Meet and greet
On arrival at Queensway Quay marina at around 18:00 on the evening before the yacht sets sail, you will be introduced to the yacht, your home for the duration of the course. You will be given a basic safety brief and dinner will be ashore if required. Accommodation is included on board. This is a great time to get get to know your Instructor and other crew members and to get immersed in the whole nautical theme! But don't worry, you won't be expected to demonstrate a whole repertoire of sailing knowledge on the first evening, it is just a relaxing, easy way to start the course.
Today you will start after breakfast on board at around 09:30 with a full safety brief, sometimes delivered by a budding Day Skipper under the watchful eye of your Instructor. This morning you will learn how to prepare the yacht for sea, safe procedures for leaving and entering a marina and the most basic of sailing skills. Not least of which, how to work as a team on board, whether it's making tea or dropping the anchor! After a busy morning of exercises lunch will be on board, usually at anchor, where you may have time for a cheeky swim.
After Lunch, more sailing skills and drills, to include reefing, tacking, gybing and heaving to. If there's time you will explore the man overboard (MOB) procedure. Finish is usually around 18:00 on day one. The evening is usually spent back in our home marina where you will have some free time to explore the old city of Gibraltar, soak up the marina lifestyle and enjoy a meal ashore.
After breakfast today you will head out into Gibraltar Bay for more exercises and drills. After lunch you will be involved in making a passage to one of our ports of call either in Morocco or Spain. Finish is slightly later today depending upon destination.
Day 3 & 4
These two days are much the same as day 2 with overnight stops at other ports. Each day you will focus on consolidating your knowledge so that you are able to operate effectively and contribute to the safe and efficient running of the yacht on short and longer passages. Usually at the end of day 4 you will experience sailing at night and learning how to identify many ships and structures by their lights. This is always a great experience.
Today you will be returning to our home port of Queensway Quay, Gibraltar. There are always a few last minute exercises or slight improvements that your instructor may want to see so although this is the last day of week one, it's usually super busy! Once everything has been covered and your instructor is satisfied, you will return to base to clean the yacht down, complete logbooks and receive your debrief. The course will be finished by 16:30 and you will have the evening off to reflect upon your week and prepare for the theory aspect of the course.
Day 6 - 9
During these 4 days you will study the theory part of the course in one of our shore based classrooms. Your Instructor will lead you gently through the intricacies of passage planning, tides, safety management and collision regulations during this period, so that you will feel ready and able to sit the assessment papers on the last afternoon before heading out to sea. There is an element of homework on the theory course but this is essential to consolidate the knowledge. Take a look at our a recommended reading list.
During this phase of the course, self catering accommodation is provided on board. A basic breakfast pack is provided.
Today, with your newly acquired knowledge you will have a different outlook. The day will start with a few hours out In Gibraltar Bay consolidating your knowledge and blowing away the cobwebs, then moving on to position fixing and procedural exercises such as reefing and MOB. Skippering a yacht, large or small is about crew and safety management so from the outset this week each and every student will be taking command of the yacht during numerous exercises and tasks.
After a satisfying day, the yacht will usually return to our home port of Queensway Quay Marina.
Day 11 - 13
Over these three days you will be planning and executing passages to different destinations in Morocco and Spain while working steadily through the RYA Day Skipper syllabus. Each student will plan and execute at least one passage from one place to another and show their skills in dealing with an emergency such as a MOB. While this might all sound daunting, don't worry! We believe that you learn best when having fun so we have a light hearted approach which will keep you smiling while soaking up the knowledge. Each day your Instructor will debrief and advise on areas to work on to help you progress effectively. Whenever possible your Instructor will schedule some downtime to chill out and explore the local area. It is essential for sound learning to get some 'head space' to allow knowledge to sink in
The last day! Today you will be heading back to Queensway Quay, Gibraltar. By now you will be at, or close, to Day Skipper level and brimming with confidence. Despite it being the last day it is invariably super busy as there are always some last minute exercises and 'refinements' to do en route. Once back in Queensway Quay the Skipper of the moment will ensure the yacht is secure, and then after a clean down and final debrief your Instructor will sign log books and award certificates. The course will be finished by 16:30.
During the course you will cover at least 200 nautical miles, weather permitting, and if possible 8 night hours as per the RYA Syllabus. Sometimes during the Summer months night sailing is not easily possible but at most other times we cover it. This sets you firmly on your way along the RYA training path.
Jolly Parrot supply breakfast, lunches and snacks for the entire practical course along with two evening meals on each sea phase which can be scheduled in as your Instructor sees fit, although many students prefer to step ashore and sample the local fare whenever possible.