Physically exhausted and mentally finished with a fantastic sense of achievement, some great memories and a brand new, shiny Day Skipper card. All the signs of a brilliant week.
My wife and I took the Day Skipper Theoretical and Practical combined 9 day course (did we really fit all that into 9 days?). It’s a good combination and Commodore do it very well. We lived on the boat for both the the practical and theory courses which we feel is an advantage – if you have a question about something, you can go and look at it.
There were 5 students in our group with mixed sailing experience, however we united in the search for the worst pun and most terrible joke. The first 3 days were spent on theory, particularly navigation, in the floating barge classroom, another advantage as it leads you into working on charts in a very gently rocking environment. After taking and passing the first theory paper, we were ready for the off.
‘When my wife woke me up at 5am to discuss the finer points of mainsail raising, I knew we were hooked’.
Tuesday to Sunday were spent at sea covering both the practical course and the other elements of the theory course. We had a couple of nights staying in marinas and eating in the pubs, otherwise Emma, our instructor, cooked on board. We also moored in the very cute Newport Creek where our tidal height calculations were put to the test by the approaching mud – we didn’t touch the bottom! The students shared in the everyday chores of running a boat – how do 6 people generate so many cups to wash up? We sweated our navigation lights and rules of the road until we passed our second Theory exam. When my wife woke me up at 5am to discuss the finer points of mainsail raising, I knew we were hooked.
We had great weather and the boat, a Bavaria 44 was very comfortable. We also ate extremely well. If you can sail in the Solent, you can sail anywhere!
Emma, our instructor, was excellent. Material was introduced at a sensible speed, explanations were clear, questions answered and progress maintained. Emma was very calm in the face of 5 rookies in charge of an expensive boat. As always with sailing, plans were made in great detail but then changed due to tides and weather and this all went well.
A couple of other points. Gosport marina is very comfortable and Gosport provides anything you might need. Commodore seem to have a complete lack of hidden extras; accommodation for the whole course, waterproofs and marina fees are all included. Anything you will need to buy or pay for is clearly outlined in the booking instructions. Pricing seemed very fair when considering other similar courses.
This is an intensive course. I would advise anyone thinking of doing it to be sure to have the experience that Commodore outline in the booking instructions. If you have the time, it is handy to read some course material in advance. Oh, and make sure you can tie that bowline!
Overall a fantastic experience and I’m planning my “Coastal Skipper” with Commodore – especially if the sausages and mash are still on the menu!