Sailing School

     Sailing school is not just for beginners!

Once the sailing bug bites, it's going to itch forever. Hey there’s nothing wrong with that because there's always more to learn, and more adventure in the learning.

Once you’ve come through the basics you may want to raise your game, improve your skills and techniques or undertake advanced qualifications with the possibility of getting into the marine industry. 

I went to a sailing school that was a 4 days ‘hands on’ course aboard a yacht. Received a New Zealand Boatmaster certificate, went to navigation and seamanship classes and seminars and received my radio license.

I read heaps of books on how to sail, on emergencies and heavy weather ........ you can’t practice these things until they happen, and when you’re ‘out there’ and an emergency hits, or a bad storm its best to have some knowledge to draw on. I jumped in boots and all and bought a 32 ft yacht 10 months after my first lesson. I have never sailed a smaller yacht ... don’t know if I can.

I have experienced sailing from New Zealand to Tonga, crossed the Tasman from New Zealand to Australia in my own boat and sailed up the East Coast of Australia, sometimes solo. I’ve sailed in storms and the tail end of a cyclone, surfed some big waves and experienced a knock down and dragged anchor and grounding on coral.  And more!

And after 15 years or more of sailing I would never presume to call myself a good sailor. I’m just a jump aboard and ‘do it’ gal! So I feel a few advanced lessons would not go astray on me and when I get my self into situations and I'm solo I tell myself I should go back to sailing school. 

What sailing courses can you take?

If you are at the stage where you have just been day sailing and navigating in your local waters and have the desire to venture on a coastal voyage by day and night and need the confidence and knowledge to do so look at a coastal skipper course.

Coastal Skipper:

  • Learn about passage planning
  • Pilotage day and night
  • Boat handling
  • Safety and emergency situations
  • Skippering challenging passages
  • VHF emergency situations
  • Weighing anchor and mooring
  • Engine/filters/fuel systems
  • Bilge and fire pumps
  • Navigation/chart work
  • Rules of the road/lights and shapes

The course can be taken in tidal or non-tidal waters and your certificate will be endorsed accordingly. After the course you will be able to skipper a yacht on coastal passages day and night.

For the more advanced and the ultimate aim of aspiring skippers there is the Yachtmaster sailing courses.


  • Sufficient experience
  • Sea time

Unlike other courses in the cruising programme, there is no formal training to complete in order to become a Yachtmaster, but there is a RYA online course you can take.

Or check out some of the books on the subject to get you up to speed. Coastal and Ocean Seamanship (Reed's yacht master series).  Provided that you have sufficient experience and sea time, you can put yourself forward for an exam to test your skills and knowledge.

Many Yachtmaster candidates choose to book themselves into an RYA training centre for some tailor-made tuition to prepare them for the exam, but this is not compulsory. It is a well known, highly respected qualification worldwide, proving your experience and competence as a skipper.

Britain's national body for all forms of boating, including dinghy and yacht racing and sailing, motor and sail cruising, RIBs and sports boats, powerboat racing, windsurfing, inland cruising, narrow boats and personal watercraft.

Administers the internationally recognised RYA training programme for leisure boaters.

Sailing School Vacations!

If you are not at the stage of getting your Yachtmaster certificate then treat your self to a Milecatchers voyage which gives sailing enthusiasts the opportunity to accrue sea miles while learning.

Sunsail has some of the most amazing sailing grounds on the planet where you can go on a mile catcher voyages. One is to sail around the Whitsunday Islands , the Great Barrier Reef and up the coast to Port Douglas in far north Queensland Australia, the trip takes 10 amazing days.

And school ain’t half bad when you can explore and sail the captivating islands of Thailand, dive and swim in lagoons teaming with fish. Or accrue more hours in other exotic places in the world like Malaysia.  What about learning in the Greek Islands?

Any one for homework?

With a little bit of time and money you would have your sea hours up and the experience to attain your Yachtmaster certificate! Sailing school ... an experience never forgotten and may be you’ll come back for more, another time, another destination!

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