There are few things as pleasurable as sailing the calm, warm blue waters of the Mediterranean with a group of close friends or family. A new venue every night a days spent gliding silently across the blue azure. Perhaps find a secluded bay for lunch and a cooling swim before setting course for the next destination and a night out to explore.
There is a reason you see so many yachts down here in the Med. It’s fun!
However, to charter a yacht in the Mediterranean or the UK you will need some qualifications first. In most of Europe an International Certificate of Competence (ICC) is required before you can take charge of a yacht. In the UK, most charter companies require that the charterer has at least an RYA Day Skipper Certificate. The good news is that if you are a qualified Day Skipper, you only need to send in a form to the RYA with proof of your Day Skipper qualification, plus a small fee, and you will receive an ICC to add to your collection.
It therefore makes sense for those likely to sail around continental Europe, the West Indies or the UK to take the RYA Day Skipper Course.
Once a Day Skipper you are qualified to take charge of your own yacht, or a yacht on charter. However, before you are up to taking the Day Skipper Course there are a few other things to address. First of all, you will need to be able to illustrate a basic sailing competence before you are ready to take the Day Skipper Course. You also need to know about navigation, chartwork, boat systems and the ‘rules of the road’ otherwise known as the IRPCS (International Regulations for the Prevention of Collisions at Sea).
The RYA Competent Crew Course takes 5 days to complete. It is practical in nature and candidates live on board for the entire time. During this course they’ll be introduced to all the basics of sailing and living on a boat. At the end of the course you should be competent to crew (but not skipper) a yacht. The course will also allow you time to build miles in your personal logbook. This is important and we’ll get to this in a minute.
Once you have your Competent Crew, the next step on the ladder is RYA Day Skipper. This is another 5 day practical course but this time your instructor will be concentrating on teaching and coaching you in the skills required to take charge of a yacht. This means you need to know how to navigate, make passage plans, undertake basic maintenance, recover crew from the sea, instigate emergency procedures and the like.
Five days is not enough time to cover all of this too, so the RYA introduced a five day theory course which covers IRPCS, navigation, chartwork and all the theory you’ll need to know in order to properly participate on the Day Skipper Practical Course.
The three syllabi are carefully designed to cover all aspects of sailing. Each course is five days long and in general it’s expected that a novice sailor might take the courses over one or two seasons in tandem with other less structured time on the water.
However, we don’t all have the time or patience to take two years becoming a Day Skipper! That is where our RYA approved two week course comes in.
Candidates join us on a Sunday evening in anticipation of an intensive fortnight of training and sailing, based here in Gibraltar. The next day they rise and start preparing their training yacht for what will be the start their 5 day on-the-water Competent Crew Course. After successfully completing this they’ll know how to sail and how to be a useful member of crew. They then move right into the classroom where they learn all the theory they’ll need for their next time on the water.
After 4 days in the classroom there is an exam being introduced to all the skills you’ll need to navigate, understand passage planning, weather forecasts and the ‘rules of the road’, you’’ rejoin your yacht for a further five days on the water.
During this training you’ll be put through your paces, both building on your experience to date and be introduced to new skills and techniques. Each day we build on the previous day, constantly increasing your yachting knowledge. You’ll learn new skills including boat and crew management, passage planning, sail trim and all other parts of the RYA Day Skipper Training Syllabus including berthing, man overboard recovery and how to set storm sails or abandon to a life raft.
In just 14 days we can bring completely novice sailors from no experience to competent, qualified RYA Day Skippers, ready to charter their own yacht without further supervision. That’s just 10 days off work, or plan it over a bank holiday and reduce the days you take in holiday even further!
All courses are run by our experienced and qualified English RYA sailing instructors, either aboard one of our fully MCA coded sailing yachts or in our shorebased classroom on the Quay, here in sunny Gibraltar. We cover everything on the RYA syllabus as you’d expect as well as everything you’ll need to charter your own vessel in the Mediterranean, including stern-to mooring techniques and customs and marina procedures you’re likely to need to know when sailing in the Mediterranean.
Click here for the RYA Novice to Day Skipper course details, dates and prices.