RYA Day Skipper Practical

(6 customer reviews)


RYA Day Skipper practical course, run over 5 days or 2 weekends. This course is run in conjunction with a Competent Crew course which makes for a great learning environment.

We have a maximum of 2:1 Day Skipper students to instructor ratio to allow you to get the absolute most from the course.

(20% Deposit payable to secure a place)

Option Desciption Availability Price Book
RYA Day Skipper Practical - 24th - 28th April 2019 24th - 28th April 2019 Fully booked £600.00
Pay a 20% deposit to secure a place
RYA Day Skipper Practical - 11th - 15th May 2019 11th - 15th May 2019 Fully booked £600.00
Pay a 20% deposit to secure a place
RYA Day Skipper Practical - 21st - 25th September 2019 21st - 25th September 2019 Fully booked £600.00
Pay a 20% deposit to secure a place

Course Description

The RYA Day Skipper practical is a course for aspiring skippers with some yachting experience and basic navigation and sailing skills.

The course is run in a SAFE but FUN and FRIENDLY environment aimed at BUILDING CONFIDENCE in your SKIPPERING ABILITY.

You’ll learn to skipper a short passage with the instructor on hand to give advice and encouragement and ensure your safety. Experience being in charge, taking credit when it all goes well and being responsible when it doesn’t.

The required pre-course experience is 100 logged sea miles, 5 days onboard a yacht and 4 night hours. Additionally, you are expected to have theory knowledge to the standard of Day Skipper theory.

Before taking this course, if you are not sure that your sailing is up to speed, get in touch and we can help ensure this is the right next step for you.

Day Skipper Practical Syllabus

The Day Skipper course teaches pilotage, navigation, seamanship and boat handling up to the required standard to skipper a small cruising yacht safely by day in tidal waters with which the student is familiar.

1. Preparation for sea

  • Is able to prepare a yacht for sea, including engine checks, selection of sails, securing and stowage of all gear on deck and below

2. Deck Work

  • Can reef, shake out reefs and change sails to suit prevailing conditions
  • Can prepare an anchor, mooring warps and take charge on deck when mooring alongside, coming to a buoy, anchoring, weighing anchor and slipping from a buoy or alongside berth

3. Navigation

  • Is proficient in chartwork and routine navigational duties on passage including; Taking and plotting visual fixes Use of electronic navigation equipment for position fixing
  • Use of waypoints
  • Working up to DR and EP
  • Estimating tidal heights and tidal streams
  • Working out a course-to-steer allowing for tidal stream, leeway and drift
  • Knowledge of IALA buoyage
  • Maintenance of navigational records
  • Use of echo sounder and lead line

4. Pilotage

  • Can prepare and execute a pilotage plan for entry into, or departure from, harbour
  • Understands the use of leading and clearing lines
  • Use of transits and surroundings as aids to pilotage

5. Meteorology

  • Knows sources of forecast information
  • Can interpret shipping forecasts and use a barometer as a forecasting aid

6. Rule of the road

  • Has a working knowledge of the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea

7. Maintenance and repair work

  • Understands and is able to carry out maintenance tasks
  • Knows the properties and uses of common synthetic fibre ropes

8. Engines

  • Knows how to change fuel and water filters, pump impeller and to bleed the fuel system

9. Victualling

  • Understands how to victual a yacht

10. Emergency Situations

  • Is able to take the correct action as skipper for recovery of man overboard
  • Understands distress flares and how to use a liferaft
  • Can operate a radiotelephone in an emergency and send a distress message
  • Understands how to secure a tow
  • Understands rescue procedures including helicopter rescue

11. Yacht handling under power

  • Can bring a boat safely to and from an alongside berth, mooring buoy and anchor under various conditions of wind and tide
  • Can steer and trim sails effectively on all points of sailing

12. Passage making

  • Can plan and make a coastal passage, taking account of relevant navigational hazards and limitations imposed by the type of boat and the strength of the crew

13. Night cruising

  • Has experienced sail cruising at night, including leaving and entering harbour
  • Understands the special consideration for pilotage plans, keeping a lookout and identifying marks by night.

14. Seasickness

  • Working efficiency is unaffected/partially affected/severely affected by seasickness

15. Helmsmanship and sailing

  • Understands the basic principles of sailing and can steer and trim sails on all points of sailing
  • Can steer a compass course, under sail and power

16. General duties

  • Has carried out general duties satisfactorily on deck and below decks in connection with the daily routine of the vessel

Example itinerary of a Day Skipper practical course

The RYA Day Skipper Practical course is a 5-day course, either 5 consecutive days or run over 3 weekends or 3 days plus a weekend.


1830h Arrive at Universal and check in
Meet the instructor, collect food and move onto the yacht to settle in
Stowe away all provisioning and personal kit
Instructor’s safety briefing and yacht familiarisation talk
Go ashore for evening meal and drink. A good chance to break the ice and have a relaxing evening before setting sail the next day


0800 Showers at the marina facilities, breakfast, clean up and get a weather forecast
Recap safety procedures on deck. Introduction to deck gear, ropes and rigging and various parts of the yacht
Engine start controls and rigging/slipping of mooring lines and fenders
Slip mooring and motor down the River Hamble giving everyone a chance to steer the yacht under power
Practice coming alongside and leaving various pontoons with everyone rotating jobs
Short sail to an anchorage or mooring buoy giving everyone the chance to raise sails and control them using the sheets
1300 Lunch at a mooring buoy or anchorage. Discuss the use of liferafts
The instructor will demonstrate how to plan a short passage taking into account wind, tide and pilotage information from the charts and almanacs
The Instructor will skipper the passage and demonstrate MOB procedures en-route with each student getting the chance to have a go
On route each student will have the chance to fix their position by visual means such as taking bearings
1830 Enter a new harbour in the Solent and moor up. Stow sails and tidy-up on and below deck
1900 Debrief on the days’ events whilst dinner is cooking in the oven
2000 Supper followed by a trip ashore to a local pub


0800 Showers at marina facilities, breakfast, clean up and get a weather forecast
1000 The first “Skipper” will plan a trip to an anchorage for lunch. On route, each crew member will practice MOB. The instructor will explain the procedure for deciding a good anchorage and working out the required heights of tide
Prepare to enter anchorage. Learn how to prepare the anchor and foredeck in anticipation of arrival
1400 Lunch at anchor
2nd “Skipper of the day” plans a short trip to an evening destination that involves a cross tide course.
Set sail for evening destination revising the basic collision regulations on route
1730 Arrive at a new harbour in the Solent and prepare supper
Debrief the day’s events including the second passage
1900 Depart for night sail exercise which will familiarise each crew member with light characteristics of buoyage and ships and additional safety procedures needed at night
2300 Arrive at destination


0900 Showers at marina facilities, breakfast, clean up and get a weather forecast
1030 Carry out some more manoeuvring under power using pontoons and mooring buoys
The instructor will teach how to sail onto a mooring buoy in a wind against tide situation followed by each student having the opportunity to have a go
1200 Lunch at a nearby mooring buoy
1300 1st “Skipper of the day” plans a passage to the evening destination. On route, the instructor will demonstrate the use of electronic navigational aids such as GPS and Chartplotters
Each student practices MOB on route
1700 Arrive at a new harbour and learn how to secure to a town wall. General discussion about etiquette when rafting and the use of courtesy flags
1830 Debrief on the days’ events
1930 Supper followed by a trip ashore


0800 Showers ashore, breakfast, clean up and get a weather forecast
1000 Practice pile moorings in harbour
1130 1st “Skipper of the day” plans a short passage to the lunchtime destination which will include entry to a harbour where tidal height is critical
Set sail for lunchtime destination practising Man Overboard en-route. Practice some slightly advanced sail trim techniques and poling out the headsail
1330 Lunch at anchor
1400 The instructor will demonstrate how to sail onto a mooring buoy in a wind with tide situation followed by each student having the chance to practice
1500 The second “Skipper of the day” plans a passage to a nighttime destination
Depart for evening destination with a discussion en-route about weather and the factors that affect yacht stability
1900 Arrive at destination and anchor for the night
Debrief the day’s events
Supper followed by row ashore


0900 Wash onboard, breakfast, clean up and get a weather forecast
1000 Sail back to Hamble practising all aspects
1200 Early lunch on a mooring buoy
1500 Arrive back at Hamble
Clean up the yacht, return wet weather gear followed by debriefing and issue of certificates
1600 Depart Hamble

Courses running over weekends follow a similar itinerary except with a return to Hamble at the end of each weekend.

Please note: All course itineraries are examples and do not form any part of the contract. Your instructor will structure the course based on weather and tides to ensure you cover all areas of the syllabus in a safe environment.

We sail from Hamble Yacht Services. Our adventures start here! Hamble Yacht Services offers easy access from the M27, has plenty of parking and nearby access to the bars and restaurants of Hamble.

There’s plenty of free parking on site.

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What others are saying

  1. mattbirchy

    Day Skipper Theory and Practical

    mattbirchy (verified owner)

    What a fantastic 5 days sailing! It was everything I hoped it would be. I made my mind up about Marcus and his teaching style after the first day of the theory course and decided to book the practical up there and then. I didn’t regret it, I thoroughly enjoyed my time aboard a lovely boat with great company. The weather was very kind to us which made the trip even better. I learned a huge amount from a very calm and patient tutor and left with a real sense of new found boat confidence. Not sure I’m ready for the Fastnet race yet but would definitely recommend Polka Sailing to anyone who wants to get their day skipper qualification. Thanks again!

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  2. davecrapnell

    Day Skipper Practical

    davecrapnell (verified owner)

    Would highly recommend Polka Sailing and Marcus if you are thinking about getting your Day Skipper qualification. Both the theory and practical sessions were informative and great fun and Marcus has a very good teaching style. Now looking forward to putting my new found knowledge into practice.

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  3. paulayton

    day Skipper practical

    paulayton (verified owner)

    Marcus is a great teacher – explaining things in an easy to understand way, would recommend doing the Theory and Practical course with Marcus as well as taking the opportunity to do some racing all great experiences.
    Highlight of the week sailing was sailing into Lymington at night (will not forget the fixed red light transit) and mooring at Pontoons just using the wind and tide ( ferry gliding) evenings were just as entertaining with an impromptu Pub quiz and then a last night Sambuca night cap or 2.The 5 days were great company and learned loads.

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  4. geoff_dibben

    Great experience

    geoff_dibben (verified owner)

    Great to learn with Marcus – he is a very patient, knowledgable and experienced sailor. The yacht is in excellent condition and is a great boat to gain experience on. We had a great 5 days and I would recommend Polka to anyone. I am sure I will be back… Thanks

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  5. Graham Pollard

    Day skipper theory and practical

    Graham Pollard (verified owner)

    I would recommend Polka sailing to anyone. Marcus is very knowledgeable and couldn’t be more helpful.
    5 stars from me

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  6. Ross

    Excellent Day Skipper Practical Course experience with Polka Sailing

    Ross (verified owner)

    Having undertaken Day Skipper Theory with Polka i had high expectations for the Day Skipper Practical Course and i was not disappointed. Marcus has a relaxed friendly approach to teaching which proved highly effective. Marcus’s yacht Polka was a really fun, seaworthy, safe, responsive boat to sail – which you might expect as it is a true Cruiser/Racer! Marcus provided all of us on the course with opportunities to stretch ourselves to a level in which we were comfortable. Endorsing the above – in the next few weeks i shall be booking a place on the Fastnet 2019 race campaign with Polka – which is not something i would do without trust in the ability of the Skipper and the boat!

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