If you have never sailed before and are interested in learning to sail then we would recommend that you go on a sailing experience day before committing to a practical course, as we all need to test our sea legs. Once you have your sea legs then choosing the right course is very important to get most from the time on the water.
Sailing experiences (Practical)
For a lot of people the first time they go sailing is with friends or family or perhaps a work outing. This can be a fun way of experiencing sailing for the first time. We organise regular sailing experiences on “Rho” our Sigma 38.
RYA courses, while not compulsory, offer leisure sailors a route to build and develop practical skills on the water. RYA qualifications are widely recognised by insurance and charter companies and working with the MCA (Maritime Coastguard Agency) offer professional qualifications, recognised worldwide.
RYA Start Yachting Practical Course is a 2 day course, normally run over a weekend. It provides a person with an introduction to sail cruising and is an ideal course for someone learning to sail.
During your 2 days you will learn all the main parts of a sailing boat, learn how to hoist and lower sails and gain knowledge of basic sea terms. Learn how to use winches and jamming cleats safely and how to secure a rope to a cleat. You will learn to tie and use a figure of eight knot, round turn and two half hitches and a bowline.
While the yacht is underway you will experience how a boat sails on all the points of sail including taking the helm under the watchful eye of your instructor. Learn why it’s important to maintain an efficient look out at sea and the importance weather plays while sailing.
During your weekend you will learn about staying safe on-board a yacht, the potential hazards and how to deal with them, the use of life saving equipment like lifejackets and what actions should be taken to recover a man overboard. Further details can be found in our Equinox Sailing Manual.
At the end of your weekend you will obtain a RYA Start Yachting certificate which will allow you to obtain the RYA Competent Crew Certificate by completing a further three days aboard or a further two weekends.
The RYA Essential Navigation and Seamanship theory course provides an introduction to the basic sea terms, charts and the information they contain.
An introduction to personal safety and safety equipment on board a boat, understanding the effects of the wind and tides, use of GPS and the risk and avoidance of collisions.
Learn the basics about navigating using buoys and landmarks and how the weather can affect sailing plans.
The course is available as a traditional classroom based course or as an Interactive Online Course which has the benefit of allowing the student to complete the course at a time suitable to them. Full support is provided through out the interactive course by a qualified instructor should you have any problems. The online course is an excellent refresher for any rusty skipper or crew taking to the water after a long break.
Please have a look at our article, Is the RYA Essential Navigation and Seamanship Theory course right for me? for further information.
The RYA Competent Crew practical course is widely recognised by skippers as proof of useful crewing skills and can be taken by novices. The course teaches personal safety, seamanship and helmsmanship to be a useful member of crew on-board a cruising yacht. The course is normally run over five consecutive days, three weekends or a two and three-day weekend. Holders of the RYA Start Yachting certificate can complete a RYA Competent Crew course by attending two weekends or a three-day weekend.
During your time on-board you will gain sufficient knowledge of sea terms, parts of the boat to understand the day to day running of a cruising boat.
Hoisting and lowering sails will be a daily occurrence, you will also learn to trim them for all points of sail and how and when to reduce sail or reef to suit the prevailing conditions.
Rope work is an important skill on any boat and you will learn about different types of rope and how to care and store them properly. Learn the correct use for and how to tie a figure of eight knot, clove hitch, rolling hitch, bowline, round turn and two half hitches, single and double sheet bend and a reef knot.
During your course you will learn about staying safe on-board a yacht, the potential hazards and how to deal with them, the use of life-saving equipment like life jackets and what actions should be taken to recover a man overboard. Learn about flares and how to launch and board a life raft. Further details can be found in the Equinox Sailing Manual.
While the yacht is underway experience how a boat sails on all the points of sail from close hauled to a dead run with you on the helm under the watchful eye of your instructor. Learning to steer the boat using a compass is of vital importance and trimming the sails to the wind will become second nature by the end of the course.
How to maintain an efficient look out at sea and maintaining and reacting to the weather while sailing.
Learn to live aboard and carry out general duties while sailing from filling out the log or making a cup tea to tying up the boat after a day’s sail.
Spend a weekend refreshing your RYA Competent Crew skills with a qualified RYA Instructor.
If you are looking to bridge the gap between RYA Competent Crew and RYA Day Skipper then learn some new skills.
- Piloting in and out of harbours
- Anchoring under engine
- Picking up a mooring buoy under engine
- Basic berthing and un-berthing.