What to Expect on your RYA Course

Please note the during the current Covid-19 crisis we are running our courses slightly differently to keep within government guidelines. More information regarding these changes can be found within our website but if you have any specific questions then please do not hesitate to call.

How it works….

On arrival at our base, Mercury Yacht Harbour on the River Hamble, you will be welcomed on board the yacht and shown your cabin where you can settle in and pack your gear away.

The first evening starts with introductions, followed by a couple of short yacht briefings, once these are out of the way we go ashore for dinner.

The next morning we are up bright and early for the start to your course.

Our RYA sailing courses are generally Solent based although we may go as far afield as Poole Harbour. Our expectation is to cover approximately 40-50 miles usually visiting Cowes, Yarmouth, Beaulieu, Lymington, Portsmouth Harbour, Newtown Creek, Bembridge & Chichester Harbour.

The sailing itinerary is set by the Skipper based on the weather forecast  and crew experience, his aim is to take in a number of ports and anchorages around the sailing area.

We actively avoid long distance straight line sailing as it limits the learning opportunities. Typically the best learning opportunities come from frequent entry and exit of harbours, with plenty of boat and sail handling practice, these experiences are ideally suited to Competent Crew or Day Skipper courses.

Living On BoardFoodWhat to BringSafetyCourse DurationWhat Is Included
You will be living on board the yacht during the duration of the course as such you will be:
  • Taking an active part in the general day to day running of the vessel.
  • Sharing the chores such as cooking, washing up as well as cleaning the boat during and after the course.
  • Sleeping on board – either in shared cabins or the saloon (Depending on the number of students)
Please Note : if the idea of sharing a cabin does not appeal there is an option to book your own cabin.
All breakfasts and lunches plus one evening meal are provided. The feed back we receive is that clients prefer to eat ashore in the evenings giving more opportunity to explore the local surroundings and step off the boat for a while. Evening meals are eaten ashore at the students cost.
  • Breakfasts will be a mixture of cooked breakfasts and cereals as well as plenty of toast.
  • Lunches are Quiches, Pasties, Tuna Pasta, Sandwiches & Salads.
  • There is also plenty of fruit, biscuits & soft drinks available.
  • Please advise us in advance of any dietary requirements so we can cater accordingly
  • Sleeping bag & pillow
  • Enough suitable clothing to suit varied weather conditions. (Avoid jeans if poss and focus on “layers”)
  • Wet weather gear – (Can hire if you do not have)
  • Clothing for going ashore
  • Footwear – Soft soled trainers or deck shoes with warm socks
  • Sailing Boots (or 2nd pair of soft soled shoes)
  • Hat & Gloves (Dont lose your hat!)
  • Towel & Wash kit including Sun cream & sun block
  • Sunglasses (with spec saver)
  • Money to cover food, drinks, etc.
  • Passport size photo for RYA Certificate (Day Skipper/Coastal Skipper, 2 photos for Yachtmaster Coastal & Yachtmaster Offshore)
  • All clothing must be in a soft holdall as we cannot store suitcases.
Each of our sail training yachts come fully equipped to the highest standards and with all the required safety equipment as laid out by the RYA & MCA. including life jackets, etc
RYA Sailing Courses are mostly run over 5 days.

  • Start Yachting is the exception and is 2 days
  • The Competent Crew and Day Skipper course can be spread over a number of weekends
  • The Coastal Skipper course must be run over a continuous 5 day period.
  • All RYA Practical Sailing Courses involve you living aboard for the full 5 days. The objective is to fully experience life afloat.
  • All courses include a minimum of 4 hours sailing at night.
  • Generally RYA Practical Sailing courses start on Sunday evenings and run through to Friday afternoons.
  • Yacht Hire & Instruction
  • Safety Equipment
  • Mooring Fees
  • Breakfasts and Lunches
  • Fuel and Gas


Most sailing schools will place up to 5 students on a course plus the skipper, which inevitably means that students have to share a cabin.

In our view this is less than ideal and for most people the concept of sharing a relatively confined accommodation space is not agreeable and detracts from the overall enjoyment of the course. We have found that most people are only too happy to pay a small premium for the extra comfort of having their own personal accommodation space.

Therefore all our courses are based on providing students with their own sleeping area* and as such are priced accordingly if you are happy to share then we offer a discounted rate.

*The saloon is classed as a sleeping area. Exact sleeping arrangements are worked out with the instructor at the start of your course depending on the mix of crew.

RYA Training


British marine
RYA Training

Universal Yachting Ltd: Mercury Yacht Harbour, Satchell Lane,
Hamble, Southampton, Hampshire SO31 4HQ

Call Us: +44 (0) 2380 458737 Mail: info@universalyachting.com

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