Most RYA sailing courses require a combination of miles actually sailed and specific exercises practiced and practiced again. The ideal sailing area will therefore have a combination of passage-making opportunities and areas of open sea and sheltered waters that will allow the course to be run efficiently and safely in all weathers.
Certain parts of the UK provide this, in particular the Solent on the south coast of England. Unfortunately, whilst sheltered waters and a variety of ports are available to the novice sailor, the likelihood that you will stray far from home is low.
Most new sailors are looking to improve their skillset and obtain an RYA Day Skipper Certificate so that they can charter a yacht of their own in warmer, more exotic climes, such as the Greek Islands or Cote D'Azur. This will almost certainly require that you can confidently berth stern-to in port and perhaps even have a working understanding of customs procedures.
Here at Jolly Parrot Sailing we offer an unrivalled opportunity for our students to fully immerse themselves in Mediterranean ways from the offset. Starting in the harbour of Gibraltar and the sunny sheltered Bay outside, we start our courses with simple boat handling and safety procedures before venturing further afield.
A short sail North or West will bring you quickly into Spanish waters requiring the skipper of the day to decide when the appropriate courtesy flags are changed. Arriving at a foreign port is sometimes challenging to the non-native and not only because of language barriers. Many marinas in the Mediterranean will not allow access until the vessel’s papers (and insurance) have been properly inspected, meaning that understanding where to go on arrival is particularly important.
Also read: Where We Sail
Once you have a berth, you will need to establish whether you are stern-to or alongside. Most marinas in the Mediterranean are stern-to (although in the Bay we have both options) and so understanding the methodology is important. Our instructors will talk you through the process of using ‘slime lines’ and springs to good effect before handing over the wheel for you to practice.
Passage making is another important part of learning to sail, especially as a novice skipper, and what better way to learn this art than in the sun-drenched, aqua marine waters of the western Mediterranean? Whether you are sailing up the Spanish Coast, crossing the busy shipping lanes of the Straits to North Africa or hopping West into the North Atlantic, your newly learnt passage-planning skills will be quickly put to the test.
During the course of a five day RYA yachting course with Jolly Parrot Sailing it’s likely that you will visit three countries on two continents. Starting in British Gibraltar, Spain and the Moroccan Coast are on our doorstep.
Just because you’re here to learn doesn’t mean your Mediterranean holiday can’t start now!