RYA Day Skipper - Practical

RYA Day Skipper Practical Course - Tidal

The RYA Day Skipper practical course, is your introduction to skippering a yacht. We know that the first time you charter a yacht or set off on your own boat, it can be a nerve racking experience! During the course we teach you the basic practical skippering techniques to enable you to feel confident, the first time you set sail as the Skipper. You will need some sailing experience and a basic knowledge of  theory and navigation up to RYA Day Skipper shore based level. Completion of a RYA Day Skipper shore based course beforehand will greatly enhance the value of the Day Skipper practical course, although it is possible to study the syllabus at home if you wish.

The RYA Day Skipper practical course can be taken as a straight five day course, over weekends or it can be combined with the shore based course and completed in 9 days. During the course each person is given the opportunity to navigate and take control of the yacht on short coastal passages. Your instructor is there to ensure that your first, perhaps hesitant steps as a Day Skipper are taken in safety. You will be given the opportunity to practice your boat handling in a variety of mooring situations, and whilst at sea your instructor will cover subjects such as pilotage, deck work, sail trim and how to cope in emergency situations.

As a Skipper, you are responsible for the management of a yacht and for the safety of those on board who sail with you. Therefore the course also includes meteorology, basic engine checks, passage planning, preparing the yacht for sea, and rules of the road. Although you will qualify to sail in day light hours, night sailing is also undertaken to give you a taste of pilotage in the dark. By the end of this course the successful RYA Day Skipper will be able to undertake short coastal passages by day, in both tidal and non-tidal waters. Successful completion of this course means that you will be awarded the RYA Day Skipper practical course completion certificate and can charter one of our yachts.

Holders of the Day Skipper practical certificate can gain an International Certificate of Competence (ICC) without any further training or assessment.

Pre-course experience:

5 days, 100 nautical miles and 4 night hours on board a cruising yacht

Assumed theoretical knowledge: Day Skipper shore based course completion certificate or the equivalent knowledge of someone who has attended the course

Minimum age: 16



RYA Day Skipper Practical Training Centre

RYA Day Skipper Practical - Typical 5 Day Course Itinerary

Arrival evening

Arrive at Hamble - Check in at School reception and welcome to your RYA Day Skipper course. Meet Instructor and move onto yacht - settle in. 
Instructors safety briefing and yacht familiarisation talk - explain where everything is. 
Go ashore for a drink and meal.

Day 1

Weather forecast, breakfast, showers, clean up. 
On deck - Introduction to ropes and rigging, preparation of the yacht for sea. Engine start controls, sea cocks and bilge pumps. 
Practice manoeuvring under power. Coming alongside pontoons, the use of warps and fenders. 
Lunch on board at anchor or tied to a mooring buoy. 
Weather forecast. 
Manoeuvring under sail, reefing and headsail changes 
Man overboard , the correct response as the skipper. 
19:00 Enter Solent harbour. Stow sails and tidy up on deck. 
Discuss the days events. 
20:00 Supper

Day 2

Weather Forecast, clean up and prepare for sea. 
Tide tables, the tidal stream atlas. Pilotage techniques. 
Practice pile moorings or mooring buoys. Set off on short passage 
Weather forecast 
Sail off to anchorage - steering a compass course 
Whilst at anchor cover rules of road, buoyage and position fixing
18:3 Supper 
20:00 Depart on night sail (weather permitting)

Day 3

08:00 Breakfast. Passage planning 
Depart to sail on passage. 
During the day : points of sail, passage making decisions, Discussion of emergency situations. 
Dinghy drills. 
20:00 Supper (spare evening for night sail)

Day 4

By 08:30 Weather Forecast, breakfast, clean yacht and prepare for sea.
09:00 Pontoon moorings, further practice.
Depart to practice entry to as many ports as possible, more points of sailing practice.
19.00 Arrive at a port for evening.

Day 5

By 08:30 Weather forecast, breakfast, and preparation for sea.
0Sailing in the Solent - practice all aspects 
15:00 Return to Hamble Point. Clean up yacht, return oilskins etc.
16:00 Finish course, debrief, sign logbooks, depart

Day Skipper and Watch Leader Practical Course Syllabus - Tidal

Section A

All candidates

1. Preparation for sea

  •           Is able to prepare a yacht for sea, including engine checks, selection of sails, securing and stowage of all gear on deck and below. 

2. Deck work

  •           Can reef, shake out reefs and change sails to suit prevailing conditions
  •           Can prepare an anchor, mooring warps and take charge on deck when mooring alongside, coming to a buoy, anchoring, weighing anchor and slipping    from a buoy or an alongside berth 

3. Navigation

Is proficient in chart work and routine navigational duties on passage including:

  •           Taking and plotting visual fixes
  •           Use of electronic navigation equipment for position fixing
  •           Use of waypoints
  •           Working up DR and EP
  •           Estimating tidal heights and tidal streams
  •           Working out course to steer to allow for tidal stream, leeway and drift
  •           Knowledge of IALA buoyage
  •           Maintenance of navigational records
  •           Use of echo sounder and lead line 

4. Pilotage

  •           Can prepare and execute a pilotage plan for entry into, or departure from, harbour
  •           Understands the use of leading and clearing lines.
  •           Use of transits and soundings as aids to pilotage 

5. Meteorology

  •           Knows sources of forecast information
  •           Can interpret shipping forecasts and use a barometer as a forecasting aid 

6. Rule of the road

  •           Has a working knowledge of the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea

7. Maintenance and repair work

  •           Understands and is able to carry out maintenance tasks
  •           Knows the properties and uses of common synthetic fibre ropes 

8. Engines

  •           Knows how to change fuel and water filters, pump impeller and to bleed the fuel system

9. Victualling

  •           Understands how to victual a yacht

10. Emergency situations

  •           Is able to take correct action as skipper for recovery of man overboard
  •           Understands distress flares and how to use a liferaft
  •           Can operate a radiotelephone in an emergency and send a distress message
  •           Understands how to secure a tow
  •           Understands rescue procedures including helicopter rescue 

Section B

Sail Training Candidates only - Watch Leader 

11. General organization

  •          Understands the organisation and is fully competent to take charge of a watch at sea and in harbour

Section C

Yachting Candidates only - Day Skipper 

12. Yacht handling under power

      ·       Can bring a boat safely to and from an alongside berth, mooring buoy and anchor under various conditions of wind and tide

13. Yacht handling under sail

  •        Can bring a boat safely to and from a mooring buoy and anchor under various conditions of wind and tide
  •        Can steer and trim sails effectively on all points of sailing 

14. Passage making

  •      Can plan and make a coastal passage, taking account of relevant navigational hazards and limitations imposed by the type of boat and the strength of the crew

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Certificate is awarded following successful completion of 5 days of tuition

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