What is the RYA?
The RYA is the Royal Yachting Association, the governing body for sailing in the UK, whose qualifications are the most widely-accepted around the world.
What RYA courses do you run in Switzerland?
Here at home we offer the three main navigation and seamanship theory courses, namely:
If you are looking for the related one-day short courses, get in touch and we’ll refer you to our Swiss partner that runs these courses.
Do you run RYA Competent Crew and Day Skipper practical courses?
Yes, we organise and run Competent Crew and Day Skipper courses for you in Greece under the umbrella of our partner Seafarer Training, who will issue your certificate. The ideal situation is to take a Day Skipper prep week with us followed immediately by your practical course in Greece. If you prefer to take the course in tidal waters, you can join us in Gibraltar where we work with Jolly Parrot or we can refer you to them directly when our skipper is not there in person. Do bear in mind, though, that it is possible to take your Day Skipper course in non-tidal waters and then progress to a Coastal Skipper course in tidal waters without having to do any conversion; you just need the relevant (tidal) miles.
Do you run RYA Coastal Skipper courses and Yachtmaster prep weeks?
No, I’m afraid not. However we can refer you to partners who can offer this. Ask us for more information.
Do you run RYA dinghy courses?
Yes, we offer these courses for both adults and children in conjunction with our friends at Horizon Watersports in Greece.
What is the minimum age for RYA courses?
RYA courses have a minimum age limit of 16 for Day Skipper practical. There is no official minimum age for Competent Crew, however we feel that under 12s are unlikely to get the most benefit from the course.
There is also no minimum age limit for the theory courses but as there is a degree of arithmetic involved, again we feel that 11 or 12 is probably the lowest age that will appreciate the course.
There is no formal minimum age for children’s dinghy courses, but a degree of co-ordination will be required. In practice children are usually at least 6 years of age when they start sailing, but of course it depends on the individual child.
Can I take an RYA course in a language other than English?
It is a requirement of the RYA that all RYA courses must be conducted in English. Our skipper speaks fluent German and can switch languages to assist in isolated situations, but your English MUST be good enough to understand the theory and any instructions you are given. We have many non-native speakers take our courses – 21 different nationalities in 2015, for example – and English is not only the lingua franca, but also the language of the sea.
What is the maximum number of people on an RYA course?
Our maximum number for theory courses is 6 people, to ensure sufficient individual attention.We need a minimum of 3 people for a group course to be viable.
For practical courses, the RYA specifies maximum student:instructor ratios of 5:1 for yachting, 3:1 for dinghy sailing where the instructor is on board and 6:1 for single-handers.
Who will issue my RYA certificate?
RYA theory course certificates will be issued by Sail YSL.
RYA dinghy, windsurfing and powerboat course certificates will be issued by Horizon Watersports.
RYA yachting certificates will be issued by Seafarer Training (Greece), or Jolly Parrot (Gibraltar). In these situations, our skipper delivers the courses to Sail YSL clients as an instructor for our partner school.
Where RYA certificates are not issued directly by Sail YSL, your details will be passed onto the relevant schools in order to comply with their information requirements and you may be asked for extra information by them. This will also enable your information to be registered in the RYA database where applicable which allows credit card-type certificates to be verified and replaced in future if necessary.
Can I sail on Swiss lakes with an RYA qualification?
Yes and no. In very simplistic terms, you don’t need a licence to sail boats up to 15 m2 sail area on Swiss lakes, above that you need a Swiss qualification. However, don’t forget that all training helps. I addressed the whole complex issue in the blog post below:
Will there be people on the boat having a holiday while I'm doing my course?
As a matter of principle, not normally. Of course it’s fine if you come as a couple or family and one of you wishes to do a course while the other(s) just wants a holiday. But most of our students are only too happy to have extra hands as crew!
What happens if I'm late arriving?
I need to cancel my booking on a theory course, what's involved?
Given the limited number of places on each course, in principle bookings are final and the fee is payable and non-refundable as soon as the invoice is issued. If you have to cancel because of illness, a serious life event or force majeure, we’ll do our best to accommodate you on another course, in other words your fee will be credited to a future course.