RYA Yachtmaster Practical Syllabus

Practice the manoeuvres until they come naturally!


The Yachtmaster Exam will assess your seamanship, your boathandling techniques and your leadership as a skipper. It is only by experience that you can achieve these qualification and hence the ample amount of miles you have to bring in order to apply for the Yachtmaster exam.No sailing school can bring you up to standard within a week or two, so if you feel you need some more experience, join us on a Milage Bilding Leg onboard Regina Laska or opt for a certificate that better suits your experience. You do learn a lot by taking the Day Skipper or the Coastal Skipper, which are very suitable courses to learn boathandling on a smaller, more easy manageable boat.Before applying for a Yachtmaster Exam, you need to have sailed a lot of miles and consider yourself as an experienced sailor. You must have skippered a boat in various conditions and generally know how to sail and manoeuvre a boat under power and sail. You also must be a holder of a valid First Aid Certificate and a VHF certificate with DSC.For the exam you will be asked to perform a number of manoeuvres and on your Yachtmaster Prepcourse you will be shown what the examiner expects you to do. You will be able to practice the manoeuvres and to familiarize yourself with the boat in question. If you choose to do your Yachtmaster in Malta, you will receive one familiarisazion day onboard a Bavaria 36, which also will be used for the exam. If you join us on Regina Laska, you will receive planty of time to practice while we move along in our floating classroom.Some examples of practical skills you need to master for the Yachtmaster Exam (Points 1 to 7) and which we will cover during the Yachtmaster Prep course onboard Regina Laska. Points 8. – 10. are topics we could add according to your request.
1. Seamanship
– Crew briefing
– Use of checklists
– Organising navigation, deckwork and domestic duties
– Crew wellfare and seasickness
– Awareness of meteorological trends
– Discussing watch keeping
– Delegating responsibilities
– Planning for emergencies, such as abandon ship
– How to give firm and clear, yet friendly and calm directions

2. Handling under Power
– Leaving dock and berthing bow-to and stern-to
– Coming alongside, driving into a spring
– Springing off with bow- and stern-spring
– Securing the boat with springs, bowlines,
sternlines and breastlines
– Use of propwalk for mooring and turning
– Benefits and limitations of a bow thruster
– Boat handling in confined spaces, tight turning
– Turning in stream (in tidal waters)
– Deadly corners of a marina, which must be avoided
– Ferry gliding (in tidal waters)

3. Handling under Sail
– Correct setting of roller furling main and headsail
– Reefing techniques with roller furling main and headsail
– Use and benefits of a cutter stay sail and checkstays
– Getting underway by means of sails only
– Usage of sails to control the yacht in a confinded space
– Heaving to in order to stop the boat
– Sailing efficiently on all points of sailing and
trimming the sails accordingly

4. Mooring and Anchoring
– Picking up a buoy under motor and under sail only
– Leaving a buoy under motor and under sail only
– Choosing and judging an anchorage
– Discussing various types of anchors
– Decision on length of scope
– Anchoring with more than one anchor
– Setting an anchor properly
– Taking bearings and leading lines
– Setting electronic anchor watch
(GPS, iPhone, Echosounder, Radar)
– Raising anchor and discussing a foul anchor
– Use of anchor sail

5. Man-overboard
– Man-overboard under engine (standard procedure)
– Precision sailing
(picking up a fender overboard under sail only)
– Usage of Lifesling/Swedebuoy
– Line throwing (Hansalina)
– Discussing means of getting MOB onboard

6. Navigation
– Use of electronic navigation equipment
– Use of hand bearing compass
– Dead reckoning by means of course, time, distance and speed
– Blind navigation, course to steer without visible references
– Night navigation

7. Pilotage
– Preparing a Pilotage Plan
– Plotting a yacht by day and night

8. Adverse weather tactics (not part of Yachtmaster Prep)
– Preparing vessel for heavy weather
– Yacht handling in strong winds
– Heaving to as a storm tactic
– Storm sails
– Navigation in restricted visibility

9. Miscellaneous (not part of Yachtmaster Prep)
– Use of dinghy and its limitations
– Cruising with children
– “Managing your escape” – to take a sabbatical cruising year
– Discussing boat types

10. Technical (not part of Yachtmaster Prep)
– Rig maintenance
– Going aloft
– Basic engine checks
– Servicing winches
– Water management and watermakers
– Power production, batteries and consumption
– Spareparts