Learn to sail on a RYA Start Yachting course
The RYA Start Yachting sailing course is a short introduction for complete beginners, running over two days. By the end of the course you will have experienced steering a yacht, sail handling, ropework and be aware of safety on board. Runs over two days, staying onboard overnight.
We aim to run a Start Yachting course on the first weekend of every month with a three day top up to RYA Competent Crew the following weekend. You can book your three day top at our RYA Competent Crew page.
We also offer RYA Start Yachting as Teen sails exlusively for 13-17yr olds and we can arrange women only courses.
“I couldn’t recommend the Sail Boat Project enough. I’ve completed two courses so far, next steps are Day Skipper theory and Day Skipper practical thank you so much guys for everything you’ve done for me.” – Gemma
“A fantastic skipper. He has a very calm, supportive and nurturing style of tuition and is clearly very knowledgable. Being new to yachting, his approach made me feel very at ease.” – Tom
Courses run from Chichester marina and Ocean Quay, Southampton.
Prices are £220 May-September, or £198 March-April and October; all inclusive.
Assumed knowledge: None
Ability after course: A basic knowledge of yachting
You can upgrade your RYA Start Yachting to RYA Competent Crew with three further days, or two weekends.
Finding your way around the yacht and what things are called
Ropework and knots
The basics of sailing
Rules of the road
How to recover someone if they fall overboard
Clothing and equipment
Emergency equipment and precautions
By the end of the course you will have a basic knowledge of yachting.
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.
2 day RYA practical courseJune 3 @ 9:30 am - June 4 @ 5:00 pm at Chichester Harbour
2 day RYA practical courseJuly 8 @ 9:30 am - July 9 @ 5:00 pm at Chichester Harbour
2 day RYA practical courseAugust 5 @ 9:30 am - August 6 @ 5:00 pm at Chichester Harbour
2 day RYA practical course for 13-17 year olds only, durign Summer school holidaysAugust 7 @ 9:30 am - August 8 @ 5:00 pm at Chichester Harbour
2 day RYA practical courseSeptember 2 @ 9:30 am - September 3 @ 5:00 pm at Chichester Harbour
2 day RYA practical courseOctober 7 @ 9:30 am - October 8 @ 5:00 pm at Chichester Harbour
Arrival and stick the kettle on.
Introduction to the boat, where things are.
Safety briefing, open up a lifejacket and look inside.
Look around deck, what are the bits of rope called an what do they do?
Prepare mooring lines to leave the pontoon safely.
Fenders and lines away.
Student on the helm as we motor down river, get used to steering the boat.
Pick up a mooring buoy using boathook, communicating as a team.
Cup of tea while we look at the running rigging (lines) in more detail.
Raise the main sail, understanding what order to do things in.
With the sail up, leave the mooring, with the engine on for back up.
Sailing practice in open water with the engine off! Turning the boat's direction through the wind (tacking)
Drop the anchor and prepare lunch.
Chance to go through the sailing we did and review what was happening.
Use of diagrams to learn 'points of sail'.
Watching other boats sailing around and describe what they are doing.
Practise sailing the boat around a three point course.
Experience giving way to other vessels, with an explanation of the 'rules of the road'.
Cup of tea underway!
Make use of an empty pontoon to practise bringing the boat alongside and stepping off safely with mooring lines.
Put pontoon practise into action, moored back on home pontoon, or we might decide to stay out at anchor overnight.
Go over the day and a chance to ask questions you've been saving up.
Dinner onboard and a stroll to the pub, a dinghy ashore if we're at anchor or just watching the stars come out.
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 make a booking
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.