Learn to Sail on Sydney Harbour

Learn to sail in style on our fast, comfortable, 40 foot yachts. Join us on stunning Sydney Harbour and let our friendly, professional instructors show you the ropes.

Our RYA-accredited learn-to-sail courses will provide you with a foundation of essential skills and knowledge and prepare you for safe and fulfilling adventures on the high seas.

For a structured introduction to sailing, book our Start Yachting Weekend. Then join two Competent Crew Weekends, where you’ll build on your knowledge, develop core sailing skills and earn the internationally recognised RYA Competent Crew certificate.

If you prefer a more immersive learning experience, choose our Competent Crew – 5-day course as an alternative to the weekend pathway and gain in-depth knowledge over an extended period.

Our self-paced online course, Essential Navigation and Seamanship, is the perfect choice to learn the basics of chart work and navigation. Explore the intricacies of navigation at your own pace and gain valuable knowledge and skills.

If you have done some sailing already and are keen to join a race crew, our Introduction to Spinnakers and Racing course will give you an invaluable chance to experience the different roles of a race crew. 

Learn to Sail Courses


Start Yachting Weekend

Book a Start Yachting Weekend for a structured learn to sail course. Add two live-aboard Competent Crew Weekends for a comprehensive introduction to yachting, leading to the RYA Competent Crew certificate.

2 days



Competent Crew Weekend

Learn to sail in style on fabulous Sydney Harbour. Join a friendly crew on board one of our fast, comfortable 40 foot training yachts and let us show you the ropes.

2 days



Competent Crew - 5 days

This course provides a comprehensive introduction to yachting and leads to a Royal Yachting Association (RYA) certificate. The course is designed for novice sailors who want to become valuable and active crew members. By the end of the course, you should be able to steer, handle sails and mooring lines, and assist in all boat and sail handling procedures on board.

5 days



Essential Navigation and Seamanship - Online

This self-paced online course provides a beginner's introduction to the navigation theory and safety knowledge required to go boating safely at sea.

16 hours - self-paced



Introduction to Spinnakers and Racing

Learn some tricks of the trade so you can be safe on the race course. Racing with spinnakers is exciting but it also presents new risks. Flying a kite requires the crew to perform a number of tasks in the correct order.

2 days


Where to next?

Once you have completed a Competent Crew course, you are ready to join a yacht charter crew or a yacht club and start social sailing and twilight racing. This is a great way to enjoy your sailing and consolidate your skills. 

If you want to join Middle Harbour Yacht Club, contact us below for details of our Learn to Sail/ Club Membership package.

Your next course on the RYA training ladder is Day Skipper, often called the charter skipper’s licence, as it qualifies you for an International Certificate of Competence (ICC), which most reputable European charter operators require. 

A qualified RYA Dayskipper has the knowledge and skills to take charge of a small yacht in familiar waters by day. 


Learning to sail involves acquiring a combination of practical skills and theoretical knowledge. Some essential skills include understanding wind direction and how to set the boat up to harness it effectively, steering a sailboat, handling ropes, tying various knots, using winches and clutches and manoeuvring under power and sail in different conditions. Theoretical knowledge encompasses understanding navigation, reading charts, learning about basic meteorology, and grasping the rules of the waterways.

The time it takes to learn to sail and become proficient depends on several factors, including the individual’s aptitude, the frequency of sailing lessons or practice, and the complexity of the sailing environment. 

With consistent practice and good instruction, it is possible to gain basic sailing skills within a few days. The RYA training scheme offers an established and efficient training pathway from novice sailor through to the dizzy heights of a qualified Yachtmaster. From there you can go on to professional certification and a commercial yacht captain’s licence. Many past Flying Fish Yachtmaster course graduates are now working as captains of large superyachts.

Sailing is a physical activity and requires reasonable mobility and some strength when handling sails/winches etc. Having said this our sailing courses are very inclusive, and we welcome participants of all ages and abilities. If you are concerned about your suitability, please contact us for advice.

Seasickness is rarely an issue on our introductory sailing courses as much of the time you will be sailing on the sheltered waters of Sydney Harbour. However, we do also venture offshore and it’s still possible to experience some degree of seasickness. If you are concerned about this issue, please visit your pharmacy, and pick up some seasickness medication prior to arrival. It is recommended to take any precautionary measures 24-hours prior.

Sailing is an all-weather sport. We like to say there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing! We very rarely cancel a course due to bad weather. When you book your course we will provide details of what you need to bring with you. All safety equipment is provided on board by Flying Fish.

At Flying Fish our basic training boats are Beneteau First 40.7’s. These yachts provide an excellent balance between comfort and performance and are great for learning. The layout of the 40.7 is very practical, with two double rear cabins a forward cabin, a comfortable saloon, and an enclosed toilet and shower unit. The yacht sleeps six in comfort or eight using the saloon bunks. They are fully equipped for living on board. 

Yes! we regularly welcome private groups of friends or family on bespoke courses.

A private RYA course is a great learning adventure to experience with your friends or family. What’s more you can save money as you pay for four places on the course and can bring a maximum of five. The minimum age is 12. If you like the sound of this please get in touch and let us help you plan your adventure.