If you can’t find the answer to your question below, just drop us a line via our Contact page.

Please also refer to our General Terms & Conditions. More detail can also be found in these FAQs.

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.

How do I book?

If you want to book any of Sail YSL’s activities, please contact us or call 079 277 0623. We will send you a booking form to complete and, where applicable, a health declaration to sign. Please send these back to us as soon as possible.

How do I pay?

For practical courses, a non-refundable 50% deposit per person is required at the time of booking your charter or yachting course. The remaining balance is due 8 weeks prior to the start of the trip. Payment is required in full at the time of booking if this is less than 8 weeks prior to the start of the trip.

For theory courses, we will send you an invoice at the time of booking, which constitutes the formal contract and obligation between us. Owing to some expensive experiences, we must take a non-refundable 25% deposit by EC or credit card when you confirm (verbally or in writing). The balance is then due 10 days from the date of invoice or the start of the course, whichever is sooner. Unless otherwise agreed, payment must be made in full before your course.

Bank transfer is our preferred method of payment. We can also accept payment by EC card, Visa and Mastercard. There is a 2.5% surcharge for payment by credit card.

Your place is not guaranteed until your deposit is paid. If payment is not received on time, you will not be able to take part in the course. Any outstanding debts will be subject to a late payment fee of CHF 50 and we reserve the right to pursue debt collection proceedings if all other recourse has failed.

What information do you need from me?

It is a condition of participation in all Sail YSL activities that you provide us with full contact details. As a minimum we need your full name, address, phone number and/or mobile number and e-mail address. Details of next of kin / an emergency contact and a health declaration are required for all participants in on-water activities.

You will be able to provide all this information on the booking form and health declaration we send you when you book. Bookings are not deemed definitive until we have received these back from you.

We advise you to “like” our Facebook page where you can interact with us and your fellow sailors, including co-ordinating travel arrangements.

Do you offer children's sailing?


Yes, and the RYA has a dinghy sailing scheme specifically aimed at children. We don’t specify a particular minimum age since all children are different – our youngest guest on our yacht Cloud Nine was just 3 years old!

However, if children are to take an active part in sailing, they must be mature enough to have developed co-ordination and balance and to understand and follow instructions. In practice this means school-age as a minimum for instruction. Parents are, of course, responsible for their own children and will obviously want to look after them, especially if they are very young.

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.


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.

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.

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.

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:

Is my qualification valid for…?


Are food and travel included?

During theory courses in Switzerland, tea and coffee are normally available and there are a number of restaurants and supermarkets within walking distance.

Abroad, we usually provide the initial essentials such as condiments, first loaf of bread, tea, coffee, first milk etc. Thereafter we ask clients to chip into a kitty. €50 per person per week is normally a good starting point, depending on how often you want to eat in tavernas versus cooking on board.

Travel is not included in our pricing; there are just too many options and variables. Please ask us for advice and to confirm your travel arrangements are workable. You can co-ordinate with other clients on the Sail YSL Facebook page.

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?

Please let us know as soon as you know you’re going to be late!

For private instruction, your slot will finish at the booked time e.g. if you are 20 minutes late for a 2-hour booking, you will have 1 hour and 40 minutes available. Half-day and full-day bookings are always subject to this arrangement.

If you are going to be late for a group course, we’ll wait as long as we can but will have to start without you and it will be up to you to catch up.


What happens if I'm ill?

Our normal cancellation policies apply. However, we’ll do our best to fit you in on another occasion at no additional charge, in other words your fee will be credited to another event.

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.


I need to cancel my booking on a practical course abroad, what's involved?

If you are ill and can’t join us, please let us know immediately as we will have to update the crew lists.

We can’t offer any refund, so we strongly advise you to take out adequate travel insurance. Of course, if you can find someone to take your place, then please feel free to organise that privately between you and let us know the updated details for the crew list immediately.

What happens if Sail YSL cancels an event?


We hope we don’t have to, but nobody can predict the future. If we do have to cancel an event for any reason, the fee for that event will not be refunded but can be credited to a future event.

We accept no liability for consequential damages and advise you to take out adequate travel insurance if applicable.


What about liability?


All activities are undertaken at your own risk. A waiver form must be signed for every person on the water.