Courses: The RYA Competent Crew Sailing Course in the Solent
I have reached the conclusion that learning to sail is an activity that is much better undertaken in the warm. My experience two weeks ago of a 5-day RYA (Royal Yachting Association) Competent Crew course in Lymington at SeaJay’s School has almost put me off yachting in the UK altogether! I may have just been unlucky but continuous rain and force 9 gales with 48mph winds are not really what I signed up for!
A quick research into the matter has shown me that I could have actually taken the exact same course in the Ionian Islands in Greece. Or equally in the Whitsundays in Australia, or in Turkey, or just about anywhere. Hindsight is a beautiful thing. However, and despite the appalling weather, it was very interesting and I passed the course: I am now a competent crew.
The basics of the course teach you about knots, mooring, handling the sails, helmsmanship, anchoring, the rules of the road, all the correct terminology, saving someone who’s fallen overboard and basically everything you need to know as a crew.
On board the yacht were a couple of people taking the Day Skipper course, which is the next step on the ladder of RYA qualifications and which allows you to charter yachts on holiday. From observing them I also learnt a fair deal about navigation and route planning.
From Day Skipper you can keep going up and up until the very highest qualification, the Yachtmaster Ocean, for which you have to have crossed an entire ocean.
The idea of incorporating a yachting course into a holiday is something that seems popular by the looks of how many sailing schools around the world offer the course.
Averaging between £400 and £500, these courses aren’t exactly suitable for a backpacker’s budget, but anyone who’s looking for a more active holiday and who loves to be by the sea will certainly enjoy this rather unique take on a holiday. And with a certificate and a new skill in hand, you’ll come home wih more to show from your holiday than just a tan.