Youth sailing lessons - Glenmore Sailing School

Glenmore Sailing School Youth sailing lessons

Glenmore Sailing School youth programs are geared towards sailors aged seven and up. The programs range from complete beginner to advanced. All staff are Sail Canada certified, knowledgeable, and active members of the sailing community, and are enthusiastic about sharing their passion for sailing.

Outdoor lessons have ended for the season. Looking for winter options? Try our indoor sailing theory classes.

About the program

All CANSail programs are run in dinghies (small one-person to three-person boats) that are launched daily from the boatyard. Beginner’s programs generally use our 420s, which are most commonly sailed with two people.

All areas of basic sailing skills are taught:

  • Boat components
  • Terminology
  • Knots
  • Rigging
  • Sail hoisting
  • Steering
  • Boat balance
  • Sail adjustment
  • Sailing upwind (tacking)
  • Capsize procedures (simulation on dry land)

Youth evening classes

Youth evening classes are available for sailors aged nine and up. These classes run in the evening twice a week for four weeks. The material covered in the evening classes is the same as in our day camps. Evening classes are offered from beginner to advanced, so no sailing experience is necessary.

Boats, lifejackets, and all safety equipment are provided by the school. Students are required to bring:

  • closed-toe non-slip footwear
  • change of clothes, including underwear
  • rain gear such as a rain jacket or rain pants, depending on weather

The Wet Feet 9+ class is for students who are new to sailing and under 100 pounds. In the Optimist sailboat, they will be introduced to the basics of boating and boat handling in a safe and fun environment.

Youth CANSail 1 class is for students who are new to sailing and over 100 pounds. This class is run in the 420 boats, with two sailors working together in each boat to learn the basics and have fun. Students in this class are working towards their CANSail 1 certification.

Skill development courses differ in their age requirements, depending on the boat. Most evening and weekend courses are geared toward adults (17+), but some are also open to youth ages 14 and up. Optimist sailors must be between the ages of 9 and 14, and Laser sailors must be 14 or older. Please see the Youth Evening CANsail Registration Chart for more information.

Advanced youth classes

For students who have completed their CANSail 2 level and are looking to continue as a sailor, the school has a number of options. These include Advanced CANSail summer camps and Junior Sailing Club.

Junior Sailing Club is a development program designed for students who have taken CANSail 2 at least once. The club trains twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays. It is a great way to build skills and make friends. Junior Sailing Club sailors are welcome to compete in Wednesday Night Racing, and they can also attend regattas hosted by Glenmore Sailing School or Glenmore Sailing Club.

Students who have completed their CANSail 3 level may be interested in becoming a volunteer and working as a Junior Instructor.​​

We also offer summer day camps for ages 7 to 17


Programs are designed with safety in mind. PFDs (Personal Flotation Devices) must be worn at all times, both on and near the water. All staff at the Glenmore Sailing School are trained in First Aid and CPR, and are qualified under Sail Canada. Additionally, Glenmore Boat Patrol is always on duty monitoring reservoir activity, so are always ready to help during lessons.

Registering for a course

When registering for a sailing course, it is important to ensure that your child is in the right level.

Taking a CANsail level is not the same as completing it. After taking a class you may or may not be ready to move on. It may take multiple sessions at the same level for you to be ready. Please check your most recent CANSail checklist before registering for an advanced level. The checklist should include a recommendation from your previous instructors, detailing which level will be best suited for your skill level and sailing development.

Registration FAQ

My child has taken an Opti camp before. Which level should be their next step?

The best level for returning Optimist sailors depends on the child’s age and size. Check your child’s previous CANSail checklist for the instructor’s recommendation. Please see the Youth Evening / Youth Daycamp CANsail Registration Chart for more information.

My child is older than 11, or weighs more than 100 pounds, but has no sailing experience. They can't take Opti camp, so where should they start?

If your child is new to sailing, but is too big or too old for an Optimist camp, they can begin at the CANSail 1 level. These classes are taught in a 420. Please see the  Youth Evening / Youth Daycamp CANsail Registration Chart for more information.

My child has taken CANsail level. Do I register them in the next level?

Just because your child has already participated in a CANSail program at a particular level, it does not necessarily mean that they are ready for the next CANSail level. Often, it takes multiple sessions at the same level to advance. Please check your child’s previous CANSail checklist before registering them for a more advanced program. The checklist should include a recommendation from their previous instructors that details which level would be best suited for your child’s skill level and sailing development.