RYA Day Skipper: A Good First Day. For Some.

s05-blue-boatI’d spent a fair bit of time considering possible sailing courses in order to further my sailing skills. The problem was I wasn’t sure what level I was at. Whilst I’ve only been sailing for three years I’ve managed to cover over 8,000nm across a broad range of vessels in a number of locations, but did I know how to trim the main sail properly? Could I remember my man-overboard drill? Exactly how precise would my passage plan be?

The fact was I didn’t feel confident enough to take my Royal Yachting Association Coastal Skipper exam. I just felt I needed a little more time to get my head round the basics of passage planning, navigation and boat handling, so I decided to undertake the RYA Day Skipper course. As it turned out it was all a bit too easy and hardly challenged the grey matter, but it was the right decision and this was for a number of reasons.

I put myself under the tuition of Jon, who runs a local sailing school here. Jon had already sailed aboard Esper earlier in the year but because his boat was being repaired we decided to take the course on Esper – so it turned out I did my sailing course on my own boat with one-to-one tuition! Perfect!

Because we were running with a flotilla which Jon was leading it meant Esper became the lead boat. By lead I don’t mean we were always in front (though any opportunity to race against Teddy, the other flotilla skipper, was always taken advantage of), but that any problems the flotilla had meant they came to us. Well, Jon anyway.

We set off around mid-day and had favourable winds allowing us to start on a beam reach until the end of the headland, where we turned north for Catal Ada. Catal Ada is a group of small islands just south of Gümüslük with an isthmus in the middle. Perfect for a cup of tea and a swim and also useful for Jon who had to change the morse cable on one of the flotilla boats. Because we were now heading into the wind we had our work cut out for us tacking up the second part of the trip to Yalikavak marina. We arrived around 6pm which, for some, was a long day for their first day’s sailing holiday. I rounded the day off with some perfect reverse parking, though I hasten to add that this was under Jon’s strict guidance! Looked cool though: we lowered the pasarelle and laid the warps on the end, making it easier for people on the pontoon to take our lines.

Sunset at Yalikavak Marina

Sunset at Yalikavak Marina

Yalikavak marina is in direct competition with Bodrum, and Bodrum had better watch out. Some of its facilities were far superior to Bodrum’s, and because Yalikavak is a relatively under-developed small town we didn’t have to put up with loud, crap music until the early hours. Instead we headed towards the fish restaurants on the south side of the bay and were treated to some great food whilst sitting on a jetty over the gently lapping sea. Some of the flotilla weren’t so pleased with the fact they were getting their food at 10pm after a hard first day but then some people are just hard to please, aren’t they? Never ceases to amaze me how, even on holiday, people still look for something to complain about. I loved my first day as Jon had spent most of the time explaining main sail shape and trim and as a consequence I now use the runner all the time.

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