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Old 20-07-2013, 22:33   #1
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RYA Fast track Yachtmaster Class for American NOT interested in sailing career?

Hi Everyone,

I've read all the posts on this forum and other sailing sites about the RYA's Yachtmaster Offshore course, ie the Zero to Hero class, and have not seen my question addressed anywhere.

I'm a young American who has crewed on 30-50ft boats in regattas around the U.S., taken the ASA intro keelboat class and passed, and am trying to decide if the RYA course would be a good fit for me. I don't want to become a pro captain, like many people who take the course want to do, but rather to fulfill a long held dream to take a sailboat on my own around the Med, Caribbean or wherever I'd like.

While crewing is great, I'm never going to get any real experience skippering unless I buy or rent my own boat. It seems the RYA class, despite the money and five months of time, would be a good bet, particularly if I took one in an English winter and was exposed to tides, currents, lousy weather, etc. Thoughts?
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Old 21-07-2013, 04:43   #2
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Re: RYA Fast track Yachtmaster Class for American NOT interested in sailing career?

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Colorado6.
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Old 21-07-2013, 04:55   #3
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Re: RYA Fast track Yachtmaster Class for American NOT interested in sailing career?

I did a winter Fast Track and it was very valuable. My only complaint was that the company, BOSS, thought they should make it fun instead of 100% training.

However, in the final analysis it was well worth the money and time because of the difficulty of getting the experience piece meal.
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Old 21-07-2013, 07:24   #4
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Re: RYA Fast track Yachtmaster Class for American NOT interested in sailing career?

There are some domestic options for you to consider, that are not necessarily designed for career minded mariners. I have been teaching safety at sea for decades and use a well appointed Fountaine Pajot catamaran as a floating classroom. I teach both inshore and offshore year round in a multitude of locations between new england east coast & southern Bahamas. Courses are geared specifically to the individual's goals. Many Sailacat graduates now cruise their own vessels and one student is in his 5th year of a leisurely circumnavigation aboard his Alberg 30. I applaud your desire to get practical experience so you can fulfill your dream safely and I'd be happy to help.
Sailacat has recently teamed up with NauticEd, enabling us to add E learning courses to our rigorous live aboard curriculums. That way theory is done at home on the computer, practicals are done aboard, after theory is done.The beauty of this approach is that you learn the theory at your own pace before setting foot aboard the classroom cat. This fast tracks the process and is light years ahead of other learn to sail programs. We offer certifications, accepted in 90 different countries, but from your post I gather certification is less important to you than simply getting the skill set needed to cruise your own vessel safely. I've empowered many to that same end in the last 8 years, 30knm. Pretty sure I can help. I've never been a fan of little pieces of paper, but putting safe mariners out there is very important to me. Safety first, fun a close second! Fair winds,Kal
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Old 21-07-2013, 08:43   #5
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Re: RYA Fast track Yachtmaster Class for American NOT interested in sailing career?

s/v Moondancer: Thanks for posting! How did you end up selecting BOSS? I've been eying UKSA, Hamble, BOSS and even one in South Africa and am trying to decide which would be better.

I wasn't sure whether to laugh or groan when I read that BOSS made their training too fun! Was that to the detriment of training, ie the instructors take the boats in early to get drunk? (I read that about one company.)

Was the winter really as helpful as I've read? I've done my time being cold and wet in big waves and wind....
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Old 21-07-2013, 09:10   #6
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Re: RYA Fast track Yachtmaster Class for American NOT interested in sailing career?

My wife and I took the RYA Yachtmaster course in 2008. I'd had a lot of sailing experience, her much less so. We both found it fun, informative and stimulating.

I found that it knitted together a lot of practices and concepts I'd picked up over the years and gave me a really good technical framework for further learning. For example, tides: I learned sailing on the Great Lakes and had sailed in Hong Kong for 15 years so the whole issue of tides was known but not really experienced. It still isn't but at least I have a mental model of how to deal with tides when, and if, I sail to higher latitudes.

We also met a bunch of great people, some of whom have gone on to become good friends.

Nifty trivia to get you started: RRR = Red Right Return for entering North American ports. And basically, green everywhere else.....
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Old 21-07-2013, 09:12   #7
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Re: RYA Fast track Yachtmaster Class for American NOT interested in sailing career?

double post...
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Old 21-07-2013, 09:30   #8
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Re: RYA Fast track Yachtmaster Class for American NOT interested in sailing career?

Muskoka: Thanks for posting! Do you have a school you'd recommend? It's tough knowing which to select when I don't live in the same country and can't check them out in person.
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Old 21-07-2013, 10:04   #9
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Do you have a school you'd recommend? It's tough knowing which to select when I don't live in the same country and can't check them out in person.
I suggest you start by looking at all the schools in the Solent area, then filter out the ones that are too small to offer the advance/specialty courses, which is roughly th same thing as just looking at the ones that offer a (17 week) Zero to Hero package.. Your list should include Hamble School of Yachting and Sunsail, but also many others... Beware that in the winter courses and cheaper but the English winter is tough...
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Old 21-07-2013, 10:12   #10
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Re: RYA Fast track Yachtmaster Class for American NOT interested in sailing career?

Hello,
Here's a little known nav trick that has helped me & my cruising students.
While red right return works MOST of the time here in USA, red right rising works 100% of the time. Because it is difficult on inland waterways especially to determine which orientation is considered "returning from sea ," due to the many inlets along the way, red right rising in a system eliminates the possible error / confusion intrinsic in red right return. Red buoys whose numbers are rising in a system can be safely kept to the right in the US.
Cheers.
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Old 21-07-2013, 22:32   #11
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Re: RYA Fast track Yachtmaster Class for American NOT interested in sailing career?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Capnkal View Post
Hello,
Red buoys whose numbers are rising in a system can be safely kept to the right in the US.
Cheers.
Great tip - thanks!!
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Old 21-07-2013, 22:41   #12
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Re: RYA Fast track Yachtmaster Class for American NOT interested in sailing career?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Colorado6 View Post
Muskoka: Thanks for posting! Do you have a school you'd recommend? It's tough knowing which to select when I don't live in the same country and can't check them out in person.
Hi Colorado,

We took our course in Hong Kong at the Mariners Club. Prior to that, my wife did a one week RYA Day Skipper course in Thailand. Another friend has done the intensive RYA Yachtmaster course in Australia and loved it.

The RYA website has a list of places worldwide which offer shore based & practical courses. Another place to look is the back of Yachting Monthly or any other UK based sailing magazine - they tend to have a lot of adverts for RYA courses.

Maybe you could start a thread specifically asking for members opinions of their RYA courses? It might help if you've initially short-listed areas where you'd like to study. I know in this part of the world, Australia & Thailand would be my first choices.

Cheers
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Old 24-07-2013, 15:17   #13
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Hey there Colorado, My hopes are similar to yours. No pro-captaining aspirations... Just would like to feel comfortable skippering my one vessel. I've sailed on and off over the years and just returned from two weeks island hopping in the Hebrides. Was amazing, to say the least. My buddy is and RYA instructor in Tenerife. I'll be headed there in December for a one week day skipper course. He also teaches in the Solent. Both spots, especially in Solent, have all dynamic traffic, weather and tidal patterns in order to really practice and get a nice understanding under motor & sail. I sailed the Solent a few years ago. Super educational.

I haven't done extensive research on Yachtmaster cert. and length of time but if I had a month or two to dedicate to that, I'd go RYA in Solent.

Just my two cents,
- J
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Old 24-07-2013, 18:43   #14
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Originally Posted by muskoka View Post
My wife and I took the RYA Yachtmaster course in 2008. I'd had a lot of sailing experience, her much less so. We both found it fun, informative and stimulating.

I found that it knitted together a lot of practices and concepts I'd picked up over the years and gave me a really good technical framework for further learning. For example, tides: I learned sailing on the Great Lakes and had sailed in Hong Kong for 15 years so the whole issue of tides was known but not really experienced. It still isn't but at least I have a mental model of how to deal with tides when, and if, I sail to higher latitudes.

We also met a bunch of great people, some of whom have gone on to become good friends.

Nifty trivia to get you started: RRR = Red Right Return for entering North American ports. And basically, green everywhere else.....
There is no Yachtmaster course per say. So what did you do.

Dave
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Old 24-07-2013, 18:52   #15
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Only do it if you want to make a career out of it. Do it in South Africa... Cheaper and very good heavy weather sailing.

If you are experienced don't bother with the 5 month course... I signed up for it, ad ended up sitting my exam after 4-5 weeks, and saved a ton I money.

Shoot me a pm if you want an Americans opinion who did the rya course...
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