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Based on 161 reviews
A crew selfie on one of our RYA Day Skipper trips

RYA Day Skipper The second tier in yacht training

“Day Skipper is the point at which you move from being crew to captain. It’s so crucial to learn the right way to do things at this stage. You need to be learning from experts, and that’s why I rate Rubicon 3 so highly”
Emily Caruso – leading UK skipper


The RYA Day Skipper practical course teaches you how to skipper a yacht, and is the certificate you need to be allowed to charter a yacht. It’s a big step up but tremendous fun. You will learn to navigate, develop boat handling skills in a marina, including docking skills, and you’ll skipper your first short passages. You’ll start to learn much more about how to manage the yacht safely, how to trim sails and what to do if conditions deteriorate while you are out on the water. As part of this, you will experience a night sail and various challenges that come with that. You’ll learn about basic weather forecasts, engine checks and passage planning. Holders of the Day Skipper practical certificate can gain an International Certificate of Competence (ICC) without any further training or assessment.

Key Points

Move from crew to skippering a yacht

Navigation, short passages & some night sailing

Lots of marina handling skills

The certificate you need to charter a yacht

What's Included

All meals and snacks on board


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 Day Skipper course teaches pilotage, navigation, seamanship and boat handling up to the required standard to skipper a small cruising yacht safely by day in tidal waters with which the student is familiar.

Preparation for sea

  • Is able to prepare a yacht for sea, including engine checks, selection of sails, securing and stowage of all gear on deck and below

Deck Work

  • Can reef, shake out reefs and change sails to suit prevailing conditions
  • Can prepare an anchor, mooring warps and take charge on deck when mooring alongside, coming to a buoy, anchoring, weighing anchor and slipping from a buoy or alongside berth


  • Is proficient in chartwork and routine navigational duties on passage including: Taking and plotting visual fixes Use of electronic navigation equipment for position fixing
  • Use of waypoints
  • Working up to DR and EP
  • Estimating tidal heights and tidal streams
  • Working out course to steer to allow for tidal stream, leeway and drift
  • Knowledge of IALA buoyage
  • Maintenance of navigational records
  • Use of echo sounder and lead line


  • Can prepare and execute a pilotage plan for entry into, or departure from, harbour
  • Understands the use of leading and clearing lines
  • Use of transits and surroundings as aids to pilotage


  • Knows sources of forecast information
  • Can interpret shipping forecasts and use a barometer as a forecasting aid

Rule of the road

  • Has a working knowledge of the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea

Maintenance and repair work

  • Understands and is able to carry out maintenance tasks
  • Knows the properties and uses of common synthetic fibre ropes


  • Knows how to change fuel and water filters, pump impeller and to bleed the fuel system


  • Understands how to victual a yacht

Emergency situations

  • Is able to take correct action as skipper for recovery of casualty overboard
  • Understands distress flares and how to use a liferaft
  • Can operate a radiotelephone in an emergency and send a distress message
  • Understands how to secure a tow
  • Understands rescue procedures including helicopter rescue

Yacht handling under power

  • Can bring a boat safely to and from an alongside berth, mooring buoy and anchor under various conditions of wind and tide
  • Can steer and trim sails effectively on all points of sailing

Passage making

  • Can plan and make a coastal passage, taking account of relevant navigational hazards and limitations imposed by the type of boat and the strength of the crew

Night cruising

  • Has experienced sail cruising at night, including leaving and entering harbour.
  • Understands the special consideration for pilotage plans, keeping a lookout and identifying marks by night.


  • Working efficiency is unaffected/partially affected/severely affected by seasickness

Helmsmanship and sailing

  • Understands the basic principles of sailing and can steer and trim sails on all points of sailing
  • Can steer a compass course, under sail and power

General duties

  • Has carried out general duties satisfactorily on deck and below decks in connection with the daily routine of the vessel



5 days (Mon - Fri) or two weekends

Previous experience required

Basic sailing ability and knowledge of navigation to the level of RYA Day Skipper theory.

Course overview

A fun, safe level 2 yacht sailing course that teaches you how to skipper a yacht and earns you the RYA Day Skipper qualification.


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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