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Home / Activities Afloat / Dinghy Sailing / Cadet & Family Sailing
Home / Activities Afloat / Dinghy Sailing / Cadet & Family Sailing

Cadet & Family Sailing

Welcome to the Cadet and Family Sailing page. Our aim is to encourage young people and their parents to get out on the water and have fun. You can apply to join AYC as a cadet member if you are aged between 7 and 17 years. An adult member of your family must be a member too. There are currently approximately 100 cadet members. The Club also aims to encourage adults and older teenagers to try dinghy sailing and was awarded a Sport England grant in March 2016 to facilitate this. Student membership is available for those aged 18 to 25 years who are in full time education or on an apprenticeship. Whether you have dinghy sailing experience or not, there will be something you can get involved in.

The Club owns a number of training dinghies, predominantly in the Topper Topaz range (Taz, Topaz, Vibe, & Argo) because these are particularly suited to beach launch & retrieval. The training dinghies can be used during organised sailing sessions and allow cadets & their parents to gain some basic skills, sailing with more experienced dinghy sailors, before considering buying their own boats. The Topper Topaz is proving a popular choice for members to purchase, with the fleet increasing from 2 to 7 privately owned in 2017. There are also privately owned Toppers, Tazs, Vibes, Solos, Mirrors, Oppis, Picos, Lasers, Skows, and a Miracle.

Cadet & Family Sailing programme

The Club programme includes regular dinghy sailing sessions and dinghy racing in Lyme Bay from April to October on both Saturdays and Sundays. There is also a race series held on the River Axe.

Saturday afternoon sailing sessions are open to all members (adults and cadets) and are fun, skill development sessions for all the family. Taster sails can be arranged for those of any age who would like to try sailing. Cadets & their parents also regularly take part in the Club dinghy races on Sundays and there is a cadet class in the River Race series. A Cadet Activities Week is held in the summer holidays, which includes dinghy training, the opportunity for a 'big boat experience' aboard a cruiser or fishing boat, as well as water based games and social activities.

The 2020 programme is available HERE.

RYA training

In 2017 the RYA gave approval for the Training Committee to add dinghy instruction to the Club's list of RYA recognised courses. Being a dinghy sailing RTC allows us to certificate the courses we run for our members. If a suitable course is not available at AYC, members also have the chance to complete stages/levels of the RYA National & Youth Dinghy Sailing Schemes at nearby centres. It is important to emphasize that the Club is not a commercial RYA sea school and therefore does not offer dinghy training courses to non-AYC members.

During Saturday Sailing and other sessions, we aim to help cadets and adults develop their skills in a way that is complimentary to the way the RYA teaches. RYA coaching/certification weekends are planned for 2020, during which an RYA Senior Instructor will formally assess the skills which a group of members have gained during the Saturday Sailing sessions. Please contact the lead for dinghy training Steve Hawkins via if you are interested in taking part in one of these.

The Club gained recognition as an RYA training centre for powerboat/safety boat courses in 2015 and also runs land-based RYA courses (First Aid, VHF radio, Diesel Engine, Day Skipper, & Yachtmaster). Senior cadets & parents have the opportunity to complete RYA powerboat level 2 training at AYC and several parents have completed the RYA safety boat course.

Cadets learning powerboat handling skills

All cadet activities are organised by parents and volunteers. The AYC cannot take responsibility for unaccompanied children under 18 years other than for RYA accredited courses, every cadet must have a parent/responsible adult present to supervise and support activities either on the beach or on the water. We rely on parents to help with rigging dinghies, launching/retrieving and manning the support boats (no previous experience needed - instructions will be given!). Parents who are keen to get out on the water will find plenty of opportunities to sail themselves. Social events and family barbeques are organized at intervals throughout the season. After sailing, the clubhouse has a number of board games to keep younger cadets occupied whilst their parents are in the bar!

Updates about cadet & family social events will be communicated by email or WhatsApp. To join the AYC C&FS Social WhatsApp group please email your mobile number to (AYC members only).

Sailing on the River Axe

Axmouth Harbour

AYC dinghies in Lyme Bay

River racing

Club Training Dinghies

In 2016 the old Oppi fleet was replaced by six new Taz dinghies as the Club entry level dinghy for cadets. In 2018, some of the old Toppers were replaced by three Topper Topaz dinghies, which are suitable for adults and cadets sailing either single handed or two up. In addition, the Club owns three RS Fevas, two Vibes & an Argo which are suitable for adults and older teenagers. A 14 foot Hobie Cat donated to the Club in 2017 has proved a hit with the teenage boys and provides members with the opportunity to experience another aspect of sailing.

Cadet Trophies

At the annual AYC Prizegiving, a number of trophies are awarded to cadets for achievements during the season, including the prestigious Lysander Trophy, which is awarded for the best overall cadet performance of the year.

Cadet & Family Sailing Working Group

The Cadet Working Group was established in 2013 and is made up of parents and a senior cadet representative. It reports to the Activities Afloat Committee. It was renamed the Cadet & Family Sailing Working Group in 2016, taking on responsibility for the development of dinghy sailing for adults as well as children, as part of the Sport England funded project. If you would like any further information please contact a member of the working group via

Chair: Paul Sammons

Secretary: Sam Priestley

Admin/policies: Carol Evans

Training: Steve Hawkins

Dinghies & Equipment: Bruce Kenny

Cadet Rep: Elliot Sammons

Communication/WhatsApp/Social: Fran Clayton

Advisory Member: Amanda Parker

AYC Safeguarding Welfare Officer: Tina Daniel, or 07956 120376

The AYC Safeguarding Policy can be accessed HERE.

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