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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There are few things certain in life, but one thing you can almost guarantee is that if you own a yacht at some time in your life, you will either need to be towed or be asked to tow another.

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Here are a few sensible precautions to consider when preparing your yacht to be left at its berth when bad weather is forecast. 

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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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We all know that the air around us has a mass. When moving, that mass of air causes us to experience a force as it flows over us. That force is wind. I don’t suppose I’ve surprised any of you yet?

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The RYA Yachtmaster Offshore qualification is widely considered to be the pinnacle of achievement for the coastal and offshore sailor.

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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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A low pressure system, or depression as it is sometimes known, is an area of warm air.

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SART stands for Search And Rescue Transponder. 

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Most of us are aware that many yachts have use of an auxiliary engine, perhaps a generator (for charging batteries and providing power), a gas-fired oven and hob or a solid fuel stove.

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Before we talk about freeing a fouled anchor, it’s worth just briefly looking at how to avoid getting a stuck anchor in the first place!

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There are a plethora of books out there aimed at the aspiring offshore cruising sailor.  In fact, to choose just five books is an impossible task.

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Let’s be honest, none of us ever expect to find ourselves abandoning our pride and joy for a liferaft and, as we should all know by now, we really should delay such action until there is no other o

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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 kedge anchor is the secondary anchor onboard a yacht. The primary anchor is usually located on the bow on a bow roller or, alternatively, in the anchor locker. 

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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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The Mistral is a strong and cold North Westerly wind that blows into the Mediterranean from France.

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Recent changes have been made by the MAIB (Marine Accident Investigation Branch) relating to who must report accidents on board vessels. 

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

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The RYA qualifications for fixed keel boats (i.e. yachts) ranges from the two day introductory course known as RYA Start Yachting all the way through to Yachtmaster Ocean.  

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They do say that the best two days of owning a yacht are the day you buy it and the day you sell it. But we don’t like to listen to ‘they’ do we. Do we? Of course we don’t.

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The Yachtmaster Theory Course is one of the elements of structured shorebased learning that we recommend for candidates looking to enhance their existing knowledge, especially if t

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We have already covered some of the basics to be considered when anchoring

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If you are buying your first yacht you’ll want to make sure you don’t end up buying a headache. Well, at least more than the usual one anyway!

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

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It’s important to note that there are a variety of different anchor types with each anchor having a different set of characteristics best suited to different seabeds.

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Obtaining a marine mortgage tends to largely mirror the process of applying for and receiving a home loan.

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All of us that sail must have started sometime.

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The answer to this question is probably the same as ‘how long’s a piece of string?’. It depends.

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Being hit by lightning on a yacht is, just as it is on land, a fairly unusual and improbable event. That said, it can happen and so all risks should be mitigated.

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The RYA Yachtmaster Coastal Examination is an externally adjudicated

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Raster and vector electronic files are made up in different ways to represent and image. In its most basic form, raster images are made up of a number of pixels, all different colours.

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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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To some extent this is a similar question to ‘how long is a piece of string’.

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In the UK, small private leisure vessels such as the 36ft yacht don’t strictly require insurance by law, unless they are operated on inland waterways.

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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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The RYA Yachtmaster Offshore certificate is the first penultimate qualification in

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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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When booking a charter holiday a little pre-planning will go a long way. 

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The RYA/MCA Yachtmaster Coastal is the first RYA qualification that is subject to an independently assessed practical examination.

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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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The RYA set a variety of carefully crafted

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Submitting a transit report when leaving on passage is a prudent thing to do. It acts as a safety blanket in the event that you incur a problem and lose an effective means of communication.

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Time Expired Pyrotechnics (TEPs) or distress flares as we tend to refer to them are explosives and, as such, UK laws are strict on their disposal.  In the past individuals with British registered v

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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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The MCA, otherwise known as The Maritime and Coastguard Agency is an agency of Her Majesty’s Government and is responsible for regulating a variety of maritime-related activities,

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Many of us take an RYA yachting course in order to achieve a basic level of competence and to

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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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In basic terms, the STCW (Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping) 2010 is the updated version of the STCW 95 and STCW 78 conventions.

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A ‘diesel bug’ is microbial bacteria. It thrives in warm temperatures although it can be active in any temperature between 5C and 70C.

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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 have written elsewhere on the various ways to find your firs

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The Maritime Coastguard Agency (MCA) regulates the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) and enables the RYA to set syllabi for a variety of certificates of competence from an Introduction to Yachting r

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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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The last thirty years has seen an enormous growth in the number of jobs available in the yachting industry.

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As a boat owner there are going to be times when you’ll need to lift out your pride and joy, either for winter storage or anti-fouling work or perhaps to undertake checks or routine maintenance.

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There are many roles (and many sectors) in the yachting industry and each one requires specific skill sets in addition to some shared qualifications.

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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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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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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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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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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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We have been waiting for Karelia, a Beneteau 50, to join us in Gibraltar for the last few weeks. And now, she’s arrived!

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Many non-sailors think of pirates in a rather nostalgic and romantic way. In fact Johnny Depp’s wonderful Jack Sparrow probably springs to mind for most.

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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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Here is our Rookie Skipper's Guide to your first Round the Island Race.

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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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Those of you that enjoy mostly cruising with a G&T either in hand (or in mind) may well be aware of something called the America’s Cup but have little actual knowledge of what

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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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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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If you live and own a vessel bought in the UK then you are wise to register it.

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Many UK-based sailors choose their home waters (in many cases the sheltered waters of the Solent) to take their RYA Yachtmaster examination.

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Yacht ownership brings with it many delights. Unfortunately, the annual anti-fouling regimen is not one of them. 

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The best way to stop a yacht deteriorating is, of course, to keep using her.

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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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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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In today’s world of GPS enabled devices some will argue that the art and science of real navigation has been lost and in many cases, they’d have a point.

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The RYA Coastal Skipper practical course is not a beginner’s course.

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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 wish to skipper or crew a commercial vessel, you will require a commercial endorsement to your

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In order to work at sea you must have a medical certificate.

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A CG66 Safety Identification Scheme is is the name given to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency’s free and voluntary scheme for registering UK flagged pleasure craft and vessels.

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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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Unlike other RYA qualifications, you will find the Yachtmaster practical

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

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The RYA Yachtmaster qualification has long been recognised by many as the premium sailing qualification for the experienced leisure sailor.

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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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"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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Most people taking an RYA Day Skipper or RYA Comp

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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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It is easy to forget that for those new to sailing, the build up to your first week on the water can be just a little bit daunting.

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'Mal de mer' as the French would say, is basically motion sickness. The disconnect between what your eyes are seeing and what your balance receptors are telling your brain.

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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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When sailing in a normal breeze (Beaufort Force 3 / Force 4) it’s likely that we would have a full mainsail and a full headsail.

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