WHICH COURSE SHOULD I TAKE?
This really depends on your existing experience and what your future sailing goals are. We have a quick and handy flow chart here to help you
We offer both a Keelboat program and a cruising program. Keelboating courses are in smaller fixed keelboats and may have tillers and outboard engines, boats range in size from 20ft – 28ft. Theses boats are very responsive and easy to manage.
The Keelboat program is recommended for people with little to none sailing experience and looking for quick access to independent sailing. These courses are taught as day programs from 10am – 4pm.
Keelboating courses are a great start point for your to gain confidence, skill and progress towards the more advanced cruising programs.
Our cruising programs are recognized by the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) the ‘gold standard’ for cruising training around the world. All these courses are liveaboard programs and have very clear pre-requisites for each level.
Progression in this program is based on sea time. As well as being the top recreational cruising program in the world, the higher level RYA Yachtmaster is an MCA approved 200 ton Yachtmaster certificate which, with a commercially endorsement, is the entry level standard for those looking for professional yacht work around the world.
Shorebased and practical courses are separate programs and one does not need to be done before the other, although it is preferred. It is essential your practical course focus on the skill of boat operation and application of theory on the water. Theory Courses run throughout the year and are completed in the classroom.
WHATS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE CYA AND RYA?
The Canadian Yachting Association is the national governing body in Canada for sailing, its programs provide training for all kinds of boating across Canada and works very closely with behind the scenes government agencies both Nationally and Internationally. The CYA is working hard to develop life long sailing opportunities to Canadians and is very involved with the development of Racing and Dinghy sailing around the world. It’s cruising program is currently looking to work with the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) across Canada.
The RYA is the most recognized yacht training body around the world. RYA schools are fully accredited unlike any sailing association in Canada at this time; meaning RYA schools are inspected annually, evaluating instructors and training, boats/safety equipment and school operations.
The RYA Cruising program can only be awarded to people completing the liveaboard courses. It does not allow for you to learn ‘cruising’ as a day sailing program.
All our liveaboard courses are RYA and we run the day programs through the CYA. We do run the CYA course as a cruising /liveaboard program just let us know which program you are interested in.
It must be said that the process of learning to yacht sail is very subjective, and comes down to your access to gaining experience outside of training courses and finding a professional school that will work with you to get the best access to training and support, as you move towards your sailing goals.
WHY SHOULD I TAKE A COURSE?
Aside from the skills and general marine knowledge required for boating you will have the opportunity to discover what kind of sailor you are.
Your ideas about what you want often change once out on the water. We have had many students change their mind about what boats they wish to purchase, whether they really are ready to charter, would rather charter or alternatively, end up selling it all, moving afloat and heading for Mexico.
The world of sailing is so vast. The range of boats, equipment and sailing locations ever expanding, a course will give you a core skill base and access to knowledgeable advice to help you get what you need in the way that you need it.
IS IT SAFE?
There is always an inherent risk in the activity itself. The shear fact you are seeking a course will drastically reduce your chances of being in an otherwise preventable accident. Adventure experts all agree, most major accidents are a series of little mistakes. There is a reason boaters are so ‘OCD’ about their checklists, logs and equipment management!
Our instructors follow a strict curriculum and standard of practice keeping you as safe as possible as a student, ultimately aiming to pass on these best practices to you; as your own skipper.
The marine industry has a strict policy of international on water rules and practice (IRPCS) which as recreational boaters you are required to adhere to, it is inherent in the training that you learn these rules, good boaters take pride in knowing them.
As a school VIMA has a comprehensive risk management policy which takes into account our teaching environment, vessels, students and employees. If you are interested in viewing this policy please call the office.
WHAT IF THE WEATHER GETS REALLY BAD?
Wind conditions and sea state not appropriate to the boat or level you are taking may result in the practical sailing session being changed. However if it is deemed appropriate to your crew and course you may sail in conditions stronger than you would do alone. This is our opportunity to let you experience how to rig a boat for stronger winds and experience boat handling in such conditions.
We will not cancel sessions we adapt them to the course and conditions.
HOW MANY PEOPLE WILL BE TAKING THE COURSE WITH ME?
Our ratios as laid out by the RYA are one instructor to five students.
WHAT CAN I DO AFTER THE COURSE?
That is purely upto you.
Commonly students will move down the bareboat charter route, buy a boat for themselves, join friends with boats or join a sailing club.
If you wish to charter you will need to provide minimum experience at the:
- CYA Intermediate Cruising level /RYA Dayskipper level
- Hold the Coastal Navigation Standard / RYA Dayskipper shorebased theory course
- Hold a VHF certificate
- Hold a valid First Aid qualification
More and more charter companies are looking for evidence of training to this level rather than a resume of boating experience. Once in the charter system you will have access to boating all over the world as well as the opportunity to sail boats that you may otherwise not experience.
For those of you looking to buy a boat in the 25ft – 32ft range the CYA Dayskipper/Basic Cruising is the recommended minimum level of training. Most insurance companies will ask for this before insuring you to leave the dock.
VIMA operates a Sailing Club specifically for our students, while courses are essential to start; gaining experience on the water and having access to developing your skills independently is the key to lifetime confidence. Our club will give you access to instruction, support and other sailors, as you move towards your broader sailing goals.
HOW DO I KNOW IF IT IS A GOOD SCHOOL
Make sure the school is accredited and/or registered with the advertised association. A properly accredited school is required to adhere to safety policies and standards of practice that will provide you with a better access to the world of boating and ultimately continued professional training.
Call them, if possible talk to the instructors.
Good schools will have a fairly comprehensive application form looking for more details about you, your boating background and your boating aims.
As best we can VIMA tries to match students based on experience and goals. Our instructors are chosen for their sailing & instructional ability as well as being able to adapt courses to the student’s personalities/needs and not vice versa.
Look for a school that will give you continued support and advise after you course.
If you have any more questions please feel free to contact us anytime – 250-532-2257