Why don't you take our RYA training course so that you can charter with us without having a skipper on board!
Last week two members from the London office headed out to Greece to do their RYA day skipper qualification, and they both passed...hurrah!
Myself, Abby from our very own Bareboat department and Henry from Admin got the chance to spend a week on one of our training boats with one of our qualified instructors Tom learning all there is to know about becoming a day skipper! Here at Sailing Holidays you can take both your competent crew or your day skipper qualification with us. The boats can have a mixture of crew and skippers on board and along with one of our three instructors you get to enjoy a lovely week out in Greece (which last week other than one hiccup was still very warm!) and at the same time hopefully come back with a qualification!
This qualification then allows you to charter a boat through us and many other charter companies as a fully qualified day skipper meaning if you want to get away from it all on your next holiday why not try our course. Then if you wish you can follow it with a week on our flotilla's out in Greece or graduate and fly further afield to some of our other Bareboat Mediterranean destinations.
Now when I was asked if I wanted to take the course I must admit I was wary, I've been sailing with my family since I was young and we've been on many a Sailing Holidays flotilla but I've never been in charge skippering the boat, that was always left to my dad, but oh how the tables have turned now!
Once you're signed up for the course which is instructed through Corfu Sea School, you receive a full information pack from Charlie our RYA expert here at the office. This pack contains all you'll need to complete the theory part of the course which needs to be completed before you go to Greece and do the practical part of the course.
The Course Itself...
Part One - The Theory
The theory was the part that intimidated me the most, however with all the charts, dividers, compasses, information books (and everything else you could posssibly need!) you really are given all the information you need to pass this section of the qualification.
The theory itself consists of an online course which is broken down into chapters, each of which once watched has an end of topic quiz. This doesn't count it's just for practice and then you can move onto the next section. Once all topics have been watched and you feel confident you understand everything you can take the final test. In order to pass you have to score 80% or higher but if you need to review and take the test multiple times you can, which was reassuring even if I didn't need to!
Part Two - The Practical
Now it was on to the fun part, a week in Greece instead of the office! So Henry and I, having both passed our theory were all set to head out to Greece for a week of sunbathing (i wish!) I meant sailing!
Our course began in Plataria and ended in Gouvia, this was slightly different to usual as it was winding down for the end of the season, for next season we are going to have two RYA bases, one in Plataria and one in Nidri.
And once we met our instructor, we had Tom, but there's also Pete and Will, all very competent sailors and also great guys, then we were ready to get going!
Over the course of the week it was a very relaxed atmosphere which I enjoyed, you felt almost as though you were on holiday but learning lots at the same time. We took it in turns to be navigator, skipper and crew each day giving each of us an opportunity to do everything and understand how it was to be each crew member.
Tom was extremely patient as there were four of us on board, all with slightly varying knowledge of boats depending on whether we were doing day skipper or competent crew. However by the end of the week I felt confident in all that I had learned and that I could successfully skipper a boat on my next holiday!
Some highlights of the trip for me had to be the night sail, which was another thing I was slightly nervous about beforehand but it ended up being my favourite part, being almost the only boat out with just the moon and stars was an extremely peaceful experience. Another highlight for me was having the confidence with an instructor there to try things I wouldn't have done beforehand, such as not reefing the sails when the wind picked up a little more than I had planned!
The training boat I was on was a Dufour 36 and having done sailing before I knew I was going to have to give up certain luxuries for the week such as my hairdryer however I was pleasantly surprised how much space there was on board, with four crew members and one instructor we had more than enough room to move around (even 6ft 4 Henry!).
The boat itself was well equipped with all the necessary tools to help us learn how to sail such as GPS, a chart plotter, navtex and wireless wind, speed and depth transducers. One thing I found particularly useful was that every rope was a different colour, which might sound minor but when you've got about 10 different ropes all lying in front of you and your instructor asking you which one tightens the mainsail you'd be surprised how much this helped!
From our London office all the way out to Greece the team were fantastic and gave me all the support I needed. Charlie from our London office will be the first person you speak to, and then whilst doing the online theory you hear and see a lot from Corfu Sea School's Steve, who was actually moored up next to one evening in Kassiopi so we got to meet the man himself, right through to the three instructors Tom, Pete and Will, meaning I had a fantastic experience.
Overall I would completely recommend to anyone who's interested in getting their qualifications not to put it off any longer, it's really worth the money and afterwards you'll be able to charter one of our Bareboats, what more could you want as an end result!