Posts in Category: Training

What type of sailing course is suitable for beginners?

What type of sailing course is suitable for beginners?

If you have ever had the pleasure of sailing a boat or being on board a sailing boat while chartering the oceans, then you will know just how amazing the feeling is and how great a choice it is for a way of taking a break from the normal day to day life habits that you are usually working your way through.

Everyone needs a holiday every now and again, even when you are one of the lucky percent that find their way to working in a job that they love, however even for those fortunate souls, holidaying and breaking away from the norm, doing something different and having some new experiences in new environments is (in our opinion) so important for maintaining a healthy and happy mind body and soul.

There are of course many ways that a person can go about their holiday plans, that will all depend on what they have been missing in their recent ‘normal’ life routine and there will be holidays to relax, holidays to experience, holidays to learn, holidays to party, romantic holidays, family holidays and solo self-development holidays; the ones where you go in search of yourself?

Training – sailing course

After we went on our first learn-to-sail holiday several years ago, we realised that we were getting a whole variety of experiences and enjoyments out of the one single holiday.

Ultimately the goal is to come out the other side with some new skills and perhaps one day, after a number of these learning to sail vacations, we might just have soaked up enough information and learned so much from the experienced teachers and sailing crews, that we would be able to gain enough skills and experience to attain a boat captains certificate & license and be able to charter a yacht ourselves or eventually as we had planned to buy our own yacht and liveaboard.

This might all sound like a pipe dream, but it is certainly a realistic goal and an amazing one at that! So we can really recommend this type of holiday as a fantastic way to ‘get away from it all’ and really de-stress oneself.

The feeling of being on the ocean and feeling the wind in your air, breathing in the freshest of air, is really an amazing feeling. Then due to the fact that you are learning a new skill and perhaps getting out of your normal ‘comfort zone’, you are usually going to be really just concentrating on what you are doing at that specific time, which is in a way providing a similar effect on the mind as you would get from meditating. So your mind is taken away from your usual thoughts and worries and put in a place of concentration.

After a week or two of this holidaying while learning, you will come back to your normal life feeling totally new and refreshed and ready to take on the world. Give it a try – you will be seriously impressed and surprised about how different the whole experience will make you feel.

Which type of sailing course should you consider?

So, you might now be buying into the idea of getting involved in the whole sailing sport and commencing by planning out where you will be going and who with, but where do you start?
What course should you be starting with you might ask?
What is the difference between the two main recognised sailing certificate authorities; RYA & ASA?

Don’t let these initial flood of questions put you off though, as it really is not so daunting when you get down to it – RYA is the sailing license obtained from UK licensing authorities & ASA is a license awarded by US sailing authorities and there really is not so many difference between the two. We did the UK RYA course, being based in the UK at the time. The RYA courses are thorough and offer a high learning schedule.

RYA is probably more widely recognised and trusted around the world and for this reason will likely open up more doors for you, the only draw-back would be in how it is a more intense course and perhaps takes more effort and is more taxing on your energy reserves. 

So after deciding which license/sailing certificates you will be working towards, then what’s next?
Which course of the variety of different skills you need to be learning do you start with? Fortunately this is quite a simple decision to make due to the name of the course – ‘Start Yachting’.

Who are the RYA?

The Royal Yachting Association (RYA) is the national body for all forms of boating under power or sail. Including dinghy and yacht racing, motor and sail cruising, RIBs and sports boats, powerboat racing, windsurfing, inland cruising and narrowboats, and personal watercraft.

There are two options with the RYA Training Courses. Firstly, a private course (you hire your own yacht and have your own dedicated instructor). Or the more usual and traditional course structure of mixed individuals course.

Sailing course – dayskipper theory

Different Courses available – Theory and Practical

When following the RYA syllabus you need to successfully complete a theory section and a practical session before you are qualified. Carl did his theory Day Skipper and Yacht Master courses in a classroom environment, whereas Jenny did her Day skipper theory course online via

Consider starting with “Competent Crew”, then moving on to “Day Skipper” Once qualified as a Day Skipper you also get the ICC, “International Certificate of Competence” which is recognised all over Europe and beyond. By being a member of the RYA you can apply for the ICC free of charge.

So now that you know more about how to get your ‘foot in the door’ and where you should get started when participating in a learn to sail holiday, why not start looking for the perfect place to go and start with your first sailing course. Go with some close friends or take the family and enjoy a unique vacation that will give you a much needed break away from all your normal life responsibilities.

We are almost certain you will be thankful for taking our advice and all being well; you will have taken your first steps towards a new hobby that you will thoroughly enjoy for many years to come.

For anyone thinking about giving Sailing a go, we can say with confidence that you will not regret it. A great place we recommend for you to get started with your first sailing course is Sail Ionian, based near Preveza, Greece, their boats and staff are second to none. 

Day skipper practical – sailing course

Added below are three books issued by the RYA which are really useful books to use (recommended) if you are going to do their courses. These are affiliate links so if you click on them and purchase from Amazon you still pay the same price but we get a small commission which helps to keep our Web pages/Youtube channel going.


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At last, Dayskipper practical course in Greece

Well we’ve had this course booked for some time now and the day came around when it was time to set off on this latest adventure!.

At the time of booking the only airport open in Greece within driving distance was Athens, also the only flight company advertising flights to Athens was British Airways, which meant we had to fly from Heathrow. We decided to travel down the day before the flight and book in at the Raddisson Blu hotel, they allow you to leave the car there in their car park for your trip. It’s only a few quid more than their normal room rate so well worth it. We travelled down on Monday afternoon and settled ito the restaurant that evening for one of the best steaks we’ve ever had.

Next morning we got an Uber cab (first time we’ve used Uber, using the iPhone app). Really good, and good prices. Our cab arrived and dropped us right outside the departure lounge at terminal 5. As this was going to be our retirement treat holiday (or one of them anyway) we upgraded the flights to premium, so got fast track security, priority boarding and VIP lounge all included. What a difference it makes to a less stressful experience. 

We were soon landing in Athens, only a few months since we were here last, and as we have flown here a few times we are quite at home finding our way around the airport. We collected our bags and headed for the car hire booth. Within half an hour we were on the road. Sat nav set, showing a 5hr drive, eta 2100hrs. En route we called the sailing company to update them on our arrival time. Luckily a new motorway has been built which knocked off just over an hour so Neil & Di, the owners of Sail Ionian actually met us at the office. They very kindly allowed us to stay on the boat the night before our charter started so another thumbs up to their brilliant service. We stepped aboard our home for the next two weeks, a Bavaria 41′ yacht called “Off Piste”. Di had prepared a welcome pack for us consisting of loads of fruit, some tinned stuff, bread, oil, vinegar, salt & pepper and other bits and bobs and a very welcome bottle of wine and a few beers.

The following morning is what down to business, we were joined by our instructor for the next five days, Steve. It turns out that he used to live just a few miles down the road from us before he moved out to Greece 12 years ago. Small world. We soon became good friends and Steve’s calm knowledgable way of teaching was put to good use. By lunchtime of day 2 he told us we would be doing our night sail that evening!! I was nominated as Skipper for the night and so had to plan all the navigation which would take us over 5 hours sailing in the complete darkness with islands all around and the only instruments allowed was obviously the compass, nav tools, plotter and dividers and the trusty pencil. It was all down to preparation and being able to identify lights. Jen took the reponsibility for the pilotage planning once we arrived in the new harbour.

Well we set off, Jen wasn’t to happy with us sailing in the dark but I was quite confident in our abilities and my navigation. Along the way the wind picked up to a force 7, great sailing conditions, Steve kept trying to put doubt into my mind about my navigation as a bit of a tester but I stuck to my guns, didn’t flap, and it turned out to be spot on. We arrived at our harbour in the early hours, had a celebratory beer and hit the sack!

Over the next few days we learnt new skills and tweaked our already learnt ones to a fine tune. We visited some beautiful ports and anchorages and ate loads of chicken souvlaki’s, Greek salads and drank a few beers as well.

We got back to base on Sunday evening and was awarded our dayskipper practical certificates..a successful week and two very happy sailors/Captains!!

The following morning we set off out on our own……!!

Watch out for the next blog post about the next 9 days on our own.

Carl & Jenny x

Jenny takes her Dayskipper theory exam!!

So this weekend, Jenny finally got time to sit down and do the theory exam.

She has been studying using the online course. I must say, it is a great course, well presented and the feedback from the instructors has always been within a few minutes of sending. We would highly recommend this company and their courses. I did my Dayskipper and Yachtmaster theory in 1994/95 so have been doing the course work myself as a bit of a refresher. It was well worth the money, and probably didn’t cost anymore than paying for a classroom course, the benefit of this one is that you can study whenever you want. Anyway, the good news is….she passed!!!!!

So in April we are off to Greece where we are both doing our practical course. We’ve hired a Bavaria 41 yacht, 5 days with the instructor, then assuming we get through the assessment, the next 9 days on our own sailing around the Ionian, can’t wait.

Here’s the latest video we’ve just uploaded to You Tube. Please give it a thumbs up if you like it and subscribe to be notified when the next one is released. Hope you enjoy it.

Carl and Jenny

The wind picks up!

We spent the afternoon out on the boat. Today the wind was blowing a nice steady force 3 gusting 4-5 at times, so it was ideal for Jen to get a bit of experience in the higher winds. Although we shared the helming, Jen spent more time helming than crewing. The video doesn’t show the wind as being as strong as it actually was. We had a great day out on the boat as you’ll see in the video. Hope you enjoy it.

On a separate note we now have a couple of Patrons who have joined us so a big thank you to them. If you would like to join but not sure whats its about you can click on the link below which will take you to our Patreon site and find out what its all about.
Carl & Jenny

Another day practical training for Jenny

We had no particular plans today, plan was to spend time chilling out in the garden, seeing as the weather was supposed to be “okay”. However we woke up and it was beautiful weather with a nice breeze blowing. Yep, you guessed it, perfect sailing weather. What better way to get some chillaxing done and forget about the stresses of everyday life than to get out on the water. A quick telephone call to the sailing club to double check the weather conditions up there and the sailing times and it was time to fill the flask, grab some fruit for lunch, pack the cameras and off we set. 45 minutes later we were waiting on the jetty to be taken out to the mooring.

Filming on board

Filming on board

We had a lovely day sailing, taking it in turns to skipper and film.  Jenny got to practice some stronger wind helming in the gusts that developed later on. She also got to navigate around a lot of other boats as there were a large number of Laser dinghy’s racing. All good fun, finished off by a perfect mooring manoeuvre 🙂

Hope you enjoy the video. Please, if you haven’t done already, visit our YouTube channel and click on subscribe. Once we get to a 100 subscribers we can claim a custom url from YouTube plus you will know when we publish a new video.

Carl & Jenny.

We get out on the boat :)

At last, the boat is back in the water, repairs have been done and it’s sailing time again. So as the weather forecast was given out to be blue skies, warm with a fresh breeze we decided to have another trip up to the sailing club to spend a few hours chilling out, out on the water, what better way to unwind and free up a bit of stress?

As you will see in the video, the conditions couldn’t have been much better. We arrived half an hour though before the safety boat driver was due a lunch break and as that was the only safety boat out on the water (Severn Trent Rules) we could only sit on the mooring until he came back an hour and half later. No problem, it gave us a some time to have a cup of tea, chill out and sunbathe in the cockpit.

We eventually set sail and had a great afternoons sailing. We had a couple of incidents, Jen almost went over the side! The video doesn’t make it look as close as it actually was and if I hadn’t have grabbed her she’d have been swimming lol! The other incident, which we didn’t get on film was when the starboard jib sheet came detached from the jib just prior to tacking. We were getting close to the shoreline as Jen was frantically trying to tie it back on, we needed to tack to starboard. I brought the boat to a neutral position as the wind was starting to get up a bit and I didn’t want her getting knocked overboard. I furled in the jib using the roller reefing while Jen tried to tie a bowline back on, We were getting into very shallow water now and the depth finder was showing just over half a metre underneath the boat! We got it sorted and I steered us back into deeper water. It was the subject of a laugh afterwards, but a bit nerve racking at the time. Good experience though and as they say, “character building”.

Hope you enjoy the video, and if you do please subscribe to our You Tube channel.

Carl & Jenny.

Latest video now online

We had a drive recently up to the sailing club to see if the boat (Parker 21) had been put back in the water after it was damaged during the Isle of Wight round the island race. It was late in the afternoon but the boat was sat on its mooring, but it was too late to go and have a sail. So we planned to go and have a chill/de-stress day pottering about a few days later.

The weather forecast was for light to moderate winds but probably wet. Well the day came around and as you’ll see in the video, it wasn’t the most ideal of sailing weather….no wind at all and throwing it down with rain!

So, we battened down the hatches, and had a theory training session.

Please have a look at the short video we’ve put together and if you like it give it a thumbs up, and if you’d like to follow us on our journey from novice sailors to liveaboards in 2017 please subscribe to the channel.

Hope you enjoy it,  now off for the morning yoga and meditation session.

C & J

Learning all about tidal diamonds


This afternoon Jenny’s studying was all about tidal diamonds. A little bit heavy going at times but by the end of the lesson she had grasped it.

I was watching over to make sure the workings out was correct which to be honest was a good bit of revision for me as its been quite a while since I’ve had to put the theory into practice as the majority of our sailing over the past couple of years has been inland!

We are both looking forward to putting into practice what we are studying.

This week we have been watching the Cowes regatta live racing via Livestream on our Roku tv box and also the sailing in the olympics. I have also enjoyed watching the windsurfing racing as a few years ago we were both into windsurfing in a big way. So much so that I even had wave boards on the half landing at home (before we were married and shared a house lol). 

C & J

Passage Planning – Collision Regs – Symbols


The postman has been 😀

Three more books have arrived to help out with our planning. The first two, the symbols and abbreviations and the collision regs we already have but our copies are a few years old so we thought it best to update them. Not a lot of difference apart from the prices!!!

The third book, Passage planning is a new one to the collection and I’ve already started reading this one this afternoon. The weather outside can’t decide what to do today, so I’m swapping from being sat outside in the sun, to being sat inside watching the dark skies and showers. Looks like some clear skies coming so once this post is uploaded I might be back out there reading the book.

I had the privelidge this morning of passing on some filming tips on one of the Facebook pages we are members of. It’s always nice to be able to pass on a bit of knowledge to someone else, I’m pretty sure that there will be some questions posted by us in the months to come so it will be nice to get some answers in return. Instant Karma!

No studying tonight as Jenny has a meeting with the girls from her netball team along with a meal so it’s a night in for me, ideal time to read more of the books.

Our food and drinks kitty has been paid today for our charter in October. There are 8 of us chartering two boats 4 on each, and will be leaving Plymouth on the Monday for a five day sail. Destination to be decided once we get a bit closer and have up to date weather forecasts. We are expecting a bit of rough water though 😳.

C & J

Ionian pilot guide arrived

This book arrived yesterday. We bought it after a couple of recommendations on You Tube. As we have posted before we are sailing in the Ionian in April 2017 and this book will give us some ideas on where to go and what to see.

We spent an hour reading through it last night and already have started to come up with a brief plan of where we want to go. A lot will probably depend on the weather when we get there in the time we have available but we’ll plan a few alternatives as contingencies.

We ordered the book Sunday evening from Amazon and it arrived yesterday afternoon, another great service from 

Last night Jenny spent a couple of hours studying her dayskipper course, working out heights of tides, etc. A bit heavy going but another 100% test score at the end of the session. Although home study isn’t quite the same as classroom based I’m really impressed with the quality of the content of the course she’s doing. The one good thing is that if you don’t understand it at first, you research it until you have a full understanding, unlike a classroom where you can sit there and get away without a full understanding. False economy when you’re paying for the course! Tonight is secondary ports.

C & J