About Us

Sail Nelson is a fully accredited Royal Yachting Association sail training centre, run by sailors for sailors. We teach all abilities from novice to Yachtmaster Offshore.

Sailing with Sail Nelson Sailing School

Our passion is for sail cruising and to that end everyone here has spent many months and years cruising the worlds oceans. Setting sail, whether along the coast or across an ocean, is a psychological challenge made much easier when you have acquired the necessary skills. Nowhere are these skills more essential than in coastal waters where confident boat handling and accurate navigation are paramount. So, whether you’re planning to cruise for a weekend, a week, a month or a year we’re here to give you the knowledge, ability and confidence to enable you, your friends and your family to get the most out of sail cruising in a relaxed and enjoyable way.

Sail Nelson’s RYA qualified sailing instructors all have excellent tuition skills, proven sailing ability and many thousands of sea miles under their belts. They are patient with a good sense of humour and all love being on board in Nelson, with its stunning scenery and renowned sunny climate.

Sail Nelson is owned by Chris and Katy Roff, who sailed to New Zealand from the UK, arriving in 2004, aboard their 35ft yacht “Whistler”.

Chief Instructor and Centre Principal Chris Roff

Chris Roff

School Principal and Chief Instructor

RYA YachtmasterTM Instructor
MNZ Master Yacht <24m

Chris has been sailing all his life and grew up amongst sailing dinghies and yachts around the coast of the British Isles. As a teenager and in his early 20’s he repeatedly cruised to France, the Channel Isles, up to the Orkney Isles and off the West Coast of Scotland, including the remote rugged islands of St Kilda.

Since then Chris has clocked up thousands more sea miles and sailed, worked and instructed boat handling in many of the worlds most challenging and remote locations.

After sailing to New Zealand over 10 years ago Chris, together with his wife Katy and 2 young children, has continued to sail, explore and instruct around the unspoiled coastline of New Zealand and amongst many of the idyllic islands of the South Pacific and Tasman Sea.

Sailing Instructor Dave SavageDave Savage

RYA YachtmasterTM Instructor
MNZ Master Yacht <24m

Dave learnt to sail along the notorious coastline of South Africa and got into sailing as a way of exploring the world.

As a delivery skipper and yachting instructor Dave has skippered over 15 major ocean crossings, including the Indian and Pacific Oceans as well as on mile-building passages across the south Atlantic between South Africa, St Helena and Rio.

Having clocked up over 100 000 nautical miles Dave has a wealth of experience and has successfully coached numerous students up to YachtmasterTM Offshore level.

He is an extremely patient and skillful instructor, as is testified to by his past students, and can be seen from our feedback page.