There is no formal qualification required to participate in yacht races, so you can jump on board and learn as you go! To get familiarized quickly, do the Competent Crew course!
If you're interested in chartering a yacht, most destinations (including the Mediterranean) will require that you have completed the Day Skipper course. This includes both, a shore-based theory exam and onboard practical exam. The theory can be completed in person or online, while the practical course requires a five day overnight stay on the boat or equivalent. (To sail in the UK, you will also need a VHF certification, 1-day theory.) If you have never sailed before, we recommend completing the Competent Crew or at least a few weekend sails prior to the Day Skipper practical exam.
After earning your Day Skipper, you can apply for your ICC through the RYA, much like an international driving licence (granted automatically). In practice, most companies worldwide are happy to accept your Day Skipper. Do not worry about your nationality - as a UK resident, you are entitled to receive your ICC from the RYA. More details here
How long will it take?
If you're an absolute savage desperate to get your hands on a license with zero experience, you can do it within a month: a five day Competent Crew Course also offered by our Day Skipper training centre (can skip if you have 100 nm experience). You then have to complete the Day Skipper theory, which can be done online at your own pace then a Day Skipper course (5 days), or merged with the Day Skipper Practical (14 days total). WE DO NOT RECOMMEND THIS.
Take your time to learn the sport and keep in mind that by becoming a Day Skipper, you become responsible for the safety of all those aboard. Instead of the Competent Crew, do a few training sails or regattas to learn and build experience, then complete your theory (best done in person as the map work is complex), then do the practical, over a total course of a year or more.
OK, how do I sign up?
For in-person theory - we host classes on LBS with First Class Sailing. Look out for announcements. New classes formed for September and January.
For online theory - book directly with Trafalgar Sailing! Discounted from 280 to 250GBP if booked together with practical below!
For Competent Crew and Day Skipper practical - Offered by Trafalgar Sailing in Gibraltar (also sailing in Spain and Morocco). We will make open-day bookings in groups of 5 in order to benefit from our partner's discount! (Only GBP 440!) For that, please register your SERIOUS interest in the form HERE and we will notify you when we have enough people to fill a group. You will then be asked to confirm your continued interest and complete the payment. Once you have paid, you can complete the practical ANY WEEK OF THE YEAR except Christmas and New Year! Courses run ALL YEAR! Yes, ALL YEAR! Reach out to Trafalgar Sailing to secure a spot for the week you want and show up! You will do the course with whoever also signed up for that week. We will also organise some LBS-only boats! If you already booked your Day Skipper before the LBS boat dates are announced but want to come, reach out to us and we will save you a spot.
More information can be found on the RYA website.