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Old 15-06-2009, 12:42   #1
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Fast-track: RYA Yachtmaster Ocean?

I live in Miami. I have a little experience sailing, and I would like to quickly become competent and confident in all facets. My objective is to quickly get to the point where I can be a valuable asset on a boat as competent paid crew, and eventually to have all the skills to skipper my own boat.

I came across the RYA Yachtmaster Ocean Ticket course. In one of his books, Larry Pardey commented that the course offered in South Africa is a very good school due to the extreme weather conditions. The school's website mentions that, too.

Would this be a good plan for somebody who wants to "jump in the water"? My common sense tells me that the intensity and focus of the 17-week series of courses, and being with like-minded people would be a very good education, but I'm a little concerned about the crime in S. Africa. Is the school in Ft. Lauderdale as good an education? Can anybody suggest other options that I haven't thought about?
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Old 15-06-2009, 14:00   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charlesh View Post
I live in Miami. I have a little experience sailing, and I would like to quickly become competent and confident in all facets. My objective is to quickly get to the point where I can be a valuable asset on a boat as competent paid crew, and eventually to have all the skills to skipper my own boat.

I came across the RYA Yachtmaster Ocean Ticket course. In one of his books, Larry Pardey commented that the course offered in South Africa is a very good school due to the extreme weather conditions. The school's website mentions that, too.

Would this be a good plan for somebody who wants to "jump in the water"? My common sense tells me that the intensity and focus of the 17-week series of courses, and being with like-minded people would be a very good education, but I'm a little concerned about the crime in S. Africa. Is the school in Ft. Lauderdale as good an education? Can anybody suggest other options that I haven't thought about?

This is not an intro course and to be quite honest, it likely isn't for you for several reasons:

1) You will not have enough hours to be certified.
2) You may or may not pass the exam which is given by a disinterested third party.

That said, I think RYA is the standard.

You may wish to check out Chapman's. We had at least one member do that, if I recall. Ah yes. Check out:

Chapman School

More career advice

Hope that helps,
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Old 15-06-2009, 14:27   #3
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I think you may want to get ASA certified first. Start with the basics first and then work your way up. Learning to sail well takes both theory and lots of time on the water to practice your skills.
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Old 15-06-2009, 21:19   #4
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Do not know anything about the school in Ft Lauderdale but I would imagine it certainly would not hurt. However I know plenty of good sailors that never took a single formal class. You ask if there is another way?

When I caught the sailing bug I went out and spent a few hundred dollars on every book about sailing, boats, boat design, boat construction, engine maintenance, sail trim, heavy weather sailing, etc and also subscribed to every boating magazine I could find. At the same time I put out feelers and got a couple of unpaid positions as crew on deliveries. Spent some more time hanging out with sailors, finally went out and bought a boat. Never did go to any school. Worked for me.
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Old 15-06-2009, 22:55   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charlesh View Post
My objective is to quickly get to the point where I can be a valuable asset on a boat as competent paid crew, and eventually to have all the skills to skipper my own boat.

I came across the RYA Yachtmaster Ocean Ticket course. In one of his books, Larry Pardey commented that the course offered in South Africa is a very good school due to the extreme weather conditions. The school's website mentions that, too.

I am not a professional sailor but I know a couple. In my uneducated opinion there are 3 aspects of being successful.

Certifications - Respected certifications get the door open

Experience - Certifications without experience make getting the door open difficult

Networking - This is similar to experience but describes the ability to get along with people of influence and have them on your side. It also describes the ability to find out about opportunities.

I know a guy who has the certifications and he is doing a lot of unpaid crewing to get experience. He keeps a sailing log and has the skipper sign it and provide recommendations.

Whether he will actually get paid enough to make a living remains to be seen. I also know a few race crew that get paid to crew. Judging by their outward appearance their aren't a lot of them making a fortune.

Finally I know one person that works for a Sailing OEM. His duties are that of worker (manager) in the product lines and also he is part of the race crew that races the sponsored yacht. He makes a living as an employee of the OEM and gets his sailing fix as a member of a top notch, well funded racing team.
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Old 16-06-2009, 05:00   #6
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In UK, that "nothing to Yachtmaster" course is known as "Zero to Hero".

Some people are fine at the end of it, but others leave thinking they know it all. But dont believe that this would get you straight into being the delivery skipper, however it certainly gets you a good start. Whether this is worth the cost is not my call. Personally I would prefer to gain the expertise over time.

RYA training can be taken little by little starting from the level of competent crew and working upwards. There is mileage, and night hour sailing requirements for qualification at each stage, and numbers of passages as skipper and over 50 miles. The qualifying distances also need to consider whether they are in tidal or non-tidal waters, and there are tidal expertise requirements as well.

Courses can be taken in a number of locations around the world (e.g. Gibraltar, S.Africa and Australia) and the full list is on the RYA site.

I am sure that there is very little difference between that and ASA,
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Old 16-06-2009, 12:44   #7
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For what it is worth, If your ambition is to get on a paid crew, I know a couple of young men who did the South Africa course with the same end in mind. They have both been crewing mega-yachts all over the world for the last several years. If your ambition is to run your own boat, take it more slowly and take the seperate courses and get experience under your belt. Even if you have the "Yachtmaster" certification, there is no replacement for experience.
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Old 17-06-2009, 16:00   #8
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Fast-track: RYA Yachtmaster Ocean?

charlesh


I can give an uncommon perspective on this because I have done the Yachtmaster Coastal ticket at both one of the Fort Lauderdale schools (IYT) and an RYA school in the UK (British Offshore Sailing School). Direct family members of mine have done several RYA and ASA courses so I can compare too.

One of the replies seems to imply you want to go directly for what in the UK is called a week of Yachtmaster Theory plus 5 days of Yachtmaster Practical exam prep plus a two-day exam. Clearly, this would not be appropriate for a begginer but I think what you want to do is something completely different, which starts with a 5-day Competent Crew course and takes you to Yachtmaster Ocean or Offshore over 17 or so weeks.

If I got your plans right, my input is as follows:

  • I have heard very good feedback about those 17-week courses taught by the leading UK schools. I would recommend UK Sailing Academy (friends recommend it) , Hamble School of Yachting (same), British Offshore Sailing School (I have done courses with them), or Sunsail's UK school (same). I do not know if the latter does the 17-week package though.
  • As far as I know the big Fort Lauderdale schools are focussed on folks who want to work in superyachts, as opposed to sailing for fun. This includes few folks who plan to work as skippers and already have plenty of sailing experience and only need a ticket, and many folks who want to work as "inside" crew (chefs, stews, etc) who do not have and do not need much sailing experience. In a nutshell, I do not see much *sailing* being taught or learned there.
  • If you have the time and money and want to get confidence skippering a boat quickly I highly recommmend you go to one of the UK schools. This is not just about the schools; it is also about the sailing venue. Once you are comfortable sailing a boat in the UK coast (given winds, tides, etc) you will be comfortable anywhere!
  • Regarding ASA courses, with all due respect I believe they are good to get someone started and reeady to skipper a boat in easy waters, but if you have the time and money why not go for something that will prepare you to sail any boat anywhere!
I would be happy to take a call if you have any questions about your objectives and my experience. I will be in UK time zone (GMT+1) for the next few weeks; best way to reach me is by email at svlamorocha at gmail dot com.

Fair winds

Carlos
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Old 17-06-2009, 17:18   #9
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Yes, Carlos, that is what I had in mind. I grew up reading about and rehabbing sailboats, day sailing, and a couple longer trips, but not much real sailing experience.

I tracked down the course in South Africa that Larry Pardey mentioned, and it is a 17-week intensive series of courses focused on gaining experience in all weather, accumulating miles, and tackling the theory, too, all in preparation for the exam. The website is here: Yachtmaster Ocean Ticket | Yacht Master Sailing Course - Sail Training Cape Town - RYA Their stated objective is "to take the novice yachtsman or woman, and expose them to a series of training modules that will culminate in the students qualifying as confident and practically competent skippers with commercially endorsed RYA Yachtmaster Offshore and Yachtmaster Ocean Certificates (Celestial Navigation)."

I will now look more into the schools you mentioned and see how they all compare. It appears that the sailing conditions in the UK and South Africa are comparable in difficulty. Frankly, I would feel more comfortable in the UK than in S. Africa, where violent crime seems to be getting worse.
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Old 25-03-2010, 09:11   #10
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In terms of locations for training; I think the best two are the Solent in the UK, where you get quite an interesting mix of tidal streams, pilotage challenges and destinations and South Brittany in France (expecially the Gulf of Morbihan and the Quiberon bay) where conditions are enjoyable (temperate climate, beautiful scenery) as well as extremely interesting (shallow waters, tidal streams, many anchorages and harbours). fair winds to all, Jean-Paul Deloffre
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Old 25-03-2010, 20:04   #11
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I have been thinking about doing this one - the price is OK and cost of living in Phuket is low.

IYT Zero to Hero Courses Fast Track courses for navigators and captains
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