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3 Jun 2019

RYA Day Skipper Course Perfect Prep for Yacht Delivery

Everyone that books onto a yacht sailing course will have their own reasons for wanting to complete a qualification. Whether it’s to pursue a career in watersports or simply for the love of sailing, our day skipper and yachtmaster courses will provide you with the confidence to get out on the water. And you never know what opportunities it may lead to. This was certainly true of one of our students who recently got to complete the trip of a lifetime. Having finished the RYA Day Skipper course with Ocean Sports Tuition, keen sailor Isabella got an offer that she couldn’t refuse.

The modern classic sailing yacht, Chloe Giselle (a Spirit 65) had been competing in Antigua Classics Week and the Antigua Round the Island race. Next up on the events list was the New York Yacht Club 175th Anniversary Regatta and Isabella was drafted in as part of the yacht delivery crew for the passage from Antigua to Newport, Rhode Island. We caught up with her after the sailing trip to find out how she got on.

“The work began days before the sailing trip, with a whole host of sails and equipment to load onto the boat. Everything needed to be checked and prepped to make sure that we were ready for 9 days at sea. Before we set sail we also got the opportunity to explore some of Antigua and what this stunning island had to offer. We visited Nelson’s Dockyard, which is an incredible historic cultural heritage site and marina in English Harbour. The view of English Harbour from the top of Shirley’s Heights is spectacular and the locals really help you to soak up the atmosphere with a steel band and some incredible cuisine. But the most breath-taking part of the island has to be the crystal-clear waters and the stunning beaches.

After 4 days of preparation and enjoying the sights ashore it was finally time to set sail for America. With 20 knots of breeze blowing in from the South, the conditions couldn’t have been better (aside from a brief rain shower!). Within just a few hours, Antigua had disappeared into the distance. The feeling of sailing out through open waters is something that you cannot imagine until you’ve experienced it, especially the first time that you sail at night. You will never see the stars quite so vividly and on such a grand scale as when you’re at sea. Helming at night also requires a very different skillset, relying upon the instruments and the feel of the boat to hold your course. It’s a great opportunity to practice some of the elements of meteorology that we learnt on the Day Skipper course too, as most nights it was clear enough to navigate according to the stars.

With the passage set to take us through the Bermuda Triangle, there was every chance of finding some lengthy patches of very light wind. Yet during the entire yacht delivery we only faced around 8 hours of motoring. In fact, with winds of up to 37 knots during one night, it proved to be thoroughly eventful. Sailing a longer passage such as this, you really have to put aside the usual racing mentality in favour of a safer, more measured approach. Learning to reef sails in the dead of night, whilst crashing about in 25+ knots of breeze and 3 metre waves is certainly eye-opening and arguably helps you learn the ropes far quicker!

Luckily the breeze soon eased when dawn broke and we were graced with crystal blue seas and champagne sailing conditions once again. What’s more, the easing wind brought about the arrival of the wildlife. Birds flitted around the boat and a lively pod of dolphins appeared, proceeding to play in the waves around us for well over an hour, providing some incredible photo opportunities!

Aside from the incredible sights and the thrill of surfing down waves, the passage gave a great opportunity to put some of the other skills I’d learnt on the Day Skipper course to the test. This sailing trip gave me the chance to try my hand at passage planning and navigating, learning the importance of logging our progress when the Bermuda Triangle momentarily wreaked havoc on our instruments! Despite this, we made great progress and finally arrived in Newport 9 days after setting sail. The final moments sailing into Newport really brought home what a spectacular experience this was and the types of opportunities that the Day Skipper course could open up for me. I can’t wait to get back on the water for my next yacht delivery trip to Ireland!”

Ocean Sports Tuition is a specialist training school that provides a complete range of RYA practical and theory courses, as well as boat charter opportunities. Operating from purpose-built facilities in Saxon Wharf Marina, Southampton, we offer courses for those looking to dip their toe in the water to experienced boaters taking their next steps into a career in water sports.

To see where our courses could take you, please call Andy on 02381 242159 or email andy@oceansportstuition.co.uk