Coastal Skipper (Practical)

Course content

Pilotage, boat handling, seamanship and navigation. Use of the equipment on board the yacht, rules of the road and meteorology.

Notes: RYA Coastal Skipper courses can be taken in either sail or motor yachts, and in tidal or non-tidal waters. Due to our location all our courses are tidal, and your certificate will be endorsed accordingly.

There are two types of Coastal Skipper certificate:

a. A Course Completion certificate awarded by a training centre on successful completion of a five-day training course (Coastal Skipper Practical).

b. A Certificate of Competence awarded by the RYA/MCA on successful completion of an exam (Yachtmaster Coastal MCA).

The Coastal Skipper Practical course (option a. above) is very much hands-on with little time to teach navigation or other theoretical subjects. It is therefore recommended that you take the RYA Coastal Skipper / Yachtmaster Theory course prior to your practical course so you can put those skills into practice on the water.

This is very much a hands-on course - introducing new skills to enable you to handle a yacht more confidently.

You will be spending the complete week on board the yacht visiting the beautiful areas of the Canaries away from the beaten track.

Pre-course experience

15 days, 2 days as skipper, 300 miles, 8 night hours

Assumed knowledge

Boat handling to the standard of the Day Skipper practical sail cruising course and navigation to the standard of the Coastal Skipper / Yachtmaster Theory course.

Ability after course

Skipper a yacht on coastal passages by day and night


All our courses are run by one of our experienced instructors.

Suggested itinerary

On the Friday evening you join your Instructor for a welcome drink, before spending the rest of the week visiting ports such as San Sebastian de la Gomera - giving you a chance to see the unspoiled areas of the Canary Islands.

On Saturday morning the course proper starts at about 10:00 with a comprehensive safety briefing and familiarisation with the boat and its equipment. After lunch you will prepare the boat for sea and set sail for a gentle introduction to the boat including man over board techniques, points of sail etc. You will often return to the base marina on the Saturday night. If you are on a more advanced course, or crewing on one, then you will often sail for another harbour.

On the Sunday morning you sail west around Tenerife, perhaps stopping for the night in the beautiful fishing harbour of San Juan - anchoring for a peaceful night amongst the fishing boats. If you like fish we can suggest a wonderful Spanish fish restaurant that is hidden away in the back streets. Other options for the night is anchoring in El Pris and also mooring on the pontoons in the harbour of Los Gigantes. Further north can be found Masca bay – a perfect anchorage, ideal for a swim or lunch stop.

We then cross from Tenerife, on a beam reach through the wind acceleration zone, to San Sebastian de La Gomera for a night in a marina. This is the town that Christopher Columbus departed from on three of his four trips across to America. In this picturesque Canarian town you can find a steak restaurant to rival the best, and a fish restaurant (known to those who have sailed with us before as Thomas’) where, if you are lucky, the locals join together for a sing song after the food has finished cooking.

After a morning maybe exploring the town, you travel around the south of the island to Valle Gran Rey – maybe stopping en-route in one of the little bays for some swimming.

You moor in the old fishing harbour - either anchor stern to in the harbour (Mediterranean style), or tie onto the harbour wall. Puerto de Vueltas, the other name for Valle Gran Rey (the valley of the King), is a delightful town surrounded by red cliffs, with narrow back streets. This wonderful setting is one of the best in the Canary Islands - a world apart from the resorts of Las Americas! Once you have watched the sun go down over the ocean from a little bar you can enjoy a delightful Lebanese restaurant or if you fancy Spanish food you will not be disappointed. The only problem with the town is it is so hard to leave its peaceful environment.

From Valle Gran Rey we either make our way back to San Sebastian – or for the more adventurous and experienced sail to Santa Cruz de La Palma. The locals call La Palma “Isla Bonita” (beautiful island) - it is the greenest of the Canary Islands – as well as being the home to the world’s largest volcanic crater!

On the Wednesday afternoon we wend our way back to Las Galletas – just in time for the Thursday regatta and the chance to race the other yachts.

On the evening of Thursday we have our end of course drinks in our classroom, with the certificate presentation. A great chance to chat over the highlights of the week – and commiserate with the losers of the race!


We ask our clients to arrive on Friday. We clean our boats and do any maintenance between 10:00 and 17:00 so if you arrive earlier we will look after your bags for you. At 17:00 we invite you to get on the yachts and meet your Instructor, and at 18:30 we hold a welcome drink in our classroom to introduce you to the crew on the other boats, and all our Instructors.

Notes: Because of our location you have the advantage that you normally arrive in our marina within 15 minutes of collecting your bags.

On the Friday we ask you to get off the yacht at 10:00 so we can clean her ready for the next week. If you have a later flight we can look after your bags for you – and why not think of our one day courses: Diesel Engine; First Aid; RADAR ; and Sea Survival

Minimum duration

6 days tuition / 7 nights on board.

As usual with Club Yachting the following is included

  • Tuition from an experienced Instructor – we do not use instructors who have just qualified;
  • Light weight waterproofs – just in case;
  • Food and drink on board – including a glass of wine, or a beer after a days sailing;
  • All mooring fees, gas and diesel – no hidden extras;

Notes: On this two day course we do not include accommodation, flights, travel insurance or evening meals ashore.

Must bring your own

  • Sun protection – Sun glasses, sun hat and non oily sun cream (without carotene) are a definite must!
  • Music / DVD – there is a CD on the boat (and a DVD player on Club Class boats), so please bring with you a CD / DVD or 2.
  • Mobile phone charging – There is a 12v “cigarette” style socket on board the yacht which is live even when sailing, and a 240v socket (Spanish type) for when connected to shore power.
  • Medication – If you are taking any medication please advise your Instructor on commencement of the course.
  • Health care – Health care in the Canary Islands is good, but it is a good idea to collect the EHIC form from your local post office or online at
  • Seasickness - It is advisable to bring with you a seasickness remedy if you have suffered in the past. There is a local chemist in the town of Las Galletas – ask your Instructor where it is at the Friday night drink.

Notes: All bedding, bed linen (sheet, duvet cover and pillow) and a towel are provided. Please make sure that you let us know if you suffer from allergies as we provide feather pillows as standard.

Recommended clothes

The climate in the Canaries is temperate. You are recommended to bring with you shorts and t-shirts, a jumper/cardigan, long jeans/trousers and jumper for the odd cooler evening in the winter months, shoes with non-marking bottoms for use on the boat, swimwear and something for dinners ashore. As the boat has limited storage space a sailing bag / holdall is the most suitable luggage.

Notes: We lend you a shower / wind proof jacket (normally only needed for the sea spray). Please give it back to us on the Thursday evening.

Course prices