Specialist Courses


Outside of the RYA Yachtmaster Scheme, you will sometimes find yourself looking for a little bit of extra training to fill a gap in your experience.

Perhaps you already have qualifications but have not been sailing for a few years. Or you are hoping to qualify soon but would like to do some preparation.

If you wish to build experience as crew, you are welcome on all of our courses. The crew are an essential part of the team, and you will benefit from as many different scenarios as you can.

The following courses offer a considerable amount of flexibility you can indulge in all the things you wanted to try but perhaps ran out of time on a previous RYA course.

For our formal RYA syllabus see here

Sail Handling

Designed as one or more weekend courses, the aim of the game is improve on the basic sailing skills that you would have learnt previously, as part of your competent crew or day skipper course. Sailing is such a broad subject, so these weekends focus on the sails and their controls, including:

  • Understanding different type of sail, and their application
  • Getting your tell tales flying correctly
  • Travellers – Purpose, operation and effect
  • Halyards and outhauls – set and forget or adjust?
  • Safe downwind sailing – balancing your yacht, poling out headsails and rigging preventers
  • Heavy weather sailing – reefing, helming and safety

2 Day Pre Flotilla Course

Our two day course is designed as a refresher course for those who would be able to partake in a flotilla holiday with confidence upon successful completion of the course. The course is  run on a yacht very similar in equipment and characteristics to those operated on our flotilla holidays. You would then spend the first three days on the water with an instructor covering the areas of skippering and boat handling required to ensure that you can complete your flotilla holiday in confidence. The contents of the course is very much driven by you – practice the skills that you would like whilst enjoying a weekend on the water.

Pre-course Requirements: 5 days at sea, 100 miles, 4 night hours. Navigation to Day Skipper Shore-based standard and basic sailing ability.

Tidal Refresher

Aimed at those who have trained or gained their experience in non-tidal waters such as the Mediterranean, this course aims to develop and enhance a skipper’s ability and experience in tidal waters ensuring both a  theoretical understanding of basic tidal theory and implications for navigation such as tidal heights and streams, as well as acquiring the practical skills required to safely handle a yacht in tidal waters. This includes mastering techniques such as ferry gliding when maneuvering   a yacht in close quarters as well as tidal implications for passage planning.

Pre-course Requirements: 15 days, 2 days as skipper, 300 miles, 8 night hours. Navigation to Day Skipper Shore-based standard. Sailing to Day Skipper standard.

Minimum age: 16

  • Revision & Consolidation of procedures and routines to Day Skipper level (as the assumed starting level of the course) in tidal waters
  • Navigation – Taking and plotting visual fixes – Use of electronic navigation equipment for position fixing – Use of waypoints – Working up DR and EP – Estimating tidal heights and tidal streams – Working out course to steer to allow for tidal stream, leeway and drift – Knowledge of IALA buoyage – Maintenance of navigational records – Use of echo sounder and lead lines
  • Pilotage – Can prepare and execute pilotage plan for entry into, or departure from, harbour – Understands the use of leading and clearing lines – Use of transits and soundings as aids to pilotage.
  • Yacht handling under power – Can control the yacht effectively in a confined space under power – All berthing and un-berthing situations in various conditions of wind and tide.
  • Yacht handling under sail – Can use the sails to control the yacht in a confined space – Anchoring and mooring in various conditions of wind and tide – Can sail efficiently on all points of sail.
  • Adverse weather conditions – Preparation for heavy weather and yacht handling in strong winds and tides – Navigation and general conduct in restricted visibility.
  • Emergency situations – Recovery of man overboard under power and sail in a ridal stream – Understands action to be taken when abandoning to the life raft and during helicopter and lifeboat rescue.

Ladies Weekends

Sometimes, if you aren’t a regular, or perhaps are a reluctant, sailor, you may feel overwhelmed or uncomfortable on the yacht if your partner always takes charge. Our weekends, run by female RYA instructors, are designed to enable you to build on your existing experience or to learn new skills to enable you to take the helm confidently in tricky situations.

Whilst your partner may take the lead in most situations, the understanding that comes from being able to moor alongside or stern-to in the Mediterranean will build your confidence, take the pressure off the skipper and hopefully mean that you have a more enjoyable and relaxed holiday. If you are travelling as a family, knowing that your loved ones are in multiple pairs of safe hands will certainly lead to a more relaxed holiday for all.

Power handling

Ideally suited to a weekend, this course offers the opportunity to practise close-quarters handling techniques, including:

  • Manoeuvring a yacht in tight spaces such as marinas, locks and busy waterways using the elements of wind and tide and the boat’s own prop walk
  • Mooring alongside and into a finger berth
  • Turning a yacht 180 degrees in a confined space
  • Planning a berthing manoeuvre in a tricky situation – having a plan B!
  • Using Springs to leave a tight windward pontoon

5 Day Pre Flotilla Course

Our five day pre flotilla course is designed specifically to take you from having limited or now skippering experience to the level required to safely and competently enjoy a flotilla holiday on board your own chartered yacht.

Pre-course Requirements: 5 days at sea, 100 miles, 4 night hours. Navigation to Day Skipper Shore-based standard and basic sailing ability.

Course Syllabus:

  • The Yacht – Parts of a boat, her rigging and sails.
  • Preparation for sea – Is aware of safety equipment required for offshore passages – Can prepare a yacht for sea including stowage, safety briefing, watch keeping, delegating responsibilities and equipment and engine checks
  • 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 or stern to, coming to a buoy, anchoring, weighing anchor and slipping from a buoy or an alongside  or stern- to berth.
  • Rope-work – Understanding of the rigging. Practical knowledge of commonly used knots.
  • Sail handling – Basic sail trimming and sailing on all points of sail. Understanding of reefing controls and when to reef.
  • Power Handling – Basic boat handling under power, including anchoring, use of shore lines and “Mediterranean” style stern-to mooring.
  • Pilotage – Can prepare and execute pilotage plan for entry into, or departure from, harbour – Understands the use of leading and clearing lines – Use of transits and soundings as aids to pilotage.
  • Navigation – Simple position fixing, line of sight navigation and GPS familiarisation. Chart reading and chart symbol identification and calculating a course to steer.
  • Safety – Basic safety procedures when moored and under way. Including First Aid, use of flares, fire precautions and man overboard recovery.
  • Communications – Operation of your VHF radio. Radio etiquette and local customs.
  • Meteorology – Awareness of forecasting services and knowledge of the Beaufort Scale.


Simple but essential to anyone wanting to work there logbook towards the Yachtmaster exam. With the guidance of our experienced instructors, this is an excellent opportunity for skippers of any level. Practice long-distance passage making perhaps in preparation for an RYA Coastal Skipper course. Aspiring crew can benefit from an adventurous trip accross to France or the channel islands. Sometimes costal to places like Dartmouth.

*Do we do this in the med?*

Private Tuition

Private tuition is available at all of our schools and gives the flexibility to serve your entire groups needs. Choose any course here or from the RYA Yachtmaster Scheme, Or talk to us and we can put a combination of RYA and non RYA courses together for your whole party.

Private tuition can be conducted on our training yacht by an exclusive use supplement. This often offers the best value for groups of 3-5.

We can also offer tuition in the Mediterranian on our large fleet of Bareboat and flotilla yachts. This gives you the possibility of choosing a newer or larger yacht that fits your requirements.

Please call or email us to find out what might offer you the best flexibility and price.

Professional Development

Seafarer has been established for 25 Years, and during this time, we have taken thousands of people sailing as well as employed numerous skippers. We know what it takes to work in this industry and are well placed to assist you. Please contact us for more information on our professional development program.

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