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You will be living on board a sailing yacht during the course.

Advanced skippering techniques for yachtsmen and women with considerable knowledge of sailing and navigation, wanting to undertake coastal passages by day and night.

Like the Day Skipper course, this course consists of skippered passages in a variety of situations. Each trainee will skipper more challenging passages and learn more about passage planning, pilotage by day and night, boat handling, safety and emergency situations.

It is a satisfying but intensive week, with candidates often working towards a Certificate of Competence.

Coastal Skippers should be able to undertake more difficult passages by day and night and handle the yacht in more demanding conditions. By the end of the course you should have the knowledge, if not the experience, to become a Yachtmaster.  

Although there is no requirement to have undertaken any previous RYA courses there is a pre-course prerequisite for Day skipper practical.

Pre-course requirement for Coastal Skipper Practical

15 days, 2 days as skipper, 300 miles, 8 night hours

THEORY: Passage planning, C.T.S, E.P, Pilotage, Tidal hights, COLREGS, Buoyarge, Lights, Meteorology, AIS.

PRACTICAL: Can steer  all points of sail, Tacking, Gybing, Set sails, Winches, Knowledge of sea terms and parts of a boat, Her rigging and sails, Ropework, Fire Precautions and fighting, Personal Safety equipment, Man overboard, Emergency equipment, Helmsmanship, General duties, Manners and customs, Rules of the road, Handle sails, Keep a lookout, Row a dinghy and assist in all the day to day routines, Preparation for sea, Deck work, Navigation, Rules of the road, Maintenance and repair work, Engines, victualling, Emergency situations, Yacht handling under power, Yacht handling under sail, Passage making, Night cruising

All the above is covered in the Competent Crew / Day Skipper Theory / Day Skipper Practical / Coastal Yachmaster theory.


Minimum duration: 5 days

Minimum age: 17

Course content: Passage planning, Preparation for sea, Pilotage, Passage making and ability as skipper, Yacht handling under power, Yacht handling under sail, Adverse weather conditions, Emergency situations, RADAR.

Ability after the course able to skipper a yacht on coastal passages by day and night


Course Programme


20:00 Arrive at Alcaidesa Marina and meet at Alcaidesa Loungue Bar

Meet the instructor and board the yacht

Stow personal kit

Instructor's safety briefing and yacht familiarization talk


0900 Breakfast and get weather forecast

Recap safety procedures on deck. Introduction to deck gear, ropes and rigging and various parts of the yacht.

Engine start controls and rigging/slipping of mooring lines and fenders

Slip mooring and sail into Gibraltar Bay giving everyone a chance to steer the yacht

Practice coming alongside and leaving various pontoons with everyone rotating jobs and having the chance to practice in a variety of wind and tide situations.

Short sail to an anchorage giving everyone the chance to get used to the yacht under sail practicing the basic sailing manoeuvres of tacking, gybing and putting in and shaking out reefs. This will give everyone the chance to refresh the basics

​1300 Lunch at anchorage.

Discuss the use of life rafts and how to handle emergencies such as flooding, fire and collision

The first "Skipper of the day" will plan a short passage taking into account wind, tide and pilotage information from the charts and almanacs

The instructor will demonstrate MOB procedures on route with and without the use of a engine. Each student will get the chance to practice this manoeuvre

On route the instructor will demonstrate poling out the headsail

Enter harbour and moor up

Debrief on day's events



0900 Breakfast and get weather forecast

The first "Skipper of the day" will plan a trip to an anchorage for lunch. On route each crew member will practice MOB. The instructor will explain the procedure for deciding a good anchorage and working out the required heights of tide.

Prepare to raise anchorage. Learn how to prepare the anchor and foredeck in anticipation of arrival

1300 Lunch at anchorage

The second "Skipper of the day" plans a trip to an evening destination that involves a cross tide course and entry into a shallow harbour

Set sail for evening destination revising the basic collision regulations on route. Instructor will explain the the procedures for handling navigation in restricted visibility

1700 Arrive at a new harbour and prepare supper

Debrief the day's events

Each candidate will plan a leg of a night sail that will involve entries or departures from harbour or finding unlit marks a navigational exercise

2100 Depart for night sail exercise with will familiarize each crew member with light characteristics of buoyage and ships and additional safety procedures needed at night


0900 Breakfast and get weather forecast

Carry out some more manoeuvring under power using pontoons and mooring buoys

The instructor will demonstrate how to sail onto a mooring buoy in a wind against tide situation followed vy each student having the opportunity to have a go

1300 Lunch at anchorage

Undertake a longer passage for example from Ceuta to Estepona with the trip split between two skippers. On route the instructor will demonstrate  the use of electronic navigational aids such as GPS and Chartplotters. Each student will practice working up EP's and dipping distances from lighthouses and running fixes etc.

Supper prepared on route

Each student practices MOB on route

Arrive at new harbour and learn how to secure to a town wall. General discussion about etiquette when rafting

Debrief on the day's events



0900 Breakfast and get weather forecast

Practice mooring in harbour

The first "Skipper of the day" plans a short passage to the lunchtime destination which will include entry to a harbour where tidal height is critical

Set sail for lunch time destination practising Man Overboard on route

Practice  some slightly advanced sail trim techniques and rudderless sailing

1300 Lunch at anchorage

The instructor will demonstrate how to sail onto a mooring buoy in a wind tide situation followed by each studend having the chance to practice

The second "Skipper of the Day" plans a passage to a night destination

Depart for evening destination with discussion on route about weather and the factors that affect yacht stability


0900 Breakfast and get weather forecast

Sail back to Alcaidesa Marina practising all aspects

1300 Lunch at anchorage

Arrive back at Alcaidesa Marina

Clean up yacht, return wet weather gear followed by debrief and issue of certificates

1600 Depart

Courses normally start on Monday at 9:00 and finish 16:00 on Friday.

You are welcome to join the boat on the Sunday at 20:00 and depart the boat at 10:00 on Saturday.  We normally meet up in Alcaidesa Marina Lounge Bar.

Recommended books

Cover of RYA Book Weather Handbook
Cover of RYA Book Navigation Handbook
Cover of RYA Book Passage Planning

Course price: €950 per person

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