Courses (3)

Imagine being capable and confident enough to take your friends and family out on a yacht for a day, a weekend or even on holiday.

The RYA (Royal Yaching Association) Day Skipper is a qualification which enables you to safely take charge of a 30-45ft sail cruising yacht and its crew by day in familiar waters.

In Slocam's Wake, RYA Training Center based in Halifax, Nova Scotia, is offering the coveted RYA Day Skipper Course and International Certificate of Competence (ICC) Assessment on June 10-15 and Sept 30- Oct 5, 2018. 

There’s no getting away from it – passing involves some work, some practice and some dedication. But RYA Day Skipper is your ticket to freedom.

It shows charter companies that you have enough knowledge and practical experience to take their vessels out safely.

And your Day Skipper qualifies you to apply for your ICC (International Certificate of Competence), which means you can charter a yacht abroad – 
a whole new chapter of adventure.

So what’s involved, and how do I do it?

The RYA Day Skipper Sail requires  self-paced ashore theory and practical on-the-water training in a Cruise & Learn format.

First, there is the RYA Day Skipper Shorebased Course  with two formats:

  • 5 sessions in the Classroom
  • self-paced online/iPad learning course from NauticEd.

The both take 30- 40 hours to complete and include support from RYA Instructors.

The subjects covered include safety, collision regulations, navigation (on paper and electronically) weather, passage planning, the marine environment and the theory behind how a yacht sails. By learning all the theory prior to joining the practical course, you are much better placed to get the most from the Day Skipper practical course.

Next, assuming you have some sailing experience (preferably 5 days at sea) you can schedule your 5-day Practical on a sailing yacht. 

What will I learn? How does it differ from RYA Competent Crew or  NauticED Qualified Crew?


Once on board, you’ll cover all aspects of yacht sailing; how to trim sails, plan a passage, to moor and anchor safely.  The main difference with Day Skipper is that you’ll be making the key decisions on everything – from what to do in an emergency, where and how to berth the yacht, to when dinner should be served.

You’ll learn how to delegate jobs effectively and encourage and motivate crew members when needed. You will also be in charge of all aspects of safety management on board, from equipment and the yacht to the well-being of everyone on board.   

Why should I take the course?

The best part about learning in a controlled environment is that there is an experienced RYA instructor on board ensuring your safety, while guiding and encouraging you to practice crew work for sailing maneuvers and develop your own management style.

Living on board with other would-be skippers for the duration of the course brings a great sense of comradeship, team spirit and the experience of a  shared adventure that often creates life-long friendships.

By the end of your 5 days you will be a confident, prepared and responsible skipper. You will be able to assess situations and make qualified decisions for the benefit of the yacht and its crew.

Your Instructor 

Carl Richardson, Chief Instructor, Vancouver Sailing Club
" With over 42,000 NM logged under sail and a full- time professional sailing Instructor for the past 14 years, I have had the privilege to assess, instruct, examine and certify more than 1650 students on cruising keelboats 24-52 feet and cruising catamarans 38-48 feet. My lesson plans use proven teaching methods that assist my students in acquiring  sailing knowledge, seamanship, operational vigilance and practical boat-handling for all conditions. My favourite C&L destinations are BC's West Coast , Inside Passage including Howe Sound, Gulf Islands, Desolation Sound and the Discovery Islands. I also have enjoyed Instructing Cruise & Learn adventures in Greece, British Virgin Islands (BVI), the Grenadines, Antigua and the Turks & Caicos Islands- 67 weeks in the past 12 years. My international cruising and racing plans for 2018 will take me to Shanghai China, the BVI, Grenadines, Nova Scotia, Chicago and Toronto.
Instructor Credentials- RYA Yachtmaster Cruising Instructor, RYA Professional Practices & Responsibilities, NauticEd  Captain Rank Instructor and SPC Examiner, Industry Canada CCG ROCM VHF Radio Instructor & Examiner, ASA206 Advanced Coastal Cruising and ASA214 Cruising Catamaran Instructor. 
Professional Sailing Certifications- RYA Yachtmaster Offshore (MCA), NauticEd  Captain Rank Level 5, ASA Advanced Coastal Cruising, Marine CPR AED First Aid, Industry Canada (CCG) SVOP, TC Marine Emergencies ME3, ISAF (WorldSAILING) Safety at Sea.

This Cruise & Learn will take the candidates from Halifax to Lunenburg returning to Halifax for RYA Day Skipper and optional RYA International Competency Certificate (ICC).

The student fee for the course is $1975 CDN including berth, all meals aboard and required safety equipment.

Privacy Policy: The Vancouver Sailing Club and its employees respect your privacy. No information required  for VSC program registration, membership or entered in the above form will be sold or provided to another party without written permission.

Try to answer this coastal navigation question (answer at end):

At 1035 your GPS indicated a position of LAT 41° 05.3’N and LONG 72° 33.7′ W. At 1103 your GPS indicates your position to be LAT 41°09.0′ N and LONG 72° 40.0’W. What was your SOG and COG?

Here is the excerpt of the chart that you will need

Answer: Posted below. But give it a go yourself first – really!

Consider taking the NauticEd online Coastal Navigation Course


See chart plot here

From the plot, the distance is 6nm.

Time is calculated by realizing that 1103 = 1063. Thus:

– 1035
0028 minutes

28 minutes is 28/60 hours = 0.467 hours

SOG (Speed Over Ground) = 6nm/.467 hours = 12.85 nm/hr (knots)

From the plot, and overlaying a Bretton plotter compass dial, the COG (Course Over Ground)  is 307.5 deg T

Boom Done!

SOG and COG example

SOG and COG example


VSC offers intermediate level sailors our VSC504 Competent Keelboat Racing program for building the foundation of racing knowledge, seamanship and boat handling skills for racing keelboats 24 - 45 ft. This course includes 5 on-the- water skill building seminars and participation as crew in 5 Vancouver area races that demonstrate:

  • How a race is conducted
  • How to prepare a sailboat for racing
  • The duties and skills of the 7 sailing positions
  • The Racing Rulesof Sailing and differences to the cruiser's Rules of the Road (COLREGS)
  • Rig fundamentals and the effect of tuning on performance
  • Advanced sail handling and sail trim for Jib, Genoa, Mainsail, Spinnaker and Drifter
  • Sail trim for light air, moderate and heavy weather conditions
  • Strategies and Tactics for coastal long distance and regatta racing

VSC504 Practice and Race Dates 2017

Racing is fun, challenging and rewarding. Confidence on-the-water is the result of competence and understanding crew leadership and dynamics.
The prerequisite for this course is VSC101 Qualified Crew Certification. Call Carl Richardson (604) 805-9944 if you would like to learn more or enrol in the VSC504 program.

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VSC News Blog

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    Imagine being capable and confident enough to take your friends and family out on a yacht for a day, a weekend or even on holiday. The RYA (Royal Yaching Association) Day Skipper is a qualification which enables you to safely take charge of a 30-45ft

    Read More
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