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Family sailing holidays and latest news
9th February 2018
Flying the flag – red ensign
29th March 2018

The RYA Competent Crew Course

This is a practical course over a 5 day period onboard a yacht where you learn lots of new skills to take you from beginner to being a useful crew member. So what is in this course to get you started?

It covers many aspects, but obviously safety is a high priority with a number of things to learn about. All the aspects of sailing are taught, the handling of ropes and sails as well as some of the jargon so we can understand what is going on. You will be involved with manoeuvres from the start of the passage, whether it is getting the boat secured in a marina or weighing the anchor. You will be crewing and helming to get us there.

Many incidental things are also covered to give a rounded knowledge with a bit of an understanding as to what a skipper has to be thinking about to get us all safely from place to place. Crewing is being part of a team; others may be doing different courses, learning other skills so there is a lot to grasp as crew on a training vessel.

This all leads to competency hence the name on the certificate generally awarded on satisfactory completion. This could be the start of greater things and many have gone on from this level to be thoroughly able to sail different vessels in wide ranging areas.

At the same time you are also sailing in some of the most beautiful waters of Europe and in an area that affords good shelter if wild weather is forcast.

You will learn:

  • Knots and winches
  • The radio and emergency procedures
  • Beaufort scale of wind power
  • Gybing safely and safe deckwork
  • Points of sail
  • Helming and steering by compass

St Kilda and the Hebrides

Periodically I have some adventurers that want to visit these remote islands that lie well west of the Outer Hebrides which were inhabited by a few people for 4000 years until the 1930s.

These precipitous islands, home to close to a million seabirds, have a rugged attraction and can be visited in the right weather to anchor in the one and only bay, Village Bay, beneath the hills that sweep down to the deserted village.

We can get ashore here and hopefully spend a couple of nights to give ample opportunity for exploring. Generally we can also have a good sail about the spectacular sea stacks and Boreray before returning to the chain of the Western Isles.

This trip is best made in June when thousands of birds are in nesting mode and create a raucous spectacle. Most people are hugely impressed by the towering cliffs, sea caves, hardy Soay sheep, gannets diving for fish, the museum and the preserved old church. I allow 10 days for the trip which allows time to explore, and visit many other parts of the Hebrides, a very varied landscape. The trip can be booked berth at a time or a group booking.