Frequently Asked Questions

What is the time schedule for my course.


All courses meet outside the playground at the main club house in Aberdeen (map here). Morning and Full day courses meet at 8.50am while afternoon courses meet at 1250pm.

Guest parking is not available for sailing course sailors. Non-member may park at public car park at Jumbo Court or Broadview Court.




What should I wear and bring with me


You are reminded to bring the following clothing and equipment with you to Middle Island

  • Sailing Clothes – i.e. shorts and T-shirt that you don’t mind getting wet. In the autumn and spring as it is cool you are strongly advised to bring a windproof jacket and extra layers to wear. In winter months it can be surprisingly cold and waterproof trousers or even wet suit will be very helpful.
  • Canvas sailing shoes, sandals or wet suit boots – NOT trainers, leather boating shoes or flip flops.
  • Towel and full change of dry clothes for after sailing
  • Sun burn protection. Even on cloudy days it can be necessary to wear sun block and a hat can be very useful.
  • Sailing gloves are helpful if it is a windier day. If glasses are needed at all times, a sport glasses retaining strap is useful so that the glasses are not lost!
  • Don't bring valuables with you, you won't need them on the water. There are a limited number of lockers available for use to keep your wallets and phones dry!




What about lunch?


Lunch and drinks: Full day classes for 11 to 18yr olds include lunch in the course fee (except for ARA, Explorer, Day Trip and Assistant Instructor programme).

Adult course students may order lunch at the clubhouse in the morning to be served at lunch time. Non members may purchase using their Octopus card. During busy periods and at weekends, the Middle Island Coffee Shop will also be open; drinks and snacks; sandwiches, barbecue items, ice cream and other items are available.




Can parents/guardians accompany students to Middle Island.


Our courses operate on a drop off and pick up principle from the main clubhouse in Aberdeen. Only students or parents/guardians who are members may go to Middle Island. Priority for the 9am, 1245, 1pm and 4.45pm ferry will be given to students. Parents may need to take another ferry if it is full.




Do we still sail if it is raining? What about typhoon and rainstorm warnings?


Courses will be cancelled if a Typhoon Signal number 3, Red or Black Rainstorm warning is in force 1.5 hour before the start time of the course. We still go ahead if it is raining or the thunderstorm warning is in force, but activities may well be modified depending on local weather conditions.




I am not a strong swimmer, can I still take part in an ABC Sailing Course?


We require all participants on our courses to be able to swim. However, you will be wearing a buoyancy aid at all times when afloat, so an important factor is to be "confident in the water" rather than being able to swim a very long distance. Normally if you can swim 50m with a buoyancy aid this is adequate.




What is the youngest age that my children can start to learn to sail?


Our junior sailing programme is designed for children aged 7 years and older. Its important that a child's first experience on the water is a positive one, and from experience we have found this has worked well. This allows sailors the best chance to progress through the courses with confidence and enthusiasm.




What type of boats will we use to learn to sail? And can I learn together with my children?


The dinghies that we use are illustrated on this website, look on our "Youth" and "Adult" Sail Training Pages. Normally we do not recommend adults to learn to sail together with their children because the boats used are very different, and the techniques used to teach children and adults are a little different.




If I pass my course, what qualification will I obtain, and is it recognised outside your club or even overseas?


Different courses result in different qualifications. Our Junior Stage Courses lead to ABC Certificates, as do a number of activities including the Reacher and RS Feva Course, which are basic certificates of competence.

We run formal Hong Kong Sailing Federation courses as well, and these result in HKSF Certificates. Applicants can gain a full understanding by reviewing the ABC Sail Training Scheme on the Training pages of this website. We cannot say how overseas sailing centres will treat your certification, but Hong Kong Sailing Federation certificates should be understood overseas as they are based heavily on the UK Royal Yachting Association scheme. Often those with overseas qualifications will be required to take a short test or "assessment" rather than a whole course, but regulations may vary from country to country.




Is my child ready for the next stage?


In the Junior Stage pathway progression from Stage 1 to 2 is straight forward assuming the sailors have attended the full course. From Stage 2 to 3 the main difference is that sailors will need to sail solo in Stage 3. They will normally have an opportunity to sail solo during Stage 2 and if they are happy and confident whilst doing this then they are ready to try Stage 3. For our younger sailors (7,8yrs old) we do encourage them to plan to do Stage 2 more than once. To complete Stage 3 sailors will need to show they can sail all points of sail indepentantly in light winds and demonstrate a few other specific skills.

There should be no rush for sailors to complete all the stages as the emphasis is on having fun and enjoying the sport, this is a sport for life after all.

For each Junior and Youth syllabus course there are progress cards available for students to follow their progress. Instructors can record skills they are working on or have mastered. Sailors don't need to (and aren't expected) to master all skills on the cards but some are key in order to pass the course. By repeating a course this will give them an opportunity to master more of the skills and prepare them well for the next stage/level.




I am a HHYC or VRC member, which course fee should I pay?


Under current reciprocal agreements HHYC and VRC members can benefit from the ABC course fee rate for all our scheduled courses. When asked to fill in the ABC member number please fill in your Club initials and membership number.

For HHYC memebers should choose the "Offline" payment option, the same as with ABC members and the course fee will be charged to their Club account. VRC members should choose the "Online" payment options and pay by credit card to secure the booking.