Typical Day Skipper Course Itinerary

These are intensive courses, covering the syllabus laid down by the RYA but each one is unique. The itinerary below is an outline of a typical Day Skipper course but they will vary depending on the weather, tides and needs of the individual students:

  • 18:30 Meet your skipper at Mercury Marina on the Hamble
  • Over coffee, start with an introduction to the yacht and safety briefing
  • Students have time to familiarise themselves with the vessel and it's equipment
  • Enjoy a meal at the waterside bar and review the syllabus/programme and what students want to get out of the week
  • Prompt start in the morning, with a good breakfast onboard
  • Complete/refresh the on-deck safety briefing before leaving the mooring
  • Familiarisation with the vessel's handling under power
  • Practice coming alongside before departing for short sailing exercise
  • Short sail, to experience vessel's handling under sail
  • Stop on a buoy for lunch, talk through passage planning
  • Instructor demonstrates this in practice during afternoon sail to Cowes
  • On the way, the instructor demonstrates MOB recovery procedure
  • Debrief of the day's activities, meal onboard, possibly a trip to a local pub
  • Hearty breakfast onboard
  • DS candidates start taking turns to practice their skippering skills
  • Before leaving the harbour students practice parking in marina berths.
  • First DS candidate plans and executes a short passage to a lunch anchorage
  • Another DS candidate prepares a passage plan to the evening destination
  • DS skippers passage, en route all students practice their MOB recovery.
  • Possibly end up at Yarmouth, Lymington or a night at anchor somewhere
  • After a meal onboard, opportunity for brief excursion to town.
Spinnakers in the Solent
Spinnakers in the Solent
  • Start the day with some more practice of boat handling under power
  • A DS candidate takes charge for a short passage with sailing exercises en route
  • Before lunch, practice sailing on and off mooring buoys without engine.
  • Short afternoon passage follows, perhaps sailing into Newtown and anchoring
  • Some down time, resting or refreshing theory, then an early evening meal
  • Set sail again as dusk approaches, heading out for a night exercise
  • DS candidates navigate, sailing around Bramble Bank and up Southampton water
  • Everyone is involved throughout in watching for lights and shipping
  • Arrive in Southampton in the early hours of the morning
  • Slightly later start with a good fry-up to get everyone going
  • Out in time for some manoeuvring practice and more advanced sail trimming
  • Before lunch each DS candidate sails onto a mooring buoy and anchor
  • Afternoon passage with more MOB exercises to evening destination
  • Possibly stop at Beaulieu, where tidal height calculations are required
  • Often the crew chooses to eat ashore on the last night
  • After a final hearty breakfast, get away promptly to make the most of the day
  • Refresh and brush up on all parts of the syllabus, as dictated by students' needs
  • Maybe anchor in Osborne Bay for early lunch, then sail back to base around 15:00
  • Everyone joins in with cleaning the yacht
  • Final debrief and issue of certificates, ready for departure by around 16:00

This is intended to give a flavour of the course. It is not a complete list of everything covered nor a reflection of the continuous nature of the instruction.