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RYA Day skipper theory

RYA Day Skipper theory The second tier in yacht training

“The theory taught at Day Skipper level is the bedrock of what every skipper needs. This is the point at which you need real world, expert tuition – not a textbook being recited at you. Rubicon 3 is spectacular in its ability to deliver this.”
Emily Caruso – leading UK skipper


The RYA Day Skipper theory course teaches you how to reach a maritime chart, gives you essential navigational skills such as planning a short passage and teaches you the key rules of the road, maritime etiquette and the various other rules and skills you will need at Day Skipper level. No previous knowledge is required, and you do not need any maths or technical skills. The instructor will be teaching you everything you need to know, from first principles.

Thrive with the Rubicon 3 10:2 teaching method

Rubicon 3 matches our expedition sailing expertise with advanced teaching methods. Every topic is broken down into ten minutes of really rich teaching input and deep content. Students are then given 2 minutes to digest the content and discuss with a fellow student or write notes individually. Especially for complex topics such as navigation, these short, sharp segments prove to be a transformational approach to learning. Read more about our approach below

Key Points

No previous theory knowledge required

Classroom based

Essential skills to skipper a yacht

Required skills to pass Day Skipper practical

What's Included

  • All course materials including course notes.
  • Morning and afternoon tea.

What's not Included

  • Overnight accommodation
  • Lunch
  • FAQ

The course is taught in various parts of the country. When you select different dates from the drop-down you will see the location.


Unit 27, Victoria Quay, The Cooperage, Weevil Lane, Gosport, PO12 1AX. (Free parking available at this location)

All teaching is in a classroom, led by an expert Rubicon 3 instructor. Class sizes are limited to 8 students, to ensure that you have proper levels of interaction with the instructor. Students come with all different levels of prior knowledge, but do not worry. The entire syllabus is taught from the beginning, and no knowledge of the syllabus is expected prior to starting

The simple truth is that shore based courses in the sailing industry are often taught by people who have done very little sailing outside of their local area. This hugely limits their skills and experience, beyond repeating the same anecdotes and lines lesson after lesson.

At Rubicon 3, we sail year round to some of the world’s most remote and challenging regions. We are constantly learning, evolving and improving our approach to sailing and navigation. When you learn with us, you will be getting expert instructors teaching the latest approaches to the theory.

If you have been listening for longer than 10 minutes, then it’s time to stop. Any longer than that and whatever is coming out of the instructor’s mouth isn’t going to be having much impact. You will increasingly switch off because it is simply too much new information. It needs to be processed, before more information can be digested.

“To keep students engaged, you must win the battle for their attention every 10 minutes”.

The idea of teaching in 10 minute segments is well recognised as the approach that works. It is variously known as‘Chunk and Chew’, ‘Turn and Talk’, ‘Stop and Jot’ and  ‘Listen-Stop-and-Write’.

It works like this:

  • The instructor breaks all the content down into manageable portions and then allows time for learners to digest the information.
  • Students receive 10 minutes of rich teaching and content (listening, watching, reading)
  • They are then given 2 minutes to digest & discuss the content with a fellow student or to write notes individually.

It is well recognised now that when information is delivered in chunks, we remember more and the 2 minutes given for chewing is vital for absorbing, processing, discussing and comprehending. The research shows that the key to mastery of new concepts is frequent and persistent review of material.

The two minute breathers ensure the brain has a break and can consciously and subconsciously replay the content. Taking a breather also allows students to generate questions.

What time does my course start and finish?

Start: 0900hrs on Monday

Finish: 1600hrs on Friday

Do I need to book overnight accommodation?

Yes, unless you live nearby. These are not residential courses.

Is everything else I need included?

Yes. Your course comes with all the course notes you will need. You do not need to bring any other equipment. It is all provided.

A comprehensive introduction to chart work, navigation, meteorology and the basics of seamanship.

Nautical terms

  • Parts of a boat and hull
  •  General nautical terminology


  • Knowledge of the properties of synthetic ropes in common use

 Anchor work

  • Characteristics of different types of anchor
  • Considerations to be taken into account when anchoring


  • Knowledge of the safety equipment to be carried, its stowage and use (see RYA Boat Safety Handbook, C8)
  • Fire precautions and fire fighting
  • Use of personal safety equipment harnesses and lifejackets
  •  Ability to send a distress signal by VHF radiotelephone
  •  Basic knowledge of rescue procedures including helicopter rescue

 International regulations for preventing collisions at sea

  • Steering and sailing rules (5, 7. 8, 9. 10 and 12-19)
  • General rules (all other rules)

 Definition of position, course and speed

  • Latitude and longitude
  • Knowledge of standard navigational terms
  • True bearings and courses
  • The knot

 Navigational charts and publications

  • Information shown on charts, chart symbols and representation of direction and distance
  • Navigational publications in common use
  • Chart correction

 Navigational drawing instruments

  • Use of parallel rulers. dividers and proprietary plotting instruments


  • Application of variation
  • Awareness of deviation and its causes
  • Use of hand-bearing compass


  • Dead reckoning and estimated position including an awareness of leeway
  • Techniques of visual fixing
  • Satellite-derived positions
  • Use of waypoints to fix position
  • Course to steer

 Tides and tidal streams

  • Tidal definitions, levels and datum



5 Days (Monday - Friday)

Previous experience required

Some practical experience is desirable.

Course overview

5 days of expert theory tuition.


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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