Have you ever noticed that in life you never stop learning? Sailing is definitely like that.
If you are interested in taking a RYA practical course, I can now teach Comp Crew, Day Skipper, Coastal & YM prep course so read on…
I’ve had a Yachtmaster Offshore qualification for almost 20 years now but 5 years ago I agreed to get involved with formal RYA training for BTOSC. Since your membership subscriptions have supported me in this I thought you might be interested in my experiences as an instructor so far.
The Cruising Instructor Course
The first stage in becoming an instructor, after becoming a Yachtmaster & sailing 10,000nm, is to take a 5 day Cruising Instructor (CI) course which is part assessment and part learning. I remember learning lots and correcting some thoughts I had held for many years. As a CI you can teach Competent Crew & Day Skipper practical courses. Over the past 5 years I’ve run 1 or 2 courses a year for BTOSC depending on demand.
The Cruising Instructor qualification has to be renewed every 5 years to ensure you are still up to date with the current thinking and your skills are OK. At this point you also have the option to progress to Yachtmaster Instructor (YMI) which also qualifies you to teach Coastal Skipper, Yachtmaster Prep weeks and shore based theory courses.
The Yachtmaster Instructor Course
Well I like a challenge. Last week I took the YMI course and passed. So the good news is I will now try to organise a Coastal Skipper/Comp Crew course later this year. If you have been waiting to do your Coastal Skipper practical course this could be the time!
The YMI course was pretty much like any other RYA course in that it started on Sunday evening and ran till Friday with 4 students and an instructor. I met some great people and had good fun on the water. The instructor was a YM examiner/professional skipper with 250,000nm sea miles and 20 years of teaching YMs.
There were introductions on the first night with an overview of the week. The main difference to other courses was that a lot of exercises were run by the students with a general review at the end of each exercise. The exercises started being pitched at Comp Crew and progressed to Day Skipper, Coastal and then Yachtmaster Offshore. The course covered most things in the RYA syllabus but also included teaching techniques and, for me, new ways to run some of the lessons.
During the week the instructor was constantly assessing us and on Wednesday evening gave us a frank assessment of our suitability to become YMIs. I was happy with my progress but the following morning one of the students jumped ship as he realised it was not for him.
Thursday then focused on our weaknesses. Thursday evening brought more debriefs and then our instructor left the boat so that another instructor could join us on Friday. The new instructor felt like an examiner, but his role was simply to ensure standards are maintained across instructors. The new instructor set us exercises but also gave advice.
I was asked to give a 10 minute lesson on stability and then asked to sail the boat into the river Hamble and berth her all under sail. With wind and tide together I was able to use the main & headsail until lines & fenders were ready and then I sailed alongside the pontoon and tied up. It all felt good but I was then asked about my teaching method? What teaching method? I didn’t hear him ask me to do it as an instructor!! Not a problem, do it again but this time as a lesson. So I sailed off the pontoon and taught a lesson involving the use of a mid-ships lasso led back to the genoa winch to assist with berthing in such circumstances.
So, with my new found knowledge and skills I am looking to run 2 courses this year. In April I would like to run a Day Skipper/Competent Crew course and then later in October a Coastal Skipper/Comp Crew course. So if you are interested in getting started or furthering your qualifications get in touch. As you know the club’s prices are very competitive as the aim is to help BTOSC club members to progress their sailing.