Mobile: 07931 940277
07917 573772
Tel: 02392 528019

RYA Competent Crew Course Syllabus

No previous experience required

Course Duration

The course takes place over 5 days either Monday – Friday or a three and two day weekend. During the course you will be provided with accommodation onboard the training yacht Nomad 1 from the evening before the course starts, pillows included.

Course Content

The competent crew course is designed to teach the complete beginner the basics of sailing a cruising yacht. You will experience living aboard with a crew of others and really getting to know the yacht. By the end of the 5 days you will have taken the helm, hoisted the sails, learned all about the various ropes and lines on the yacht and what they each do, you will learn to tie the main knots needed to safely sail and moor a yacht, keeping watch and how to row a dinghy.

As sailors we are very dependent on wind and tide and as a result the itinerary is changeable, you will visit a number of different ports and harbours in and around the Solent and experience at least 4 hours of sailing at night.

Safety is paramount and we will ensure you are made aware of all safety aspects on the yacht, lifejackets, fire extinguishers, flares, liferaft, what action to take in the event of emergencies such as man overboard and how to summon assistance should it be needed.

Nomad Sailing is a brother and sister operation and it is likely you will be taught by either Jim or Lou Barden on your Competent Crew course. We are both passionate about sailing and having fun whilst learning valuable skills. We also have a small number of instructors who are equally passionate about what they do. To book onto one of our courses visit our Course Dates page or contact Jim on 07931940277 or Lou on 07917573772

Competent Crew Practical Syllabus


  • Knowledge of sea terms and parts of a boat, her rigging and sails.
  • Sufficient knowledge to understand orders given concerning the sailing and day-to-day running of the boat.

Sail Handling

  • Bending on, setting, reefing and handling of sails.
  • Use of sheets and halyards and their associated winches.


  • Handling ropes, including coiling, stowing, securing to cleats and single and double bollards.
  • Handling warps.
  • Ability to tie the following knots and to know their correct use: Figure-of-eight, clove hitch, rolling hitch, bowline, round turn and two half hitches, single and double sheet bend, reef knot.

Fire Precautions and Fire Fighting

  • Awareness of the hazards of fire and the precautions necessary to prevent fire.
  • Knowledge of the action to be taken in event of fire.

Personal Safety Equipment

  • Understands and complies with rules for the wearing of safety harnesses, lifejackets and personal buoyancy aids.

Man Overboard

  • Understands the action to be taken to recover a man overboard.

Emergency Equipment

  • Can operate distress flares and knows when they should be used.
  • Understands how to launch and board a liferaft.

Manners and Customs

  • Understands accepted practise with regard to: use of burgees and ensigns, prevention of unnecessary noise or disturbance in harbour including courtesies to other craft berthed.
  • Aware of the responsibility of yacht skippers to protect environment.

Rules of the Road

  • Is able to keep an efficient lookout at sea.


  • Understands and complies with the loading rules.
  • Is able to handle a dinghy under oars.


  • Awareness of forecasting services and knowledge of the Beaufort scale.


  • Working efficiency is unaffected/severely affected by sea sickness.

Helmsmanship and Sailing

  • Understands the basic principles of sailing and can steer and trim sails on all points of sailing.
  • Can steer a compass course under sail and power.

General Duties

  • Has carried out general duties satisfactorily on deck and below decks in connection with daily routine of the vessel.


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