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Based on 161 reviews
RYA Coastal skipper

RYA Coastal Skipper The third tier in yacht training

“Coastal Skipper is an advanced sailing course that really begins to develop your skills and experience, enabling you to undertake longer passages while keeping your yacht and crew safe. Rubicon 3 are experts at this”.
Stuart Cook – leading UK skipper


The RYA Coastal Skipper course is suitable for more experienced skippers who have RYA Day Skipper or equivalent and a reasonable level of experience. At this stage of your development, we really concentrate on the skills required to skipper a yacht on longer and more complex passages. The instructors will work with you on your decision making, passage planning, navigation techniques, and pilotage skills. There will also be a focus on improved marina skills and preparation for heavy weather.

Key Points

  • More advanced skippering skills
  • Improved navigational capability
  • Next level marina handling skills
  • Longer passages and heavy weather

What's Included

  • All meals and snacks onboard
  • Oilskins
  • Life jackets
  • All mooring fees

What's not Included

  • Sleeping bag
  • Waterproof boots
  • Personal sailing insurance
  • FAQ

You spend the full course living on the yacht, with all meals provided. One of the expert Rubicon 3 instructors will work through the full syllabus with you, covering everything you need to know to be a competent and useful crew member on any future yachts you sail on.

A training holiday

Each day, you will sail to somewhere new, visiting the wonderful harbours and anchorages of the Solent. You will finish each day both on the mainland and on the Isle of Wight, and there’s usually the chance to head into one of the local pubs for a well earned beer and chat about the day’s training.

In the best place to learn to sail

The Solent is easily one of the best sailing grounds in the world, with its huge variety of locations, sheltered water, challenging tides, and lots of vast commercial cargo ships moving by. As we describe in our Solent overview, this really is the only place to learn to sail

Safety is absolutely paramount when heading out onto the water. Rubicon 3’s heritage is in ocean sailing and expeditions to the polar regions, and we bring all that expertise to everything we do, including the RYA courses. It can mean a quite different experience to other sailing schools, many of who rarely venture out beyond their local area. You will also be training on top class yachts with the latest safety equipment, fully inspected by the maritime authorities every year.

90% of crew join solo, so these are excellent courses if you are coming alone. There is nearly always a 50:50 mix of men and women, of all ages. It’s a small, fun group of like-minded people, all working toward the same goal.

You can expect three other crew on board, giving a maximum of four. Many other sailing schools will pack five onto a boat (to maximise profits) but this has a really detrimental effect on the training. You will simply not have enough ‘wheel’ time, trimming time and such like. It’s a 25% reduction in training time and the quality of your training is greatly affected

What time does my sailing course start and finish?

Start: 1830hrs on Friday and Sunday

Finish: 1600hrs on Friday and Sunday (approximate time)

Do I need insurance?

Rubicon 3 has full public liability insurance, however we do strongly recommend that you buy additional personal insurance that covers travel, cancellation, damage to clothing or accidents. Topsail and Bishop’s Skinner are both good options.

Where will be sail to?

You will be sailing in the Solent, which is the best training ground available. You may visit some of the well-known harbours on the Isle of Wight such as Cowes or Yarmouth, along with Beaulieu, Lymington, Poole and Portsmouth.

Will we get off the boat?

Most nights you can jump off the boat for a beer ashore. Some nights we may be at anchor.

How many students will there be on the boat?

We take a maximum of 4 students per boat. This maximises your tuition and hands on time, versus many other schools that pack a fifth person on board.

Will I be cooking?

Part of learning to sail is learning how to live aboard a yacht. All chores, including cooking, are shared equally between all students and the instructor. Don’t worry – there’s a set menu and lots of help at hand!

Will I be sharing a cabin?

It may be necessary for you to share a cabin. Couples and friends will normally share. If you are coming on a course on your own there is a possibility you will have to share a cabin but this would only be with someone of the same sex.

Can you cater for dietary requirements?

We can accommodate basic dietary requirements such as vegetarians and minor food allergies. If you have any concerns, please check with us before booking.

  • Do not go and spend lots of money on sailing clothing. Especially when you are first starting out, you really don’t need it. The main consideration is to bring layers, so that you can adjust your temperature accordingly.
  • Warm clothes including hat, scarf, gloves and thermal underwear.
  • Sleeping bag
  • Polarised sunglasses
  • Sun block
  • Wash kit
  • Towel
  • Flip flops (great for shower blocks)
  • Swimming gear
  • Phone charger
  • Sailing boots and some deck shoes or non-marking trainers

 Everything must be packed into a soft holdall that can be rolled away

The aim of this course is to teach the skills and techniques required to skipper a cruising yacht safely on coastal passages by day and night.

Passage planning

  • Can plan a coastal passage including a consideration of the capability of the yacht, navigation, victualling, weather, ports of refuge, tidal heights, and tidal streams, publications required and strategy
  • Knows Customs procedures

Preparation for sea

  • Is aware of safety equipment required for offshore passages.
  • Can prepare a yacht for sea including stowage, safety briefing, watch keeping, delegating responsibilities and equipment and engine checks


  • Can prepare a pilotage plan, with consideration of surroundings, transits, clearing bearings, buoyage, port or harbour regulations and tidal considerations.
  • Can pilot a yacht by day and night

Passage making and ability as skipper

  • Can take charge of a yacht and direct the crew Can organise the navigation, deck work, and domestic duties of a yacht on passage Is aware of the significance of meteorological trends Is aware of crew welfare on passage
  • Can use electronic navigational equipment for planning and undertaking a passage, including the use of waypoints and routes

Yacht handling under power

  • Can control the yacht effectively in a confined space under power
  • All berthing and unberthing situations in various conditions of wind and tide

Yacht handling under sail

  • Characteristics Can use the sails to control the yacht in a confined space Anchoring and mooring in various conditions of wind and tide
  • Can sail efficiently on all points of sailing

Adverse weather conditions

  • Preparation for heavy weather and yacht handling in strong winds
  • Navigation and general conduct in restricted visibility

Emergency situations

  • Recovery of a casualty overboard under power and sail
  • Understands action to be taken when abandoning to the liferaft and during helicopter and lifeboat rescues



5 days (Mon - Fri) or three weekends

Previous experience required

5 days onboard (2 days as skipper), 8 night hours and 300 miles

Course overview

More advanced skippering & navigation techniques for day and night passages. More advanced boat handling and pilotage for experienced Day Skippers.


Solent, England. Based in Portsmouth

Who we are

Blueco Holdings Ltd, t/a Rubicon 3 Adventure
20 – 22 Wenlock Road, London, N1 7GU

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