Last week we had a jaunt around the world looking at what beginner cruising courses there are available for the man or woman who dreams of going to sea but hasn’t quite taken the leap. This week, we’ll look at those who may have been sailing for a season or two but want to get to the next level by learning more about their love of the sea.
I refer to these people as ‘intermediates’ but really, unless you’ve been around the world twice these days, the term ‘intermediate’ really applies to most people – if you call yourself an ‘expert’ that gives the idea that you’ve little else to learn. A good intermediate will know that they will continue to learn until they hang up their oilskins for the last time…
Being Christmas this is limited to around USD $400/£265 per course – the maximum your ordinary Joe or Jo is likely to spend on a gift unless they are a parent or spouse! For most sailors this time of year winter is upon us, so why not look at a classroom course?
One of the UK’s greatest sailing exports is the Royal Yachting Association. Across Europe, the Med and even in South Africa, Australia and New Zealand you will find RYA establishments that teach their courses.
The early intermediate should consider an RYA Essential Navigation course. This 16 hour course covers the basics of navigation and seamanship, and compliments things like the RYA Powerboat Level 2 course. It gives a great grounding in the basic knowledge for sailing safely at sea. It can be learned online or in a classroom, depending on what suits the person more. This costs around $300/£200.
For someone who has been sailing for a season or so, they will likely wish to take the next step by doing a coastal navigation course such as the RYA Day Skipper Theory course. This requires around 40 hours of either night school or online learning followed by two exams. It equips the candidate with the skills to plan a passage, read the weather and tides, and get to grips with the essential skills required to get them safely from A-B on a passage in daylight hours. This costs around $630/£420 – the top end of what you may be willing to pay for a dear friend or loved one! However, it may well be the last navigation course they ever need to do…
Following this course, they can go on to do a Day Skipper Practical course (cost around another $750/£500) to qualify to sail their own boat competently in daylight and some night hours.
Consider sending your friend or loved one on a Coastal Navigation course. For around $249/£165 they will be able to learn the navigation skills to do their CYA Bareboat Skipper course. This may give them the jolt they need to get their sailing to the next level, and perhaps give them the confidence and wherewithal to sail further afield. With the Bareboat Skipper accreditation they can charter boats abroad, freeing them to go sailing on the Med or Caribbean during the long winter months.
The US has a number of different navigation night school courses available, being one of the most decentralised of the advanced sailing nations in the world. You should look for one of three syllabuses that the night school works with – the US Coast Guard is one gold standard, though is very much geared toward professional qualifications. US Sailing offers another syllabus that is accepted the world over, as does the American Sailing Association.
Once you have established that the course is one of those three standards, you should look for them to gain a coastal navigation course. This will enable them to learn to navigate on inshore waters to a good standard of competence, and won’t for instance try to navigate from Traverse City across Lake Michigan to Racine using an AA road map instead of a chart…
Christmas is the mid summer holidays down in the Antipodes. Rather than bundled up in front of a fire hoping for snow they’re on the water and having barbecues on the beach. Given some of the winters we’ve had lately, I know where I’d prefer to be!!!
In New Zealand you should be aware that their Day Skipper course is very different to the RYA course – it is an entry level course, but well within the USD $400 budget I set at the top of this blog… If they are an intermediate sailor, do consider helping them get a Boatmaster course.
Have a look around The Boating Hub for more information as to the sailing courses available in your home country, and perhaps book a course for your loved one. It will give them the leg up they probably want to learn to sail at the next level