I spend a lot of time researching the historical values and treasures situated in a lot of the places that we travel to and then visiting these places for myself. Wether on a Roadtrip or on a sailing adventure, finding ancient sites rich in history is always high on the trip agenda. Actually Sailing to the places and the technicalities of sailing well are,of course, equally important to me.
Although our next Roadtrip is a few weeks away, (and as a matter of interest looks like it could take roughly about six weeks. ) I have found myself a little ” marina bound” of late as the Skipper has been away. He returns this weekend though, along with a friend of ours. The excitement surrounding his return is that our friend who is coming with him from England wants to learn to sail.
Her father in England has his own boat and Tanya has been trying to learn to sail in the UK with him, fathers teaching daughters to sail is probably something like being taught to drive by your old man ! Best avoided! So, Geoffs going to take Tanya and myself through the RYA Competent Crew certificate whilst also putting Mum through the RYAs next course on the syllabus, The Day Skipper course.
Two years ago I worked alone with The Skipper on completing the checklist for the Competent Crew certificate, unfortunately, we didn’t ever complete it wholly as we didn’t do and have not done since, the night sail! I am looking forward to refreshing my knowledge working right through this course again and especially looking forward to completing it, at long last. I am actually very excited to finally be completing the course and the night sail!
The Competent Crew course is for beginners and for those people who would really like to become active crew members rather than just passengers on a boat. For somebody like Tanya, she will genuinely experience living on board and really get to know the boat. Virtually all the course is hands on. You are the crew and without you the sails won’t go up and the boat won’t be steered.
By the end of the course a person should be able to steer, handle sails, keep a lookout, row a dinghy and assist in all the day to day duties on board.
The checklist for the certificates completion includes good knowledge of sea terms and parts of a boat and rigging and sails, a heap of knots and rope handling techniques, names of warps and terms, fire precautions and safety and use of personal safety equipment ; like life jackets, life lines and harnesses etc.
As crew you are expected to be able to maneuver the boat into position and recover a casualty in case of man overboard, know how to operate flares, launch the life raft and issue a ” pan pan ” or ” Mayday ” (!!)
Crew need to learn about burgees and ensigns on other yachts, be aware of the Beaufort scale and weather states, handle a dinghy/ tender with oars and as well as all normal duties above and below deck should be able to steer the boat when under power ( i.e.: engine driven ), under sail and steer a course by compass….. Not forgetting the night sail!
I know that Tanya is very excited to be coming out and super keen to learn, she has been practicing her knots already! All of the above is just everyday life to me when we are at sea, but it will be good to have a refresher as, as in most walks of life you can become complacent when you are surrounded by the same thing all the time. So a shake up can only be good.
DAY 1 competent crew course.
As the sun rose that morning, Geoff, Tanya, Mum and myself gathered around the cockpit table and drank our coffee. It was 7:30, and the bay was like a millpond. As we slowly started to welcome the day, the sound of the Kingfisher sang in the distance, and the weather was good. Geoff had only arrived back in Turkey yesterday and Tanya was holidaying here for only one week, so we had to start our competent crew course early on the first day.
The first task of the day was the safety briefing, which involved talking about the liferaft, the life jackets, harnesses, jack stays, safety lines, flares, emergency procedures and of course, becoming familiar with where everything is on the yacht.
We were talking about the yacht for a good hour and a half, before we got ready and left our berth. However, before we could leave the entrance of the marina, and do what Geoff calls, “Pontoon bashing!” We went to the fueling pontoon to get rid of our waste, where we parked and were there for twenty minutes. Soon, everything was done and we were outside of the marina practicing “stern to” parking-(back to the pontoon)- and “side to” parking.
When the wind picked up, we stopped practicing parking and moved on to the man-overboard. Thankfully, I wasn’t going over the side today(!), so instead we’d be using our yellow danbouy, who we call Dan.
For hours we practiced going around in circles, picking up Dan, until he was so tired he couldn’t take it much more! Tanya apparently had a great and wonderful day out sailing, and loved every minute. Her parking wasn’t too shabby either!
It’s not all work, work, work we came back into the marina that evening and relaxed with some mellow tunes as we admired another beautiful sunset.