The Call of the Sea 01872 580022

RYA Competent Crew Course

Learn to Sail Any Boat with a Competent Crew Course 

The RYA Competent Crew Course is very much a hands on course for complete beginners, or those with some experience of yachts that want to have a solid foundation of seamanship, and also dinghy sailors wanting to make the cross over to vessels big enough to live on and go further afield.

This is the most popular course. We only run a couple of Competent Crew sailing courses a month, as we have lots of other themed sailing short breaks and adventures on offer too. Whilst Classic Sailing has a whole range of larger sailing ships, to learn the first principals of sailing you really need a vessel small enough to 'throw around' and experiment a bit.

As you would expect from Classic Sailing, the teaching yachts we use are classic wooden boats that turn heads wherever they go. Golden Vanity is a 40ft gaff cutter and Moosk is a 39ft Yawl.  The RYA instructors on both vessels will be able to teach you seamanship skills for boats with blocks and tackles but also the jargon and safe techniques to feel at home on yachts with winches and jamming cleats. 

Gaff cutter entering Fowey Harbour

Moosk has Competent Crew Courses from Falmouth and Plymouth. Golden Vanity is ideally placed in Brixham to explore South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. From Lands End to Berry Head, Cornwall and Devon offers fantastic sailing waters, friendly ports and secluded locations to explore. 

If you want to learn to sail a yacht, but like the look of our vessels, the following the Competent Crew Course would be the best all round option for a newcomer to sailing.  The instructor to student ratio is officially 1 to 5, but on Moosk and Golden Vanity there is a RYA instructor as skipper and usually another experienced sailor as a cook/mate to learn from.

If you have seen an awesome location like the Isles of Scilly or Outer Hebrides or the warm waters of the Canaries then virtually all of Classic Sailing voyages can be tackled by a beginners  as our skippers will train you to be useful crew from the moment you join. Unlike the Competent Crew course there is no set structure to the learning experience on our holiday voyages, but if you are keen to learn, there are all sorts of skills you can gain. 

See our RYA Competent Crew Practical Course Dates

If you are really keen on learning to sail, or improving your skills, but are uncertain what sailing experience to go for, please do ring us as we take great pleasure in helping you find a voyage which ticks all the right boxes for you.

Classic Sailing Cornwall Office - Ring Adam, Debbie, or Becky on 01872 580022

Moosk below

RYA Competent Crew

We want you to develop a love of sailing, and the best way to make a start on any boat is to feel you are a vital and competent part of the crew. On the RYA Competent crew course, we will teach you the seamanship skills of steering, setting sails, reefing, and tying knots with conviction ! The competent crew course is about going places, so you can experience a wide range of sailing experiences:- anchoring in remote bays, mooring in sheltered rivers, coming alongside harbour walls or pontoons, night sailing. The sailing how to you learn will be relevant for modern yachts, but after the rya competent crew course you should also feel at home on traditional boats and tall ships with blocks and tackles. (5 or 6 day course. Maximum 5 students to one instructor on any RYA course, fully inclusive prices)

" Thank you! After only one week on I feel more like a proper sailor!" Mel 

RYA Competent Crew Syllabus (Practical Course)
Aim: To introduce the complete beginner to cruising and to teach personal safety, seamanship, and helmsmanship to the level required to be a useful member of the crew of a cruising yacht.

Knowledge of sea terms and parts of the boat, her rigging and sails.
Sufficient knowledge to understand orders concerning the sailing and day to day running of the boat.

Sail handling
Bending on, setting, reefing and handling of sails. Use of sheets and halyards and their associated winches.

Handling ropes, including coiling, stowing, securing to cleats and single and double bollards. Handling warps. Ability to tie the following knots and know their correct use: figure of eight, clove hitch, rolling hitch, bowline, round turn and two half hitches, single and double sheet bend, reef knot.

Fire precautions and fighting.
Awareness of the hazards of fire and the precautions necessary to prevent fire. Knowledge of the action taken in the event of fire.

Personal safety equipment
Understands and complies with the rules for wearing of safety harnesses, lifejackets and personal buoyancy aids.

Man overboard
Understands the action to be taken to recover a man overboard.

Emergency equipment
Can operate distress flares and knows how they should be used. Understands how to launch and board a liferaft.

Manners and customs
Understands the accepted practice with regard to: use of burgees and ensigns, prevention of unnecessary noise or disturbance in harbour including courtesies to other craft berthed alongside. Aware of the responsibility of yacht skippers to protect the environment.

Rules of the Road
Is able to keep an efficient lookout at sea.

Understands and complies with loading rules. Is able to handle a dinghy under oars.

Awareness of forecasting and the Beaufort Scale.

Working efficiency unaffected/ partially affected / severely affected by seasickness (delete as applicable).

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 motor.

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

Golden Vanity below

What Next ?  We sell On line Basic Navigation Courses Too

RYA Essential Navigation and Seamanship Course

This is an online interactive course designed by the RYA as an introduction to Navigation. You might be interested to do this before or after your practical course, but is NOT a requirement. A perfect bridge between Competent Crew and Day Skipper, this course will help you to understand how to get from A to B safely. 

A thorough understanding of navigation is essential if your sailing ambition is to charter a yacht, sail your own boat or simply to know whats going on when you are on a friends boat, or on one of our holidays. The course will take you through the basics step by step, and we are on hand to help where necessary. 

Another excellent way of learning is through reading. The RYA have an excellent range of books covering all aspects of sailing and navigation, as well as useful learning tools to help you along the way. 

Sail Cruise Books

Navigation Books


Classic Sailing holidays - a passion for wooden boats and tall ships.

Photo Description Departs Disembarks
Moosk - MK060518 - 6 nights Details
RYA Competent Crew or Day Skipper Practical
Per Person | GBP £ 695.00 Available - Book Now
Sun, 06/05/2018 - 16:00
Sat, 12/05/2018 - 12:00
Golden Vanity under sail and Leader by Valery Vasilvskyi Golden Vanity - GV120518 - 6 days Details
RYA Competent Crew or Day Skipper Practical Course
Per Person | GBP £ 695.00 Available - Book Now
Sat, 12/05/2018 - 14:00
Fri, 18/05/2018 - 12:00
Golden Vanity - GV040618 - 4 Nights Details
RYA Competent Crew Practical Course - Learn to Sail on a cruising yacht where you live on board
Per Person | GBP £ 465.00 Limited places - Book Now
Mon, 04/06/2018 - 14:00
Fri, 08/06/2018 - 12:00
Golden Vanity - GV090618 - 6 Nights Details
RYA Competent Crew or Day Skipper Practical Course
Per Person | GBP £ 695.00 Limited places - Book Now
Sat, 09/06/2018 - 14:00
Fri, 15/06/2018 - 12:00
Golden Vanity - GV160618 - 6 days Details
RYA Competent Crew or Day Skipper Practical Course
Per Person | GBP £ 695.00 Last Place - Book Now
Sat, 16/06/2018 - 14:00
Fri, 22/06/2018 - 12:00
Golden Vanity - GV240618 - 5 Nights Details
RYA Competent Crew Practical Course - a full introduction to living aboard a yacht and sailing skills you need
Per Person | GBP £ 495.00 Fully booked
Sun, 24/06/2018 - 14:00
Fri, 29/06/2018 - 12:00
Moosk - MK240618 - 6 nights Details
RYA Competent Crew or Day Skipper Practical
Per Person | GBP £ 695.00 Limited places - Book Now
Sun, 24/06/2018 - 16:00
Sat, 30/06/2018 - 12:00
Golden Vanity - GV300618 - 6 Nights Details
RYA Competent Crew or Day Skipper Practical Course
Per Person | GBP £ 695.00 Available - Book Now
Sat, 30/06/2018 - 14:00
Fri, 06/07/2018 - 12:00
Golden Vanity - GV070718 - 5 Nights Details
RYA Competent Crew Practical Course - Learn to sail on a classic boat
Per Person | GBP £ 495.00 Available - Book Now
Sat, 07/07/2018 - 14:00
Thu, 12/07/2018 - 12:00
Golden Vanity - GV080918 - 6 Nights Details
RYA Competent Crew or Day Skipper Practical Course - Autumn sailing in Devon
Per Person | GBP £ 695.00 Available - Book Now
Sat, 08/09/2018 - 14:00
Fri, 14/09/2018 - 12:00


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