RYA Sailing Courses

An Introduction to Qualifications with the RYA

RYA Courses with Classic Sailing

Classic Sailing is run by Professional Sailors to give you the best advice.

RYA Practical Sailing Courses on Classic Boats, plus Theory Courses Delivered Online.

These sailing courses from the RYA are internationally recognised for pleasure and commercial sailing.

Current RYA Practical Course Dates

Zero to Hero

You can start with no sailing experience and work you way up to skippers vessels of up to 200 tons sailing across Oceans.

You can do as little or as much as you like taking it one step at a time.

Recognised RYA Training Centre for over 20 years.

Classic Sailing has been a recognised RYA Training Centre since 2003. We were one of the first RYA sailing schools to offer courses for adults on boats with bowsprits and traditional rigging.

We have always taught on classic boats and we are pleased to offer 44ft pilot cutter Tallulah as our new teaching vessel. She will be offering practical sailing courses including RYA Competent Crew and RYA Day Skipper Practical in the 2024 sailing season. In addition Tallulah will aim to offer one exam preparation course (Yachtmaster Prep) with intensive boat handling and navigation practice for RYA Yachtmaster Coastal or RYA Yachtmaster Offshore exams each autumn /early winter for those who want to take the exam on a long keeled vessel.

RYA Practical Courses

RYA Theory Courses: Delivered Online

The beauty of RYA Courses on traditional yachts.

Moosk RYA Courses

Teaching RYA Courses

These are taught to Royal Yacht Association syllabus and standards by experienced RYA Cruising Instructors and Yachtmaster instructors. If you successfully complete a RYA course you will gain a certificate that is recognised all over the world. Sailing Courses that are UK based rather than the Mediterranean or Caribbean will give you a solid grounding in tidal heights and currents. With those skills the whole world is your oyster.

Our RYA Courses give you time to learn and enjoy the scenery.

The voyages are 6 or 7 days long rather than the minimum 5 days so you have more time to enjoy sailing a classic boat. We teach sailing along some of the most iconic coastal landscapes in Britain. Famous headlands like Start Point or Lizard Point. Wooded river valleys that stretch far inland in Cornwall and Devon. Wild estuaries and salt marshes with seabirds and waders. Historic ports, smugglers quays and secret coves and caves. There is plenty of variety for teaching exercises from anchoring under sail to night navigation under unpolluted skies.

The skills you learn combine traditional seamanship with modern technology like radar and GPS, with the added bonus of a holiday on a beautiful boat.

Tallulah for RYA Courses

Why Learn the Ropes on a Classic Boat?

The advantages of learning a RYA Course sailing onboard a traditional boat are many fold:

Deep keeled gaff cutters are great for beginner which gives them a sea kindly motion, un-cluttered decks and high sides so you can walk safely down the deck without side stepping down a narrow strip of plastic deck.

All the ropes are in the open so you can see were they go and what they do, nothing is hidden in masts and booms. Without the mechanical advantage of winches you are more aware of the forces of nature and working as a team builds friendships and adds to the pleasure. Why fight nature when you can harness it in safe traditional ways.

Our classic boats have all mod cons for a RYA Course, GPS, depth sounders and there are plenty of yachts around in port and out on the water to show you self tailing winches, jamming cleats and more 20th century fittings and features of the sailing world.

Why Learn to Skipper on a Boat with a Bowsprit?

It’s a great opportunity to pose.

Having a big pointy thing out the front, does help concentrate the mind and think ahead.

Manoeuvring under power you learn how to glide effortlessly and gently to a pontoon or quay. You are actually learning to ‘park’ a vessel that might be 59ft long with the bowsprit, so your instructor is not going to squeeze you into a small marina….and it is a huge buzz to bring a beautiful boat alongside under its own momentum.

Sail balance is important on all vessels but learning on a gaffer with a bowsprit or a yawl with two masts starts to teach you skills that can be applied to much bigger sailing vessels. When you get that dream job on a super yacht with three masts you will have more idea which sails to put up and in which sequence.

For skippers, the stable motion of a deep keeled vessel and a large chart table makes learning to navigate a lot easier than on many modern vessels.

Success aboard distinctive classic boats comes with a sense of achievement unmatched on a modern yacht. Your colours fly just that little bit higher.

Sailing Holidays Tallulah


Tallulah’s skipper and RYA instructor Debbie Purser has been teaching RYA courses on pilot cutters since 2003. She and other RYA instructors like Lara Bonney, Diggory Rose and James MacKenzie developed the teaching methods to offer the RYA syllabus for all courses on these seaworthy, long keeled boats that behave a bit differently from production yachts. Some things are easier, like walking down the deck in a bouncey sea, or ferry gliding onto a pontoon. Other things take a bit more teamwork than a small teaching yacht, like picking up a mooring under sail. Over 700 people learned RYA sailing skills and upwards of 3500 customers came sailing on our first pilot cutter 38ft Eve of St Mawes.

Classic Sailing now offer RYA courses on Eve’s slightly bigger sister Tallulah. This Luke Powell designed pilot cutter is 44 ft on deck and a fast and well behaved boat to sail. Her mainsail was deliberately smaller so her previous owners could handle her as a couple, but in light winds she has a powerful No1 jib with roller furling, a staysail you can reef and a large topsail. When the wind picks up we have a smaller jib or storm jib, the main can be reefed.

Tallulah runs RYA Competent Crew, RYA Day Skipper and Yachtmaster Exam Prep courses from St Mawes with the Cornish and Devon coasts to explore.

Read more about  Tallulah & her instructors

Classic Sailing can also offer the following:

  • Sailing lessons and tuition on all our vessels as part of your holiday
  • Over 60 mile passages for your Yachtmaster Offshore qualifying experience
  • Over 600 mile ocean passages for astro-nav / Ocean YachtMaster – ask us, as you have to be a watch keeper
  • MCA / STCW 95 Eligible sea time for super yachts and tall ships
  • Advice on Super Yacht / Sail Training Professional Career Path- from Yacht Rating – Officer of the Watch – Chief Mate – up to Master (yacht 3000 ton)

You are more aware of the forces of nature and how you must work with the wind rather than fight it”

Andrew Green

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