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Yachtmaster Practical in UK
Th. Freeman
Posted: Tuesday, November 10, 2009 9:03 AM
Joined: 04/05/2009
Posts: 24

Hi, Does anyone have any good past experiences with schools/clubs that offer the Yachtmaster (Motor) practical exam in the UK?

I am currently looking to book it, and am having great difficulty in finding somewhere. Maybe if someone has any recommendations of past training centers you could forward would be grately appreciated.

Posted: Tuesday, November 10, 2009 10:19 AM
Joined: 14/01/2009
Posts: 1024

Hmm. ages since I did it. If your in the south of England simply lift your pint glass and a yachtmaster school will spring forth. The Solent is full of them. I did it in Falmouth. Falmouth is a pleasant place. The geography of the Fal estuary , Turo and the Helford River is stunning , allows you to blind navigate intuitively, identify those seagulls that are sitting or standing on a mud bank, dont even need tide tables becasue the air is so clean you can smell the ebbing tide and best of all the weather is just a bit warmer so you can operate comfortably during the inevitable British foul winter weather. . The Solent is rather mixed up, full of commercial traffic and crazy sailing yachts going this way and that way always at full speed, At certain times of the year its entirly possible to come face to face with entire fleets, hundreds, of yachtmaster students simultaniously practicing their man overboard drill...mighty scary ...good place to learn collision rules,. great place to get cold and wet.. Pick up Yachting world mag. and start ringing numbers. See who fits your time schedule. Oh and the shipyard in Falmouth handles plenty of superyachts...might even be a job on one.
Tristan Rowe
Posted: Tuesday, November 10, 2009 11:28 AM
Joined: 30/06/2008
Posts: 19

I can very much second Junior's opinion, Falmouth is a great spot and Cornish Cruising (01326 211 800) is a higly reccomended organisation.  Many crews that visit the yard on builds or refits spend time with them, getting all manner of qualifications and I have had some great feedback.

If you need help sourcing or organising any aspects of your training then you can contact Katherine Howarth who is in charge of our Crew Training & Liasion serices here at Pendennis.

Good luck and we look forward to seeing you in Falmouth!




Posted: Tuesday, November 10, 2009 3:30 PM
Joined: 24/11/2008
Posts: 20

The reaons given above to not do your yachtmaster in the solent are exactly why you should do it there! There are many schools based out of Cowes, the Hamble and Southampton, although I have heard particularly good reports about Hamble School of Yachting. Over the winter the Solent wont be particularly busy, but you will still get the advantage of dealing with commercial traffic, port control systems, excellent pilotage and on the whole, a sheltered place to practice them!
Mike French
Posted: Tuesday, November 10, 2009 3:34 PM
Joined: 06/05/2008
Posts: 57

Open the back of the yachting mags in the UK and you should find ADs for the Solent based schools.  Or go to the RYA website and they list their approved schools.  The Solent with its sheltered seaway and busy traffic is without doubt the best place to train in the UK.  Falmouth and the cornish coastline is pretty but dull, had a girlfriend like that once.  Why would you do the course in the UK anyway?  What's wrong with Lauderdale.  Cheaper and better and actually relevant  to the Yachting industry!

English Andy
Posted: Tuesday, November 10, 2009 5:53 PM
Joined: 17/09/2008
Posts: 93

You might like to try the Sealine Sea School running out of the Hamble.  They use a 42 ft Cabin cruiser which is easy to drive at all speed ranges, and the corners can be seen -  which is a huge bonus when manoeuvring in close confines.  However, if you wish to take further courses such as Yachtmaster Instructor or Examiner, then this is the yacht that is used for some seriously advanced courses!  Hope this helps.....?

Posted: Wednesday, November 11, 2009 9:32 AM
Joined: 14/01/2009
Posts: 1024

There is some merit in what Mike says about taking your courses in the area that you will most likely find employment and meeting the people. But I can think of a dozen reasons for a young American to travel to England for licensing class's. Life is about fun, adventure and new geographic regions. The South of England is an important region to have experience with. When you do your first transatlantic as captain and your landfall will be the Isle of Wight you will already know from your yachtmaster days what the Needles looks like after a SW Gale or the location of Camper and Nicholsons. Also the British way of teaching is heavy on collision rules since the English Channel is a busy nasty place with all kind of traffic separation zones , cross channel traffic, guard boats, transit beacons. It sticks in your mind when your entering Portsmouth harbor at night and see light signal green green green on the blockhouse.. warship underway , stand clear. . When you sail across the channel to France tide tables are a factor. The UK is time UT and France is UT zone- 1, all while thinking BST, the South Coast is both East Longitude and West longitude all good real life yachtmaster exercises. A young person in Lauderdale may never see these things . Perhaps street wise crew should do the Yachtmaster on the South Coast, Yachtmaster Ocean in Hollywood because they have all the stars, Life raft practice in Australia to check out sea snakes and box jellies, Gmdss in New Zealand because its way over there and Kiwis like to talk long distance, Cooking class in South Africa because they have Biltong, Superyacht stuff in Lauderdale home of the awlgrip wet look , and...........on and on and on until you're familiar with all the beers of the world, heaps of jokes, carry a full ticket stack and know how to make yachty weenies stand aside or loose a limb..
Dominic warren
Posted: Wednesday, November 11, 2009 6:30 PM
Joined: 26/07/2008
Posts: 4

North Wales Sail and Power are a very good choice in my opinion. Great instructor, challenging area to train in, good fun alround.
Posted: Wednesday, November 11, 2009 8:14 PM
Joined: 06/01/2009
Posts: 6

I'm also looking for the best place to do my yachtmaster offshore (sail) I have plenty of miles but still need my 2 60mile skipper passages. Does any body know of a school that has flexible options for mile building etc that I could tag on to the rest of the course?

Posted: Thursday, November 12, 2009 3:08 PM
Joined: 27/07/2008
Posts: 96

Harri all the solent based schools do the St.Malo run for those vital sea miles required to go from zero to hero.

Th. Freeman
Posted: Thursday, November 12, 2009 8:04 PM
Joined: 04/05/2009
Posts: 24

Well thanks for the feedback people. Looks like the Solent may be the area of choice.

Although, Your comments about maybe doing it in the area I'm seeking work is also in consideration. I have taken the next few months to try to upgrade my CV (from what I have been reading, the competition next year will be immense, and one needs to do his best to get himself noticed). As I'm currently based in the UK, it would seem more sense for me to complete the Y/M whilst I have the time, rather than cram it in at the beginning of the season in Europe next year.

Thanks again for your time efforts.

Posted: Friday, November 13, 2009 1:34 AM
Joined: 07/09/2008
Posts: 6

Unless you've already made your decsion then investigate  (in Cowes) They offer far more than just yachtmaster and they also have a good mix of boats and facilities and excellent instructors. Just be wary of the marketing bollox that implies all graduates will be captains in a year or 2. Use them for what they are which is damn good instructors and you wont go far wrong.

Posted: Friday, November 13, 2009 9:10 AM
Joined: 24/11/2008
Posts: 20

Be very careful with UKSA, as said above they do have good instructors and a good range of boats but dont get sucked in with the marketing, and if you're just looking for a short course you can often find it cheaper elsewhere. I've been to UKSA several times for courses of varying length and have walked away each time with an unpleasant taste in my mouth. If you're looking for a long course then often the course will be overpriced, will include things you dont need just to make it look good on paper, and will usually provide you with the bare minimum of miles and practical experience to just scrape by with a chance of passing the exam.
Posted: Friday, November 13, 2009 1:54 PM
Joined: 02/06/2008
Posts: 342

"... will usually provide you with the bare minimum of miles and practical experience to just scrape by with a chance of passing the exam."


Isn't that what the MCA/RYA/IYT system is all about?

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