Having actually done such a course out of the hamble 15 years ago I'd suggest that if naf thinks this is something s/he wants to do then do it. You really can go from zero to a high degree of competence in all the skills tested in the yachtmaster exam in 4 months if you are living and breathing sailing every day in all weathers. You'll accrue more miles than many leisure sailors gain in a decade. It won't make you a complete rounded sailor but it's an excellent base to start the next phase of your learning
from. Regarding the commercial
endorsement and certificates required for it....those are *actually useful* courses with only the (very short) Professional Practices and Responsibilities course really being of little relevance to leisure sailors. Even if you don't want a career in yachting, a commercially endorsed YM is a great foot in the door for a position as mate on deliveries which is a great way of gaining experience of crossing an ocean.
Demographics may have changed but when I did mine it was with one parent-funded teenager, 3 of us in our 30s and one guy about 50 (all male). Only the youngster and one other guy planned on making a career out of sailing. The youngster became a successful and well-known pro skipper
. The other guy who wanted to be a pro disappeared half way through the course and was never heard from again.
No disrespect to NavRoman but if you're flying from Canada
to do this course, do it out of the Solent. It's a fabulous and technically challenging place to learn. My course took me all over the south coast of the UK and north coast of Brittany and Normandy. A non-EU national aboard would have complicated things (I'm sure the schools know how to deal with this though) but given that we in the UK have just been stripped of our european nationality, things are going to be complicated by an as-yet-unknown amount for all of us from the end of this year. The proximity of the channel islands and the cotentin peninsular are handy for the required 60+nm passages. The isle of wight and the hamble are also the setting for just about any British yachting novel or tv show. I note there's a low-res copy of "Howard's way" on youtube...
I did my course in winter (Jan-April) which in retrospect was a good call. I would now never voluntarily go out in weather
I was completely blasé about at the time but it's good to know that the limits of both me and a well-found boat
are considerably beyond what I might otherwise have thought.
a house for the duration of the course...if money's no object fine but consider that you'll be on the boat
more time than not, a school
*may* let you stay on a boat for shore-based parts
(ask them in advance) but a B&B when you need it may be as cost effective.
Note that particularly on UK forums
lots of people want to negatively comment on these courses that have no experience of them. Some people who have been sailing for decades dislike others getting a professional qualification in 4 months. Ignore them. Go for it. Do it in the Solent. Don't do it in summer if you have the choice. Having our own boat to then apply your new skills to and augment your knowledge with all the practical aspects of boat ownership