CYA Dinghy Sailing Courses - Canadian Yachting Association

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CYA (International Yachtmaster Training).

The Canadian Yachting Association's Learn to Sail standards provide safe, standardized tuition for racing and recreation in sailing dinghies. The introduction comprises White Sail Levels I, II and III. Sailors are introduced to advanced sailing techniques in Bronze Sail Levels IV and V. Silver Sail Level VI and Gold Sail Level VII complete the syllabus, introducing sailors to racing

You will find sailing schools offering CYA Courses in the following provinces:

Alberta | British Columbia | Manitoba | New Brunswick | Newfoundland and Labrador | Northwest Territories | Nova Scotia | Nunavut, Ontario | Prince Edward Island | Quebec | Saskatchewan | Yukon Territory

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Sailing Schools
To find a CYA Sailing School or an CYA course in your area please take a look at our marine directory and search under the category of "Training & Education"
Which course suits you?

White Sail Level I - Section 1 covers safety with a look at lifejackets, actions to be followed immediately after a capsize and how to right a capsized boat. And the required items for a sailboat less than 5.5 meters long as outlined in the current Boating Safety Guide. Section 2 is Seamanship, Candidates must be able to tie 4 knots within a certain time and describe their uses. And describe four ways to identify from what direction the wind is blowing. Section three deals with preparation to sail including coiling a line correctly, making a line fast to a cleat and getting in and out of a boat safely at a dock or mooring. Section 4 looks at rigging, attaching sails, rigging sheets and halyards, fitting sail battens and the rudder and tiller, adjusting the centerboard and hoisting sails. Section 5 covers boat handling, firstly identifying the direction of the wind then while underway to keeping the sail just on the point of luffing while on a reach, keeping a boat going in a straight line on a reach for at least two minutes and righting a capsized boat and clearing it of water. The final section deals with securing and derigging, securing by the bow only, by the bow and stern and at a single mooring, in each case using the appropriate size line and knot, and leaving an appropriate length of line. Derigging the boat by lowering and removing the sails, removing and stowing the rudder and tiller, and properly securing the boom and centerboard. Folding and bagging a loose sail. And finally securing all gear in the boat upon completion of sailing. On the completion of White Sail I, the sailor will be able to perform the afore mentioned tasks in wind speeds of 4-9 knots where applicable.

White Sail Level II - Commences with a section on terminology, identifying the various parts of a sailboat pointing out and describing the functions various items in a sailboat, defining certain terms and describe the different points of sail. The second section covers seamanship, candidates must me able to tie a rolling hitch and sheetbend each within 10 seconds and describe two uses of each of these knots. And describe the wave conditions resulting from various speeds of wind. The next section is boat handling, candidates will act as both helmsman and crew while getting underway from, and returning to, a dock, mooring or beach. Act as helmsman and crew, using the proper commands and responses, while beating, reaching, running, tacking, gybing, bearing away and heading up. As a helmsman, stop a boat at a predetermined point by luffing up and as both skipper and crew, right a capsized boat. On the completion of White Sail II, the sailor will be able to perform the aforementioned mentioned tasks in wind speeds of 4-9 knots.

White Sail Level III - A section on safety launches this section with a look at hypothermia and it's causes, three ways to minimize the dangers and rules on how to treat a mild case of hypothermia after the victim is out of the water. Identification and the meaning of the colours and shapes in the lateral buoyage system. Listing local geographic and navigational hazards and describe the actions required to minimize their effects. Listing three sources of local weather information together with localized weather hazards, how they can be identified, the normal warning signs and the actions to be taken to reduce their effects. Section 2 covers further terminology, various items in a sailboat, the different parts of a sail and the distinguishing features different types of sailboats. Seamanship is section 3 with a look at how to sail away from and back to a beach with an on-shore wind, a dock for various wind directions and a mooring. Section 4 is on the rules of the road for prevention of collision at sea and considers the case of stand on and give way vessels in different situations and looks at some common sense actions you should take when sailing in the vicinity of commercial shipping. There is a look at racing with the sound signals and flags used to start a race and the rules in use while the race is underway. Section 5 is boat handling, students will act as both skipper and crew while sailing a boat away from and back to a dock for various wind directions, away from and back to a mooring and on a windward/leeward course. They will demonstrate how different body crew positions affect the trim and performance of a sailboat and indicate the best positions for three given points of sail. They will get a boat out of irons by backing the jib and main using proper rudder adjustments. Paddle a sailboat a distance of 30 meters (100 feet) without the use of a rudder in a reasonably straight line. They will demonstrate the following towing procedures, proper means to receive, secure and cast off a towline, the correct towing points on a sailboat, the proper securing inboard of a towline to a boat astern and the correct boat trim, steering procedures and crew alertness while on and releasing from the tow. They will demonstrate the actions to be taken if a person falls overboard, with the boat under sail form the time the person falls overboard without warning until the person is rescued. They will helm the boat by the lee for 90 meters without gybing and finally right a capsized boat. On completion of White Sail Level III the beginner will be able to sail confidently and competently in wind speeds of 4-9 knots and perform the aforementioned skills proficiently.

Bronze Sail Level IV - The first section deals with safety and the factors in your local area such as currents, tides and weather which should be considered before going sailing. The three types of flotation commonly found in dinghies and the factors which affect the self-rescuing capabilities of a dinghy And finally a look at chart of unfamiliar waters and identification of hazards and means of recognizing them. Seamanship is the next section and students will demonstrate their ability to whip the end of a line with a plain whipping of appropriate length, make a back splice and an eye splice and heave a 10 metre line to land across a 1 metre diameter target at least 7 metres away, in three tries out of four. The next section is further nautical terminology. Following that is some sailing theory including leeway and its importance on different points of sail. The centre of lateral resistance (CLR) and centre of effort (CE) affect lee and weather helm in theory and practice, weight distribution and centreboard adjustments affect on the CLR, the boat's underwater shape affects its helm, sail trim, mast rake and position affect the CE and helm, draft (fullness in a sail) is and how it affects the power and the pointing ability of a sail, the use and position of telltales on shrouds and ticklers on a sail. The next section considers sail shape and how the main sail is affected by halyard tension, mainsheet tension, cunningham tension, traveller position, outhaul tension, mast bend, boom vang tension and mast rake. And how the shape of the jib sails affected by halyard tension, sheet tension and fairlead position. The use of outhaul, cunningham, mainsheet, and traveller, while sailing on a beat, a reach, and a run under the following conditions. On the water students will be asked to skipper and crew the boat on various points of sail and tacking and gybing. Carry out a self-rescue after capsizing in a dinghy and carry on sailing with a minimum time delay. Carry out the following tasks without a rudder, sail a course upwind toward a predetermined destination, make at least one controlled tack and settle down to a course to the predetermined destination, bear away or tack and return to the starting position. With sails backed, sail the boat astern to a predetermined destination 90 metres downwind. On completion of this level IV the candidate will be able to understand and apply the basic principles of sail trim and boat tuning for optimal performance in wind speeds of 9-14 knots.

Silver Sail VI is an introduction to racing. Commencing with some sailing theory it looks at how the slot effects the drive of the mainsail under different points of sail, and how the size of the slot should be varied with the wind strength to give maximum drive, how to identify backwinding, and how to adjust the sails to remove or minimize its effect, how the driving forces acting on the sail can be divided into side and forward components, and how these vary for beating, reaching and running and how the resisting forces acting on a boat's daggerboard/centreboard and rudder act in relation to the sail forces when beating, reaching and running. The apparent wind changes when gusts hit the sails and when waves slow or accelerate a boat and how to steer and trim sails to react to changes in apparent wind and how to correct the effects of the forces which cause a boat to heel. Section 2 looks at the rules of racing as laid down by the CYA and ISAF. Section 3 considers racing signals and courses including the purpose of the Race Committee, the Notice of Race, the Sailing Instructions and the Protest Committee. Section 4 looks at tactics. On the water students will demonstrate as both skipper and crew while beating, reaching, running, roll tacking, roll gybing, bearing away and heading up. Identify signals displayed and sounded by the race committee boat. Demonstrate the ability to be within one boat length or 5 seconds of a starting line at the starting signal in a race situation. Restart, after having been recalled for premature starting, as quickly as possible. Defend a position from another boat while on a beat - by luffing and backwinding a boat attempting to pass until the mast abeam position has been attained and on a reach or run - by avoiding blanketing, by luffing or by assuming starboard tack. Demonstrate how to blanket and backwind a competitor to your advantage while on the same tack on the windward leg of a race course. And finally compile a racing record and log in a dinghy class showing you have completed a minimum of 15 scheduled races, 10 as a skipper in a class consisting of a minimum of five sailboats. On completion of this section the candidate will be able to compete in a race with a sound understanding of the racing rules and perform the afore mentioned tasks in wind strengths of up to 18 knots.

Gold Sail Level VII completes the learn to sail programme and starts with boat tuning for speed and the adjustments that can be made to the mast, sails and rigging. How to control the spinnaker and pole in all wind conditions, on a reach and run. Boat trim and helming techniques which promote maximum efficiency of the rudder and centreboard in singlehanded or doublehanded dinghies. Section 2 covers the rules and candidates will have a thorough knowledge of the racing rules as a competitor, race committee member or protest committee member, The candidate must take charge of a race committee boat and run a club regatta or series of races using all necessary rules and race procedures. Section 3 looks at the preparation for a regatta. Candidates will ensure a wood or fibreglass dinghy is safe, leak proof and strong by testing for and repairing leaks, examining and replacing fittings and rigging, properly covering and storing boat during summer and winter, properly securing boat and equipment for trailer and/or car top transportation. They will ensure the dinghy hull and centreboard rudder are smooth, fair and light by using, fibreglass, epoxy, gelcoat, and other fairing materials, wet sanding or dry sanding and cleaning solvents. The students will maintain a written season plan that includes, a personal racing logbook, performance objectives, regatta schedule and goals, a physical training program, an on-water training program, sport nutrition and mental training, transportation and program administration They will be able to describe the influence on racing strategy of the fleet size, the starting procedures and timing, the course length and location, the finish line placement and time limits, the compass bearing to the windward mark and current/tide. Section 4 covers an assessment of the race course and includes registration and check in procedures, special protest requirements and starting procedures, current, tide and the weather. The next sections considers tactics that apply to starting, mark rounding, upwind, reaching, running and finishing. On the water candidates will demonstrate as skipper a roll tack and gybe, while helming take advantage of appropriate techniques in flat or choppy water, use body weight to maintain proper boat trim and assist steering and adjust equipment and sails. As crew, assist skipper with above tasks and supply compass readings to determine wind shifts and locate marks together with information for tactical decisions. As skipper and crew, prepare and fly spinnaker on a close, beam, broad reach, a run and by-the-lee, apply appropriate tactics on the water in large fleet or small fleet with strong current or tide either with or against the wind, in shifty oscillating winds, persistent shifts, increasing or decreasing winds, either leading or trailing in a race. Candidates must prepare a seasonal plan for competition indicating personal performance objectives, regatta schedule, physical training, on the water training, transportation and administration, nutrition, and mental training. They must have a race record which includes 5 regattas with 2 being outside their local area. On completion of this course a candidate will be able to race a dinghy with moderately good boat speed and control. The candidate will have a well-rounded knowledge of sail theory, racing rules and tactics.