Whitsundays School of Sailing | Whitsunday Rent a Yacht

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Whitsundays School of Sailing

The Whitsunday region is among the best in the world to learn to sail or refresh your skills. We offer RYA accredited practical courses for those with all levels of experience from the novice to the seasoned sailor.

Our Whitsundays School of Sailing offers the Royal Yachting Association accredited practical courses.  The five-day courses are run weekly, from Monday to Friday, departing from our private jetty in Shute Harbour, all year 'round.

The 74 Whitsunday Islands are set in the warm, calm Coral Sea and protected by the Great Barrier Reef. Sailing conditions here are superb. During your week of sail training, there will also be time to snorkel in pristine waters and explore secluded beaches and anchorages. You will leave with a certificate of achievement and the skills and confidence to handle charter vessels.

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Practical courses offered

We offer three different courses, so whether you are a complete beginner, perhaps looking to learn to sail before a bareboat holiday or an experienced sailor looking to step it up a notch, we have a course for you!

  • Level 1 - Competent Crew. No prior sailing experience required.
  • Level 2 - Day Skipper. Pre-requisites: 5 days' sea time, 100 miles logged (4 night hours logged), knowledge of navigation a must, moderate sailing ability.
  • Level 3 - Coastal Skipper. Pre-requisites: 15 days' sea time (minimum 2 days as skipper), 300 miles logged (8 night hours logged), navigation knowledge to yacht master theory standard, sailing ability exceeding day skipper practical standard.

More on our Courses



Courses are $1,980 per person (based on cabin share accommodation).


Theory component

The theory component for Day Skipper and Coastal Skipper courses must be completed prior to beginning a practical course. The RYA-recognised training centre, Above & Beyond Boating, provides the theory components for these courses online.  If completing your theory via Above & Beyond Boating, use reference as Sunsail Whitsundays to link the theory component to your course booking. Your certificate will be sent to your instructor before you arrive to complete the practical component. Fees are payable directly to Above & Beyond Boating.


​Our vessel

Our training vessel is a Jeanneau 44, a high-performance cruising yacht built for comfort and designed for excellent sailing.  Accommodating five students and an instructor, the spacious interior has two double cabins, two single berths and a teak finish throughout.  The Jeanneau 44 features a dual helm station, furling headsail, self-tailing winches and more – perfect for sail training.


  • Two double berths
  • Two single berths
  • Additional saloon berth (if required).
  • Cockpit table for eight.
  • Two bathrooms
  • Fully equipped galley
  • Spacious navigation station
  • Large hanging lockers in all cabins
  • All linen provided


  • Dual helm station
  • Self-tailing winches
  • Electric windlass
  • Heavy-duty fully battened mainsail
  • Heavy-duty furling genoa with UV protection strips
  • Deck shower
  • Bimini and dodger

Whitsundays School of Sailing can accommodate berthing requests whether you are travelling with someone or alone.  Speak to our sales team about your requirements and request a layout image of the boat. Make an enquiry.



Depending on the weather and sail training plans, some of the idyllic locations you will likely visit on your sailing school week include Nara Inlet, Cid Harbour, Butterfly Bay, Whitehaven Beach and Lindeman Island. Here’s how your epic week will look:

  • Sunday: Arrive at 4 pm to complete paperwork and board vessel. Spend your first night at our base in Shute Harbour which will give you time to familiarise yourself with the vessel and time to unwind and relax before you begin your course the next morning.
  • Monday 8 am to Friday at 5 pm: Practical course guided by your instructor. The training vessel, a Jeanneau 44, has the capacity for five students and one instructor. Prices are based on a cabin/berth rate.
  • Friday: After 5 pm you are able to stay on board for the final night once the course has been completed. This is a great opportunity to reflect on the week's achievement and socialise.
  • Saturday: Students depart vessel by 10am for their return journey. If you wish to charter a yacht in the Whitsundays for a few days to use your new skills, contact our sales team.



  • Cabin/shared berth-style accommodation for six nights.
  • Full provisioning for course duration (Sunday to Friday).
  • Shute Harbour complex start and finish.
  • Five-day practical course onboard a Jeanneau 44 yacht in the picturesque Whitsundays.
  • RYA certification (pending prior successful completion of the theory element and practical assessment).
  • Snorkelling gear; we have a variety of sizes to choose from for you to make the most of seeing what’s under the water too!

What to bring

  • Soft-soled shoes/deck shoes.
  • Soft drinks/ beverages. (Drinking water provided).
  • Snacks (if required).
  • Personal toiletries.
  • Wide-brimmed hat.
  • Practical course notes and logbook.
  • Head torch (including red globe).
  • Sailing gloves.
  • Beach towel (All other linen provided).
  • RYA Practical course notes and logbook


Browse our CoursesReserve your spot now


"Our competent crew sailing course was so much fun! Wayne was a great instructor and taught us heaps. I really enjoyed the snorkelling and island exploring as well. Will definitely be coming back"
Ariana Simons – Competent Crew 2022


"I completed my Day Skipper certification with Sunsail Whitsundays. The boat was well fitted, the islands provide great learning conditions, and the instructor (Wayne) was so fun! Very happy about my experience here"
Fontaine Foxworth – Day Skipper Student


"Thanks so much to the team at Sunsail, we had 2 really great weeks throughout the year on the competent crew then day skipper course. We had just a couple hours of sailing experience prior to signing up. Wayne is a fantastic teacher, and we would definitely recommend Sunsail - they are more like a family, and made the process so welcoming and easy. Already planning our next trip back - can't wait!"
Alisha Azmin - Competent Crew, then Day Skipper

A couple learning to sail at sunset in the Whitsundays

Discover the joys of sailing aboard a yacht in the warm, safe waters of the Whitsundays.