Which Course – Competent Crew or Day Skipper?
The Competent Crew course is much more than it sounds. It teaches you all about how to sail a yacht, all the deckwork, sail handling, maneouvering under sail, helmsmanship, ropes and knots, anchoring and mooring, and of course safety.
The Day Skipper Practical course is all about how to be in charge of a yacht and its crew (in reasonably sheltered waters in daylight) so that you can take responsibility and everyone feels safe and enjoys the experience. To begin the day skipper course you should:
a. Have completed the Day Skipper Theory course (or most of it)
b. Have either done the competent crew course or have the equivalent knowledge.
As soon as you are confident in your crewing knowledge and skill, you are ready to go on to Day Skipper. But it can be a mistake to be in a hurry to get the paper qualifications. It can be much better in the long run to ensure you have sound skills at each level and in the end its practical sailing experience that really counts.
What is your sailing experience?
Have you already completed an RYA Competent Crew course or do you already have a reasonable amount of practical sailing experience and know basically how to sail – including steering, setting and trimming sails, maneuvering, anchoring, tying up alongside etc?
If the answer to this is YES, then you should go on to do a Day Skipper course (Theory and then Practical).
If the answer is NO, then your next step should definitely be to complete a Competent Crew course. If you are in doubt, talk it over with your instructor or call us. Perhaps one or two weekends to refresh and fill gaps in knowledge would be sufficient before going on to Day Skipper.
How relevant is dinghy sailing experience?
Experience in dinghies and keelboats is very useful. If you are a confident dinghy sailor and especially if you have RYA qualifications, you may not need to start with a full competent crew course. Certainly if you also have some experience as crew on yachts, its probably unnecessary to start at competent crew. However, if you have never crewed on larger boats you will find that there are a lot of basic things to learn about rope handling, mooring the boat, deck-work etc; in this case you should consider one or two weekends of crew training before going on to Day Skipper.
Which Course – Day Skipper or Coastal Skipper?
If you are an experienced sailor but have never done an RYA course you might have difficulty choosing between Day Skipper or Coastal Skipper. The coastal skipper course is for people who already have some experience as a skipper in charge of a yacht. It builds on the training given at day skipper level and extends it to cover coastal passage-making and more challenging situations. If your practical experience has been all as crew then you should start by completing a Day Skipper practical course. But if you have skippered your own boat and/or charter yachts then the Coastal Skipper course (theory and then practical) might be appropriate. In any event our courses are alll mixed experience level so you can always switch if you and the instructor agree.
If in any doubt please call or email to discuss your ideas with an instructor.