RYA Day Skipper

What is the RYA Day Skipper Course?


Girls for Sail Verdict: "Take the step and become your own skipper. We will coach you in
our calm manner so you are confident and happy taking your friends and family out on the water.....and being in charge!"

What our girls had to say: "I learnt more than I thought
possible in a way that I can remember and feel confident
doing again. The most fun sailing I've had with 5 other ladies!"

The Day Skipper course includes everything you could possibly need to be in charge of a boat, and most charter companies will require a Day Skipper certificate for you to be able to charter a boat.

This 5 day course gives you a chance to meet other like-minded ladies who want to get out there just as much as you do. Don't worry if you are coming on your own, by the end of the week you will feel like you've known your fellow crew members forever!!

Take advantage of your RYA qualified instructor who loves to teach. She is there to help you as much as possible and gets a real kick out of watching everyone progress and achieve their Day Skipper - she will take you through the Day Skipper Syllabus and ensure that you are confident with every aspect of it. Get the qualification you've been telling yourself to do for years!

The RYA Day Skipper course teaches the basic practical skippering skills to enable you to be a confident and happy day skipgirl on boatper of a yacht on short passages by day. During the week each person has the chance to act as skipper. This will include planning on where to go, when to get there and obstacles that may be in the way. You will practice mooring in many different ways and go through things in as many difficult ways in case you ever feel you may be caught out. Your instructor will always advise you on the safest way to do things, and to remind you that you aren't in any rush!

Your instructor will advise and coach you on the general day-to-day running of the boat such as preparing the boat for sea, engine checks, checking weather forecasts and being able to present a safety brief to your crew. Whilst sailing, your instructor will run through various practices such as reefing, how to trim the sails, rules of the road and general deck work and any other areas you may not be confident or confused with. Take advantage of her knowledge and better yours in any way possible, she will explain it to you in a way that makes sense for you.

By the end of this course you should be a successful RYA Day Skipper and be able to undertake short passages by day in tidal and non-tidal waters.

Plotting your course!


Who is the Day Skipper course for?

Perhaps you've successfully completed your RYA Competent Crew course and/or learned to sail with some basic knowledge about how to crew a yacht. This probably includes trips with the family/friends or previous dinghy sailing experience but now you want to take on the challenge of becoming a skipper!  It's time to complete your RYA Day Skipper course. This is the next step in feeling even more confident on a boat. You can undertake this 5 day course over 5 consequetive days or across 2 weekends and we coach you through the RYA syllabus which will ultimately leave you able to skipper a boat during the day in familiar waters.

Pre course requirements

  • At least 5 days, 100 miles and 4 night hours of sailing experience
  • Knowledge of basic navigation and helmsmanship
  • It is strongly recommended that you complete the Day Skipper theory course beforehand

Navigation is the most important theorical element of becoming a skipper. Everything learnt on the theory course will be put into practice during the practial course.  There are several options for gaining the relevant navigation knowledge:

  • RYA Day Skipper Theory online - around 40 hours of interactive home study with support and help available
  • RYA Day Skipper Theory in a classroom - 5 days - we run these periodically throughout the year and can be taken as a combined 10 day course with the practical
  • RYA Essential Navigation and Seamanship course - 2 days - if you don't have time for the 5 day course this would give you the basics and would definitely help you complete the practical

Ultimately, you need to be comfortably be abke to navigate to a port using the charts/GPS and calculate tidal heights and streams using the almanac.

Fun on route!

During the course

With 5 students on board your instructor will assess your strengths and look to instruct you on all points in the syllabus. You will take it in turns to be nominated as skipper (it's all good practice) so that you actually skipper some passages and get the chance to make your own decisions in a safe environment. The thought of being in control may seem quite daunting at first but it should also be exciting - and ultimately it is safe with us by your side . On completion of this course you have the chance to charter a boat yourself, so make sure during the course you get all of your questions answered, and check anything you are unsure of. We are here to support you.

The maximum ratio for RYA practical courses is 5 students to 1 instructor.

How long does the Day Skipper course last?

You can complete this course in a 5 day block, or over 2 weekends (2 days plus 3 days).  If you don't find any dates on our calendar to suit you, give us a call as we may be able to come up with a solution that fits your diary and work schedule!

What does the Day Skipper course cover?

The main points you will be covering in the RYA syllabus during these 5 days are;

  • Preparation for sea
  • Deck work
  • Navigation & pilotage
  • Meteorology
  • Rules of the Road
  • Maintenance and repair work
  • Engines
  • Victualling
  • Emergency situations
  • Yacht handling under power and sail
  • Passage making and night cruising
  • Everything you need to be able to skipper a yacht in familiar waters yourself....
  • See the full syllabus here

How exciting does this sound? Just imagine yourself at the helm of a boat, skippering and feeling confident with everything you're doing....!


What will I be sailing on?

We mostly coach on yachts of between 37 and 41 feet. Our yachts have been specifically chosen as they are easy to handle and are great for learning!  There is no denying us girls sometimes don't have the physical strength of the boys but with our technical ability and a well-chosen yacht we can do just as well.  You will usually find yourself on board an Elan 37, Jeanneau 37 or a Beneteau 40.7. All of your time will be spent living as crew-mates on your yacht.  Most of the yachts have 9/10 berths, with 3 cabins and a saloon so the boats will normally have 2 persons in each cabin i.e. 6 - this is always the case for an RYA course, MAX 6 persons onboard. On some events e.g. races we use the saloon which can sleep an additional 2-4 people.

Typical layout of Elan 37

What will I do during the week?

Day 1 - Meet your crew at 1000 at the Girls For Sail office, before your full safety brief on the boat. Go through engine safety checks and plan your first passage.

Day 2 - Experience night cruising on a passage.

Day 3 - Practice man over board recovery under motor - real-life MOB volunteers not required!

Day 4 - Skipper the yacht and pick up a mooring buoy for lunch.

Day 5  - Spend time polishing up anything that you wish to cover again before heading back to Cowes to debrief and clean up. You will depart the yacht at 4pm, depending on weather conditions.

What's included in the course?

  • Fully coded yacht with safety equipment
  • Fully qualified RYA skipper
  • All safety equipment
  • Accommodation on board
  • RYA Courses (UK) - full board food (dinner on 3 nights)
  • RYA Courses (St Lucia) - full board food (dinner on 1 night only)
  • RYA Courses (weekends) - half board (breakfast and lunches only)
  • Shower facilities on site in marina
  • Diesel, water, electricity
  • Wet Weather Gear (by prior arrangement)
  • Fun, fun, fun!

What isn't included?

  • Transport to and from meeting points
  • Mooring Fees
  • Flights
  • Alcoholic drinks and evening meals (unless otherwise stated)
  • Departure taxes/customs entries per person
  • Accommodation upgrades where available

Why choose Girls for Sail?

  • First of all we want to give you some freedom, we want you to feel able to do absolutely anything onboard, so we will greet you, make you feel welcome, confident and safe, and of course you won't have anyone rushing you! You can learn at your own pace with our skippers and feel the benefit of this in your handling of our yacht!
  • We pride ourselves on our levels of tuition.  There's no such thing as a silly question!  There's no shouting onboard and as it's also your holiday, we want you to have fun and go home relaxed and satisfied with your time here! Not to mention you get to meet new lifelong friends! 

How do I book?

This the perfect next step for girls who have either completed their RYA Competent Crew course or who have some sailing experience and who are looking to move up to being able to skipper a yacht themselves!

If you are unsure what would be best for you, call our office and speak to one of our lovely team who will be able to help you out with any queries you may have.


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+44(0)1983 28 28 67

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