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Old 25-02-2020, 16:25   #1
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Becoming an RYA skipper. Advice on qualifications please :)

Hello all,

I'm new to the forum and wanted to ask a question about RYA certifications.

I am 27 and have 4 years experience racing GP14s in England. I want to take the step up to big boat sailing and get some RYA qualifications so i can skipper a boat. I would like to be able to take a charter boat out or even have my own boat one day.

I have taken a year off work for a career break and have some crewing experience lined up. My first crewing experience will be a 60ft yacht from Puerta Vallarta (Mexico) to Panama city over a period of a month, stopping in ports along the way - should be around 2000 miles of sailing.
I am then looking at crewing another boat which is 40ft and is sailing from New Zealand to Fiji. The plan is then to cruise around the Fiji area for 4 months where we plan to scuba dive off the boat. I don't know how many miles that would be in total but the passage from NZ to Fiji is around 1500 miles.

I imagine i will have over 4000 miles and over 80 days at sea. I hope that after spending time on the NZ boat the skipper may give me some experience being skipper for the day etc. Or i could ask for that kind of experience from him.

My question is: what RYA level qualification should i get once i complete the crewing experiences?
Should i go and do the day skipper or could i have enough experience to do one of the yachtmaster qualifications?

I have read the RYA prerequisites for each of the qualifications but i wanted to ask the forum for some recommendations

Andrew
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Old 25-02-2020, 17:15   #2
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Re: Becoming an RYA skipper. Advice on qualifications please :)

First you get the Yachtmasters

Remember to keep your log book and have your skipper sign your sea time form

Best to get the needed books from the RYA now

Also buy the yacht master exam flash cards

These cards are how you take your test

https://www.rya.org.uk/shop/pages/pr...oad-flip-cards
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Old 25-02-2020, 17:45   #3
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Re: Becoming an RYA skipper. Advice on qualifications please :)

Quote:
Originally Posted by andrewfinn View Post
Hello all,

I'm new to the forum and wanted to ask a question about RYA certifications.

I am 27 and have 4 years experience racing GP14s in England. I want to take the step up to big boat sailing and get some RYA qualifications so i can skipper a boat. I would like to be able to take a charter boat out or even have my own boat one day.

I have taken a year off work for a career break and have some crewing experience lined up. My first crewing experience will be a 60ft yacht from Puerta Vallarta (Mexico) to Panama city over a period of a month, stopping in ports along the way - should be around 2000 miles of sailing.
I am then looking at crewing another boat which is 40ft and is sailing from New Zealand to Fiji. The plan is then to cruise around the Fiji area for 4 months where we plan to scuba dive off the boat. I don't know how many miles that would be in total but the passage from NZ to Fiji is around 1500 miles.

I imagine i will have over 4000 miles and over 80 days at sea. I hope that after spending time on the NZ boat the skipper may give me some experience being skipper for the day etc. Or i could ask for that kind of experience from him.

My question is: what RYA level qualification should i get once i complete the crewing experiences?
Should i go and do the day skipper or could i have enough experience to do one of the yachtmaster qualifications?

I have read the RYA prerequisites for each of the qualifications but i wanted to ask the forum for some recommendations

Andrew
If you want to skipper big boats then you'll need your yachtmaster. If you want to cross oceans as a skipper you'll need the yachtmaster ocean.

If you've never done navigation before, bearings, back bearings, converting from magnetic to grid and back etc, tides, dead reckoning etc I'd strongly suggest you do the day skipper theory as a starter. I'd also strongly suggest doing the practical, as well, because there's a lot of things covered that you'll never have done. I'd do that straight away and get your day skipper.

Then, to go to Yachtmaster Ocean, you'll do the coastal theory and ocean theory, they each have separate exams and can be done online. You have to have these before doing the practical exam. Some would suggest you do the yachtmaster coastal practical course but you could skip that and have a crack at the Yachtmaster exam - which is a practical exam. If you did skip it I would make sure you get some practice sessions in with an instructor to make sure you've got all the disciplines/activities covered.

I'm a Day Skipper and I've just had this conversation two weeks ago with an instructor about upgrading to Yachtmaster Offshore.

Of course, you also need to do the VHF, marine diesel, professional practices, first aid/sea safety and survival etc courses ... best get in touch with your local school.
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Old 29-02-2020, 16:54   #4
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Re: Becoming an RYA skipper. Advice on qualifications please :)

Thanks for the responses

tp12 - I think it would be a good idea to do the day skipper theory asap. The only thing is i am in Mexico at the moment and about to get onto the first yacht tomorrow. I would like to start reading some of the day skipper theory content but wont have good internet access to do the online theory. The RYA sell some of the course content - link below

https://www.rya.org.uk/shop/pages/se...rse&code=dsscc

I would like to to buy a couple of the ebooks to do some of the theory whilst on the first boat. Do you know which books you get as part of the day skipper theory course? And which ones would be the best to read?

Thanks
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Old 29-02-2020, 18:36   #5
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Re: Becoming an RYA skipper. Advice on qualifications please :)

Quote:
Originally Posted by andrewfinn View Post
Thanks for the responses

tp12 - I think it would be a good idea to do the day skipper theory asap. The only thing is i am in Mexico at the moment and about to get onto the first yacht tomorrow. I would like to start reading some of the day skipper theory content but wont have good internet access to do the online theory. The RYA sell some of the course content - link below

https://www.rya.org.uk/shop/pages/se...rse&code=dsscc

I would like to to buy a couple of the ebooks to do some of the theory whilst on the first boat. Do you know which books you get as part of the day skipper theory course? And which ones would be the best to read?

Thanks
Gudday Andrew,

The navathome website says the following is included in their course:
  1. Free plotter and brass dividers.
  2. The RYA course pack containing the RYA course notes, an RYA practice almanac, two RYA practice charts, the RYA plotter simulator and the RYA question paper.
If I was you I'd sign up to one of the online providers as they'll send out your plotter, brass dividers and the RYA course pack. NavAtHome, for example, gives you 6 mths online access to the courseware but you can renew that for small fee 6mths at a time for up to 3 years. This way you're only paying for your course materials once.

The RYA shop contains a hard copy 2nd Ed of the Course Notes and the eBook is the 1st edition. I can't tell you what has changed but if you're super keen to get reading now and prepare for the course and you don't want to wait for the RYA course pack to get shipped out then I'd suggest getting the RYA Day Skipper shorebased notes and maybe the Navigation handbook. Note the eBook for the Navigation handbook is also the 1st edition and there's a 2nd edition listed.

I hope that helps and good luck!

Cheers,

TP
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Old 01-03-2020, 02:48   #6
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Re: Becoming an RYA skipper. Advice on qualifications please :)

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Andrew.
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Old 07-05-2020, 06:46   #7
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Re: Becoming an RYA skipper. Advice on qualifications please :)

Hi Andrew


Just seen your post and I'm wondering how you are getting on in this Covid world. Hope you managed to get to sea



In the RYA "Sail Cruising Scheme" there is no requirement to have completed one course before you go onto another, the exception being the Ocean YM where you must be a YM Offshore before you can apply for an Ocean exam.


With the 4000 nms of experience you hope to gain you will certainly have surpassed the "Day Skipper" level and should be considering the YM Offshore. That being said most candidates for the YM Offshore have at least twice the prerequisite miles, so at least 5,000nms


You may be a bit light on theory. If you have successfully completed the shore based theory courses you will not be so tested on theory in the "practical" exam. Although you can, very few people do put themselves up for the Offshore YM without doing the theory first. Similarly with the Ocean YM, if you have not done the theory course you will be asked to work out sights in the exam. Many people enjoy the theory courses outside the sailing season.


You can do both the "Dayskipper" and "Coastal and Offshore YM" theory courses on line. However if you want to make your "YM Certificate of Competence" into a commercial qualification you must do the exams in a properly invigilated setting, so not online.


For many YM Offshore is as far as they feel they need to go through the system. The YM Offshore is a basic requirement to go on to do the Instructor courses and there are professional opportunities at that level. However you can take it further................



Your final Ocean exam, after you have become a YM Offshore and then after you have completed your qualifying passage, done your sights and probably done the theory course, is ashore with an examiner for three or four hours. The examiner will ask you about any aspect of ocean sailing he or she chooses to. All sounds a bit daunting but if you are well prepared.....................


Good luck on your voyage through the RYA "Sail Cruising Scheme", don't rush it and enjoy it.
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Old 07-05-2020, 06:58   #8
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Re: Becoming an RYA skipper. Advice on qualifications please :)

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Originally Posted by fascadale View Post
Although you can, very few people do put themselves up for the Offshore YM without doing the theory first. Similarly with the Ocean YM, if you have not done the theory course you will be asked to work out sights in the exam. Many people enjoy the theory courses outside the sailing season.


You can do both the "Dayskipper" and "Coastal and Offshore YM" theory courses on line. However if you want to make your "YM Certificate of Competence" into a commercial qualification you must do the exams in a properly invigilated setting, so not online.

With respect, have you got anything to confirm this from RYA or an RYA school? What I've read and understood from the conversations I've had with RYA instructors contradict this advice. I hope your advice is true because it makes the pathway cheaper and easier.


Thanks, TP
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Old 07-05-2020, 07:20   #9
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Re: Becoming an RYA skipper. Advice on qualifications please :)

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With respect, have you got anything to confirm this from RYA or an RYA school? What I've read and understood from the conversations I've had with RYA instructors contradict this advice. I hope your advice is true because it makes the pathway cheaper and easier.


Thanks, TP

MCA/RYA Ocean Yachtmster (Commercial) and a recently retired RYA Cruising Instructor (Sail Cruising Scheme)


Best to check the RYA website for the most accurate and up to the minute information. Occasionally they change the requirements such as vessel size for exams etc. I think if you read the website carefully that they mention "pre course experience" and "assumed knowledge"


For the YM Offshore exam they say "There is no formal training course leading up to the exam, but those who have not previously taken RYA courses often find it useful to book themselves in for some informal training at an RYA centre prior to their exam. This training can be tailor-made to your specific needs and helps to fill any gaps in your knowledge that may become apparent."


RYA schools often advise people to do all the courses to "build up" to the YM. This is good for their business but also quite sensible for the student in that it provides a chance to get into the "RYA way of doing things" as well as certificating prior learning.


However if you have been sailing for many years, have many thousands of miles under your keel, plenty of night passages, and you remember how to do a "course to steer" and work out tidal heights in secondary ports.............................


That being said many experienced sailors still do a 5 day YM prep course before the exam




Hope this helps
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Old 07-05-2020, 07:33   #10
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Re: Becoming an RYA skipper. Advice on qualifications please :)

Thanks for replying. I'll push a bit harder on 'real' pre-requisites and see where I end up. Could end up saving cash, good tips! Cheers.
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Old 07-05-2020, 07:47   #11
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Re: Becoming an RYA skipper. Advice on qualifications please :)

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Thanks for replying. I'll push a bit harder on 'real' pre-requisites and see where I end up. Could end up saving cash, good tips! Cheers.

Good luck


Lots of stuff on the RYA website, but sometimes it takes a bit of sorting through. PM me if you would want anymore advice
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Old 07-05-2020, 11:40   #12
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Re: Becoming an RYA skipper. Advice on qualifications please :)

Andrew. One thing I would say from my experience of the YM syllabus is get lots and lots of boat handling practice in tidal waters and in getting the boat into tight marina slips. The YachtMaster exam involves a great deal of fairly difficult practical tests, such as picking up MOBs and moorings under sail etc This is not normally the sort of expensive you get on long ocean passages or island hopping unless you have a very tolerant skipper! So when you get back I would recommend a pre-exam course to get you up to speed on these things and your navigation theory.

One can have thousands of sea miles but you will find that how many times you have brought your boat home safely in a strong tide with a good wind blowing is much more important.


Good luck.
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Old 12-05-2020, 00:33   #13
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Re: Becoming an RYA skipper. Advice on qualifications please :)

hi mate,
what you're doing is great, i mean you're building a good experience, and live on the sea.
rather than taking short courses, which give you a certain degree of knowledge, why not considering directly the ym offshore with the formula "from zero to hero"?
it's an 8week long course (if my memory doesn't fail), a little bit expensive (think around 8kŁ) but is a full immersion and...really it helps to build up your skills.
if you decide for this, choose a place where sailin is a bit challenging (south africa, or the solent, these i know, but for sure there are other interesting places to go, gibraltar is another) then, if you have the chance go immediately for the ocean, which is just an oral examination, in which you will discuss an ocean passage with celestial navigation.
then, if you mind to use your certification for working also, get the commercial endorsement, which requires some secondary courses under the stcw standards, but this is one step ahead.
think the rya path is one of the best, they have a really serious methodology and certification are almost worldwide recognised (at least all the red ensign countries).
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