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Old 02-11-2012, 12:56   #1
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New member looking for advice on training.

Hi all. I am looking for your thoughts/comments on a plan I am putting together.
I have been thinking about getting sailing qualifications to a standard that would allow me to charter and skipper a sail boat of up to 60 feet in most parts of the world.
The idea, initially at least, is to be able to sail recreationally with friends and family (with some being experienced sailors) so that we do not have to have professional crew on board. The first charters would probably be in the Med with a 30-40 ft boat and I would work my way up from there. I have read through many threads relating to training and have looked at a number of courses and schools.
From what I can gather, in order to be able to get a bareboat charter the minimum required qualification is the RYA Day Skipper with ICC, though RYA Coastal Skipper would be nice.
My current level of experience is of sailing dinghies and small Hobie cats when on holiday and cruising on others boats as the occasional winch man (Caribbean, northern Spanish coast and north eastern US) so I would definitely need and want the training!

First question Is this right or do you need more qualifications for bareboat charters (sail)?

Second question I have seen mention of RYA Coastal Skipper completion certificates and also mention of an exam. Is the exam required and what is the difference between that and the RYA Yachtmaster (Coastal)?

Third question Because I tend to like to take things to their logical conclusions, I have looked at eventually ending up with the RYA Yachtmaster (Offshore and maybe even Ocean). Is it worth the time and effort to achieve this considering that it will not become a profession? Except maybe if I ever got around to buying a boat, I might like to run charters off it to defray some of the costs.

Fourth question In order to get the to Coastal Skipper would it be better to do it all with the same provider or chose different providers in different locations for the various stages so as to gain experience in different waters, with different instructors and different boats?

Lastly, I am currently London based and the Schools I have been looking at are (in no particular order of preference): BOSS; Allaboard; Elite; UKSA; Hamble School of Yachting. Do any of you have any experience with of these recommendations/warnings?

Apologies in advance for the long post, but this has been on my mind for a while now...

Thanks,
Chris.
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Old 02-11-2012, 13:08   #2
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Re: New member looking for advice on training.

Hi Halfpint and welcome to the forum.

First I am US based so have only passing knowledge of the UK training and certifications. However I have chartered in the Bahamas and Caribbean a couple of times when I was between boats and can offer some advise there.

If you have little or no experience on boats then a good instructor and training program is a great way to get started. However my experience with charters is that they care more about your abilities than any training, certifications or licenses you may have. I am mostly self taught as a sailor and never took a formal class but have not had a problem at all the couple of times I chartered. The first time I sat through a briefing with the charter operator and based on my responses and questions he was completely satisfied and let me go with the boat. The second time, many years later and with a bigger company, their standard policy was to require any new customers to take a written test and mail it in before the charter was approved. Same results, the answers on the test and a meeting with the operator before departure (that insured I was the person that wrote the answers) was sufficient.

In some cases if there is any question the charter company may require you to take them out for a test drive so they can observe in person. Any doubts and they can require you to pay for a professional captain to go along.

So, don't get me wrong, the classes and certifications will be good and will help but at the end of the day most operations will want to see what you can really do.
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Old 02-11-2012, 13:22   #3
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Re: New member looking for advice on training.

I'm danish and have a danish yachtmaster ocean. Can't get specific regarding RYA since I don't know it.

Yes you should at least get something like a coastal exam. Depending on how far off shore you go how much night sailing you are thinking about a yachtmaster off-shore would probably be a good investment. But you can take that later as you think you need it

The same provider is fine if you are satisfied with the instructor - otherwise change.

Re: taking paying passengers, this will require a commercial endorsement which is still time consuming and might not be worth it unless you are planning to do a lot of it.

Good luck
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Old 02-11-2012, 13:27   #4
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Re: New member looking for advice on training.

Thanks skipmac.

That is actually a refreshing answer (surprising, but refreshing). Most things nowadays seem to be getting more and more tick box oriented and bureaucratic, so it is nice to hear that in some cases actual experience is still valued.

The courses and certificates are ways for me to get sailing hours and build up experience in the types of boats that I want to be able to charter as opposed to being an end in themselves. Since I don't know that many people with their own boats it seems like the easiest way to get the experience and any bits of paper accumulated along the way are an added bonus.

Thanks again,
Chris.
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Old 03-11-2012, 06:21   #5
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Re: New member looking for advice on training.

I should qualify that since I usually sailed my own boats, my charter experiences are very limited, three times in forty years. These were two charters in Florida, one in the USVI.

I have seen comments online that charters in the Med may function differently and more emphasis placed on courses and certifications. Maybe someone more experienced in that area can comment.

Another suggestion, if time and work permits, another way to get experience is to find crew positions on other boats. It is fairly common for owners to take on extra crew when they want to move their boat to another cruising spot. Also, weekend racers are frequently looking for extra hands. Look around, check the local yacht clubs and bulletin boards.
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