Having been suckered into posting
on a thread resurrected by someone who seems to have joined the forum to vent at Hamble School of Yachting I should probably add some value. The OP doubtless chose 5 years ago (would be interesting to see feedback) and it was a question I faced well over a decade ago. So here's some general thoughts which may be, well, more than 10 years out of date.
You can't be sure your experience will be the same as that of others who've done the same course with the same school: So much is down to individual instructors. My course (taken in my mid-30s) with BOSS was marred by having the same "cruising instructor" (BOSS I think invented this sub-YMI status) for most of the course except YM prep week, short special courses and shore-based. Nice guy, hopeless instructor. First time I ever did MOB
under sail was in my yachtmaster coastal exam. That was the second time I'd ever done MOB
(first and only was under power in the dayskipper week in the first month). We'd all complained about him but the "customer is always right" concept
really doesn't exist generally in the southern england boating
industry (as I've later found). By contrast a couple of people who did a course in parallel with us thought their instructor was fabulous and had a great time and I had some good instructors for shore-based and short specialist courses.
TheSilkRoad's expectations that shore-based instructors are going to be experts in their field aren't reliably going to be met. These schools don't pay well. The educators aren't trained teachers. Advanced fist aid courses will be run by paramedics or ambulance crew, not anatomy lecturers. It won't be cockcroft and lameijer teaching colregs it'll be an ex-merchant marine
guy supplementing his pension. The person teaching YM Ocean theory won't be a moonlighting cambridge maths lecturer who can coherently explain spherical trigonometry. I found that with BOSS, Hamble, Warsash college and I've found that on far more expensive professional qualification short courses. They should be "knowledgeable" in their field and able to convey sufficient detail to guide a student to a level where they can pass an exam but they won't be infallible.
The target market these days for "fast track" courses these days seems to be the parent-funded offspring of the well-heeled who want to work on superyachts so maybe luxury standards at places like UKSA are higher these days but BOSS in the early 2000s was "roughing it" to say the least. Apparently you can
cram 6 paying punters and an instructor into a westerly fulmar for two weeks in winter. But arguably learning
to live together in unpleasant conditions is part of the education. Not something you'll need for swanning round the globe en famille in your Hallberg Rassy
64 but something you will need to cope with offshore racing
or a career at the low end of the yachting industry. Similarly with cleaning
the boats: Isn't that just part of learning about boat life?
I've been told that the head
of the outfit I did my course with was notorious for penny-pinching and say "ratty old westerlies" and everyone would know which school you mean. Did that matter? Actually no. They were decently maintained (one impeller and a couple of blocked fuel
lines were the only failures in 4 months of *hard* use: nothing dangerous and no deck gear
failures). The sigmas and fulmars were great sailing boats and far better to learn on than roller-furling AWBs. But there *was* penny pinching. The food.....the cheapest caterers to be found in all of hampshire probably don't have nutrition degrees. I ended up bringing my own.
Regarding a couple of specific points TheSilkRoad makes. You get miles in your log book for fully participating in crewing
the boat and although I haven't seen my log book for a while ISTR (could be wrong) a specific instruction that incapacity through sea-sickness means your time doesn't qualify as "experience".
Making tea? Like cleaning, TheSilkRoad seems to think this trivial but Making Tea is the very bedrock upon which the Yachtmaster qualification is built. It's a protocol. It's a symbolic way of a skipper
communicating that the wellbeing of the crew is at the centre of her or his concerns. YM Examiners can correct me here but there is a widely held belief that the making of tea is as least as germane to the assessment process as the safety
brief. And I don't even particularly like tea.
Doing it somewhere warm instead? If you want a luxury extended holiday where you're taught what all the bits of string do (but there's no real tides) then fine. If you want a hard education in sailing then I'm not entirely sure you can beat the Solent and the channel in winter. Enough shelter that it's not insane, serious tides, huge range of wind
and sea state and every technical quirk of navigation
you can think of...Plus (in winter) none of the summer crowding. Which is, in some ways, a bad thing: I had to learn rafting up later, on my own.
Of course I didn't actually answer the original question but the bottom line is that the course I did and the course TheSilkRoad describes are more boot camp than luxury spa retreat and the education is more than just sailing. That may not be what everyone is looking for but in may ways it's no bad thing.
a long post and I didn't even answer the original question...