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Printed From: Yachts and Yachting Online
Category: General
Forum Name: Beginner questions
Forum Discription: Advice for those who are new to sailing
Printed Date: 03 Jul 22 at 9:37am
Software Version: Web Wiz Forums 9.665y -

Topic: Experience?
Posted By: Spenge
Subject: Experience?
Date Posted: 06 Oct 08 at 11:09pm
Good Evening all,

This is probably going to come across as a strange question but here goes...

I am in the process of organising my honeymoon and have been looking into chartering a yacht and going to the bahamas through a company called Sunsail. They state the experience I need to do this is minimum of 100 miles or 5 days as skipper on equivalent yacht.

Ideally I would work towards a Day Skipper qualification but due to time and money constraints I don't know if this is possible as I would have to have 100 miles, 5 days and 4 night hours experience on board a yacht.

So I pose the question... is there anyway I can gain this experience quickly and cheaply so i can go on the dream holiday (in Feb!!)?

Thank you very much for your time and apologies for a stupid question!


Posted By: JimC
Date Posted: 07 Oct 08 at 6:07am
Are you really sure the two of you will be good with what will doubtless include high stress situations from time to time working together on the boat? If neither of you is especially experienced and you get some bad moments it could very easily transform into the honeymoon from hell... I've seen some really comprehensive couple rows that have involved scratched topsides or whatever...

And don't forget the lady needs to be as comfortable in a boat as you are if this is going to work - pretty much the same standard sailor as you really if you are going to be two handed on the boat - and if she isn't at that level or close to it now then she's going not going to be there in February with all the other distractions of organising weddings.

If it were earlier in the year I'd suggest a trip on say the Norfolk Broads together with a boat from somewhere like to see if you get on cruising together, but the season is pretty much over now...

My gut feeling is that you're running too late. Better to organise a dream holiday for a couple of year's time.

Posted By: G.R.F.
Date Posted: 07 Oct 08 at 8:54am
It's the best time of the year on the broads right now, Autumnal colours etc
have spent many an Autumn break there, good idea JC.

Posted By: radixon
Date Posted: 07 Oct 08 at 9:09am

I did my Day Skipper course in the Summer (If you call it that).

I started sailing yacht sailing at 16, with a friend, went out on say 4 trips, the most was a 7 day trip locally doing some night hours etc. I managed to build up the hours then. I then moved on to Dinghy Sailing gaining loads of time on the water. I did my Day Skipper Theory over 20 weeks (2 hour sessions) last winter. I then went on to do the course in August.

I found the theory hard to master because I hadn't done a lot of costal pilotage but knew a little bit from what I had done. The sailing and rigging etc I was fine with, could tack/gybe etc.

One of the things you will have to do is Man Over Board, Moorings, and Marina movements, OK this can be taught but if you haven't done it before can take a lot of practise.


What would I advise - Forget the Yacht Charter, either choose to do a Dinghy Holiday where you can get off the boat after an hour or forget the sailing part entirely and have 2 weeks sitting on a beach. After all, you are on honeymoon!


Posted By: ASok
Date Posted: 07 Oct 08 at 9:22am

Sounds like an easier idea above - book yourself into a nice Carribean hotel with dinghy facilities.  You get to keep the missus happy with a nice hotel, good food, great beach etc.  and you get to play with the toys - sounds perfect!

Yachting can be stressful short handed (i.e. 2 people) especially if one or both of you have limited experienece. I'm guessing that having a skipper on board may not go down too well with your other honeymoon plans 

If you have the time I would look to get the Day Skipper course done, but also Coastal Skipper will give you the extra navigation that the day skipper may lack - can't remember the course content now though.  After that a few days away assisting with a boat delivery or similar could get some sea miles under your belt.


Posted By: craiggo
Date Posted: 07 Oct 08 at 10:17am
Hi Spenge,

My wife and I, honeymooned on a Sunsail flotilla holiday in St Vincent and the Grenadines. We chartered a Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 35 just for the two of us and had a great time. St Vincent requires probably the highest skill level for any flotilla holiday, but if you have any experience in sailing boats you'll have no difficulties. The only RYA qualifications I have are Powerboat Level 2 and Club Safety boat to allow me to be part of my clubs Rescue team, and I have Competent Crew which I got as a freebie from the Joint Forces Sailing Association when I was in the University Air Squadron. I have however been sailing for over 25 years, and have sailed and raced in various yachts upto 32ft.
I wrote down my experience and this was more than adequate for Sunsail.

As it turned out my wife and I were probably the most experienced boat in the flotilla and never had any problems while the lead boat generally nannied the others who in the main had just completed yacht masters and the like just before booking.

So if you know your arse from your elbow, and know how to sail and anchor a 35ft boat, let them know your experience level and go for it.

If however you are a beginner, with little sailing experience I would head to either Port Solent or Largs and get yourself on a course with Sunsail.


Posted By: Fin.
Date Posted: 07 Oct 08 at 11:20am

Sunsail have a  resort centre  in Antigua.... -

... could be an alternative.- they also have a yacht charter centre as well.  I guess if   you went  dinghy/sports sailing, you  could possibly do a couple of days on  a yacht as well....  ?

Carribean - it gets quite windy on some days,  so you'd definitely need to feel  comfortable with your skills and especially anchoring.... seen a  few yachts float around (drag anchor) when it gets windy!

Tides are very small though.

Broads ....  great idean though

Posted By: ASok
Date Posted: 07 Oct 08 at 1:23pm

Don't get me wrong, the broads are great - but as a once in a lifetime (hopefully!) honeymoon venue, it doesn't really compare to the Carribean does it!


Posted By: feva sailor
Date Posted: 07 Oct 08 at 7:18pm

you can have your own private skipper.


that way you can do as much sailing as you like and if you mess up he can take over.


oh and im sure he'll get the hint to go for a pint in the local club if you want to do some honeymooning in private

Posted By: pondscum
Date Posted: 07 Oct 08 at 8:19pm
Broad sailing is great - probably the most exciting sail I have ever had is running down Meadow Dyke not knowing if anything was going to appear around the corner! Short tacking up river is a real challenge, but as a learning experience, probably not something you will do or actual much use in the Caribbean (sunsail would have a heart attack and the rocks/reefs will be much harder than the reeds at the rivers edge).

If yachting is a posh form of caravanning, broads sailing is like camping - the boats are cramped and conditions a bit less pleasant. That said, parking up by a pub is great and a lot easier than worrying about the tide and the tender. Putting the mast up and down to go under bridges is an interesting engineering excercise, but again not much use for your holiday.

Swallowtail boats are the nicest looking and kept in immaculate condition, but he would not let a novice out - Easton westwood or whoever cater for that market.

Sunsail used to do a 2-day flotilla training course, seem to have dropped it now (probably from bitter experience). I think a skipper is not a bad idea, but probably does not fit with your idea of an idyllic honeymoon.

A spot of dinghy sailing is probably not that great a help - you will spend more time working our your hands in tacks and where to put your weight - not relevant in a yacht. The biggest challenge I find in yachts is the motoring bit - they really do have a mind of their own.


Posted By: feva sailor
Date Posted: 07 Oct 08 at 8:22pm

i think the learn to sail yachts is 3 days


not sure

i know alot go for 2 weeks, spend one week learning to sail then the second on the yacht

Posted By: redback
Date Posted: 11 Oct 08 at 10:48pm

Nice idea but it could turn out to be a nightmare.  The Broads idea was much better.  On the Broads you can get off, go to a pub or resturant, and you are unlikely to meet life threatening situations like strong tides, strong winds, rocky lee shores, reefs and tricky harbour entrances. Bear in mind you could experience all those hazards at once.  Also the type of boat you sail is likely to be smaller and thus more easily handled and more responsive.  In fact only someone with little experience is likely to ask the question you have asked.

So I'd say the Broads is has to be the answer and this is what it can look like out of season. - 08#5190697774209363362

Posted By: JimC
Date Posted: 12 Oct 08 at 7:39am
Originally posted by redback

The Broads idea was much better.

Actually I was suggesting a trip on the broads *first* to see if the couple works running a boat together in a less highly charged atmosphere/high risk situation, rather than replacing the "trip of a lifetime". Some couples work well sailing together and some definitely don't, and its as well to know which category you come into before the big trip!

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