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“A really top class week. Training with
Rubicon 3 makes such a difference”
To attain the RYA/MCA Yachtmaster Offshore candidates must pass a practical examination of their sailing and skippering ability. You must show that you can skipper a yacht on extended offshore passages by day or night, safely and competently, dealing with any issues as they arise.
At the start of the week, you will be assessed on your strengths and weaknesses, and then the remainder of the week we will work with you to address any weaknesses. In particular, we are likely to focus on: passage planning, recovery of a casualty overboard recovery, close-quarters boat handling, skippering techniques, navigation in restricted visibility, pilotage and knowledge of the International Collision Regulations. Before joining the course, you must have RYA Coastal Skipper or equivalent levels of skill and experience.
During the exam at the end of the week, the examiner will ask each candidate to skipper the yacht on several short passages and complete various demonstrations of their skippering and sailing ability over the course of the weekend.
Intensive preparation for the Coastal or Offshore exam
Experts hints, tips and skills polishing
Practice exam session
Formal MCA exam at end
All meals and snacks on board
All mooring fees
Personal sailing insurance
You spend the full course living on the yacht, with all meals provided. One of the expert Rubicon 3 instructors will work through the full syllabus with you, covering everything you need to know to be a competent and useful crew member on any future yachts you sail on.
A training holiday
Each day, you will sail to somewhere new, visiting the wonderful harbours and anchorages of the Solent. You will finish each day both on the mainland and on the Isle of Wight, and there’s usually the chance to head into one of the local pubs for a well earned beer and chat about the day’s training.
In the best place to learn to sail
The Solent is easily one of the best sailing grounds in the world, with its huge variety of locations, sheltered water, challenging tides, and lots of vast commercial cargo ships moving by. As we describe in our Solent overview, this really is the only place to learn to sail
Safety is absolutely paramount when heading out onto the water. Rubicon 3’s heritage is in ocean sailing and expeditions to the polar regions, and we bring all that expertise to everything we do, including the RYA courses. It can mean a quite different experience to other sailing schools, many of who rarely venture out beyond their local area. You will also be training on top class yachts with the latest safety equipment, fully inspected by the maritime authorities every year.
90% of crew join solo, so these are excellent courses if you are coming alone. There is nearly always a 50:50 mix of men and women, of all ages. It’s a small, fun group of like-minded people, all working toward the same goal.
You can expect three other crew on board, giving a maximum of four. Many other sailing schools will pack five onto a boat (to maximise profits) but this has a really detrimental effect on the training. You will simply not have enough ‘wheel’ time, trimming time and such like. It’s a 25% reduction in training time and the quality of your training is greatly affected
What time does my sailing course start and finish?
Start: 1830hrs on Friday and Sunday
Finish: 1600hrs on Friday and Sunday (approximate time)
Do I need insurance?
Rubicon 3 has full public liability insurance, however we do strongly recommend that you buy additional personal insurance that covers travel, cancellation, damage to clothing or accidents. Topsail and Bishop’s Skinner are both good options.
Where will be sail to?
You will be sailing in the Solent, which is the best training ground available. You may visit some of the well-known harbours on the Isle of Wight such as Cowes or Yarmouth, along with Beaulieu, Lymington, Poole and Portsmouth.
Will we get off the boat?
Most nights you can jump off the boat for a beer ashore. Some nights we may be at anchor.
How many students will there be on the boat?
We take a maximum of 4 students per boat. This maximises your tuition and hands on time, versus many other schools that pack a fifth person on board.
Will I be cooking?
Part of learning to sail is learning how to live aboard a yacht. All chores, including cooking, are shared equally between all students and the instructor. Don’t worry – there’s a set menu and lots of help at hand!
Will I be sharing a cabin?
It may be necessary for you to share a cabin. Couples and friends will normally share. If you are coming on a course on your own there is a possibility you will have to share a cabin but this would only be with someone of the same sex.
Can you cater for dietary requirements?
We can accommodate basic dietary requirements such as vegetarians and minor food allergies. If you have any concerns, please check with us before booking.
Everything must be packed into a soft holdall that can be rolled away
Candidates may be given the opportunity to demonstrate knowledge of competence in the areas listed below. In each section, the examiner will expect to see the candidate take full responsibility for the management of the yacht and crew. In Yachtmaster Offshore exams the candidate will be expected to demonstrate competence based on broad experience.
5 days (Mon - Fri) or three weekends
50 days aboard, 5 days as skipper, 2500 miles logged, 5 passages of over 60 miles including 2 overnight and 2 as skipper (Half the qualifying seatime must have been conducted in tidal waters). VHF radio operators certificate and a valid first aid certificate.
A week of intensive preparation, fine tuning your sailing, navigation and skippering skills. Ends with a two day MCA exam.
Solent, England. Based in Portsmouth.