Cruising round The Solent, stopping in little coves, sitting enjoying a drink on the deck or taking part in chartering in the med. These all make learning to sail a yacht so appealing. And better yet, it is something that is accessible with the right training. You do not need to own your own boat, you can train at an accredited RYA training centre, join a club and start chartering.

The entry level is the RYA Start Yachting course. This is a weekend course (or 2 days) where you will experience being part of the crew on a training course. You will cover parts of the yacht, ropework, sailing the yacht, rules of the road, meteorology, man overboard, clothing and equipment and emergency equipment and precautions.

If you decide that sailing is for you, then you can do another weekend course to obtain your Competent Crew qualification. From here you move on to the Day Skipper course. This is the certificate that is required for you to be able to charter a boat if you are going on a flotilla holiday or are wanting to just simply charter a yacht. You can go up to 12 miles offshore. With your Day Skipper Practical, you can apply to the RYA for your ICC (International Certificate of Competence) which is recognised worldwide.

Learn New Sailing Skills

The Day Skipper course involves 5 days of sailing and also 5 days of theory. Alongside the course, we would recommend that you do a First Aid at Sea course and also a VHF radio course.

As a Day Skipper, you will be responsible for your boat and the crew on it so the greater your knowledge the happier you will feel on any trips or whilst out at sea.  After the Day Skipper, you can then go on to the Coastal Skipper and Yachtmaster, which means you will be able to do trans Atlantic crossings or go sailing further afield.

There are many training centres in the UK that offer these courses. Wherever you go make sure that they are RYA registered. You still do not need to buy your own boat. There are various venues, such as Bacchus Yachting & Sea School, Haslar Marina, that have a range of charter yachts that allow you to use their boats and maintain your skill level. A lot of clubs also have race series that run throughout the year which is great for learning new skills, the social side of sailing and also making new contacts for finding new people to sail with or crew for.