RYA Competent Crew Practical Course

This competent crew course is for beginners and those who wish to become active crew members. By the end of the course you will be competent on board a modern sailing yacht. You will also have had a fantastic holiday and will have visited some great marinas, harbours and anchorages along the way.

  • Full 6 days with 4:1 or (larger yacht) 5:1 client to instructor ratio
  • You get your own cabin! Shared cabin option available by choice when booking
  • You learn to sail and berth a clean, modern yacht of between 36ft to 40ft

1 week (6 full days sailing)

Pre Course Experience
Pre Course Experience

No experience needed – just enthusiasm!

Assumed Knowledge
Assumed Knowledge

No previous knowledge

Course Content
Course Content

Learn parts of the boat, knots, etc. and how to become active crew on board

Expected Learning Outcome
Expected Learning Outcome

A more complete and confident yacht crew member


From €1095/pp (shared cabin for 2)


From €1190 (own cabin)


52 Weeks of the year, subject to availability

Book Links
Book Links

RYA Competent Crew
RYA Sail Cruising and Yachtmaster Scheme – Syllabus and Logbook

For those clients wishing to study the book before you arrive, books can be purchased online prior to your arrival. Alternatively they can be purchased at our school when you arrive. 


Click here for local weather links


Competent Crew course content

Below is a list of the “RYA Competent Crew Practical Course Content” you will understand by the end of your 6 day RYA Competent Crew course with Canary Sail.

  • Yacht parts and sea terms – So you know where to be when asked!
  • Terms of sails and rigging.
Handling Sails
  • Set and learn to reef sails – Reefing the sail stops the boat healing over too far!
  • Use of ropes that adjust sails.
Other ropes that do other things
  • To hold the boat, tie knots and tidy or coil the lines afterwards.
  • Prevention & Hazards – Learn what to do if it happens!
Life jackets etc
  • How they work, how to check they work – the rules.
  • How to prevent a man over board is the key. If it happens, how to get them back on board.
  • How to use distress equipment and (in the unlikely event of) to abandon ship.
Customs & Manners
  • Environmental issues plus what to do with your ensign and when!
  • How to arrive into harbour when late – as quietly as possible!
General Duties
  • Keep the yacht in order and share the duties with your fellow crew – always!
  • Where to find the forecast and to learn your Beaufort scale!
Rules of the sea
  • How to keep a look out at sea – at all times!
  • How to get in and out without getting wet.
  • How to row in a straight line. Great photo opportunity!
Sea Sickness
  • Some of us are, some of us are lucky – Stay with us if you are, give it a couple of days and you will have great fun!
Steering & Sailing
  • Learn to steer in a straight line and to handle the yacht under sail and power.

Typical Itinerary

Day 1 (Saturday – 17.00)

We will meet and welcome you and settle you onto your yacht. You are then invited to join us all for drinks to meet the team, your instructors and fellow students or crew. You will be made very welcome by the Canary Sail team and we can advise the best restaurants for you to sample!

Day 2

After the initial safety briefing, you will learn the ropes, be shown how to prepare the boat for departure and almost always be taken out for an introductory sail in the “WAZ” (Wind Acceleration Zone) just off he harbour wall. This is to help you feel comfortable and (for some of you) familiar with your new surroundings on board.

Day 3

Instruction on boat handling in and around the marina before making the first passage normally through the Wind acceleration zone (WAZ) to Marina Los Galletas, situated close by, or to San Sebastián, la Gomera. Here you will moor the boat in ideal conditions and be ready to relax before heading off for dinner in one of the many restaurants or bars available.

Day 4/5/6
The schedule for these days will depend on what you hope to achieve during the course, the level you are working towards and the winds. We aim to sail South or North of La Gomera to Vueltas or Valle Gran Rey on the west of the island. The Northern route takes us through no less than 2 more of our WAZ zones thus almost ensuring you of great sailing in superb conditions on all points of sail! This fishing harbour is a more rustic location offering a wide variety of foods from local fish to international cuisine, experiencing the sunset from this charming habour. The WAZ zone situated just north of Vueltas serves us with ideal training conditions for sailing exercises during the following day. You may then depart Vueltas and complete your circumnavigation of La Gomera calling into Santiago, a beautiful fishing village, either for the evening or as a set-off point for the highlight of your week – The Night Sail to San Sebastian La Gomera! Alternatively an early morning sail back to South Tenerife.
Day 7

Further sailing, anchoring and general boat handling we finish back at your base in the afternoon where we begin the de-briefing, clean-up and issuing of your certificates. The course ends at around 4pm. Remember – your accommodation on the last evening is also included!

Day 8

Leave the yacht at 09.00 latest please for your return home or to continue your holiday in Tenerife.  Please see our stay page for accommodation


Exclusive yacht option for couples, families or groups on 36 to 50ft cruise yachts – now also including our Lagoon 38 C2 Catamaran option!


 This course is run over 6 days Sunday to Friday. You stay on board 7 nights Saturday to Saturday.

Learn how to crew, sail, helm and fully participate in becoming a competent crew member on any modern Sail Cruising Yacht

Just a sense of fun and willingness to get involved and learn whilst having a great time. No previous experience is required!

Ideally you would take the RYA Competent Crew Course as a starter before progressing to the RYA Day Skipper Practical Course during which we teach you how to manage a yacht and its crew.

For those wishing to become a qualified skipper, the next step is to learn navigational theory at home in preparation for the practical course with us. For this just wishing to continue skills but with no ambition to skipper, consider our Competent Crew Plus Course. Alternatively, join one of our amazing Canary Islands Cruise weeks during which you will continue learning and see other more distant shores and wonderful destinations.

Cost is currently around €950 for the full week (depending on level of accommodation chosen), There is no exam at this level. If you are keen to learn, you will receive the RYA Competent Crew Certificate.

No limits! Total beginners join and pass this course with us each week. Providing you are keen to learn, and demonstrate your new skills, you pass!

No theory is required. This course is delivered with practical demonstration/instruction from our RYA qualified sailing instructor throughout your week


 This basic “Learning to Sail” course certificate may help get you on a yacht to assist as crew. However, for international accreditation, you will progress through the RYA scheme and onto greater achievements as a skipper at the level to suit you and your needs. RYA Skipper Certificates are accepted internationally by most charter companies.

RYA Competent Crew Practical Course History

The RYA Competent Crew Practical Course is a relatively modern development in boating and sailing education. The specific dates of its evolution are not explicitly documented in historical records. However, I can provide some context related to the formation of the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) and the emergence of its training schemes, which includes the Competent Crew Practical Course.

  1. Formation of the RYA: The Royal Yachting Association (RYA), the governing body for sailing education and competitions in the UK, was established in 1875. At the time, it was known as the Yacht Racing Association, only to be granted the “Royal” title in 1952 by King George VI.

  2. Beginning of RYA Training: The RYA first introduced a formal training scheme for small boats in the 1960s. This was done in response to an increasing number of people engaging in sailing as a leisure activity, which led to a need for standardized safety and competency training.

  3. Development of the Competent Crew Course: As part of the RYA’s efforts to create comprehensive sailing education for every level, the Competent Crew Practical Course was developed. Although the exact year of its inception is not recorded, it is part of the broad evolution of RYA training schemes that have evolved over decades.

  4. Purpose of the Course: The RYA Competent Crew Practical Course is designed for beginners and those who would like to become active crew members rather than just passengers. This course introduces the fundamentals of sailing, including seamanship, safety procedures, and basic navigation.

  5. Global Acceptance: Over time, the RYA’s training schemes, including the Competent Crew Practical Course, have gained international recognition and acceptance. Today, RYA qualifications are not just limited to the UK but are recognized by sailing and yachting organizations worldwide.

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A wide range of practical and theory courses offered all year round

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Choose from a variety of sail cruises around the Canary Islands and beyond

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From Bareboat to skippered charter, we have an option to suit your needs

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Recommended accommodation options in La Gomera and Tenerife

Get in Touch

Phone any time on our UK Divert No. (UK call cost): 0044 1252 837648
Phone (USA): 001 855 866-5566
Phone (Spain): 0034 922 141 967

Company Address:
Marina San Miguel
Urbanizacion Amarilla Golf
San Miguel de Abona
Santa Cruz de Tenerife
Islas Canarias

Office opening hours:


Tuesday-Friday: 08.30-15.30

Calls diverted outside of office hours, excluding Mondays. Please send us an email and your enquiry will be dealt with promptly.

Office opening hours:
Tuesday-Friday 08.30-15.30

Calls diverted outside of office hours, excluding Mondays. Please send us an email and your enquiry will be dealt with promptly.

Quick Contact

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Looking to hire a yacht, take sailing courses or maybe just relax on a boat in the Canaries?
With over 20 years experience we offer an unrivalled range of RYA Courses.