Royal Navy Competence Course

In July I went sailing with two goals, one to obtain my competent crew qualification, the other to get from Portsmouth to Milford Haven in 11 days. I was able to accomplish both.

There was plenty to learn for a first-time sailor like myself. The crew were organised into two watches, spending four hours on/four hours off. We had to do all the basics that you would expect on a boat, such as cleaning and maintenance, as well as cooking. 

To achieve my competent crew qualification I had to learn key points about the sail and sailing and all the knots a crew member needs to know. This may sound like a lot but by the end of the 11 days it feels like you have been doing these things your whole life. You practice and train every day, even at night.

There were some mishaps and accidents along the way, like the engine breaking (through no fault of our own). However, that was easily forgotten when some dolphins swam in our bow wave, leading to some stunning pictures.

I cannot recommend this course strongly enough. It is an excellent experience and is reasonably priced for what was covered. I will try to take a similar course next year to gain my day skipper qualification.