Team is an opportunity for the growth and development of sailing and racing skills in a co-operative and supportive environment. RVYC athletes become ambassadors for our club and forge lifelong friendships through the social network of the Sailing Team.

At the helm of the RVYC Sailing Program is our award winning Coach and Sailing Program Coordinator, Stephen McBride. Stephen is assisted by Sail Canada certified coaches Jenn Burger, Delani Hulme-Lawrence, Hannah Stevens, Erik Van der Pol and Ian Elliott with high standards of safety and skill in teaching sailing and racing. Below is a description of each of the teams that make up the RVYC Racing Program.

Our youngest members enter the Optimist Sailing Team. Opti Team members are aged 15 and under. Typically sailors start at age 8. The Senior Sailing Team sails double-handed in 420, 29er and 49er's and the single-handed Laser or Laser Radial. The transition occurs around age 15 when the athlete weighs 120-130lbs and has the appropriate height for the boats. 

The Sailing Team runs three sessions per year: January to March, April to June and September to November. Specific dates will be updated for the following session. Please contact us for the current training schedule at 

Download a copy of the RVYC Sailing Team Athlete Parent Handbook here.


The Opti and Senior Sailing Teams participate in a variety of Local, Provincial, National and International events. The team participates in many of the events on the BC Circuit as well as  the Island Circuit. For information about dates and locations of various events please check out and, or talk with your coach.

At Home Regattas

Sailing Team members are encouraged to participate in Home Regattas. Online registration can be found through the Royal Victoria Yacht Club website. The Notice of Race (NOR) is posted on the RVYC website which outlines the times, costs and meals. There is often an early bird deadline, which allows some cost savings.

If space permits, families are encouraged to billet sailors traveling from out of town. This helps build inter club and team relationships which makes it easier to find places to billet when the team heads to an away regatta. Please contact if you are able to billet sailors for an upcoming regatta.

Away Regattas

The privilege to travel to an away regatta is always at the coach’s discretion. It is important to communicate with your coach regarding your preparedness. Opti Sailing Team members are generally expected to travel with a parent due to their age. Volunteer parents are always needed to make this traveling possible.

The Notice of Race (NOR) will be posted on the website of the hosting yacht club giving all the details for the racing, cost and meals. Registration procedures vary, but are often online.

Sailing Team procedures involve telling the coach you are planning to attend well in advance so that trailer space, drivers and rides and billeting or accommodation details can be arranged ahead of time.

Athletes and parents load trailers during Wednesday and Thursday practices. Athletes are responsible for making certain their own gear is loaded. Know the departure date and make sure you know when your ride is leaving. It is important to contact your ride directly so everyone is in the know. It is recommended to bring $25 per day for food on the ferry and incidentals. Cell phones make contacting your child easy while they are away although they do not always respond; keep trying. Please be assured that you will be contacted immediately if there is an emergency.  Athletes need to inquire when the trailers are being unloaded and show up to assist in the process. Typically on the Tuesday after the event. Loading and unloading trailers is a group activity.

Sailing Team travel costs (transporting boats and athletes, and accommodation costs) to these regattas are billed to the participants on a per person basis. Parents who are incurring costs from towing and driving athletes need to fill in an Expense Claim Form-Reimbursement Form. It is important to state on the form whom you drove for billing purposes.  Please submit your forms to the Head Coach within three weeks of the event so we can bill the expenses appropriately.

Any special circumstances for your child needs to be discussed with the coach well ahead of time. Please keep medical information current.

Royal Victoria Yacht Club maintains four Racing Funds:

a) Junior Development Fund
b) Intermediate Racing Fund
c) National/ International Racing Fund (Discretionary fund via RFC)
d) Olympic/ Paralympic Fund

The RVYC Annual outlines the administration, disbursement, and principles of the Racing Funds. It contains specific information about each fund and should be referenced by each applicant. The bylaws surrounding the funds are the guidelines of which the final authority is applied. 

View the Racing Funds & Wall of Racing Excellence Guidelines below as the Racing Funds Committee also administers the wall. 

 RVYC Junior Development Fund – expanded guidelines


These funds are in place to provide opportunities for RVYC sailors to attain their highest goals in the sport. The approval for disbursement of these funds must follow a set of rules to ensure fairness for all and respect for the generosity of the club and its members.

The purpose of these Funds is to promote participation by members of the Royal Victoria Yacht Club in National and International yachting events, or their qualifiers, and to financially assist such endeavours. The fund does not support local regattas such as most of the BC Circuit events and “local” events in neighbouring regions. To qualify the event must incorporate a spirit of higher performance or regional/national/international competition. The Intermediate fund is to assist “bridging the gap” between youth sailing and higher pursuits such as appropriate worlds, International Games such as the Olympic Games. Pursuits that are not intended to pursue next steps are better funded through the National International discretionary fund administered by the Racing Fleet Committee.

An important consideration for funding is how you represent your club. The expectation is that you will put forward your best effort to attain your goals. This includes being committed to pursuing sailing as an elite athlete, planning your events, training hard, planning your travel and accommodations appropriately and conducting yourself as an ambassador of the Royal Victoria Yacht Club. Failing to represent the club appropriately can result in the forfeiture of funding.

The Racing Funds Standing Committee, as outlined in the annual, administers all racing funds except for the National/International which is administered by the Racing Fleet Committee. These committees review the applications for funding and decide what level of funding will be awarded. The Racing Funds Committee will meet twice a year, as a minimum. The first meeting is to meet applicants, review applications and determine budget estimates. The fall meeting is to review applicants actual expenses, review results, and issue funding. A year for funding purposes runs October 1st – Sept 31st of the following year. This follows the clubs financial year and can be challenging as your peak event may fall into the subsequent funding block.

Approved Expenses

  1. Entry Fees -The committee considers the early entry fee as appropriate. It is expected that your planning will ensure that you don’t incur late entry fees.
  2. Travel - it is expected that you will choose the most cost effective means of travel. If you travel as a group or family, you will be expected to report only your portion of the expenses. Using points to travel the committee will look at normal flight costs for that time as equivalent. Business or First Class is not considered most cost effective unless proven as such.
  3. Lodging - cost effectiveness is expected. Many events will have a host hotel that may offer a special rate. Billeting may be available. Sharing accommodations is encouraged. Only the individual athlete’s costs will be considered if travelling as a group or a family.
  4. Food - As meals can be somewhat subjective, reimbursement will be on a “per diem” basis. The rate will be $40.00 per day for all racing days.
  5. Towing expenses/shipping costs– if shared should be each participant portion of transportation
  6. Club Expenses – are the charges allotted by the club for team attended events as these are not broken down on club statements? The sailing office does supply the committee with breakdowns.
  7. Boat Charters - may be the only solution and do qualify for funding.
  8. Others reasonable costs are discussed and may or may not be approved.

Process for Application for Funding

***Funding Spreadsheet is available from the sailing office and should be used and submitted in an editable format for the committee to compile the data. 

For the Spring

  1. Use the provided funding spreadsheet to customize it to your event schedule. 
  2. Estimate your amounts of approved expenses. Using the Funding Spreadsheet. (Ensure name, year, class and estimated costs are filled out)
  3. Write a cover letter giving an outline of your goals and training plan including fitness.
  4. Complete the Application for Funds side 1.  
  5. Submit all the above documents to the Club office. Attention: Chair of the Racing Funds Committee. Due Annually. 

For the Fall

6. Attend the spring meeting to review your submission and introduce yourself.
7. Keep all receipts except for per diem expenses i.e. food, as you attend events.
8. In September, complete Funding Spreadsheet with name, year and actual costs and submit electronically in an editable format. Attach/submit receipts physically or electronically (preferred).
9. Write a cover letter outlining your results during the season.
10. Complete the Application for Funds form Side 2.
11. Submit the actual costs documents to the Club office. Attention: Chair of the Racing Funds Committee. Due September 15th annually.

Post Funding Received

Write a thank you letter to the club, care of the Funding Committee Chair

How much Funding can I expect?

  1. RVYC will not fund all of your costs. The Fund provides a percentage of approved expenses based on the current available monies.
  2. It is expected that the athlete will cover his or her costs up front and then be reimbursed by the Fund.
  3. The Club endeavours to send reimbursement cheques by the end of the club’s fiscal year, September 31st or as close to that date as possible