Learn to sail with RYA Competent Crew
The RYA Competent Crew course is for beginners and those who would like to become active crew members rather than just passengers. By the end of the course you should be able to steer, handle sails, keep a lookout, row a dinghy and assist in all the day to day duties on board. Runs over five days.
RYA Competent Crew is five days in total. If you have already done a two day RYA Start Yachting course you can top up to RYA Competent Crew with a further three days or two weekends. We aim to run a three day RYA Competent Crew top up course on the second weekend of every month.
“I remembered and possibly learnt more in those five days then on past sailing trips. The skipper was very knowledgeable and was able to teach at all the levels of competence of students.As a dyslexic I like to see pictures and enjoyed the visual aids. Thank you for being great and staying ethical while demonstrating total professionalism.”
“I couldn’t recommend Sail Boat Project more highly. What you do and the people genuinely have a love for the water and it shows. The course was perfect – as an introduction but in actual fact I learnt so much more. We had an excellent skipper in Bruno and support too. It was one of the most rewarding five days I’ve spent with a group of great folks doing something totally new in years. The professionalism, knowledge, practical hands on experience and warmth was exceptional. The food was bloody amazing. It’s inspired me to do more sailing when I get the chance.”
Courses run from Chichester marina and Ocean Quay, Southampton.
We also offer RYA Competent Crew as Teen sails exlusively for 13-17yr olds and we can arrange women only courses.
Prices are £550 May-September, or £495 March-April and October; all inclusive.
Assumed knowledge: None
Ability after course: A basic knowledge of yachting and how to be a useful crew member
Knowledge of sea terms and parts of a boat, her rigging and sails
Fire precautions and fighting
Use of personal safety equipment
Affected or not by seasickness
Manners and customs
Rules of the road
By the end of the course you will be able to steer, handle sails, keep a lookout, row a dinghy and assist in all the day to day routines
Our rates are all inclusive, covering all food onboard, hire of sailing waterproofs and visitor mooring costs.
10% lower rates are available in March, April and October.
Courses run from Chichester marina and Ocean Quay, Southampton, please see below for details.
3 day practical RYA course for people who have already completed their RYA Start Yachting 2 day course.August 11 @ 9:30 am - August 13 @ 5:00 pm at Chichester Harbour
5 day practical RYA courseAugust 16 @ 9:30 am - August 20 @ 5:00 pm at Chichester Harbour
5 day practical RYA course for 13-17 year olds only, during Summer school holidaysAugust 21 @ 9:30 am - August 25 @ 5:00 pm at Chichester Harbour
3 day practical RYA course for people who have already completed their RYA Start Yachting 2 day course.September 8 @ 9:30 am - September 10 @ 5:00 pm at Chichester Harbour
5 day practical RYA courseSeptember 20 @ 9:30 am - September 24 @ 5:00 pm at Chichester Harbour
3 day practical RYA course for people who have already completed their RYA Start Yachting 2 day course.October 13 @ 9:30 am - October 15 @ 5:00 pm at Chichester Harbour
5 day practical RYA courseOctober 18 @ 9:30 am - October 22 @ 5:00 pm at Chichester Harbour
5 day practical RYA courseMarch 14, 2018 @ 9:30 am - March 18, 2018 @ 5:00 pm at Chichester Harbour
5 day practical RYA courseApril 18, 2018 @ 9:30 am - April 22, 2018 @ 5:00 pm at Chichester Harbour
5 day practical RYA courseMay 16, 2018 @ 9:30 am - May 20, 2018 @ 5:00 pm at Chichester Harbour
5 day practical RYA courseJune 13, 2018 @ 9:30 am - June 17, 2018 @ 5:00 pm at Chichester Harbour
5 day practical RYA courseJuly 18, 2018 @ 9:30 am - July 22, 2018 @ 5:00 pm at Chichester Harbour
5 day practical RYA courseAugust 15, 2018 @ 9:30 am - August 19, 2018 @ 5:00 pm at Chichester Harbour
5 day practical RYA courseSeptember 12, 2018 @ 9:30 am - September 16, 2018 @ 5:00 pm at Chichester Harbour
5 day practical RYA courseOctober 17, 2018 @ 9:30 am - October 21, 2018 @ 5:00 pm at Chichester Harbour
Overhear the shipping forecast that the skipper is noting down while the kettle is on.
Outline of the day's plans and where we're aiming to sail to.
Students prepare the boat to leave the marina and off we go.
Short sailing passage, practising 'tacking' (turning the boat through the wind).
Learning 'rules of the road' as we meet other vessels.
Anchor in a sheltered spot for lunch.
Rest or reading for short presentations later - not a test, just a way to help you find information and learn.
Review the morning's activities and a chance to ask questions .
Weigh anchor (pull it up!) and we're underway again.
Demonstration of how to recover someone who falls overboard, and then we practise together as a crew.
Debrief and discuss the exercise while continue on passage.
Tea and snacks as required!
Pilotage (finding our way) into harbour or river entrance, with everyone helping look out for marks.
Anchor for the evening.
Very short presentation by students on using flares and how a liferaft works, from earlier reading.
Glass of wine and tall tales or row to the pub.
Everyone knackered, early night!
How many other people will there be onboard?
On our RYA courses we have four students per instructor, although occasionally we might also have a volunteer onboard.
For our sailing trips we have up to six people onboard plus skipper and volunteer first mate.
We can have up to ten people onboard for group activities.
Where do we sleep? Do we go back to the marina each night?
We all sleep onboard, with a berth allocated to you. We usually stay in a different place each night, which could be at anchor or mooring in a marina with walk ashore access to showers and toilets. A lot depends on people's needs, which we'll check with you at the start of a course or trip and as we carry on.
Do we eat onboard? Do you cater for special diets?
All meals and snacks are included in our rates and our vessels are well stocked for your time onboard. We provide vegetarian and vegan food by default as part of our commitment to lowering our company's carbon footprint, although please feel free to eat anything you want ashore. Thanks to our partners at Infinity Foods we have plenty of great snacks and ingredients. While we all take turns making meals, there are always some homemade pre-prepared dishes so you can make the most of your sailing and learning time. Please let us know about any other dietary needs - we are pretty familiar with various allergies and diets.
Is there a toilet onboard?
Each of our vessels are equipped with at least one sea toilet, called a 'heads', and by boat standards they are quite roomy, with washbasins. They have a slight knack to using them, which your skipper will show you, but they are pretty similar to a home flush toilet. We do ask you to use toilets ashore when in a marina.
Do you provide waterproofs?
Yes, we provide salapette trousers and jackets which are wind and waterproof, as well as sailing boots which provide a secure grip on deck. Please feel free to bring your own gear or to ask us for advice on where to purchase affordable sailing gear. Lifejackets and safety harnesses are provided.
Will it be rough, what if I feel sick?
Due to where our vessels are moored, the first days' sailing you will experience will be in sheltered waters, and we'll stay in such waters for entry and beginner levels. We want you to enjoy your sailing and our skippers remain very aware of how people are feeling and do their best to avoid unnecessarily unpleasant conditions by planning ahead.
What if the weather is really bad, what weather don't we go out in?
Sailing is obviously very weather dependent. We reserve the right to cancel trips and courses at our discretion, due to adverse weather. If we are forced to do so, we will be in touch with you in the days beforehand to advise and we will work with you to attempt to find you a suitable replacement or if not we will refund all of your money. However, Sail Boat Project cannot be held responsible for any other loss that you may have incurred due to cancellation of your course or trip. The final decision on whether a course or trip goes ahead is always based on the capabilities of those onboard and we are not interested in forcing anyone into being forced into a position they are uncomfortable with.
Will I get a certificate?
All the RYA practical and theory courses we deliver lead to a nationally recognised qualification within the RYA's sail cruising scheme, if you have met the syllabus requirements. We also issue certificate sof achievement as part of the RYA Sailability scheme and we have our own certificates of achievement for groups.
Do you make arrangements for people with special needs, learning or physical?
Yes, we have experience of taking people out sailing with a range of different needs. Our ethos is to make things possible and we will always work with you to allow inclusion and participation from everyone. While our vessels are not specifically adapted, for example for wheelchair users, we will always think about what changes we can make to get people out on the water. We use a variety of learning materials that engage and include people and our skippers and instructors are always learning and sharing with each other techniques to help people make the most of their time with us.
Can I talk to an instructor or skipper in advance?
Yes, if we can't put you through to one of our instructors or skippers when you call the office, we will pass on you details and have someone get back to you as soon as possible to have a chat with you.
Do you allow alcohol onboard?
Yes we do, in moderation! We may share a bottle of wine onboard or visit a pub during a course or trip, but please remember alcohol and getting used to the motion of the sea don't mix well.
Should I bring my log book?
Yes, if you have a sailing log book this is really good to bring along. For courses it will outline your syllabus, help your instructor see what experience you have and you can get it signed off at the end. For sailing trips you can record the nautical miles sailed and treat it as a mile builder towards any examinations you go for. They are also a useful record for your own interest. We always have log books available for sale onboard for £6.
Is it all sailing, is there time to explore places we visit?
Depending on the level of course you are on, there is usually time to explore a couple of the places we visit. The Competent Crew course includes using a dinghy, so you'll be able to explore from the water! On our sailing trips part of the idea is to have a look around sowewhere new. We usually agree as a group when to have time ashore as we always need to work around the weather and tides. If you have any particular requests make sure you let your skipper know.
Will I see any wildlife?
Plenty of birdlife and the odd seal - in Chichester harbour there is a whole seal colony at certain times of the year. Marine mammals are not as abundant as we'd like them to be, although porpoises in Poole Bay and dolphins off Chichester bar have been recent sightings. If we are lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time we would never move in close or cause any undue stress. We have marine wildlife spotter guides onboard to help you prepare.
- Clothing layers - even if it's sunny or warm on land it can get quite chilly when sailing
- Hat, sun cream, lip salve, sunglasses, gloves
- If you're staying overnight or longer you'll need to bring a sleeping bag, pillow, towel, toiletries
- Any medication you would normally require
- Pack your belongings in a soft bag that can be easily stowed
- Do bring any of your favourite snacks or soft drinks as we may not be near any shops
(If you have your own foul weather gear you are welcome to bring it)
- If you haven't been sailing before and don't know if you might get seasick, some good advice is to have a sensible breakfast and don't drink lots of alcohol the night before!
- Bring seasickness pills if you might need them.
- All meals & snacks while on board (vegetarian/vegan)
- Sleeping berth
- Course books in advance (if applicable)
- Access to our onboard sailing library, including RYA course books (copies available to buy)
- Quality XM foul weather trousers, jackets and waterproof deck boots
(If you have your own foul weather gear you are welcome to bring it)
- Please feel free to discuss equipment concerns with us prior to your sailing trip or course, we will happily advise on purchases if you would like to buy your own gear.
If you want to talk to one of our instructors or have a more general enquiry either call (+44) 07576 248 348 or fill in the form below.
We will do our best to get back to you as soon as possible.