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Courses & Cruises

Courses & Cruises

Fast Track 9 Day RYA Day Skipper Course | West Cork | Ireland
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Fast Track RYA Day Skipper

The Fast Track course is designed to teach students to assume full responsibility for the yacht and its crew.

This 9 day Fast Track RYA Day Skipper course starts on a Saturday morning with 4 days Day Skipper Theory tuition in the classroom. This is followed by the Day Skipper Practical for 5 days aboard our yacht Merlin, ending Sunday afternoon. This means you only need 5 days off work.

RYA Competent Crew - West Cork - Ireland

This is the ideal course for anyone about to buy their own yacht or undertake a self skippered holiday in Greece or other destinations. Students should ideally have attained Competent Crew level ability or have the necessary experience.

Day Skipper Theory Phase

During the 4 day shore phase you will complete the RYA Day Skipper Theory course. Students are taught the basics of coastal and inshore navigation, pilotage, chartwork, position fixing, plotting a course, weather forecasting, an understanding of tides, IRPCS - International Regulations for Prevention of Collision at Sea.

You will also be taught yacht types and the equipment they carry, safety procedures such as distress calls, use of flares, safety harnesses, life jackets and liferafts.

The course includes a general assessment paper as well as one on chart work.

Day Skipper Practical Phase

The 5 day RYA Day Skipper practical phase will enable you to put into practice immediately the Day Skipper Theory as you skipper Merlin on short passages in West Cork. There will be much emphasis on boat handling and navigation.

Day Skipper students stay aboard Merlin during the practical course. Keeping the crew well fed is an important part of cruising. Apart from breakfasts, meals are organised according to a rota which you will know in advance. When it is your turn, you prepare a meal of your own choosing and wash up afterwards.

You will visit different harbours and anchorages to practice pilotage techniques. The course aims to provide you with the skill and confidence required to plan and undertake a short passage in tidal waters as the skipper and be able to berth the boat safely. Man overboard recovery techniques will also be practised with a dummy, such as a fender tied to a mooring line, substituting for the real thing. The instructor will debrief students after each exercise or passage.

During the course you will cover approximately 100 miles between Union Hall and the Kenmare River in West Cork, including at least 4 night hours sailing to experience night pilotage and identify navigation lights. On completion of the course you should be competent to skipper a small yacht in familiar waters by day.

Suggested pre-course experience:

Competent Crew (5 days, 100 miles, 4 night hours on board a sailing yacht.)

Assumed Knowledge:

Basic navigation & sailing ability. You will have completed the Day Skipper Theory in the first 4 days of this course. The minimum age limit on this course is 16 years of age.

Cabin Prices

Single person (cabin sharing) €1,150
Two persons (cabin sharing) €2,100

Fast Track Day Skipper

If you know when you want to take a Fast Track Day Skipper course, give us a buzz and we will endeavour to fulfill your chosen time.
Book now +353 (0)27 29101

Fast Track Day Skipper

To book the exclusive use of our Hallberg-Rassy 'Merlin' for a Fast Track Day Skipper course for family or as a group of friends let us know your dates and we will endeavour to accommodate your request.
Call us now +353 (0)27 29101

  • Course Duration 5 Days (Tuesday to Sunday)
    Previous Experience 5 days, 100 NM, 4 night hours aboard a sailing yacht.
    Assumed Knowledge Basic navigation and sailing ability. Ideally you will have attended the shore based RYA day skipper theory course or have a good understanding of the following: Tidal heights, tidal streams, compass variation, Course to Steer, passage planning, compass bearings, clearing bearings, 3 position fixes and knots. A basic understanding of lights and shapes.
    Course Content Preparing the yacht and crew, pilotage, navigation, seamanship and boat handling including sailing to a buoy/anchor and mooring alongside.
    Experience Gained Can skipper a small yacht in familiar waters by day. Consider building on these skills before the next qualification steps.
  • Preparation for Sea

    • Is able to prepare a yacht for sea, including:
    • Undertake engine checks.
    • Selection of sails.
    • Securing and stowage of all gear on deck and below.

    Deck Work

    • Can make a reef, shake out reefs and change sails to suit prevailing conditions.
    • Can prepare an anchor, mooring warps and take charge on deck when mooring alongside, coming to a buoy, anchoring, weighing anchor and slipping from a buoy or alongside berth.


    Is proficient in chartwork and routine navigational duties on passage including:

    • Taking and plotting visual fixes
    • Use of electronic navigation equipment for position fixing
    • Use of waypoints
    • Working up to DR and EP
    • Estimating tidal heights and tidal streams
    • Working out course to steer to allow for tidal stream, leeway and drift
    • Knowledge of IALA buoyage
    • Maintenance of navigational records
    • Use of echo sounder and lead line


    • Can prepare and implement a pilotage plan for entry into, or departure from a harbour.
    • Understands the use of leading and clearing lines.
    • Use of transits and surroundings as aids to pilotage.

    Rules of the Road

    • Has a working knowledge of the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (IRPCS).


    • Knows sources of forecast information.
    • Can interpret shipping forecasts and use a barometer as a forecasting aid.

    Maintenance and Repair Work

    • Understands and is able to carry out maintenance tasks.
    • Knows the properties and uses of common synthetic fibre ropes.


    • Knows how to change fuel and water filters, pump impeller and to bleed the fuel system.


    • Understands how to victual a yacht.

    Emergency Situations

    • Is able to take correct action as skipper for recovery of man overboard.
    • Understands distress flares and how to use a liferaft.
    • Can operate a DSC VHF in an emergency and send a distress message.
    • Understands how to secure a tow.
    • Understands rescue procedures including helicopter rescue.

    Yacht Handling Under Power

    • Can bring a boat safely to and from an alongside berth, mooring buoy and anchor under various conditions of wind and tide.
    • Can steer and trim sails effectively on all points of sailing.

    Passage Making

    • Can plan and make a coastal passage, taking account of relevant navigational hazards and limitations imposed by the type of boat and the strength of the crew.

    Night Cruising

    • Has experienced sail cruising at night, including leaving and entering harbour.
    • Understands the special consideration for pilotage plans, keeping a lookout and identifying marks by night.


    • Working efficiency is unaffected/partially affected/severely affected by seasickness.

    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 the daily routine of the vessel.
  • NOTE: Sailing itinerary is weather permitting and we reserve the right to change the destinations and order for your safety.

    Day 1 - Tuesday

    You will be met in Ahakista by your skipper and showen around Merlin and meet your fellow sailing crew. A trip to the Tin Pub or Arundel's by the Pier for a drink and get to know each other following an onboard evening meal.

    Day 2 - Wednesday

    After the initial safety briefing, you will learn the ropes and be shown how to prepare a boat for departure. Our first port of call will be Sherkin Island. As we sail up Dunmanus Bay you will be introduced to reefing (reducing sail area). This is to help you feel comfortable and (for some of you) familiar with your new surroundings on board. You will be introduced to boat preparation and handling in and around a marina on arrival to Sherkin Island.

    Day 3 - Thursday

    Instruction on boat handling will continue on prepartion of a boat to leave a marina before making the passage to Bere Island. You will explore Roaringwater Bay sailing past many of it's islands as sail training instruction continues. You will be introduced to Man Overboard (MOB) procedures and continue to practice reefing.

    Day 4 - Friday

    The schedule is flexible and depends on crew development, the level you are working at and the winds. We aim to sail to Glengarriff Harbour and prepare for our night sail passage. Berehaven situated between Bere Island and the Beara peninsula provides an ideal training area for sailing exercises before making the sail down Bantry Bay to anchor for the evening in Glengarriff.

    Day 5 - Saturday

    Following a late breakfast you will fine-tune your sailing, anchoring and general boat handling skills in Dunmanus Bay.

    Day 6 - Sunday

    Following a tidy up sailing session on Sunday morning we begin the de-briefing, cleanup and issuing of your certificates. Finally the course ends at about 4 pm.

Included in your course

  • RYA qualified instructor/skipper
  • 5 nights accommodation on 'Merlin'
  • Breakfast and lunch with coffee and tea
  • Safety gear including auto life jacket and safety harness
  • Marina fees and diesel

Next Step: After completing the Fast Track Day Skipper course it is really important to consolidate what you have learnt by completing some more sea miles. This could be achieved by joining us for a 3 Day Wild Atlantic Way cruise or an Ocean Passage . Following this you should look to join the RYA Yachtmaster Theory course before taking the RYA Coastal Skipper practical.

Prices exclude:

  • Flights & transfers.
  • Meals and drink ashore.
  • Travel and Medical Insurance.
  • Wet weather gear.

Carbery Sailing specialises in beginner's sailing and Fast Track RYA Day Skipper courses. We also undertake adventure sailing cruises on Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way, Ocean Passages to Spain, Madeira, the Azores and the Canaries on a Hallberg-Rassy 46.

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Contact us

+353 (0) 27 29101
  +353 (0) 852 256901

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Write to:
  • Ahakista
  • Durrus
  • West Cork
  • Ireland