Are You Resourceful & Practical?

Resourceful & Practical ? – then you must have done a RYA Competent Crew Course.”

Before you laugh, I have a serious point here. Ashore we rely on google maps to navigate, our phones to check our facts, and  get things delivered in white vans so we don’t have to secure a load on a roof rack with a bombproof knot.

Classic Sailing RYA Principal Debbie Purser looks into the relevance of learning seamanship skills on small sailing boats, for life in general:

Remembering Sailing Skills is Not Compulsory

You don’t have to LEARN essential sailing skills to go on one our holidays, although we hope you would want to. Those terribly nice resourceful and practical skippers and mates will tell and show you what to do. During your weeks holiday Its all jolly fun to ‘2 6 heave’ together on a block and tackle as a one off novelty, confident that the details of mechanical leverage have little relevance when you go home. Perhaps that eye spice was just a daillance with marlinspike seamanship for a selfie, or knots were just something to do in the sunshine.

If you are comfortable with that, fine. We have a huge choice of voyages where you can happily be a rusty beginner, and we can mould you back into a temporary sailor every time you come. Learning something new on holiday as pure stress relief from your day job, is a perfectly good reason to chose a sailing holiday.

RYA Competent Crew ditch the instructor in the long boat
RYA Competent Crew ditch the instructor in the long boat

But I really Want to Learn

If you really want to gain sailing skills and prepare yourself to be ‘Resourceful and practical’ for anything that life chucks at you, then learning practical skills on a RYA (Royal Yachting Association) course with a structured syllabus is the best way to make those practical skills stick. You will have a more comprehensive understanding of how to set up a sailing boat to journey under sail. With sea levels rising that’s not a bad life skill to notch up.

Leadership & Responding to Emergencies

Apart from the new sailing skills you have, a basic RYA Competent Crew Course teaches you to other applicable skills that means you would be a good person to have in an emergency, on or off the water. A RYA Day Skipper learns to think through possible scenarios so they know how to respond and take charge when things start to go wrong, whether is a village flooding ashore, or a man overboard at sea.

As a career sailor my continuing professional development includes first aid, fire prevention and fire fighting. If I stay in a hotel, my brain is wired to check out the fire exits. I’m aware of the tides when coasteering with the grandchildren. I hope I never have to deal with an unexpected emergency, but I feel permanently aware, ready to be useful, and can draw on a lot of practical skills.

This all sounds a bit doom and gloom, but being ready for life’s unexpected adventures makes you feel more confident and less anxious generally. Look at our charter skippers. You would want them with you in times of trouble n’est pas?

Using a VHF to rendezvous in a remote area
Using a VHF to rendezvous in a remote area


Small Boat Handling – 100% resourceful crews

Over the years the vessels we work with have got bigger and more comfortable, but nothing beats small boat handling if you want to maximise your learning, speed up your reaction times and really understand the effects of the elements and how sail trim and balance work.

Not surprisingly the smallest boats in the Classic Sailing fleet are our RYA  teaching vessels. There is no where to hide with one instructor and 5 guest crew. You are all needed. Its nice to feel needed. It’s even better for your soul to become useful, resourceful and practical when you are needed. The instructors on board can help you with that, without making you feel like a sailing virgin.

Keeping a cool head on the helm
Keeping a cool head on the helm

Moosk and Golden Vanity – How do I Choose

Moosk is a 42ft Edwardian Yawl with two masts and a spar poking out both ends (bumpkin and bowsprit). She is long, fast and skinny and best described as a classic yacht. On deck you have to step out the cockpit to walk down the deck and there are only guard rails between you and the sea. She behaves like a long keeled yacht so skills learned can be applied to any similar yacht from 35ft to 70ft.

40ft Golden Vanity is a gaff cutter with a single mast, but in terms of fittings and rig she is more like a mini version of a working boat like a Brixham Trawler. She is beamy (wide) with flat wooden decks and wooden sides (bulwarks) between you and the sea. In rough seas she feels invincible. Below decks her sturdy timbers create such a homely haven that communal living feels the most normal thing in the world.

Skills learned on Vanity might not be so obvious to translate to a modern racing yacht, but they would stand you in good stead if you wanted to crew on any large yacht, traditional sailing ship or tall ship.

Becky chose Golden Vanity for her day skipper
Becky chose Golden Vanity for her day skipper

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