Although the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia is best known for conducting the annual Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, its Youth Sailing Academy is well regarded both nationally and internationally. It is one of Australia's leading full time Youth Sailing Academys.

The objectives of the CYCA Youth Sailing Academy is to encourage and promote youth into offshore keel boat racing by providing pathways for youth aged 13 -24 to develop the skills necessary to achieve such an objective.

Overseen by the Training and Development Committee, the CYCA YSA is managed by the CYCA Sailing Office. Sailing Manager, Justine Kirkjian together with the sailing management team, operations team and a roster of experienced coaches execute an extensive calendar of events ranging from introduction to keel boat racing upto advanced match racing regattas which are managed by the club's experienced race management team.

Using a fleet of 10 identical Elliott 7m fixed keel yachts, that were launched in July 2013, the YSA continues to achieve the objectives set by the Training and Development committee. Many of the current YSA members as well as YSA alumni have gone onto successfully representing the CYCA at both national and international match racing and fleet racing regatta's as well as becoming significant contributors to ocean racing teams competing in events such as the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.

Over two thousand students have graduated from the Learn to Sail course which teaches basic boat handling and maintenance and sail trim, while having an overall focus on teamwork, perseverance and fun! 

In addition to the Learn to Sail and Intermediate Sailing courses offered, those wanting to further develop their sailing skills can gain more experience by enrolling in the Talented Sailor, Development Match Racing, and Advanced Sailing Courses offered during the winter months.

These courses focus more on the advanced aspects of sailing including racing rules, tactics, physical fitness, campaign planning, sail trim and boat maintenance. Upon completion, students are encouraged to participate heavily in Club events to acquire valuable experience in keelboat racing.

All courses are on board the CYCA's ten Elliott 7 metre sports boats which carry a crew of 3 to 5. These boats allow the CYCA to offer internationally recognised youth match racing regattas and provides those learning to sail with fast, stable and fun open skiff style keel boats, which are easy to sail and great for teamwork development.

Sponsors play an integral role in the program by funding the cost of the Elliotts, their maintenance and racing equipment, while parents and other community volunteers help out with functions and regattas. Additionally, the YSA has strong support from volunteers and graduates.

Sponsorship also assists in the further development of young sailors through the Academy's training program and is providing more opportunities for the club's young talent to attend national and international ISAF regattas to gain greater experience.

Graduates have gone on to excel in international dinghy class competitions, sail in the professional 18 foot skiff circuit and compete in internationally recognised events such as the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.

Online Damage Forms for the Elliott 7s can be completed here

For further information on courses contact the Youth Sailing Academy on  + 61 2 8292 7806 or email


Tight crew work from the CYCA team during the Musto Youth INternational Match Racing Championship 2015 Image: Andrea Francolini

Tight crew work from the CYCA team during the Musto Youth INternational Match Racing Championship 2015

On approach to the finish line Image: Brett Hemmings,

On approach to the finish line