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SYC Keelboat Sailing

Start Helming

A Keelboat Start Helming course is an introduction to helming (steering) a small keelboat. The course is Australian Sailing Accredited and instructed by qualified Australian Sailing Instructors. Start Helming covers the basic safety, theory and practical skills involved in helming a small keelboat. 

Our Start Helming course is conducted on our club 7.5m (25ft) keelboats which are perfect for teaching and learning. We will provide you with a life jacket for your course and a wet weather jacket if you need one. You will not need any special clothing for your course, however we request that you wear non-marking (or light coloured) soled shoes and make sure to bring warm clothing that you are able to get wet. On rainy or windy days it is a great idea to bring a towel and a change of clothes.

Each participant will receive a theory book and a log book during the Start Crewing Course. Please remember to bring your books with you to all of your keelboat courses. If you do not have them and would like to purchase them they are available for $45 from the boating office. You will receive a certificate of participation which may be emailed to you after the course.

We will have a lunch break each day and you are welcome to bring your own lunch or purchase lunch from our Member’s Bar. For safety reasons we are unable to take anyone on board who has consumed alcohol before or during the course.

Our Keelboat Programs are priced between $215 and $340pp and we do offer a member discount. If you would like to be notified when course dates are confirmed please email [email protected]

Click here for session times and dates


  • 12 hour Two Day course  (2 x 6 hr days) 

A makeup date is also scheduled in the event of bad weather.

Start Helming Outcomes

Sailing ElementCriteria
Preparationo Understands the importance of the correct fitting and wearing of lifejackets and complies with the rules for wearing lifejackets
o Understands the importance of appropriate clothing and footwear
Boats and Equipmento Can prepare the sails and rig the boat
o Knows correct use of halyards, sheets and associated deck hardware
Ropeworko Ability to tie the following knots and know their correct use: figure of eight, bowline, round turn & two half hitches, clove hitch, reef knot
Skills and Techniqueso Can helm and trim sails effectively on all points of sail
o Can helm effectively around a triangular course
o Can tack and gybe effectively as helm
o Can heave-to
o Understands the effect and importance of heel and trim
o Understands how to anchor a boat
o Can reef and shake out sails whilst underway
Safety and Emergencieso Can recover a man overboard under sail as helm
o Knows the location and correct operation of all safety equipment on board
o Knows how to raise the alarm in the event of an emergency
Sailing Theoryo Has a working knowledge of the general, steering and sailing rules and their
o Knows how to source information on local regulations
Weather and the Environmento Understands where to obtain a weather forecast


Start Helming Pre-requisites

Water confident.

Over 16 years or 12 years with a guardian.

Completed Start Crewing including all outcomes (or equivalent skills)

Who should do this course?

Anyone wanting to learn the basic fundamentals of helming a small keelboat.

Next Steps

Following the Start Crewing Course there are a number of options to continue your sailing:


Weekend courses

Start Helming / Weekend courses

  • Saturday, June 18, 2022
    09:00 AM to 04:00 PM
  • Saturday, June 25, 2022
    09:00 AM to 04:00 PM




Start Helming / Weekend courses

  • Sunday, August 14, 2022
    09:00 AM to 04:00 PM
  • Sunday, August 28, 2022
    09:00 AM to 04:00 PM




Start Helming / Weekend courses

  • Saturday, September 10, 2022
    09:00 AM to 04:00 PM
  • Saturday, September 17, 2022
    09:00 AM to 04:00 PM