Teenagers - RYA Competent Crew Course

The Youth RYA Competent Crew Practical Course

This is the entry level cruising course for teenagers. This course is aimed at those with little or no previous sailing experience, or for those looking to move from dinghy sailing  on to cruising yachts. It's all about learning by experience and having fun. During the 5 day course you will be taught everything you need to know, to become a useful member of crew on board a cruising yacht. From using winches safely, helming and changing sails to reefing and tying knots, by the end of the course you will be a Competent Crew!

For the duration of the course you will be living on-board a yacht, whilst exploring the length and breadth of the Solent. Full participation is expected, we don't carry passengers! Everyone joins in with preparing meals and with keeping the yacht shipshape. With the exception of one evening when we night sail, you will have the opportunity to go ashore and stretch your legs with your fellow crew members. It might be for a beach BBQ at Lulworth cove, or Yarmouth, or a trip to the cinema and a bite to eat in Gunwharf Quays, in Portsmouth. One thing is for certain, it will be a busy week! 

Teenagers Competent Crew course fees include:

 • Food on board (from lunch time on the first day)
 • All safety equipment
 • BBQ ashore
 • Mooring fees
 • Wet Weather Gear
 • RYA Certificate

All you need to bring with you for an enjoyable week, is your personal kit, a bit of spending money and lots of enthusiasm!

 DofE Residential Sailing Course  Duke of Edinburgh's Award - Residential Opportunity

 

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Youth Sailing RYA

Teenagers Competent Crew Course - Example Itinerary

Day 1

  • 10:00 Arive at BOSS - check in at reception, meet your instructor and fellow crew
  • 10:30 Stowage of kit on-board, bunk allocation & safety brief
  • 11:15 Deck brief and prepare the yacht for sea
  • 12:00 Practice leaving and coming along side pontoons and the use of warps and fenders for tying up a yacht
  • 12:30 Lunch on-board
  • 13:30 Depart for Solent sailing, practise helming, changing sails and reefing
  • 18:00 Arrive at a harbour for the night
  • 18:30 Stow sails, deck tidy up and debrief
  • 19:00 Dinner on-board
  • 20:00 Discuss the days events & knot practise

Day 2

  • 07:00 Weather forecast, showers and breakfast
  • 08:00 Prepare the yacht of sea
  • 09:00 Set off on short passage, Man overboard practise
  • 12:00 Anchor for lunch. Whilst at anchor - Keeping a proper look out
  • 13:30 Depart anchorage - practise steering a compass course under power and sail
  • 14:00 Arrive in port for a short stay. A few hours at leisure
  • 18:30 Supper on-board
  • 20:00 Depart on night sail (weather permitting)   
  • 23:50 Arrive in port for the night

Day 3

  • 09:00 Breakfast. Passage planning
  • 10:00 Depart to sail on passage.
  • During the day : points of sail, helming and crewing practice, Discussion of emergency situations.
  • Lunch under way
  • 17:00 Arrive in harbour, dinghy drills.
  • 18:00 Dinner & cinema
  • 20:00 Spare evening for night sail (if required)   

Day 4

  • 07:00 Weather forecast, showers and breakfast
  • 08:00 Prepare the yacht of sea
  • 09:00 Depart for Solent sailing
  • 12:00 Enter harbour for lunch. Ice creams ashore
  • 13:00 Depart for afternoon sailing
  • 17:00 Arrive in port 
  • 18:30 Set up BBQ

Day 5

  • 07:00 Weather forecast, showers and breakfast
  • 08:00 Prepare the yacht of sea
  • 09:00 Depart for Solent sailing
  • 12:00 Short stop for lunch
  • 12:30 Depart for afternoon sailing
  • 15:00 Arrive back at Hamble Point, remove kit, clean yacht and fill out logbooks  
  • 16:00 RYA Competent Crew certificates awarded and depart

The RYA Competent Crew course aims to introduce the complete beginner to cruising and to teach personal safety, seamanship and helmsmanship to the level required to be a useful member of the crew of a cruising yacht.

1. Knowledge of sea terms and parts of a boat, her rigging and sails

Sufficient knowledge to understand orders given concerning the sailing and day-to-day running of the boat.

2. Sail handling

Bending on, setting, reefing and handling of sails

Use of sheets and halyards and their associated winches

3. Rope work

Handling ropes, including coiling, stowing, securing to cleats and single and double bollards

Handling warps.

Ability to tie the following knots and to know their correct use: figure-of-eight, clove hitch, rolling hitch, bowline, round turn and two half hitches, single and double sheet bend, reef knot

4. Fire precautions and fighting

Awareness of the hazards of fire and the precautions necessary to prevent fire

Knowledge of the action to be taken in event of fire 

5. Personal safety equipment

Understands and complies with rules for the wearing of safety harnesses, lifejackets and personal buoyancy aids

6. Man overboard

Understands the action to be taken to recover a man overboard 

7. Emergency equipment

Can operate distress flares and knows when they should be used.

Understands how to launch and board a liferaft

In addition to the above syllabus items, the instructor may cover other methods of sending a distress signal including the use of the VHF radio to send a Mayday call. 

8. Manners and customs

RYA Competent Crew should understand the  accepted practice with regard to: use of burgees and ensigns, prevention of unnecessary noise or disturbances harbour including courtesies to other craft berthed alongside.


Quite often yachts will be in close proximity with each other in harbour and it is therefore important for skippers and crew to show consideration to others especially at night. One of the main causes for complaint is people that play music and speak loudly in the cockpit well into the night. Sound will travel a long way in a harbour or marina at night thus disturbing the sleep of others.

Aware of the responsibility of yacht skippers to protect the environment.

During the course, the instructor will explain the law regarding the disposal of rubbish at sea and the use of heads in harbour. 

9. Rules of the road

Is able to keep an efficient lookout at sea

10. Dinghies

Understands and complies with the loading rules

Is able to handle a dinghy under oars

11. Meteorology

Awareness of forecasting services and knowledge of the Beaufort scale

12. Seasickness

Working efficiency is unaffected/partially affected/severely affected by seasickness. (Delete as applicable)

This is an assessment which will be made by the instructor. If a student is seasick during a course but can still function as a useful crew member the log book will usually be marked up as unaffected by the instructor. 

13. Helmsmanship and sailing

Understands the basic principles of sailing and can steer and trim sails on all points of sailing

Can steer a compass course, under sail and power.

14. General duties

Has carried out general duties satisfactorily on deck and below decks in connection with the daily routine of the vessel

This is where you can potentially fail the course if you do not clean the boat at the end of the course or carry out your share of the domestic duties during the course!

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