Sail Cruising Courses Joining Instructions
These joining Instructions cover the following courses, taught onboard our sail cruising yachts
- RYA Start Yachting (2 or 3 day)
- RYA Competent Crew (5 day)
- RYA Day Skipper Sail (5 day)
- RYA Day Skipper Shorebased & Practical combined (9 day)
- RYA Coastal Skipper Sail (5 day)
- RYA Yachtmaster Coastal Certificate of Competence (7 day)
- RYA Yachtmaster Offshore Certificate of Competence (7 day)
- Skills & Drills (2, 3 and 5 day)
- 3-day milebuilder - Cross Channel Weekender (3 day)
- 7-day milebuilder
- 9-day milebuilder
- Southampton - Biscay - Cascais milebuilder
- Cascais to Las Palmas milebuilder
- RYA ICC (2, 3 or 5 day)
- Pre Flotilla (2 days)
- Art of Boat Handling (2 day)
- RYA Sail Cruising Level 1 (2 day)
- RYA Sail Cruising Level 2 (2 day)
- Teen Yacht Week (5 day)
For Sail Cruising Instructor Courses please go to the Instructor Courses Joining Instructions page. For own boat tuition please see the Own Boat Tuition Joining Instructions Page.
Sail Cruising courses meet at the Training Centre at Shamrock Quay Marina (unless specifically stated otherwise). Directions can be found here. Parking is free on site for our customers (as long as you have registered with the marina). The Cascais to Las Palmas passage meets at the "Marina De Cascais" (Cascais is near Lisbon and directions can be found at Directions to Cascais Marina).
TIMINGS & MEALS
Art of Boat Handling
Sail Cruising Level 1
Sail Cruising Level 2
Day 1 0930-1800
Day 2 0900-1600
|These are Day Sailing courses so accommodation is not included||Tea/coffee and lunch are provided each day|
RYA Start Yachting
Skills & Drills (2 or 3 day)
RYA Competent Crew (split weekend)
RYA Day Skipper (split weekend)
RYA ICC for experienced sailors)
Pre Flotilla Course
|2 or 3 day weekend from 1830 Friday evening to 1600 on Sunday or Monday||Live-aboard courses so accommodation on board||Tea, coffee, breakfast, lunch and dinner provided on board, 1 evening meal is taken ashore (not included)|
Cross Channel Weekender
|3 day weekend from 1830 Friday evening to 1600 Monday||
Live-aboard courses so accommodation on board
|Tea, coffee, breakfast, lunch and dinner provided on board, 1 evening meal is taken ashore (not included)|
RYA Competent Crew (5 day)
RYA Day Skipper Sail (5 day)
RYA Coastal Skipper
RYA ICC (for beginners)
Skills & Drills (5 day)
|0930 on day 1 (Saturday, Monday or Wednesday) to 1600 on day 5||Live-aboard courses so accommodation on board||Tea, coffee, breakfast, lunch and dinner provided on board, 1 evening meal is taken ashore (not included)|
|0930 on day 1 until 1600 on last day||Live-aboard courses so accommodation on board||All meals are included on board|
Yachtmaster Preparation and Exam Week
|5 days with the Instructor, 0930 day 1 (Saturday or Monday) to 1600 day 5, followed by up to 48 hours with the examiner||Live-aboard courses so accommodation on board|
7 and 9 Day Milebuilders
|0930 on day 1 until 1600 on last day||Live-aboard courses so accommodation on board||Tea, coffee, breakfast, lunch and dinner provided on board, 2 evening meals are taken ashore (not included)|
Southampton to Cascais
|0930 on day 1 until about 9-10 days later||Live-aboard courses so accommodation on board||All meals and snacks provided on board|
Cascais to Las Palmas
|Discuss your flight times with us||Live-aboard courses so accommodation on board||All meals and snacks provided on board|
Most of our courses have pre requisites, these are not optional they are requirements. If you are unsure what they are please check back against the relevant product page (the links in the list of courses at the top of this page).
Following a short briefing from your Instructor, you will be given a full tour of the yacht and a comprehensive safety brief. All students are provided with a life jacket and it should be worn whenever you are above deck and the vessel is underway. If you would prefer to wear your own life jacket than you may do so. It must be of a minimum 150 Newtons, be fitted with a light and whistle and have been serviced as per the manufacturers instructions. If in doubt then please check before your course or wear ours.
WHAT TO BRING
You will be allocated your own area for personal belongings on board. Stowage space is limited, so please travel light. Use a soft bag or hold-all, as there is no room for suitcases or rucksacks. We cannot be held responsible for any personal items that are lost, stolen or damaged whilst on board. The general rule to remember when sailing in the UK is that the beginning and end of the day can be quite chilly, whilst the middle part of the day will consist of periods of activity (when you sweat and feel warm) along with periods of concentration (when you are sitting around and will cool down). It is preferable to wear layers of clothing that work moisture away from your body, rather than cotton and wool, which absorb moisture and can make you feel cold and damp. This also means you can peel off layers when you are warm and put them back on as you get cooler. Below is a suggested kit list:
Many of the yachts have USB or 12V (car lighter style) mobile phone charging sockets, but not all. Mains power is available on board in most marina berths but not all.
Accommodation is provided on board the yachts for most practical sailing courses. However, if you wish to book local accommodation for the duration of your shorebased studies, or for the Art of Boat Handling, Level 1 and Level 2 courses, you will find a list of local accommodation providers on our website: http://www.stormforce.biz/information-pages/about-us/southampton-accommodation.html
OPTIONAL PREMIUM SERVICE
Students on live aboard courses (but not milebuilders) may optionally upgrade to our Stormforce Premium Package. This guarantees a cabin to yourself, bedding, towels, toiletries and bottled water in your cabin. There are limited spaces available for the premium service and full details are at Stormforce Premium.
For live aboard courses, once the yacht has left Shamrock Quay, it is unlikely to return until the last day. Berthing fees away from the home port are divided equally among the crew. We receive reciprocal free berthing at a number of marinas so some nights are free. If you budget £15 per person for a five-day course you should be fine. For day sailing courses (Art of Boat Handling, Level 1 & Level 2) the yacht returns to the home berth each evening. Fo the Southampton to Cascais and the Cascai to Las Palmas passages Stormforce Coaching covers all berthing fees
The yacht(s) will return to Shamrock Quay on the final day of the course. The whole crew and skipper should ensure the yacht is returned clean, tidy and dry. You can expect to be finished by 1600. For the Southampton to Cascais and Cascais to Las Palmas passages we can not guarantee an exact arrival day or time (although clearly these passages are the exception and do not return to Shamrock Quay)
MEALS & ALCOHOL
Meals on board are prepared by the crew. If you do not already cook, this is not the time to learn, let others do the cooking while you lend a hand with washing up instead. We usually take one meal ashore (not included in the course fee) per course (2 meals on the 7 and 9 day mile builders). If you have any special dietary requirements such as food allergies, or are vegetarian or vegan, please advise us at least two weeks before your course. Although we try to cater for everyone’s tastes, we are limited in what we can cook on longer voyages, as there is no freezer on board. The diet on board contains more sugars and carbs than some people are used to, principally because this discourages seasickness and for most people you will be using more energy than usual. Even just standing still on a yacht requires energy as the boat is constantly moving and you will be using muscles you don't normally use just to stand still.
You are welcome to bring a bottle of your favourite tipple (to wash down dinner, after the day’s sailing). Drinking is however limited to when the boat is secured to the pontoon in the evening and should be in moderation.
Day Skipper, Coastal Skipper, ICC, and Yachtmaster Certificates will require a passport photograph of you. RYA certification is awarded at the discretion of your instructor and the Principal. At the end of your course a full individual de-brief will be given. For Yachtmaster exams, an external RYA examiner will carry out the assessment and his/her decision is final. Appeals can be made to the Yachtmaster Qualification panel.
You may wish to take some photographs during your course to take home and share with friends and family. Please feel free to snap away (as long as other students are happy to have their photographs taken). We’d love to see your photos, so please do post any images captured whilst on a course with us onto our Facebook page. We run a monthly competition to find the best, or most entertaining, course photo. This can include something amusing you’ve seen whilst on the water: as long as the picture was taken while you were on a course with us, it’s valid for entry! Every month one of our students wins a £50 voucher to redeem against their next course, race or charter.
EXTRA NOTES FOR RYA START YACHTING (2 or 3-days)
This course can be taken over 2 or 3 days. It is essentially the first half of the RYA Competent Crew Course. During your weekend with us you will eat and sleep aboard the yacht. Catering and cleaning duties are carried out by the crew during the course. Most crews find themselves a watering hole one evening so it is a good idea to bring some cash. A life jacket will be provided as will a small area for stowing your kit.
There is no pass or fail to this course: all students will receive the RYA Start Yachting Certificate and have their logbook signed to prove attendance as long as they attend, understand English and are involved with sailing the yacht. If you would like to move on to the Competent Crew Course (usually lasting 5 days) you can use your Start Yachting course to count as the first half of the course, meaning you only need attend one more weekend (2 or 3 days as appropriate) to complete the next level of RYA training. If you would like to do some pre reading then buy the book shown in the Competent Crew section below.
EXTRA NOTES FOR RYA COMPETENT CREW (5-days or twin weekend)
The 5-day and the split weekend course cover the same syllabus, however timings are different so please see the table above.
During the course, your instructor will take you through all the knowledge and skills required to crew a sailing yacht. You will have plenty of opportunities to helm the boat and control the sails. It is our policy to not only complete the RYA Competent Crew Syllabus, but also to look at some of the power handling sections of the RYA Day Skipper Course. The course will include some night sailing. There is no pass or fail to this course, all students will receive the RYA Competent Crew Certificate and have their logbook signed to prove attendance if they complete the course. As this is a beginner course, no preparation is required, although you will find it useful to have completed a keelboat course and to have read;
EXTRA NOTES FOR ART OF BOAT HANDLING (2-days)
The course is spent entirely on board one of our cruising yachts and will focus on manoeuvring under power. Lunch and tea/coffee is provided each day. Please let us know in advance if you are vegetarian. Students on this course will normally have previously taken the Day Skipper Sail Course (or higher) or have some existing experience of yachting. Pre course reading is not essential however it may help you get more from your course. We recommend the following book on this subject.
RYA ICC Courses (2, 3 or 5-days)
The 2 and 3-day ICC courses are for experienced sailors and are about a 50:50 split of training and assessment. The 5-day course is for someone with basic sailing experience and contain more training than the shorter courses. It should be noted that anyone completing the Day Skipper Practical Sail Course (or a higher level course) with us is automatically eligible for an ICC (Sail/Coastal). All candidates require a passport photograph and ID/proof of address as detailed in the table above. Separate from our fees the RYA charge a license fee for the ICC. This is waived for RYA members. You can join online at,
Anyone training for the ICC with us will automatically receive the coastal endorsement to their ICC. If you additionally require the inland endorsement (for the inland waterways of Europe) then you will also need to take the CEVNI test.
Useful Pre-Course Reading for ICC
RYA DAY SKIPPER PRACTICAL SAIL (5-days or twin weekend)
The 5-day and the split weekend course cover the same syllabus, however things re different so please see the table above. During the course the instructor will ask you to take charge of the yacht for short inshore passages. Between these passages there will be various boat handling sessions to teach you how to manoeuvre and berth a sailing yacht. There will be at least one evening spent night sailing, possibly more. You are unlikely to leave the Solent during this course, although we do sometimes go further afield.
Assessment is continual and carried out by the instructor; the focus however is not on assessment but rather on coaching and on your learning. Candidates are recommended to have taken the RYA Day Skipper Shorebased course before attending this practical course. It is also useful to have taken the SRC (VHF Radio) one-day course. Before your practical course, please read through the Day Skipper Course notes and refresh yourself on points of sail, sail trim and rules of the road. If these areas are a little rusty then we would be happy to organise a keelboat course for you.
Essential Pre-Course Reading
RYA DAY SKIPPER COMBINED (9-days)
The first four days (Sat-Tue) of the combined course are shorebased and will run from 0930 to 1700. The practical section then commences on the Wednesday morning at 0930. The remainder of the course is live aboard and you will return to our marina and be wrapped up for 1600 on the Sunday. For the first 4 days you will need pen, pencils, sharpener, eraser, note book and either a packed lunch or cash for the cafe. For the second alf of the course refer to the tables above.
During your course you will cover 4-days of shore based study before taking the RYA Day Skipper Practical courses. There will be two assessment papers during the shorebased section. During the practical component of the course you will live and eat aboard. Practical sailing takes place within the Solent and you will be given the opportunity to put all of the shorebased theory into practice and skipper the yacht on short passages under the watchful eye of your instructor.
It is useful (but not essential) to have taken the SRC (VHF Radio) one-day course. Likewise, it is worth brushing up on points of sail before the course starts. Many prospective Day Skippers take the Keelboat level 1 and Keelboat Level 2 courses first.
Useful Pre-Course Reading
MILE BUILDERS (3, 7 or 9-days)
3 day courses start at 1830. 7 and 9 day courses start at 0930. Typically the crew will consist of a range of abilities from near novice to Yachtmaster hopefuls. This is a non-assessed course. During the week/weekend you will take part in a number of longer passages, often to France, the Channel Islands or West Country. The 9-day course may sail further afield to Belgium, Holland or Ireland. Your instructor will discuss with you watch keeping, watch patterns, offshore position fixing, coastal and offshore meteorology, collision avoidance, crossing shipping lanes and foreign customs.
Those who have a good understanding of navigation will have the opportunity to practice estimated positions and course to steer, those who are newer to cruising will have plenty of contact time to develop their sailing. These distance sailing courses, although involving some quite long hours, are very relaxed. Most crew take the opportunity to eat out one or two evenings in destination ports. Potential Yachtmaster candidates can gain some of their 60-mile passages while on these courses, so please let us know in advance if this interests you and we will try to plan around your requirements.
MILE BUILDERS (Southampton to Cascais and Cascais to Las Palmas)
These are non assessed courses and each passage will log approximatly 1,000 miles. We recommend you pack a few extra layers of clothing for these passages (including some shorts and T shirts). The yacht is an open-plan race yacht and does not have all the creature comforts of our cruising yachts (for example there is no saloon table and only limited refrigeration), there is a well equipped galley, a heads and most bunks are singles. If you are a light sleeper you will need ear plugs due to the the open cabin. The yacht is equipped with a navigation computer and sat phone.
On route the skipper will break the passage down into smaller legs. The exact stop overs will be chosen around the weather forecast and may be quite brief. Throughout the passage the crew will operate a watch system. For the Cascais to Las Palmas passage please advise us of your flight arrival details in Lisbon and we will provide you with the skipper's mobile and the berth number (berth number will not be know until about 24 hours before you arrive). Crew joining both passages will enjoy a short stop over in Cascais, although the skipper may require some help with re provisioning (at our expense). As arrival times for both of these passages are unknown we suggest you do not pre book flights home, instead wait until the yacht has reached its destination and book then. There are regular flights leaving from both Lisbon and Las Palmas. Crew should be aware that our estimated passage durations are only an estimate and the yacht can be delayed by heavy weather. Please ensure that you do not have any immovable engagements immediately after these passages. The skipper's decision to sail or not to sail in unsuitable weather will not be altered by a crew members onward travel plans or diary. We recommend you check your travel insurance will cover this trip.
While all meals and yacht expenses are included, you will need some Euros for any meals taken ashore in France, Spain and Portugal and to cover taxi fares to the airport.
When packing consider the amount of luggage you will be able to return hoe with on the plane with. If you require the loan of our wet weather gear, it is £35 for each of these passages. If joining us in Portugal it is imperative you advise us that you will require our wet weather gear before the yacht leaves Southampton, otherwise there will be no spare kit on board for you (i.e. tell us asap.). There is a life jacket on board for each crew member and we request all crew to carry a PLB. Please advise us of your PLB hex number before your passage.
RYA COASTAL SKIPPER SAIL (5-days)
During this advanced skipper’s course you will be expected to take charge of the yacht for longer passages (typically 30 - 50 miles) under the watchful eye of your instructor. You will be given the opportunity to develop your chart work skills, boat handling and skippering.
Assessment is continual and conducted by the instructor; the focus, however, is not on assessment but rather on coaching you and helping you become more confident and competent.
Candidates are recommended to have taken a Coastal Skipper / Yachtmaster Offshore Shorebased course before attending this practical course. It is also useful to have taken the SRC (VHF Radio) and Sea Survival one-day courses. Before your practical course, please read through the Yachtmaster Shorebased Course notes and refresh yourself on meteorology, position fixing, course to steer, secondary ports and IRPCS. There is not time to teach these skills from scratch during the course. The full pre requisites are listed at RYA Coastal Skipper Sail Course.
Useful Pre-Course Reading
RYA YACHTMASTER COASTAL & OFFSHORE PREP & EXAM (7-days)
The aim of this week is to refine your skippering skills before the exam. Your instructor will coach you through many of the skills, sometimes offering alternative techniques. Blind navigation and berthing under sail are often the most challenging skills for candidates to grasp; there is, of course, time to practice these techniques with your instructor during the preparation course. However there is not time to teach everything from scratch, this week is for experienced yachtsmen and women.
Your Instructor will give you a mid week de-brief. This is a good opportunity to discuss your skills and if you do not think you are ready for the exam, to postpone it until a later date. We are happy to hold your credit for up to six months.
On the fifth afternoon of your preparation course you will return to Shamrock Quay where your instructor will step off and an external RYA examiner will step on. The Yacht is available for the exam for the next 48 hours. There may be up to four exam students onboard and depending on numbers the exam will finish on day 6 or 7. At the end of the exam you will return to Shamrock Quay and the crew will need to clean the yacht while the examiner gives individual de-briefs. All exam candidates are required to leave card details with us for the duration of the exam, as this part of the programme is essentially a bareboat charter The card will only be charged if the yacht is damaged, inventory items are missing or it is returned in unsatisfactory condition. We also require a scan of your passport or driving license.
Candidates are recommended to have taken a Coastal Skipper/Yachtmaster Offshore Shorebased course before attending this practical week. You are required to hold the SRC (or higher) and in date First Aid certificates. Before your preparation week, ensure your logbook is completed and you are familiar with everything contained within the Yachtmaster syllabus. The Pre requisites for these two courses are listed at Yachtmaster Coastal and Yachtmaster Offshore.
There is no need to have learnt the IRPCS word for word or indeed by numbers. However, you must be able to identify every day shape, sound signal and night light as well as apply the rules correctly in every situation. Please ensure you have also learnt the met. terms in advance. Pre Course reading is the same as the RYA Coastal Skipper Sail Course (above).
Useful Pre-Course Reading
EXTRA NOTES FOR TEEN WEEK
Teen Week is for 13-17 year olds, students can taken any of the following courses (bearing in mind minimum ages)
- RYA Competent Crew
- RYA Day Skipper Sail (min age 16)
- Skills & Drills
- RYA Coastal Skipper (min age 17)
Joining Instructions are as per adult courses above, as are pre requisites, what to bring, pre reading etc. The differences are
- We cover the cost of all berthing fees for the week
- There are two evening night exercises
- We cover the cost of evening entertainment ashore two evenings, this can include;
- Ice Skating
It would be useful to bring some money in case you want to buy any refreshments at the cinema etc. On the first morning a parent will need to sign a medical declaration/consent form on behalf of their child. Let us know if a parent will not be present and we will email one to you.
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