Jolly Parrot's Sailing Blog

A storm jib is familiar to most sailors and can be a very useful addition to the cruiser’s sail plan as it offers a robust, useful headsail that can usually be relied upon to combi

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In today’s World, finding your way from point A to point B is easier than ever.

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Anchoring is a great way to enjoy your boat away from the throng of bank holiday traffic - especially if you know where to go.

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When sailing across the warm, sun-drenched Bay of Gibraltar, it can be hard to envisage when a need for lifelines might exist.

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Whilst the best way to learn how to race - is racing, there quickly comes a time when the learning curve levels off and the savvy racing sailor will turn her mind to learning old lessons from wise

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SART stands for Search And Rescue Transponder. 

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It’s probably fair to assume that for every sailing term there are at least 3 or more other pieces of jargon that fit equally as well.

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A tri-sail is not something many day sailors are ever likely to see or use.

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If you want to learn to sail, the most beneficial RYA practical course you can do is the

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Who was it that first coined the phrase “If you can’t do knots, do lots”?

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If you sail you’ve probably browsed the magazine shelves at your local newsagent, airport or train station.

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There are many books written on the subject of weather for sailors and here are a few of our favourites.

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Probably the greatest hazard to the seafarer is poor visibility, specifically fog.

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The clew outhaul connects to the clew of the mainsail. The outhaul runs through the length of the boom and the boom is controlled by the mainsheet and the vang / kicker.

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There are many cruising sailors out on the water every weekend whose grasp of sail trim is rudimentary at best.

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All of us that sail must have started sometime.

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We're regularly asked what various ensigns are and why they are flown. In fact the questions is usually, “What is that flag?”, rather than ensign.

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Many people looking to take an RYA yachting course find it difficult to choose the right cou

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Probably one of those questions right up there with “how long is a piece of string”, providing a meaningful and accurate answer to this question is pretty much impossible.

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Many of us, whilst welcoming the odd lazy day on the beach or by the pool, require more from our valuable annual holidays than to be sitting in the sun day after day. 

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At Jolly Parrot Sailing we like to think we get the balance right between fun and learning. To have fun on the water you must first be and feel safe.

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For those of you completely new to sailing the idea that there are so many things to learn can be daunting. The terminology in particular can be intimidating.

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In the UK boat owners don’t need any qualifications to sail their yacht. In today’s age that might seem hard to believe, but it’s true.

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If you are new to using RADAR on board, take a look at our article How to Use a Boat RADAR.

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Some of you will be aware of recent press comment and press releases relating to HM Coastguard’s adoption of the RYA Sa

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There are lots of great books on sailing and navigation, but here are a few we thoroughly recommend.

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Sailing at night is regularly the highlight for many novice sailors on an RYA course. 

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Regular sailors sometimes ask us if they can bring their own lifejackets and specifically, whether the airlines will allow them on flights.

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The RYA set a variety of carefully crafted

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Unlike the rest of continental Europe, the U.K does not require boat owners to have any formal qualifications in order to buy a yacht.

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You probably don’t need a degree in chemistry to understand that one of the most likely things to happen to metal in a wet environment, especially a saltwater environment, is corrosion.

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If you own your own yacht you should already have a task list and schedule for regular maintenance items such as periodic

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To many novice sailors the gybe can sometimes become a bogeyman manoeuvre, avoided by many due to a combination of a deeply instilled fear of the process and a lack of understanding around the proc

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We are regularly asked what is the most important skill when learning to sail.

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Strictly speaking, as a bare minimum, candidates looking to take the 5-day RYA Day Skipper p

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When you choosing an RYA sailing course, knowing exactly what’s included and what isn't can m

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We recently wrote a blog about Navtex and its uses.

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As the RNLI correctly remind us, a lifejacket is 'useless unless worn'. The same could be said for wearing a faulty lifejacket.

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An RYA training centre is an accredited sailing school that has been assessed by and is regularly inspected by the Royal Yachting Association in order to ensure common standards of competence, trai

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With the ever-growing use of chart plotters, GPS and AIS it's easy to forget how important and effective RADAR can be.

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Knowing what to pack when going on holiday can be tricky.

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There are plenty of sailing schools from which to choose and we appreciate that it’s sometimes difficult for a potential customer to make an informed decision when browsing the various websites - s

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As the names suggest, a symmetrical spinnaker is cut in symmetrical shape.

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Having a VHF radio on your vessel is a sensible option for all boat owners. If you have a radio, you should be maintaining a radio watch. But how do you know if your VHF is broadcasting?

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Christmas is here again and for those of you thinking about what to buy their sailing loved ones, here are 5 great ideas you can be sure they’ll love.

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Day sailing close to home is one thing, but when you are on passage a good skipper will give serious thought to the best watch system for his boat and crew.

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On a modern sailing yacht we use our sails in order to sail both ‘upwind’ and ‘downwind’, unlike the masters of older square riggers which were restricted to the reach and the run and the Trade Win

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Navtex is a network of transmitters and onboard receivers created to distribute weather information throughout the World’s oceans.

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As the nights draw in and the weather turns cold and wet in the UK, it's worth considering alt

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If you’re one of those people that gets just a little bit more bored each year whilst sitting on the same patch of sand looking at the sailboats anchored off the beach and think “that looks like fu

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Fairly uniquely for an RYA accredited training centre, Jolly Parrot Sailing offers our students two continents and three countries within its sailing area.

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A novice sailor might be forgiven for thinking that ‘one rope is very much like another’ but, of course, this is very far from the truth.

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A cruising chute is primarily the same as a gennaker or asymmetric spinnaker.

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If you are unsure of what an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) is read our article What is an

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A spinnaker is a particular type of sail designed for use when a boat is reaching or sailing ‘off the wind’. For example, when on a broad reach or run.

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On your own yacht, you may think it is overkill to formalise a methodology and risk assessment but going through the process of climbing a mast carefully beforehand is both prudent and good seamans

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When going to sea it’s important that you have the means by which to raise the alarm and call for help in the event of an accident, injury or other distress situation.

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A danbuoy is an important part of any vessel’s safety kit. For sailing yachts in particular it’s a very effective way of marking the location that a casualty entered the water. 

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Whilst marinas are convenient and usually provide shoreside facilities they are also more expensive than a river mooring or anchorage - and certainly less private.

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1 - Sail around the Bay and perhaps anchor for a swim before lunch - The Bay was well known throughout history whether it be ancient Greek mythology or more recently as the landing place of Nelson’

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Our first training yacht, Jolly Parrot, is regularly used by us for a variety of RYA yachting co

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EPIRB stands for Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon. 
 

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Every summer about 1,600 small (and not so small) sailing vessels set westwards towards the Needles Channel in what is basically a mad dash to complete the 50-mile circumnavigation of the Isle of W

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That’s right. One week! Well, one week away from work anyway!
 

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There are few things as pleasurable as sailing the calm, warm blue waters of the Mediterranean with a group of close friends or family.

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Most RYA sailing courses require a combination of miles actually sailed and specific exercise

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The Levanter is an Easterly wind experienced in the Western Mediterranean.

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The most critical information for a sailor must be to know what weather to expect when out sailing and what effect it will it have on her passage.

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Many beginners enter the sailing world each year and the vast majority of adults probably start sailing with a clear intention to eventually charter their own yacht to take family or friends on hol

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Once a novice sailor has been bitten by the sailing bug, it quickly becomes apparent that in order to continue spending time on the water they need to do one of three things.

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Anchoring is one of the great pleasures available to the cruising yachtsman. There are few things better than relaxing at anchor on a fine summer’s evening in the company of friends or loved ones.

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The difficulty with starting something new is knowing…. well, where to start.

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As I write this article, sitting on the marina with an espresso and my second pan au chocolat in my hand, it’s a pleasant 16 degrees celsius.

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Anyone with sea survival training will know that evacuating to a liferaft is a last resort measure and in most cases you should be ‘stepping up’ into a raft as your boat sinks below you.

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Amongst some sections of society, sailing has an historic and, nowadays, wholly unjustified reputation for being expensive and elitist.

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If you have a helicopter coming to your aid you are likely to be sailing fairly close to shore as their range is not vast.

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If you do not hold an RYA Day Skipper Certificate you can apply to be ass

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This is a question our instructors get asked an awful lot and, whilst it’s a reasonable enquiry, it betrays a slight misunderstanding of how we should approach our relationship with the sea.

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Many common phrases used by the seafarer have found their way into common usage by the landlubber. Many more are wrongly ascribed. Here is our list of the best;

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In the UK, the Shipping Forecast is currently provided by the UK Met Office and is regularly broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on behalf of the British Maritime & Coastguard Agency.

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The cynics amongst us can regularly be heard at the bar recounting some old wisdom. Namely that the best two days of owning a boat are the day you buy her and the day you sell her.

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Whilst many of our RYA students own or plan to own their own yachts, many more only ever plan to charter yachts on holiday with their family or friends.

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We encourage families to attend sailing courses and jointly e

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If you hold certain RYA qualifications then you may apply have them commercially endorsed.

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AIS stands for Automatic Identification System.

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Under Regulation V/28 of the International Convention for th

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The Royal Yachting Association (RYA) is the primary authority administering the tuition of pleasure craft use

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Interestingly, there is still no legal requirement in Britain that requires a private boat owner to have any qualification whatsoever before they take their loved ones to sea.  

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The International Certificate of Competence (ICC) was introduced by European Directive in order to ensure that operators of small leisure vessels operating throughout the waters of participa

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‘If you don’t know knots, do lots..’  is a well known saying on the water, but in reality, doing lots will make you no friends on the water!

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Most parts of the World are monitored by national coastguards.

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The old adage:  “If you can’t do knots, do lots” might be widely used, but you won’t be thanked on board if you have tied everythi

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The usual cycle of the passing of a depression or Low Pressure System is defined

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As with a Low Pressure System, defining a High Pressure System i

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If you are chartering a yacht in the Mediterranean, it’s likely that your packing will reflect the expected wea

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Being able to raise the alarm in the event of a distress situation is critical.

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If you are joining us for an RYA Competent Crew Course, we’re assuming th

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Exploring uninhabited coves and empty beaches is one of the delights of a sailing holiday, whichever part of the World you are cruising.

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Reefing a sail is simply the name we use for the process of reducing sail area.

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The RYA Competent Crew Course is designed to introduce the non-sailor to sailing and living on board a cruising yacht. 

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An International Certificate of Competence (ICC) is valid for 5 years. To be eligible for the grant of an ICC from the RYA you must first prove that;

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After acquiring the sailing bug, most people decide that a formal qualification might be a good idea. Especially if they want to charter a yacht with friends or family.

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If we look at our headsail sheets it will become clear that rather than just run back to winches, they are first run through strong points on the deck known as ‘cars’.

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Most RYA Sailing certificates are valid for life once you have met the required standard and been granted the certificate.

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Victualling is the name given to meal planning and shopping for a passage on board a boat.

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If you’ve already completed your RYA Day Skipper Theory course, the last hurdle is the five day

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In simple terms, when you ‘gybe’ a boat you are doing the same as you did when you tacked. In other words, you are changing the side of the boat that is presented to the wind.

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The first thing to be said on this subject is that you should never be considering setting off on a journey in fog. Fog is rightly feared by professional mariners and has been for centuries.

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As with any other holiday or trip abroad, whilst not essential, it is prudent to take travel insurance during an

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Amongst the most important information a sailor requires is a weather forecast.

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It will be no surprise to anyone that the area of greatest concern to most novice sailors is close boat handling. In other words, parking the boat.

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As technology improves (and so does mobile phone reception) a variety of useful ‘apps’ have become popular amongst sailors.

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If you are facing forwards towards the front of the boat, then the port side is on your left and the starboard side is on your right.

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"Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing—absolute nothing—half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.

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In sailing speak a tack can be any of three things! 

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If you are about to start an RYA Competent Crew Course in the Mediterranean it would be prudent to do a litt

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The Beaufort Scale is an Internationally recognised scale used by sailors to measure wind strength. Why is this important?

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Most people taking an RYA Day Skipper or RYA Comp

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Most of us are aware of the danger presented by the boom and mainsheet of a sailing boat. 

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As an RYA Training Centre, we offer a wide range of training courses to suit everyone from the complete beginner to the experienced sailor.

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An ICC Certificate, otherwise known as the International Certificate for the Operation of Pleasure Craft, is a certificate required by certain countries in Europe to establish a sa

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Sailing is a great opportunity to get away from it all.

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Learning to sail is a great way to meet like minded people and make new friends but sometimes we just want to get on the water

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Messing about on boats has long been a popular way to unwind and relax after a hard week at work.

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