Skysail Training


RYA Day Skipper Practical

From Steve:
Ivan and I successfully completed our Day Skipper Tidal course at Four-Winds out of Bucklers Hard on the Beaulieu River. Their facilities were faultless, Carolyn-Anne, a Trident Marine Warrior 40 was very comfortable and impressive and Richard the ex-naval owner brilliant. The information that Keith taught us through the winter was spot on, especially the stuff about buoys, and navigation lights etc, so DON’T forget it. Doing a night sail really sets it in your mind.

My main advice from the experience is, do try to get some sailing in, even if it is only in a dinghy before you do the practical.  Wind awareness and the ability to sail “best course to windward” seems to be essential.   (KB note - sailing efficiently to windward IS essential - dinghy sailing is the fastest way to learn to sail).

Keep in touch and we will try to set up some self help events/trips during the summer.

From Ivan
Would you kindly forward this e-mail to Anthony, Mike and any other person attending a Four-Winds practical.  In addition to Steve's comment about 'Wind Awareness', revision of the
subjects listed below would have made my life a little easier.

Doing the theory and then putting the books away was not a good idea.  Nonetheless, it was very enjoyable and the food was good.

More comment from Anthony (also passed Day Skipper practical!):  'If you do Competent Crew first it covers many of the questions raised above.  Keith, in terms of the navigation, your training was spot on and I think that the fact that you took us beyond the strict RYA brief held me in good stead. For my part I found that the classroom required precision and the practical course more of a global appreciation. Time is of the essence on the boat and had I taken initially more of a helicopter view of the big picture it would have been easier. Sometimes it is enough to know whether one is tacking to the Isle of Wight or the mainland! The big picture gives one clues to the required detail with speed and confidence.'

From Daniel:

Hi Keith,

Just a quick note to let you know that I've just got back from Lanzarote, where I attended the Sunsail Day Skipper practical.

I passed, of course, and thought I'd pass on my thanks since I seemed to have a considerably wider knowledge of the theory than the other guys on our boat, a credit to your teaching. Just in case any future attendees of your course ask, I found Sunsail Lanzarote to be excellent. The instructors were ocean yacht master instructors with bucket loads of experience and a great attitude.

We sailed to a different port in either Lanzarote or Fuerteventura every evening, enjoying endless wind ranging 3-7. The night sail at 7 knots under Genoa only in considerable swell was fantastic. With 5 boats they'd split 4 people onto each boat and made really good splits for people of similar ages, courses, interests.

The only negative points was that the food in the Canaries was fairly tasteless and the Sunfast 37's, although only 4 years old, had seen better days since they are the old Solent boats sent over, and they must take a fair bashing from continuous use.


From Jonathan:

I completed a VHF/DSC course yesterday which went well.

But before I forget, I promised to let you know how I got on with my Day Skipper Practical a week ago.  It went very well and we had a super week and..….I passed!  We started out from  Falmouth  in Cornwall and generally sailed up the river creeks and along the coast between Helford and Fowey.  Excellent coastal scenery, views and pubs, and good weather to boot, made it all very worthwhile and enjoyable   We did some night sailing (or rather motoring because it was gusting Force 6) which tested my chart work preparation and navigation – it was my turn to be skipper!  There were 4 students including myself and the skipper/instructor and we sailed a Bavaria 36’ which is part of a fleet of 7 (I think) owned by Cornish Cruising.  They were excellent, and all equipment including sailing gear, food (except when eating out), sleeping bags etc were included in the price.

Their address is Cornish Cruising, Falmouth Yacht Marina, North Parade, Falmouth, Cornwall TR11 2TD (Tel: 01326 211800).  

The Solent is nearer, but for those prepared to travel the extra (200) miles the Cornish coast made for excellent sailing and, if I advance to Coastal/Yachting standard, I will certainly consider going with Cornish Cruising

Posted 27th March 2011