2012 marked the launch of updated national standards for Canada’s Learn to Sail Dinghy programming.

Sail Canada’s CANSail dinghy standards and program support systems offer the best parts of the CYA’s “traditional ” White / Bronze / Learn-to-Race / Silver / Gold program with an updated progressive pathway to learn and develop in fundamental dinghy sailboat handling skills, and sets the foundation for athlete and sailor-leadership development regardless of type of dinghy being used (single handed or double handed).

CANSail programming means lots of time on the water in a safe, enjoyable and active learning environment, with relatively less time spent in a classroom. Sailing skills are learned, trained and tested at each level, as they accomplish more.    You can see a sample progress report here.

Sailors learn the skills and enter into joyful and challenging experiences suited to their age and stage of development. The programming is designed to get – and keep – sailors enthusiastic about sailing for life!

The CANSail Program Levels are:

Wet Feet – Programming specific to beginners, age to 8 years, in an Optimist Dinghy.
Active Start stage of the Long Term Sailor Development.
CANSail 1 & 2 – Fundamental skill acquisition in any type of boat (single / double handed). FUNdamentals 
CANSail 3 & 4 – Applied skill acquisition in any type of boat (single / double handed).
Learn to Sail Fast stage
CANSail 5 & 6 – Applied skill consolidation in any type of boat (single / double handed).
Learn to Train stage 
Chutes & Wires – Specialized double handed performance skill consolidation.
Learn to Train stage of the Long Term Sailor Development.. Chutes and Wires may be delivered concurrently with other levels in the CANSail program.


Here is a general comparison to the old levels.

Wet Feet: Age 8 Introduction to sailing safety, skills and fun on the water. One week.

CANSail 1. Ages 8-18 Similar to White Sail 1. Two weeks or more.

CANSail 2: Ages 9-18 Similar to White Sail 2 + 3. Two weeks or more.

CANSail 3: Ages 9-18 Similar to Bronze IV Learn to Race. Four weeks or more.

CANSail 4: Ages 12-18 Similar to Bronze V Learn to Race.  Four weeks or more.

CANSail 5: Ages 12-18 Similar to Silver VI with Race Team 4 – 8 weeks or more.

CANSail 6: Ages 15-18 Similar to Gold VII with Race Team 4 – 8 weeks or more.

Full details are available at the Sail Canada website.

Levels are accomplished when a skill level is achieved. The number of weeks indicated for a level is only a recommendation – please don’t hold us to it. Everyone learns at their own pace, and weather can play a big role. Our instructors stress fun over achievement for young children. If level achievement is important, tell your instructor and they will give you progress reports.