Thanks for the reply Steady Hand,
I will answer your questions as best as I can
1. The course is 15 weeks. How much does that cost? Did you find it worth the fee? (Or did it seem higher priced than what you felt you got from it?)
The course was 15 weeks through Allabroad Sailing Academy. Started March 6th and passed my exam on June 18th. The program was about $15000, plus flight expenses, plus buying my own offshore gear
. During time off and in port I spent a fair amount on drinks, restaurants, etc. I also took one week and another weekend and rented a car and drove around Spain
while I was there. Total cost for me was about $20000. Was it worth it? The instructors were mostly great except for one guy I really didn't like. I was under the impression that we would do a month of practical and classroom training around Gibraltar, then the rest of the time doing longer passages. However, while we did a number of mile-building trips to get us the requisite 2500 miles and 5 passages over 60 rhumb line miles, it was frustrating getting it done. A lot was just grinding away the miles on the motor
when the winds died down, and more a test of endurance rather than an educational experience. That said, I think if I had gotten out with a commercially valid license, then yes it would've been worth it. However, I don't know if I would suggest Allabroad, and might suggest actually doing it in the UK so you would get more experience sailing in serious tides.
2. Does the fee cover ALL expenses (room and board and boats classes
etc.)? Put another way, if a student was to go there with the goal of getting the YMO certification, what should they budget
in total for all costs?
Fee covered most expenses. we got $60 back per week each which we pooled together with other shipmates to victual the boat with food
and we all took turns cooking
. I was the best at cooking
underway, and often was the only one to cook because most other people couldn't do any more than slap a sandwich together when the seas got rough.
3. How much "sea time" does that give you (90 days at sea or less because some days are in port)? What did that entail? Was it sailing around the Med? Or day sailing
from a home port?
I got about 60 days of sea time from the course. Was hoping for more, and am still somewhat in the dark about whether the USCG will even accept the time. I filled out a small vessel sea service
form and got the owner of the program and boats to sign off on it. But won't really know if the time is accepted until I've gotten my full 360 days for the USCG 6-pack. Again, that's why I thought it was a good program and think it can be a good value for other people. You can get a full commercial
license that is valid most places in the world in just 15 weeks vs the 360 days needed by the USCG. Would I trust myself being the skipper
of a $3 million Oyster
on a Transatlantic delivery
? Heck no! I started the program with a ASA Bareboat
certification and learned a lot more than I went in with and got a lot of experience, but not everything. And i wish there had been more focus on the boat repair and maintenance
side of things. I've said it before, I want to instruct. I want to island hop, go from anchorage to anchorage, teaching people how to sail, and getting paid a small sum for it. I think the level of experience the Yachtmaster course got me to puts me not far off from being reasonably able to reach that goal.
4. How did that program compare to your expectations. I remember reading there are several YM Ocean schools around Europe
, so I am curious about what your recent experience was like. IF you would prefer to keep your answers more private, feel free to send me a Private Message via the forum, rather than posting
Cannot speak from experience on the level of the YM Ocean program as I only did the Offshore. From what I understand, though, the primary difference is the Ocean entails a longer passage
and celestial navigation
is both taught and examined.
5. I vaguely recall looking over the YM Ocean requirements, but can't recall the need for "sea time" in days. How many days of sea time is required to get the Ocean certification? For Offshore I needed 5 passages over 60 miles, 2 of which I was acting as skipper
. I needed 2500 miles total and 50 days. I think I also needed 60 hours of night sailing. One other issue I had was it was sort of all or nothing. We did not advance through the lower level certifications which would have been Competent Crew, Day Skipper, and then Coastal Yachtmaster. So there was a lot of pressure to get all the requirements and pass the final exam or to leave with nothing other than sea time.
6. I have not been around someone with BiPolar Disorder. People are often reluctant to speak openly about anything related to mental issues, so your candor is appreciated. Would you please describe how it affects you and what the authorities said in response as to why it would prevent you from being a captain. What are their stated concerns (if they stated any)? Is it the medication, or the behaviors when not on meds?
When manic, I have trouble sleeping, my thoughts might race
and I'll think about a million things and might have trouble focusing. When depressed, It's hard to find enjoyment out of things, even if I normally do and know I enjoy doing such a thing, which can be very frustrating. As I mentioned in another post, a person experiencing either for the first time out at sea would be a difficult situation, primarily on the manic side of things. However, I don't believe either side necessarily overrides a survival instinct or a concern for personal or other's safety
. I do fine generally either on or off medication. However, if I am off medication and drink a lot or start going 36+ hours without sleep then I know I could be at risk of starting to become manic. So, I take a medication once a day as a preventative. I have another medication that's a little more potent and is meant to knock me and sort of reset me, if I become manic. I can see the conflict with being a captain in this case. If I am the sole person responsible for the boat and crew, how can I take a pill and knock myself out? I don't have a definitive answer, but I think my solution would be as follows: In a near-shore situation, I would take the medication and inform the crew that I was doing so in case some incident required a functioning skipper during the night. In an offshore situation, hopefully there would be someone who could act as a relief skipper for a few hours.
I hope I've answered your questions. Am happy to further clarify or answer any more questions if you have any.