Keelboat Learn to Sail

Covid-19 and Sail Training Update – 17 September, 2020.

*New Start Crewing keelboat course dates added for November & December 2020. See below.

As Melbournians would be aware, we are still in Stage 4 lockdown conditions in the Melbourne metropolitan area. Royal Melbourne Sail Training Academy is planning for the resumption of sail training and other courses as soon as we are permitted.

We are receiving many enquiries and bookings for courses in the remainder of 2020 (and beyond) and thank you for your interest. As we are a “non – essential” business we are working from home outside of the Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron at the present time.

At the moment we await further advice from the Victorian Government as to when we can travel outside of 5 km, go boating and have gatherings allowing for sail training would be permitted. As a Discover Sailing Centre we also require endorsement from our training scheme principal Australian Sailing in Victoria that sail training can resume.

Based on the previous easing of Health restrictions say in May & June 2020 the following criteria is likely before we can resume sail training:

  • Gatherings allowed for up to five people outside – comparable with personal training or sport
  • Boating being permitted
  • Use of masks as directed
  • Physical distancing of 1.5 metres and density limits observed
  • Use of hand sanitising stations, temperature checks and session registration
  • A Covid safe plan being in place
  • The endorsement of sail training to resume in the Melbourne area by Australian Sailing

The Victorian Government advised in its Covid roadmap on 6 Sept 2020 that Melbourne may be able to move out of Stage 4 restrictions (and curfew) by 28 October 2020, subject to infection health targets being met. A further easing of Stage 3 or lesser restrictions will be needed beyond this date for the above criteria to be met, leading to the resumption of many community sport like activities including sail training. These decisions are for the Chief Health Officer and the Victorian Government. We remain optimistic and keen to resume training as soon as permitted to do so.

What can I do if I’m interested in sail training (or other courses) now!

Please register your interest with us via an email or complete a booking form. By registering your interest we will prioritise your participation in the earliest possible training course. When we do get permission to resume, it’s likely to be closer to Xmas and may be rushed. We will prioritise contact with students who have booked or sent email with contact details such as their mobile phone number.

We are not requiring any payment at this stage. Payment is normally required once a specific course place has been organised for you and you have confirmed your participation, often in the few days prior to the start of your course.

If you have any questions, please consider ringing me on 0412 196301 first. In many cases it’s far easier for me to answer your specific questions about sailing and boating on the phone vs a long email response. It’s also an opportunity for me to suggest a pathway for your skills development, eg. you’re wanting to get the family into sailing or train for a yacht charter. Either way I’m always up for a chat.

Remember there’s also 2021 if you can’t get started this side of Xmas.

Best regards and happy sailing,

Leigh Brennan-Smith, Chief Instructor, 17 September 2020.

For more information of Covid 19 health guidelines for sport in Victoria please visit the Dept of Health and Human Services website


Royal Melbourne Sail Training Academy (RMSTA) is Melbourne’s leading inner city sailing school based at RMYS, St.Kilda. We love to teach sailing! Our very experienced and friendly instructors are waiting to teach you and open up this fantastic sport for your lifelong enjoyment.

Our Keelboat courses are endorsed by Australian Sailing, and are an ideal way to learn to crew or helm a yacht. Many Academy graduates have taken up regular crew positions in the RMYS racing fleets or discovered the delights of cruising. Other students have enjoyed yacht charter holidays with greater skill and confidence. The boats used for training are fun to sail and easy to operate. RMSTA provides the  Australian Sailing Start CrewingStart Helming and Spinnaker Handling courses.

Our Special 3 Months Sailing membership offer is back! Enrol in our Start Crewing keelboat course and enjoy 3 months temporary sailing membership at RMYS for free. Sail as much as you want in Squadron races, social sailing or enjoy the view from our balcony and bar with your friends. 
For more information, contact Leigh at the Royal Melbourne Sail Training Academy on 9534 0059 or 0412 196 301, or email: training@rmys.com.au

Start Crewing 

An introduction to the basics of sailing on a day sailing yacht, including boat handling, safety and sailing theory. This course is aimed at the first time sailor, dinghy sailor (converting to keelboats) or prospective holiday yacht charterer. You’ll be taught by a qualified instructor onboard a day sailing yacht up to 8 metres with up to five other students. The instructor will swap you through all of the roles to ensure you come away confident to undertake more sailing courses or crewing. At RMYS we can also organise for you to be part of a yacht crew.

Our 3 months Temporary Sailing Membership promotion is back! All Start Crewing courses now come with 3 months sailing membership to RMYS. Enjoy a friendly social sail, a race and be part of Squadron social events with this fantastic membership offer. We’d love you to join our Club but understand you’d like to “see the cut of our jib” first.Come and join in the fun with this great offer.

Duration: 12 hour. Most courses are 3 x 4 hour sessions on weekends, however we do offer 4 x 3 hour Twilight evening sessions or 2 x 6 hour day sessions at busier times of the year.

Cost: New lower price of $398 per person.This course can also be give as a GIFT VOUCHER – contact our office by email or phone.

For more information, see the course overview. A new What to Wear guide for Keelboat Sailing Courses has now been added. 

Click buttons below for our booking forms or call Leigh in the RMYS Training Office on 9534 0059, mobile: 0412 196 301 or via email: training@rmys.com.au  

Start Helming 

This course is aimed at participants with some previous keelboat experience such as our “Start Crewing” course or prospective yacht owners, who want to work on their helming skills. The course includes more advanced helming techniques such as docking under sail, picking up a mooring under sail, anchoring, man overboard practice where you’re the HELM person, reefing (sail reduction whilst underway), marine knots and more.
Duration: 12 hours (3 x 4 hour sessions)

Cost: New lower price of $398 per personThis course can also be give as a GIFT VOUCHER – just contact our office by email or phone.

For more information, see the course overview. A new What to Wear guide for Keelboat Sailing Courses has now been added. 

To enrol in a course or to find out upcoming course dates, please download a booking form below:

Spinnaker Handling Course

New Spinnaker course! – See below! 
This course includes all aspects of handling and trimming (adjustment) of symmetrical and asymmetrical spinnakers and uses our J24 and J80 training keelboats. The Spinnaker Handling course is aimed at yacht crew members, a new foredeck person seeking further training or a skipper seeking greater understanding of sailing with modern spinnakers. This course is taught by accredited sailing instructors  who will answer your questions about setting up, launching, flying and safely retrieving these exciting downwind sails. Some previous crewing experience is necessary. Call or email Leigh if you need to ask questions. 

See pictures here from our previous Spinnaker Courses or check in on Facebook -‘Royal Melbourne Sail Training Academy’

“I really enjoyed the Spinnaker course. Leigh was very knowledgeable and patient, and had a lot of practical tips about handling both the symmetric and asymmetric spinnakers.  It gave us the confidence to start using the spinnaker on our boat.” Paul.
March 2019.

Duration: 12 hours (3 x 4 hour sessions) 

Cost: $450 per person

For more information, see the course overview. A new What to Wear guide for Keelboat Sailing Courses has now been added.

For more information contact Leigh at the Royal Melbourne Sail Training Academy

Phone:  03 9534 0059
Mobile:  0412 196 301 
Email: training@rmys.com.au