Junior Sailing - Frequently Asked Questions

We’d like to thank you for booking a course for us and realise that you will probably have lots of questions about the course and the arrangements. We’ve tried to answer as many of the most commonly asked questions as possible in this document but please don’t hesitate to contact us if your questions aren’t answered here !


Do I need to be a club member to book a place for my child on a training course?

No, you don’t have to be a member - but your child does!  Many trainees are already members as part of a family membership – those who are not may join as cadet members in their own right. We also have a temporary membership option which lasts from the Monday morning until the Friday afternoon of a one week course. This allows children who are not sure whether or not ‘this is for them’ to try it out without the cost of a full membership. These juniors are then more than welcome to upgrade to cadet membership at the end of the week.


What are the other advantages of membership, apart from the summer camps?

The club has a wide variety of activities and facilities for members and their guests. Junior members may attend the Pico Club every Saturday from the start of May, and are encouraged to participate in club racing every weekend. Other events such as coaching weekends are organised from time to time, and there are also social events such as BBQs, together with winter activities such as talks and courses. We also encourage the non-sailing parents of trainees to consider joining the club as clubhouse members – our bar is open every Friday and Sunday as well as after sailing and during events and members are welcome to sign in guests. Or even better try out one of our introductory adult sailing courses – contact us for more information on these


What is the Pico Club – tell me more!

The Pico Club is an opportunity for younger club members (either cadet members of part of a family membership) to get out on the water in one of the club’s Laser Picos , under the supervision of an instructor. It’s not a formal training course and there are no exams, assessments or certificates but it’s a great way for younger children to gain a little more experience in helming and crewing. It takes place most Sundays – look at the monthly diary section of the club’s website for exact dates and times.                 


How do I make a booking?

Download the booking form HERE, fill it in and send it to the club with your payment. 


When should I book?

As soon as possible! The numbers that we can take on each course are limited as there are strict ratios of trainees to instructors for safety reasons. Bookings will be allocated in the order in which they are received. If a course is fully booked, we will usually offer you a place on the same course in a different week.    


How do I decide which course is the most suitable for my son or daughter?

The ISA Small Boat Scheme is a progressive scheme, so it’s usually a matter of progressing level by level. Take a look at the “Which Course should I choose” guide on the training page of our website at www.braysailingclub.ie/Sea-School/Junior-Sailing-Courses/Which-Course. If you’re still not sure, ask us for guidance!

 How can I pay?

Preferably by Bank Transfer, otherwise by cheque or cash. Unfortunately, due to high bank charges, we do not accept credit or debit cards. Our booking form has our bank account details for your bank transfer.

 If you want to pay by cash, please contact us first so that we can arrange to receive payment in person rather than posting it in the letter box.


What happens if our plans change and my child is unable to attend after I have booked and paid?

We regret that are unable to issue refunds after your booking has been accepted and a place allocated. 


What equipment do I need to provide?

Dinghy sailing involves getting wet ! All trainees should have their own wetsuit (a “shortie” wetsuit is usually adequate for summer sailing), buoyancy aid, dinghy boots (old runners will do or maybe buy the cheapest pair of runners you can get), swimming costume, and kagoule (lightweight waterproof top) and towel. Footwear is important – bare feet are not allowed! We also recommend that sailors wear a pair of board shorts over their wetsuit to protect the wetsuit from snagging on the sharp bits of boats and getting ripped or torn. 

The club has a number of wetsuits and buoyancy aids available for loan in return for a refundable security deposit of €50. This should be paid on arrival on the Monday morning. It will be refunded at the end of Junior Training on the Friday.

All property must be clearly and indelibly marked with your child’s name. Hot showers will be available after sailing so please make sure that they have a swimming costume to wear while showering, together with a towel and a complete change of clothes to go home in. Don’t forget sunscreen – your child will be outdoors almost all day and even on cool, overcast days the sun reflects off the water.


Should my child bring their sailing gear home with them each day?

 Definitely. We do not encourage people to leave their gear in the changing rooms and the club takes no responsibility for personal property left lying around. Also, this will give you a chance to make sure that everything is still intact and give it a rinse before the next day’s sailing.  Encourage your child to pack their own sailing bag so that they get used to making sure that everything is included.  


Does my son or daughter have to supply their own boat?

No. The club has a number of boats for use by trainees. If you do have your own boat, naturally we encourage your son or daughter to use it. Many trainees will want to buy their own boat after a year or two of training and we strongly encourage this  – please ask our instructors for advice if you are thinking of doing this. 


My child has their own boat – can I store it at the sailing club?

Yes, as long as they are a paid-up member. The boat must be insured and must be registered with the club (ask for a boat registration form).


What time does the course start and end at each day?

Normal course times are 0900hrs to 1700hrs. However, as Bray Harbour is tidal, there are times when courses may start and finish later in order to make the launching and retrieval of boats easier. If his happens, you will be notified in advance. 


What do the children do at lunchtime?

They will have a one hour lunch break from approximately 1300 to 1400hrs. They should bring a healthy packed lunch and drink every day. Trainees are not permitted to leave the club and harbour area at lunchtime unless we have received written parental permission in advance.   


Is there a tuck shop to buy drinks and snacks?

Yes. There will be a limited range of drinks and snacks available for purchase.


How many weeks should I book my child in for?

Different children progress at different speeds so it is hard to be definitive. Also, it is sometimes possible to move on from one level to the next in the same season. For most courses, we feel that a minimum of two weeks is required to learn the skills required and to become accomplished at putting them into practice. We will accept bookings for shorter periods but feel that it is only fair to warn you that it is highly unlikely that trainees will gain enough experience in one week to achieve their level (particularly at more advanced levels).


What happens if the weather is unsuitable for sailing?

There are always fallback plans! These will include shore-based theory classes, games and activities or water-based activities inside the harbour, depending on conditions. Whatever happens, your child will be kept occupied until it is time to go home.


Does my child need to be able to swim?

Yes. They should feel comfortable in the water and be able to swim 25 meters (wearing a buoyancy  aid) and be able to tread water for at least two minutes. 


Are the children divided up into groups of similar ages?

Trainees are divided into class groups, rather than by age. In practice, this usually means that children of similar ages are grouped together but there may be a mix of ages in a group.


How do I find out more about club activities and events?

You can look at the club website or find us on Facebook. However, the most important communications are sent out by email to members only so the best way of finding out what’s going on is to become a member!


My child has special needs and I’m not quite sure if this will work for them..

Please come and talk to us! Our Senior Instructors are very flexible and will often have previous experience of working with children with special needs and we want to make sailing as accessible as possible to everyone. However, we have some infrastructural limitations which limit our ability to accept everyone.      


Does the club also run courses for adults?
Yes! Again, please look at our website and go to the Sea School section to find out details of sailing, powerboat and VHF courses for adults. Or you can email us at training@braysailingclub.ie if you have any questions that aren’t answered on our website.


Are parents welcome to come and watch while training courses are taking place?

Bray Sailing Club is very family-oriented and parents are always welcome. There is usually a facility to make tea and coffee in the kitchen (but you might have to bring your own milk and biscuits!). You are always welcome to watch sailing from the deck of the club.