What to do after Day Skipper 1: Mile-Building

What to do after Day Skipper 1: Mile-Building

Recently several people have asked me to suggest what they should do after completing their RYA Day Skipper course so I’ve decided to make it the topic of my next posts.

There are three main options – mile-building, flotilla sailing, and bareboat charter. Each of these has different advantages and drawbacks and you may want to try more than one – even all of them!

Today I’ll talk about mile-building and I’ll cover the other two in my next two posts.

Mile-building’ is the term used to describe a sailing trip organised by a sailing school to help students gain more experience. You’ll sail under the general guidance of a skipper/instructor but you won’t be doing a sailing course as such. You’ll almost certainly learn some new things but there is no syllabus to get through and you don’t have the pressure of knowing that you must reach a certain standard to pass your course.

Lots of sailing schools offer mile-building trips and a search on the Internet should turn up some possibilities. We run a very popular mile-builder to the Cyclades every autumn. We have one yacht filled but there are still places left on a second yacht on this year’s trip, starting on Saturday 5 October so email me if you want more details.

In June 2014 we’ll also be running our second Highland Adventure, which is a tidal mile-builder to the Highlands of Scotland. On this trip, not only will you sail in stunning scenery, but you’ll also visit some secret places that few people know apart from those who have lived and sailed in the area, as we did … and you can get a tidal update to your Day Skipper certificate on this trip as well. We’re collecting names of interested people now so get in touch if this sounds like an adventure you would like to join.

The main advantages of a mile-building trip are:

  • the trips are often in more challenging areas than you would sail in as a novice skipper so you’ll get valuable experience but with someone more experienced on board
  • although you will do most of the sailing there will be an RYA instructor on board so you can ask for help and advice if you are unsure about anything
  • if you don’t have friends or family who sail this is a great way of going sailing and meeting others who enjoy the sport
  • you won’t have to worry about picking a suitable route. That will be taken care of by the skipper/instructor so you can concentrate on navigating and sailing the yacht

On the other hand, the drawbacks are:

  • you are not in sole charge of the yacht. While this is good for those who need more confidence, at some point you have to make that leap if you’re going to progress
  • you may not find a suitable trip at the time that you want to sail

I’d definitely recommend that you try a mile-builder if you are at all nervous about skippering a yacht yourself for the first time, or if you don’t have any experienced crew to sail with. Sailing with inexperienced crew is difficult and best left until you have some more experience yoursefl.

Apart from building your skills and confidence mile-building trips are sociable and enormous fun. Contact me if you want a place on our autumn mile-builder to the Cyclades.

Next post I will tell you about flotillas which are another good option for beginner skippers, and then there will be a post about taking your first bareboat charter.

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Happy Sailing


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