RYA Day Skipper Practical Course

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


The RYA Day Skipper course teaches pilotage, navigation, seamanship and boat handling up to the required standard to skipper a small cruising yacht safely by day in tidal waters with which the student is familiar.

Our RYA Practical Day Skipper Course covers Tidal or Non-Tidal waters.

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 Minimum Pre-Course Experience: 5 days sea time, 100 miles, 4 night hours.

Assumed knowledge: Navigation to Day Skipper Shorebased and basic sailing ability.

Minimum age: 16.

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: Able to skipper a small yacht in familiar waters by day.


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 Day Skipper Course Covers

Our RYA Practical Day Skipper Course covers Tidal or Non-Tidal waters

Preparation for sea – Is able to prepare a yacht for sea, including engine checks, selection of sails, securing and stowage of all gear on deck and below.

Deck Work – Can reef, shake out reefs and change sails to suit prevailing conditions. Can prepare an anchor, mooring warps and take charge on deck when mooring alongside, coming to a buoy, anchoring, weighing anchor and slipping from a buoy or alongside berth.

Navigation – Is proficient in chartwork and routine navigational duties on passage including: Taking and plotting visual fixes. Use of electronic navigation equipment for position fixing. Use of waypoints. Working up to DR and EP. Estimating tidal heights and tidal streams. Working out course to steer to allow for tidal stream, leeway & drift. Knowledge of IALA buoyage. Maintenance of navigational records. Use of echo sounder and lead line.

Pilotage – Can prepare and execute a pilotage plan for entry into, or departure from, harbour. Understands the use of leading and clearing lines. Use of transits and surroundings as aids to pilotage.

Meteorology – Knows sources of forecast information. Can interpret shipping forecasts and use a barometer as a forecasting aid.

Rule of the road – Has a working knowledge of the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea.

Maintenance and repair work – Understands and is able to carry out maintenance tasks. Knows the properties and uses of common synthetic fibre ropes.

Engines – Knows how to change fuel and water filters, pump impeller and to bleed the fuel system

Victualling – Understands how to victual a yacht.

Emergency situations – Is able to take correct action as skipper for recovery of man overboard. Understands distress flares and how to use a liferaft. Can operate a radiotelephone in an emergency and send a distress message. Understands how to secure a tow. Understands rescue procedures including helicopter rescue.

Yacht handling under power and sail – Can bring a boat safely to and from an alongside berth, mooring buoy and anchor under various conditions of wind and tide. Can steer and trim sails effectively on all points of sailing.

Passage making – Can plan and make a coastal passage, taking account of relevant navigational hazards and limitations imposed by the type of boat and the strength of the crew.

Night cruising – Has experienced sail cruising at night, including leaving and entering harbour. Understands the special consideration for pilotage plans, keeping a lookout and identifying marks by night.

Frequent RYA Day Skipper Course locations

Our flexible approach of working in conjunction with boat owners & associate sailing schools, means that Howellsail have previously & can deliver cost-effective tailor-made RYA Day Skipper Practical 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.

Just wanted to say thank you for a most enjoyable week and your expert tuition delivered in such a calm manner which will, I’m sure, give us both the confidence to push the boat out further as it were.

Martin, UK

Congratulations on your very didactic online course. Would it be possible to continue with another six months for the Coastal Theory?


Recommended Reading for the RYA Day Skipper Practical Course

RYA Day Skipper Practical Course Notes

RYA Day Skipper Practical Course Notes (DSPCN)

The RYA Day Skipper Practical Course Notes has been compiled to complement the RYA Day Skipper Practical Course and draws on the cumulative experience of hundreds of experienced sailing instructors. The techniques shown or described are tried & tested and are suitable for most types of cruising yacht.

This book gives guidance on how to take charge of a yacht for a short passage. Includes planning, crew briefing, safety, boat handling, navigation, etc.
£11.99 + £1.50 p&p (UK)

RYA Day Skipper Handbook Sail

RYA Day Skipper Handbook Sail (G71)

This is the official handbook supporting the RYA Day Skipper Sail Course and is ideal for anyone looking to brush up on their knowledge to this level. It gives great practical and detailed advice on key skills, expanding on the course companion notes.

Being a good skipper is not difficult; it requires essential skills, knowledge, experience, patience, good communication and at times a sense of humour! This book is engagingly written and highly illustrated with the aim of equipping you with that essential knowledge and set of skills to help you build up your experience.
£18.49 + £1.50 p&p (UK) – also available as an eBook

RYA VHF Radio (inc. GMDS'S)

Reed's Skippers Handbook

Skippers Handbook (Sail or Power) (ZS72)

Includes latest maritime regulations & electronic techniques, & provides answers to most of the navigation problems that are likely to arise during a coastal passage.
£7.99 + £1.50 p&p (UK)

RYA VHF Radio (inc. GMDS'S)

RYA Navigation Handbook (G6)

Whether you are studying navigation as part of an RYA course or just want to know more about the art of navigation, this book is highly recommended. The RYA has adapted its Day Skipper, Coastal skipper,& Yachtmaster courses to reflect the fact that many sailors & motor boats now regard electronic instruments as their principal means of navigation. This book gives equal weight to both electronic & traditional methods, through both the means of power & sail. Tim Bartlett is one of the country’s leading experts on navigation. Tim learnt to navigate as part of his professional training at Dartmouth Naval College & then since leaving the navy has become the Technical Editor of Motor Boat & Yachting magazine.
£17.99 + £1.50 p&p – also available as an eBook

RYA VHF Radio (inc. GMDS'S)

RYA Navigation Exercises - 2nd Edition (G7)

The RYA Navigation Exercises – 2nd Edition is the only book to accompany all RYA training courses. As co-author of the Yachtmaster® & Day Skipper test papers, Chris Slade has revised & updated RYA Navigation Exercises to provide this 2nd edition of invaluable practice exercises & answers.

All vital aspects of seamanship are included, from estimated positions & tide tables to meteorology & maydays. Through full colour illustrations, this book follows the newly revised Yachtmaster® syllabus & includes recent developments in electronic chart plotting & GPS.
£21.49 + £1.50 p&p (UK)

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