Youth Sailing

Parkstone Yacht Club has a large youth fleet with approximately 300 members, comprising of sailors from age 6 (and under) up to the age of 21.There are in excess of 200 youth dinghies at the Club - the main boats sailed being: AB's, Optimists, Toppers,  Laser 4.7s, Laser Radials, Fevas. There are also youths sailing 420s and RS200s.  To sail regularly at Parkstone YC, young members need to be registered as Sailing Youth Members with membership.

We aim to excite all our young people with the fun of sailing and then to allow them to develop their skills through structured training and racing within their fleets. The club is an approved RYA Training Centre.

Starting off

Parkstone Yacht Club is the home to the venerable AB dinghy which has been sailing in the harbour and the surrounding area for nearly 70 years.  Immediately recognisable with their colourful hulls and sails, these little pram dinghies have proven to be extremely popular for generations of families.  At 8 feet in length they are big enough (just about!) for an adult to join a child when they are learning the magic of sailing for the first time.  Once a little more confident the AB is easily and safely sailed by young children either solo or, thanks to its traditional mainsail and jib, as a helm and crew, providing the perfect platform to learn sailing skills for any bigger boat.  There are over 40 ABs regularly sailing and racing at the Club.  Some are now over 60 years old themselves and these craft can often be an affordable way for families to get afloat with very young children.  Meanwhile ABs continue to be manufactured either professionally in GRP or home-made in wood; these newer boats tend to be raced competitively by children up to 11 years old.

Since the introduction of the Optimist Class there is now another alternative for youngsters to learn the ropes. With its light weight, modern materials and great stability the Optimist is an ideal boat for learning to sail and getting competent in steering your own boat after just a few sessions. The Optimist class is the world's most popular dinghy with more than 500,000 worldwide. It is a key component of the RYA Junior Pathway. Through a heavy focus on training, the local fleet is very experienced in taking beginners and turning them into very competent sailors in just one or two seasons.


When the youth sailors have outgrown the AB or Optimist they will usually opt for the Topper or Feva.

Those that have an interest in performance dinghy sailing and joining the RYA Pathway, may migrate from their introduction in ABs to an Optimist. Sailors who have reached a certain size and weight may find Toppers a very good single handed option, whereas the Feva is apopular choide for those who want to sail a 2 person boat.

...& Widening Choices

At the present time most Optimist and Topper sailors will progress to either the Laser Radial, Laser 4.7 or the Feva. These classes offer increasingly powerful boats for both the single hander and full crews to develop their skills. We also currently have youth sailors racing RS200s in the youth racing, giving the option of two-handed asymmetric spinnaker dinghy.


All the Youth Classes have an active racing programme throughout the year. In the summer months (April - September inclusive) the youth classes race on Sunday mornings. From October to December the Toppers, ABs, Fevas and Optimists race on Saturday afternoons whilst the Lasers race with the adults on Sunday mornings. For the most competitive the Toppers, Lasers and Optimists open the door to regional, national and international regattas along with access for the successful to join RYA coaching squads. The Optimists run an Open Meeting every year, attracting around 100 boats from across the South of England.

What happens when

A Guide to Youth Sailing Times

For more information contact the youth class captains.

How do I book a boat in to the yard and join a youth fleet ?

For the main seasn (mid September until end of September) boats can be booked in via webcollect.
For the winter season (October - December inclusive) the Topper, RS Youth and AB classes race on a Saturday afternoon. The Optimist class train on several weekends. Boats can be booked in to the yard, but there is an expectation that chidren will sail regularly at the club if the boat is kept in the yard.

For more information contact the youth class captains.

Further Coaching

The Classes have training/coaching events, some of which are carried out 'in house'. Training sessions are also organised with RYA coaches or experts from the classes' National Associations.

Club's Operating Procedures

Parkstone Yacht Club's Youth Week

The highlight of the year for our younger members is Parkstone's Youth Week. See the Youth Week page for more details.

Social events

On the lighter side the Youth Section enjoy picnic races, BBQ's, camping weekends, etc.

RYA Accreditations

RYA Training Centre