Welcome to Yachtmaster Sailing School


approval_20100908Gain confidence, knowledge and seamanship skills with our highly experienced Yachtmaster instructors. With over 20 years experience in running sail training we can help you with your sailing goals.

The school offers training for beginners, charterers and professionals. You’ll learn every job on a yacht: helming, navigating and sail handling because you’ll be on a yacht not just in a classroom. You’ll practice each crew position so that whether you want to skipper or crew you will have the experience to know what is required. Our yachts, instructors and safety requirements meet the highest standards.

Yachtmaster Sailing School is the largest and longest running sailing school in Victoria, Australia. It was founded in 1988 and was the first school accepted into the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) scheme in Australia. It is Victoria’s only full-time RYA sailing school that runs training all year round.
Our principal Gordon Syme is one of Australia’s most qualified and experienced Yachtmaster Instructors and has run the school for over 20 years bringing a wealth of knowledge and experience that our students find invaluable. He is an RYA Yachtmaster Instructor, Yachtmaster Examiner and a Master V. Gordon has been a full-time yachting instructor for over 20 years working in Australia, Europe and Asia.

The school offers professional Yachtmaster Career training courses for those of you who wish to pursue a career as crew or master on certified commercial charter boats or superyachts with internationally recognised commercial qualifications.

The RYA certificates are Maritime Coastguard Agency (MCA) approved and recognised around the world. Insurance companies and commercial operators require that all paid superyacht crew have MCA-approved Yachtmaster certificates.

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Sailing School

sailingWhether it is sailing around Port Phillip or around the world, Yachtmaster Sailing School has a course to suit you. As a Royal Yachting Association (RYA) school we provide professional training in a safe and fun environment. Our highly experienced and qualified RYA Instructors will teach you all aspects of sailing.

Yachtmaster Sailing School, founded in 1988, was the first RYA school established in Australia. We teach all levels from those wishing to learn to sail through to those aiming for RYA Yachtmaster qualifications. The sailing scheme consists of: RYA Competent Crew, RYA Day Skipper, RYA Coastal Skipper and RYA Yachtmaster.

The school offers professional Yachtmaster Career training courses for those who wish to crew or master on certified commercial charter boats or superyachts. RYA certificates are Maritime Coastguard Agency (MCA) approved and internationally recognised recreational and commercial qualifications. Most charter boat companies in Europe require a minimum of RYA Day Skipper or ICC qualifications.

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Prepare to Charter

If you are planning a charter holiday then this course is a must. The knowledge you gain will not only make your holiday more enjoyable it will cut down on the briefing time when you start your charter and give you more time afloat!

All reputable charter operators recognise our training and our experienced skippers can give you advice on everything from what clothes to take to where the best pubs are! These are fun and informative weekends so bring the whole crew along.


  • Yacht handling
  • Sail trim
  • Engine check
  • Basic navigation and tides
  • Anchoring
  • Safety
  • Pilot books

What do I bring?

Wear clothes suitable for the day and rubber soled shoes, preferably with a white or light coloured sole. A cap, sunglasses, bottle of water and sun screen are also a good idea. We provide you with wet weather gear (with the exception of boots) if required.

How long is the course?

Two full days 9:30am – 4:30pm. Classes all conducted on the water. Plan to arrive a bit before 9:30am.

When are the courses held?

Weekend courses are held nearly every weekend all year round. Please check dates section for more details. Weekdays can be arranged by appointment but a minimum of 2 students required.

How much does it cost?

Refer to dates and prices for the most current information. Please call on (03) 9699 9425 to confirm dates.

A deposit is required per person with a booking form to confirm your position (see booking form for terms and conditions).

We accept cash, money order or credit card (MasterCard or Visa only). Please note that cheques are not accepted.

If you are looking at chartering overseas then please go to the ICC/CEVNI section.

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Companies recognise that staff training is an investment in the future that pays immediate dividends in productivity & efficiency. For corporate entertaining or as an incentive to your staff and customers, yachting is second to none.

On a yacht, free from the influences of organisational culture & status, participants can develop the skills that make teams and leaders more effective. Our programs are flexible to suit your time schedule, group size & budget. Our experienced instructors are professional trainers and experts in their fields. Our programs emphasise safety, while being exciting & effective.

No previous sailing experience is required.

Participants learn

We can organise training from groups of 4 up to 30 or more. On either small racing keelboats or large racing catamarans, it depends upon the group size. Please call for more details.

Corporate Sailing / Team Building / Corporate Entertainment

1\2 day program

Full day program

Corporate Racing Regattas

We can organise a yacht-racing regatta for groups of 8 (2 yachts) to 30
These events can be anything from a relaxing fun race to a serious contest.

1\2 day program

Wednesday Afternoon/ Twilight Racing

Why not treat your staff or clients to an afternoon or evening of fun by entering a yacht in Royal Brighton Yacht Club races. These races are held each Wednesday afternoon and evenings (evenings during daylight savings) and are designed entirely for crews participating to enjoy themselves.

It is a ‘pursuit’ style event with the yachts start time depending on the speed and handicap of the yacht (smallest boats start first). The school has various sized yachts available depending on the size of the group.

The afternoon begins at 12.30pm leaving the marina for a short practice before the start. After the race we return to the yacht club for the presentation and a drink. Feel free to stay on for dinner.

The twilights begin at 5.30pm leaving the marina for a short practice before the start. After the race we return to the yacht club for the presentation and a drink. Feel free to stay on for dinner.

If the weather is unsafe for sailing on the day the event will be postponed.

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Give the gift of sailing

Sailing lessons make fine gifts for all occasions. Yachtmaster Sailing School offers two gift voucher options:

All our vouchers are valid for 6 months from nominated date.

Redemptions need to be booked in three weeks in advance.

Download your gift voucher booking form here

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If you are planning to charter or skipper a yacht or motor boat overseas then this UN document is a must.

Most European countries are now requiring skippers of charter and private boats to hold an ICC to operate these vessels in their open and inland waterways. This Certificate is issued by the RYA and it is important to check with your charter company or the maritime authorities of the countries you are intending to visit to find out if the ICC is required.

An ICC can only be issued to persons holding passports or residents of: Australia, the United Kingdom and its territories, the USA, Canada and New Zealand.

The ICC can be issued directly to persons holding the RYA/YA Day Skipper practical certificate or higher. For more information about this, contact Yachting Australia directly via their website.

For people not holding these qualifications a direct test is available. The ICC can be issued for power and/or sailing vessels and for up to either 10 metres or 24 metres in length. Specify whether you require an ICC for power or sail when booking.

The test is both a practical and theoretical assessment and takes approximately 4 hours per person. It can be undertaken on your own suitable vessel or on board one of our fleet.

The ICC requires a knowledge of navigation, pilotage and coll regs. For those who have not previously attended a navigation course we highly recommend a theory course like the online Essential Navigation & Seamanship course or our Coastal Navigation course prior to the ICC test.

For those wishing to skipper a vessel in the French inland water ways there is an additional short theory exam called the CEVNI rules. This covers rules specific to the French canals and includes signs, buoyage, light and sound signals and general steering rules. This test can be taken online or as a written test after the ICC assessment.

You must learn the CEVNI code before attempting the test. We recommend the RYA European Waterways Regulations (G17) book, which contains a sample test paper. This book is available for purchase from us. You can also take an online sample test at the RYA Interactive website.

The CEVNI online test is a short multiple choice paper in two parts. Part 1 is about signs and buoyage and Part 2 is about sound signals, lights and shapes. Seven questions are asked in each part, and you must answer at least five questions correctly in each part to pass the whole test. The CEVNI course is run by Yachtmaster Sailing School through the RYA eLearning website.

To book an ICC course please contact us on (03) 9699 9425 to arrange a suitable date for your ICC practical assessment.

The full course fee is required per person with a booking form to confirm your position (see booking form for terms and conditions on own vessel). Please state whether you will require a CEVNI with your ICC.

Once you have confirmed a suitable date with the school please download the ICC application form here. A form needs to be completed for each person and given to your instructor at the commencement of your course along with a passport photo.


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