As you may have gathered, we are both pretty new to this sailing lark. We have already completed the RYA Competent Crew course, but it was during the Brisbane winter in Moreton bay, and out of the the three weekends we only had one with any real wind.
We have been going out and about in DT around the Moreton bay area and muddling through navigating and sailing but we both felt that a more formal training process would be hugely beneficial, both to provide us some knowledge, but also to make us more confident. Most of the training schools have their own boat, but these are monohulls and we thought we would get much more benefit from having the training on ours.
So we approached Sunshine yachting about doing our RYA Day Skipper course. Ideally, the theory side of the course would come first, but we were time poor and could complete the theory onboard at our own pace . So practical first it was. Instructor Drew came onboard for a week to take us through our paces.
The first morning was spent going over the boat. This was an in-depth review of what equipment was aboard, where it all lived and when and how it was to be used. The afternoon was used to review the course and go over some theory. Later in the afternoon, we spent a couple of hours practicing mooring the boat. This was very useful as it showed different techniques to ‘slip’ the boat from the mooring. We also moored bow in, something we had not done before as we typically reverse into a slip.
The morning of day two was spent reviewing the weather and making a passage plan. A four hour trip north east across Moreton bay followed, which included a night approach and anchor at Tangalooma Island resort.
After a very rolly night (a westerly had picked up) we noted ,as the sun came up ,that we were getting awfully close to shore – one of the issues with anchoring at night, with less depth perception. So we immediately got the anchor up and moved 100 metres or so for breakfast!
The next few days were spent sailing up and down Moreton bay and learning a number of new navigational concepts, sailing techniques and skills in winds up to 25 knots.
By the end of the week we had covered a lot of ground, both around the bay and around the boat! We had sailed
every point of sail, handled putting multiple reefs in and out, created checklists and procedures for most sailing tasks and covered a large amount of seamanship theory and navigation.
Overall the course was excellent and just what we needed. From here we would be building up our knowledge and confidence on our trip north.
We returned to Manly marina on the Friday afternoon, waved good bye to Drew and prepared to go it alone.