RYA Coastal Skipper Practical Course

RYA Sailing Courses



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Advance with the RYA Coastal Skipper course: master coastal navigation, weather skills, and yacht handling for challenging passages. Prior experience required.

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    5 days (Mon - Fri)

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    15 days aboard, 2 days as skipper, 300 miles logged and 8 night hours and sailing ability to RYA Day Skipper. It is also important you have theory knowledge to RYA Coastal/Yachtmaster level

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    The Isle of Wight

Lady sailing on yacht


The RYA Coastal Skipper practical course is an advanced training program tailored for sailors who have already achieved the Day Skipper qualification and are looking to further enhance their sailing skills. This course significantly deepens both theoretical knowledge and practical seamanship abilities, crucial for undertaking coastal and offshore passages. Participants will learn advanced navigation techniques, including night pilotage, and will enhance their skills in handling a yacht under various conditions. The course also focuses on meteorology, collision regulations, and managing emergency situations, all essential for safe and effective skippering.

Benefits of the Coastal Skipper Course

Enrolling in the Coastal Skipper course represents a pivotal step towards becoming a proficient skipper, capable of confidently managing yachts on extended voyages. This course places a strong emphasis on complex passage planning, crew management, and executing advanced manoeuvres under both sail and power. Acquiring this qualification not only boosts a skipper’s confidence but also equips them to navigate more challenging waters, enhancing their overall sailing capabilities.

Practical Applications and Certification Advantages

The practical aspects of the Coastal Skipper course extend a sailor’s cruising ground significantly beyond that of the Day Skipper level. Trainees get the opportunity to explore wider areas, potentially including routes to Weymouth, Brighton, across the English Channel to France, or to the Channel Islands. Successfully completing this course also reduces the number of qualifying miles required for sailors aiming to take the Yachtmaster Coastal Certificate of Competence Exam, providing a strategic advantage in advancing their nautical careers.

Key Points

Advanced Navigation and Pilotage
  • The course covers more advanced techniques for planning and executing coastal and offshore passages, including night navigation and dealing with complex tidal currents.
Enhanced Seamanship Skills
  • It focuses on refining skills in yacht handling in various conditions, safety procedures, and emergency responses – all crucial for skippering a vessel on longer trips.
Comprehensive Theoretical Knowledge
  • There’s in-depth study of meteorology, collision regulations, and crew management to prepare skippers for the demands of extended sailing.
Practical Experience
  • The course offers extensive hands-on sailing experience in often challenging conditions, which is essential for building confidence and competence in coastal and offshore environments.
High-Quality Instruction
  • Rubicon 3 and its training partners are renowned for their expert instructors and rigorous training approach, providing a blend of practical and theoretical learning in real-world sailing scenarios
What's Included
  • All meals and snacks onboard
  • Oilskins
  • Life jackets
  • All mooring fees & fuel
  • Certification
What's Not Included
  • Sleeping bag
  • Waterproof boots
  • Personal sailing insurance
  • Two evening meals ashore

Course Syllabus

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, deckwork, 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
  • 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 sail.
Adverse weather conditions
  • Preparation for heavy weather and yacht handling in strong winds
  • Navigation and general conduct in restricted visibility
Emergency situations
  • Recovery of man overboard under power and sail.
  • Understands action to be taken when abandoning to the liferaft and during helicopter and lifeboat rescue.

Helpful Information

  • What To Expect

    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

    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.

  • Who Else Joins

    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

  • FAQ

    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.

  • Packing Check List

    • 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

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