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Progression of Sailing Training

For a beginner it can seem daunting stepping onto a yacht for the first time – but the reality is that almost anyone can learn the skills and knowledge required to enjoy sailing, either as a crew member or taking the yacht out as skipper yourself.

As a first step the Start Yachting course is perfect.  You can begin this course having never been onboard a yacht before, and by the end of the 48 hours you will be able to undertake various jobs onboard including steering the yacht (called “Taking the Helm”) and how to assist the Skipper in sailing and parking (called “mooring or berthing”). You will also start to learn some of the common names for the various parts of the yacht and sailing manouvres.

Many then go on to do the further 3-day course which we label “Start Yachting part 2” which will take them to the level of Competent Crew.  By now you will have all the skills needed to be a fully functioning member of the yacht crew – you will be capable of understanding and carrying out instructions and tasks onboard.

Hopefully you will enjoy trips out now sailing on the Club yachts.  If you are keen to progress to become a skipper then it would be good to get in plenty of practise before you move on to your Day Skipper course.

All Crew are encouraged to become proficient in other areas.  While mandatory for our Club Skippers, it makes sense for Crew to be trained in how to use the variety of equipment onboard.  There are a variety of one-day courses including: First Aid, Use of the VHF radio, Use of ships RADAR and Sea Survival.

Before the practical – it is best to complete the Day skipper theory.  This takes around 40 hours study and can be completed as a 5-day course or over three weekends.  Other options include night school or correspondance courses.  For SOYC Day Skipper practical courses we require candidates to have already passed the theory course.  This ensures that you can fully enjoy the practical course and get maximum benefit from being out sailing.  The Day Skipper practical course is a “course completion” award and it is expected that almost all candidates will achieve the standard to pass over the week.  Certainly those who have completed the theory and a Competent Crew course will be very well-placed for success.

Once you have become a Day Skipper you can skipper the yacht in familiar waters by day.  This gives you the opportunity to get out sailing and build experience.  For those wishing to explore further the next step is Yachtmaster Coastal.

Typically you might choose to do one or two seasons sailing often as a Day Skipper to build up your skills.  During this time you could complete the Yachtmaster Theory (which covers the theory for Yachtmaster Coastal and Yachtmaster Offshore in the one course).