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Introducing Your Club to the RYA Start Racing Course 

Close Quarters Racing The RYA's Start Racing Course is a great way to encourage club members to get involved in club racing.

It’s a fact that the thrill of pitting your wits against fellow sailors often gets more people readily hooked on club sailing. A lack of confidence and skills, however, can hold many people back from getting involved in club racing, which in turn can hold them back from getting fully involved with the club socially.

Many clubs have found running a ‘Start Racing Course’ for members a successful way to encourage people to get involved in club racing. It provides all the skills required to get started, including how to maximise your boat speed and outwit your opponents. You can combine this with a ‘buddying’ system where less experienced racers go out with the more experienced racers.

Facts About RYA Start Racing Courses


To give non-racing members the skills and confidence to come club racing. Next step from basic RYA Levels.


Two days or equivalent (ideally towards the beginning of the sailing season).

Run by

Racing Instructor at a Training Centre or Clubs own Level 2 regional coach or regional club coach.

Example content

  • RYA Start Racing Syllabus and Club racing procedures
  • Club kit / facilities
  • Fun race
  • First Club race

Facilities / kit needed

  • Own/club boats or boards
  • Safety boat and driver
  • Classroom and white board, etc
  • Club house serving tea/coffee and maybe food


  • More confident candidates may come down to club racing
  • Opportunity to encourage them to help out with other club activities
  • Introduces them to the club atmosphere and lets them know what is happening – news and events etc


  1. Regional cub coach to come in and run course for club. Club to then organise a Level 2 Racing Coach course or Race Instructor endorsement for club members to become qualified so they can run these courses in the future.
  2. Clubs own Level 2 Racing coach to deliver the course and send a regional club coach in to mentor and look at progression.

Long-term actions

  • To run at least one RYA Start Racing course for members each year at beginning of the sailing season.
  • Club to actively adopt the RYA racing charter.
  • Look at introducing novice briefings / starts / de-briefs on club racing days.
  • Use a flag system to identify new racers / separate starts.

Winsford Flash Sailing Club realised that members were learning to sail but lacked the confidence to join in the club racing. Read more on how they introduced a Start Racing Course at their club.

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