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Thread: Club vs Course

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Posts
    3

    Default Club vs Course

    Hi All,

    (admins please move this post if I have landed it in the wrong section)

    Firstly my question, what are people experience of throwing money and a sailing centre vs joining a sailing club when it comes to building miles and experience?

    The context:

    I'm 45 years old, looking at cruising, I'd like to say in the UK to learn, but I would like to be able and be confident to plan and charter a boat for coastal sailing at some of the typical global locations that offer great sailing. I'm based close to Fleet in Hampshire to easy access to Southampton.

    I have a comp crew, diesel maintenance course and powerboating level 2. Though these skills are not applied often enough for me to be confident in what I'm doing

    I accept that I will need to carry on with some form of training to allow me to hire; my reading seems to suggest that qualifications are asked for by some charter companies.

    I have read the webpages of many of the sailing clubs based in the Solent and I find almost no mention of training or supporting and developing new (old) sailers.

    What are peoples experience of the different approaches; I'm also interested in club recommendation if anyone has any?

    Thanks, WsW

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Winter in Falmouth, summer on board Rampage.
    Posts
    5,160

    Default Re: Club vs Course

    Welcome or the forum.
    Weve lived on board our boat for the past ten years or so. Before we started put, Id done some dinghy sailing and a bit of yachting in the services, my wife had no experience at all. So we decided the way to tackle that was to do a two week back to back competent crew and day skipper course. Thereafter, it was down to getting out on our own boat once wed bought her.

    The advantage of doing it that way was that if we found that either of us didnt really like the lark during the course, all wed lost was a bit of money and a couple of weeks time. If wed tried to do the same via a club, then we would never have had the concentrated knowledge delivery that the school gave us. Wed also have been reliant on the good will of others to deliver both sailing opportunities and teaching: a good enough route if youve got a lot of time and no money.
    Given your existing experience, Id go for a day skipper course with any of the Solent based schools. Talk to them about shore based training you need before the course.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Club vs Course

    thanks Duncan,

    This kinda confirms my thinking. Reading some other posts here was useful and helped me better understand the club mentality; which if I have understood things if for the most part based around racing (or at least that where there are more bodies required so a better chance of getting some sea time) and is best leveraged by committing to a seasons racing, so its then more worthwhile for the skipper to invest some time in skilling you.

    I need to do some research on the different types of yacht racing that might better suit my end goal of longer passage planning and sailing.

    I read some of your blog btw, an enjoyable read thank you for writing it!

    WsW

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    37,689

    Default Re: Club vs Course

    There is something to be said for pursuing more than one approach in parallel.
    When I worked in Basingrad, I could race dinghies on a Wednesday night and cruisers on a Thursday.
    Back in the day I would look around the JOG fleet for a ride at weekends.
    Paying for the courses you need to get to YM is pretty cheap in the scheme of things.

    If your end goal involves sailing as a couple, IMHO it pays to invest in the training of one's partner also.
    When we started out, SWMBO did Coastal/YM theory and VHF license over the winter.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    falmouth
    Posts
    17,162

    Default Re: Club vs Course

    It all rather depends on your personal time scale and intentions.

    The basics of sailing are pretty easy to learn and you certainly could do that in a week or two with a sailing school. But managing a yacht, and the word managing is important because thats what a skipper does, will not be covered in a couple of weeks on the Solent in a school boat. Instead its the summary of what you learn even over years as you build up experience.

    For example, looking after the boat, its rigging, its sails, repairing grp, the water tanks, daling with diesel bug etc etc. When talking to someone just setting out, I am sometimes startled by how much I know, how much I have picked up along the way. And the best way to start that exercise is by crewing for others in a club. Talking to your peers if you like.

    If my son was asking me the same question you have posted I would say to him:
    1/ do a 7 day CC/ day skipper course at a sailing school. Tha will teach you which bits of string to pull
    2/ join a club with an active racing program. Dont worry about web sites - there always are far more skippers wanting crew than the other way round. In fact if you fancy travelling up to the Bristol channel come racing with me!
    3/ do a nightschool YM course this winter. Learning nav , weather etc is far better done at a desk than in the cramped confines of a boat and you need more than Day skipper theory.
    4/ sit on your wallet and dont contemplate buying a boat yourself for a couple of years so that when you do buy you know what you are buying. Boats are much easier to buy than to sell.
    this post is a personal opinion, and you should not base your actions on it.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2019
    Location
    Wales
    Posts
    689

    Default Re: Club vs Course

    Quote Originally Posted by birdseye View Post
    If my son was asking me the same question you have posted I would say to him:
    1/ do a 7 day CC/ day skipper course at a sailing school. Tha will teach you which bits of string to pull
    2/ join a club with an active racing program. Dont worry about web sites - there always are far more skippers wanting crew than the other way round. In fact if you fancy travelling up to the Bristol channel come racing with me!
    3/ do a nightschool YM course this winter. Learning nav , weather etc is far better done at a desk than in the cramped confines of a boat and you need more than Day skipper theory.
    4/ sit on your wallet and dont contemplate buying a boat yourself for a couple of years so that when you do buy you know what you are buying. Boats are much easier to buy than to sell.
    That's interesting, because the RYA seem to recommend learning Nav/Weather much earlier. Some of us can't do residential mind you so a lot of the racing clubs are out as are the RYA courses.

    Some on here recommend, buying the cheapest boat you can and going sailing but likewise I'd agree waiting a bit (not sure about years) until you know something about sailing. I'm not sure you're actually going to know what boat you want until you buy one first. I mean it's always going to be a bit of a gamble to begin with, all you can do is your best research and until you've actually sailed your own boat and learned its quirks you aren't really going to know what boat suits you. Regardless of how many cruises you go on. (I imagine it's a lot like going on a caravan holiday, it's all great if the caravan isn't yours but once you buy a caravan you realize what it is you really value).

    I kinda like the idea of the halfway house, get to grips with sailing-ish (i.e learn how not to sink), grab a more or less cheap boat, consolidate your learning, trade up after a few years. Bad idea?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Posts
    1,678

    Default Re: Club vs Course

    Quote Originally Posted by birdseye View Post
    3/ do a nightschool YM course this winter.
    Do these still exist? I was under the impression that these, which used to be an excellent thing, had been rather killed off.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Posts
    1,545

    Default Re: Club vs Course

    Quote Originally Posted by Luminescent View Post
    Some of us can't do residential mind you so a lot of the racing clubs are out as are the RYA courses.
    ?? Why is racing residential ??

    Some on here recommend, buying the cheapest boat you can and going sailing but likewise I'd agree waiting a bit (not sure about years) until you know something about sailing. I'm not sure you're actually going to know what boat you want until you buy one first. I mean it's always going to be a bit of a gamble to begin with, all you can do is your best research and until you've actually sailed your own boat and learned its quirks you aren't really going to know what boat suits you.
    But sailing someone else's boat might tell you what matters to you! Headroom... Proper toilet... Shower... Speed... Some of that is no different to owning a caravan. But you generally find most caravans tow fairly similar! So it's about the features when you pitch up. Would you rather have a furling head sail or a pumping toilet if that's what the budget forces a choice between...


    I kinda like the idea of the halfway house, get to grips with sailing-ish (i.e learn how not to sink), grab a more or less cheap boat, consolidate your learning, trade up after a few years. Bad idea?
    There are plenty who have never been on a course. If you intend to charter you almost certainly will need to. In which case it makes sense doing it earlier rather than later...

    Most of the theory courses are now online...

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2019
    Location
    Wales
    Posts
    689

    Default Re: Club vs Course

    They tend to want you to stay out for a night or two, so far that's been my experience when asking around.

    Oh I'm not disputing sailing someone else's boat won't help, but until you've got your own and have that choice and can be your own person, I don' think you're going to know. For years I thought I'd be happy with a Ford Fiesta, cheap on the insurance can stick some shopping in the back... it's what other people had (and my parents) and when riding with them that seemed perfectly adequate. Then I got my own and realized I wanted more space in the drivers compartment, a bigger engine (hills) and more comfort.

    I'll be going for the ICC when I can, not the RYA, unfortunately I have commitments at home that prevent me from staying out for longer than 36 hours (technically I can't do 18 but I can make arrangements). Fortunately, I don't actually intend to charter, I intend to grab my own boat. I'm very much oldschool when it comes to this new 'Oh why buy when you can /rent/'.

    Edit: Didn't know the theory courses were mostly online, thanks for the tip.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Solent, UK
    Posts
    4,620

    Cool Re: Club vs Course

    I sailed OP's (other peoples) boats for about seven years before buying my own. I did level 2 Dinghy and Powerboat, CC and Dazed Kipper (sea and shore) and was well into my Yachtmaster shore course. I learnt more in my first year of boat ownership than in all my previous work. There is nothing like skippering your own boat to put all the coursework into perspective. That said, my background work did ensure that I was equipped to solve most of my own problems without calling on outside assistance. NOTE I say "MOST"; not ALL. Twenty five years later, I"m still learning.... I guess what I"m saying is there is no short cut. A colleague's son did a pro-skipper course lasting about 12 months. I'll not embarrass him by naming him or the boat, but his first pro job was NOT an unqualified success.
    Grow old disgracefully, it's more fun

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