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

No experience needed – just enthusiasm!

Assumed Knowledge

No previous knowledge

Course Content

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

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


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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 Gigantes situated on the northwest of Tenerife. 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. Los Gigantes is a perfect set off point for your next destination.

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 around the north of La Gomera to Vueltas or Valle Gran Rey on the west of the island. This 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 Moroccan 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!

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 on La Gomera or Tenerife.  Please see our stay page for accommodation


 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 and a course book is issued to guide you through 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.

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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

Postal Address:
Apartado 211,
Calle Del Medio, 38800,
San Sebastian de La Gomera,
Islas Canarias, Spain

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