RYA Competent Crew Course

All RYA offshore sailing courses are run through Allabroad, Gibraltar; Menorca Cruising, Menorca; Aistrac, Gran Canaria; Go Club Yachting, Tenerife


Experience living on board and really get to know the boat. Virtually all the course is hands on. You are the crew – without you the sails won’t go up and the boat won’t be steered. By the end of the course you should be able to steer, handle sails, keep a lookout, row a dinghy and assist in all the day to day duties on board. You should also have visited some interesting places and had an enjoyable holiday.

Howellsail provides Instructor services to some of the leading RYA Sea Schools in the UK and Mediterranean. Director Richard Howell has personally provided instruction and conducted Yachtmaster Examinations at RYA recognised Sea Schools based in Portsmouth Harbour and the Solent, Wales, Gibraltar, Menorca, Croatia, Tenerife and Gran Canaria

All RYA offshore sailing courses are run through our association with these sea schools. Our knowledge and contacts ensures that we utilise only what we consider are the best schools with well-maintained yachts and facilities.

Booking your course through us ensures you obtain that quality and value for money with tailor made training, often with Richard Howell as your instructor. For couples and families, groups etc., wanting that extra special tuition we also provide instruction as a couple giving you both a male and female instructor on board.

If you are considering a RYA course by all means give us a call, if only for advice. We are always happy to discuss sailing with you!

Pre-Course Requirements & Suitability

Suggested Pre-Course Experience: None.
Assumed knowledge: None – this course is for beginners and those wishing to become active crew members rather than just passengers.
Minimum age: None.
Locations: All RYA offshore sailing courses are run through Team Sailing, Solent; Allabroad, Gibraltar; Menorca Cruising, Menorca; Skola Yachting, Croatia; Aistrac, Gran Canaria; Go Club Yachting, Tenerife.
Duration: Minimum 5 days.
Ability after the Course: Useful crew member.


For a competitive price based upon location and availability, please email or call us on +44 (0)1924 848558 or +44 (0)7764 603000

Remember, if you are interested in multiple courses, please contact us for guidance and details of special discounts available.


What the RYA Competent Crew Course Covers

Knowledge of sea terms and parts of a boat, her rigging and sails – Sufficient knowledge to understand orders given concerning the sailing and day to day running of the boat.

Sail Handling – Bending on, setting, reefing and handling of sails. Use of sheets and halyards and their associated winches.

Ropework – Handling ropes, including coiling, stowing, securing to cleats and single and double bollards. Handling warps. Ability to tie the following knots and to know their correct use: figure-of-eight, clove hitch, rolling hitch, bowline, round turn and two half hitches, single and double sheet bend, reef knot.

Fire precautions and fighting – Awareness of the hazards of fire and the precautions necessary to prevent fire. Knowledge of the action to be taken in the event of fire.

Personal safety equipment – Understands and complies with rules for the wearing of safety harnesses, lifejackets and personal buoyancy aids.

Man overboard – Understands the action to be taken to recover a man overboard.

Emergency equipment – Can operate distress flares and knows when they should be used. Understands how to launch and board a liferaft.

Manners and customs – Understands accepted practice with regard to: use of burgees and ensigns, prevention of unnecessary noise or disturbance in harbour including courtesies to other craft berthed. Aware of the responsibility of yacht skippers to protect the environment.

Rules of the road – Is able to keep an efficient lookout at sea.

Dinghies – Understands and complies with the loading rules. Is able to handle a dinghy under oars.

Meteorology – Awareness of forecasting services and knowledge of the Beaufort scale.

Seasickness – Working efficiency is unaffected/partially affected/severely affected by seasickness.

Helmsmanship and sailing – Understands the basic principles of sailing and can steer and trim sails on all points of sailing. Can steer a compass course, under sail and power.

General duties – Has carried out general duties satisfactorily on deck and below decks in connection with the daily routine of the vessel.

Frequent Competent Crew Course locations

Our flexible approach of working in conjunction with boat owners and associate sailing schools, means that Howellsail have previously and can deliver cost-effective tailor-made RYA Competent Crew courses anywhere in the world. Please contact us we will be very happy to discuss your needs.

Sailing tuition and charters in Gibraltar


Sail in a warm climate to 2 continents, 3 countries, all in 5 days! A fantastic learning environment with tides, shipping & good winds in an international setting of Gibraltar, Spain & Africa. Learn the customs & immigration procedures for entering foreign ports. Cheap flights available from UK. All courses & charters run in conjunction with Allabroad Yachting, Gibraltar.

Canary Islands

Enjoy a circumnavigation of Tenerife or Gran Canaria, or sailing between the islands on slightly longer passages. With all year round weather a great opportunity to gain some mile building experience & sample some of the smaller islands such as La Gomera etc. Tenerife & Gran Canaria bases available in conjunction with Club Yachting & Aistrac.

Sailing tuition and charters in Menorca


A summer destination ideal for holiday charters & RYA practical courses. Richard Howell has been Chief Instructor at Menorca Cruising & has intimate knowledge of the island. Enjoy 5 or 7 day voyages in the sunshine, also an ideal base for extended cruising around the Balearic Islands of Majorca, Ibiza, & Formentera.

The Solent

The sailing mecca of the UK & an ideal learning environment closer to home. With Portsmouth, Southampton, Cowes, Yarmouth, Chichester all close to hand & Poole & Weymouth both within a day sail, it is an ideal area to undergo training. Also our starting point for Cross Channel cruises to France & the Channel Islands. 

The Caribbean & British Virgin Islands

A host of departure points available in the warm crystal clear waters of the Caribbean. With St Vincent & the Grenadines becoming increasingly popular, why not cruise with us & visit Mustique, Bequia, Union Islands, Tobago Keys, Grenada etc.

Dear Richard, I just wanted to thank you personally for your help, guidance, and patience during my time with you in Gibraltar. As the week progressed with your encouragement I gained confidence in the handling of the boat in what were ‘windy’ conditions and thank you for your support. I really enjoyed the week and I felt as a ‘crew’ we all gelled together and that you contributed to that greatly in developing that atmosphere. I am looking forward to sailing in Turkey in June and many more times in the future.. Many thanks again.


Thank you so much for enabling my friend and I to achieve our RYA Competent Crew Certificates, it was terrific fun as well as hugely informative and rewarding.

Cheryl, Sheffield.

Recommended Reading for the RYA Competent Crew Course

RYA Competent Crew

The RYA Competent Crew book is the official course notebook for the RYA Competent Crew Course but it is also essential reading for anyone who has limited yachting experience. It gives advice on basic crewing techniques an seamanship & is designed to help you make sense of your first few days on board a yacht. Code = CCPCN.
£12.49 + £1.50 p&p (UK) – also available as an eBook

Ready to get going?

For a competitive price based upon location & availability, please email or call us on +44 (0)1924 848558 or +44 (0)7764 603000