As a RYA PB instructor and ICC tester for power & sail I shouldn't / can't comment.
But in a way you are correct and so is the RYA - the ICC ticket is supposed to be "proof" that the person in command "can operate the boat safely", so your comment
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if you can't pass it then you shouldn't think about sailing half a mile let alone abroad
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Holds true on all counts. I would expect anyone that has used their "own" boat for any length of time to be able to operate it safely.
BTW the one part of the test that I have conducted that candidates could fail on is MOB recover drill!
One thing that I take into account is that despite my experience and boat handling skills over the years I have made some glorious, flag waving, gold plated cock-ups - instant headache stuff, so if a candidate fails to complete the task I have set, then I simply say "that didn't go to well why don't WE have another go" and then if I feel that he can handle the boat when I'm not looking over his shoulder then I'll pass him but if he can't well - sorry!!!!!!