If you’re an experienced sailor with a fair few nautical miles under your belt, you’re probably confident in the water, and you know your preferred vessel well.
There are actually a number of good reasons to take your skills to the next level. Here’s a rundown of the reasons you might want to challenge yourself on the waves.
Different sized boats require different skillsets. For example, captaining a small sail boat is one thing, but piloting a motor yacht is quite another.
In the first instance, you’ll be in command of a small intimate team and you may well be on deck together.
Piloting a motor yacht is a different kettle of fish. You’ll still be at the helm, but you’ll be using intruments to sail the ship, likely at faster speeds, and you’ll need a good working knowledge of the engine and the different patterns of motion.
Bigger ships behave totally differently in the water. Specialist training can get you up to speed on the nuances of piloting a boat that’s currently outside your current range of expertise.
Courses like the RYA Coastal Skipper offer a strong focus on navigation skills for already-competent sailors to take their abilities to the next level. The Coastal Skipper course extensively covers a variety of navigational nuances, through 40 hours of material studied over three weeks.
An entire section of the course is dedicated to gaining competence with navigational procedures and instruments.
You’ll come out of it with a thorough knowledge of plotting a course, covering position fixing and electronic position finding. You’ll also gain a good understanding of how to track weather systems, and some ability to predict weather patterns using barometers and your own observation.
It’s all well and good being able to keep an even keel in calm waters, but the real test of a sailor is when things get hairy.
If you’re planning a longer trip or an adventure into rougher waters, you’ll definitely need to bring your skills up to match. An advanced sailing course might well be the solution, challenging you to to perform under pressure in larger swells. The RYA offer an offshore safety course, which will build your skills for adverse conditions. You’ll cover things like heavy weather seamanship, weather forecasting and emergency procedures in case of a man overboard.
The idea is to develop a level of composure in case of extreme conditions, and prepare you for more challenging journeys.
No matter how experienced you are on the water, you’ll always need to know what to do when things go wrong.
If you’re a sailor with some experience, you should have undertaken at least some basic safety training before you stepped onto a boat.
However, it always pays to round out your skills and knowledge in this area. Every hour of dedicated safety training is an hour well spent – it’s been shown that people with sea survival skills are more likely to make it out alive from a disaster at sea.
Specialist safety courses cover topics related to life rafts, life jackets and survival techniques. They’ll also cover some of the physical and medical aspects of sea survival.
There you have it – four great reasons to take an advanced sailing course. If you think you’d like to get some further instruction, take a look at some of our course listings to see what courses are available around the UK.