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Cara na Mara

Cara na Mara provides a child centred approach to introducing children to sailing and the marine environment.

The syllabus takes an interactive approach to teaching, and encourages children to be responsible for their own learning. Each course in the programme consists of a series of games, tasks, activities and experiments that will help children to discover, explore and practise the skills and knowledge they need, while under the supervision and leadership of an ISA Instructor.

The programme covers the essential sailing skills needed for children to become competent, independent sailors and also includes a strong emphasis on the skills & knowledge that will allow them to appreciate and enjoy the water & outdoor environment.

Recommended Ages



Recommended ages

Otters                    6 - 8 years

Seals                     7 – 9 years

Dolphins                8 - 10 years

Orcas                    9 - 11 years

Improving Skills           11 years


In order to cover the material, the course needs to be run over at least 5 full days. However, because of the age of participants, it is recommended that course providers run the course over 10 or more ½ days.



All of the on the water elements of this course must be delivered by an ISA Sailing Instructor under the supervision of an ISA Senior Instructor (Sailing).


People who have the appropriate skills may be used to deliver the shore based elements under the supervision of an ISA Senior Instructor (Sailing). These could be Primary School Teachers, Montessori Teachers or an ISA Instructor from another discipline.


 Boat Type

 Minumum Ratio
 Instructor : Sailor
 Maximum No. of
Boats per Instructors

 Single handed dinghy
 (Optimist, Topper, Pico, Topaz, etc.)   

 1 : 6
 1 : 8*

 6 : 8

 Double handed dinghy
 (Mirror, Pico, Topaz, Feva, etc.)

 1 : 6
 1 : 8*

 6 : 8

 Multi handed dinghy
 (Wayfarer, Laser 16, 1720, J21, etc.)

 1 : 3 in one boat
 1 : 6 in two boats*      

* with qualified Assistant Instructor 

Type of boat

The sailors may use a range of boats to complete the course, including single, double and multihanded dinghies, keelboats and catamarans.



Sailors completing all of the elements on each course may be issued with the appropriate certificate.

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