Our Courses


An RYA Yacht Master certificate of competence is often the ultimate aim of aspiring skippers. It is a well known, highly respected qualification worldwide, proving your experience and competence as a skipper.

Unlike other courses in the cruising program, there is no formal training to complete in order to become a Yacht Master. Instead, provided that you have sufficient experience and seatime, you can put yourself forward for an exam to test your skills and knowledge.

Many Yacht Master candidates choose to book themselves into our RYA yacht training centre for some tailor-made tuition to prepare them for the exam, it is advisable to have knowledge to the level of our RYA Yacht Master shore based course before attempting this exam. It is strongly recommended that you take a preparation course prior to taking the practical examinations.

The scheme comprises a series of practical courses, complemented by our navigation and other specialist short courses. You can use them simply to increase your knowledge and confidence, or as a progression to the RYA Certificates of Competence which are recognised by maritime authorities worldwide.

The ideal introduction is the Australian Sailing – Discover Sailing Competent Crew program which includes the Keelboat Start Crewing and Start Helming courses courses on our International J24 yachts. You will get a better feel of sailing and you will learn to sail much faster than starting on our bigger yachts. Its a bit like learning to drive a car, you don’t start in a truck first. Alternatively if your heart is set on starting on our beautiful bigger yachts the choice is yours and we then suggest the 5 day competent crew course.

Our courses generally take place over five days.  The Cruising Yacht Club of Australia (home of the famous Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race) has been our base for 40 years on beautiful Sydney Harbour.  You can enter our program at any level, provided that you have the correct level of experience beforehand.

Recently the RYA have collaborated with Navionics to develop new resources for teaching electronic navigation in the classroom. With their help, we have converted the RYA training charts into the Navionics format and together Electronic Navigation Resources Booklets. Watch the RYA video on their collaboration with Navionics here.

It is important to be realistic when assessing your current experience and abilities and, if in doubt, discuss your requirements with our training centre before booking your course.

Venturing Overseas?

International Certificate if Competence ICC As the skipper of a vessel, you must ensure that you are aware of any requirement for qualifications before venturing into another country’s jurisdiction. The requirement for a certificate of competence varies from country to country. Sometimes they are required for coastal waters, sometimes for inland waters, sometimes for neither and sometimes for both. Although only guaranteed to be accepted in countries that have adopted the relevant UN Resolution, the ICC International Certificate of Competence is a useful document to carry, and until March 1st 2011 this was unavailable to Australian Citizens and Permanent Residents.

RYA  Courses Pre Course Knowledge Ability After Course
Start Yachting 
None First steps to becoming a knowledgeable and useful crew member
Competent Crew
None Knowledgeable and useful crew member
Essential Navigation & Seamanship
On line
None Basic introduction to navigation and safety
Day Skipper Theory
Shore based and available on line
Some practical experience desirable Theoretical knowledge of basic seamanship, navigation and meteorology
Day Skipper
Basic knowledge of navigation to the level of the Day Skipper Shore based Course and basic sailing ability. 5 Days sailing, 100 miles, 4 night hours. Skipper a small yacht in familiar waters by day.
Day Skipper Combined Theory & Practical
Shore based & Practical
Some practical experience desirable Skipper a small yacht in familiar waters by day.
RYA Coastal Skipper/Yacht Master Shorebased Course
Shore based and available online
Practical experience desirable. Navigation to Day Skipper shore based standard. Theoretical knowledge of offshore and coastal navigation, pilotage and meteorology.
RYA Coastal Skipper Practical
15 Days (2 days as skipper)
300 miles, 8 night hours
Navigation to Coastal/Yacht Master shore based standard, sailing to Day Skipper standard
Can begin to skipper a yacht on coastal passages by day and night

Yacht Master Coastal or Yacht Master Offshore Prep

+ MCA/RYA Exam

30 Days (2 days as skipper)
800 miles, 12 night hours
Navigation to Coastal/Yacht Master shore based standard
VHF/HF licence
First Aid certificate
Has the knowledge and ability to skipper a yacht on coastal cruises but not necessarily the experience needed to undertake longer passages.  Has the same theoretical knowledge as a Yacht Master but not as much practical experience to enable him or her to perform as smoothly or consistently

Yacht Master Offshore Prep

+ MCA/RYA Exam

50 Days (5 days as skipper)
2500 miles
5 passages over 60 miles
(including 2 overnight and 2 as skipper)
Navigation to Coastal/Yacht Master shore based standard
VHF/HF licence
First Aid certificate
A Yacht Master is competent to skipper a cruising yacht on any passage during which the yacht is no more than 150 miles from a harbour
Yacht Master Ocean Theory
Shore based 
Coastal and offshore sailing
Navigation to Coastal Skipper/Yacht Master Offshore shore based standard
Has the theoretical knowledge of astro navigation, ocean meteorology and passage planning to undertake an ocean passage

We have been sailing with these legends for over 5 years now. Amazing service, learning experiences, value, and professionalism. They make sailing FUN whilst delivering practical learning, where one of us has English as a second language.

We have made so many friends out on the water on their excellent range of boats with instructors Terry, Gardo, Phil and Damien – not to mention great introductions in the CYCA.  They have recently assisted with great advice as we purchased and renovated our Marten 49 cruiser-racer. Later in the year –  I need to come and do the theory for Coastal / Ocean Yachtmaster.

Grant MStarted sailing with PSS in 2017

2.5 years ago I moved to Australia from the UK on my own. As 'Billy no mates' (as I left friends and family behind), I spent my first full day in Australia at a sailing lesson Pacific Sailing School . I had lessons, did my dayskipper course, various boat deliveries, raced on as many days of the week as possible whilst still being able to earn a living, with the goal of learning to sail as fast as possible, and working towards doing the #rolexsydneyhobart race, one of the world's most famous offshore races. Not only have I fulfilled a dream, but we won on phs handicap, came third out of all non professional crews (Corinthians), and to top it off I won 'Best on Boat'. Literally couldn't be happier!! 😍🎉
All of this wouldn't have been possible without my Aussie sailing family and friends through the advice, support, introductions, and generally making sailing so much fun. Thank you!! 😘 

FrancescaStarted sailing with PSS in 2016

-- World Sailing Safety and Sea Survival Course Review --

"Myself and the crew of the Winning Appliances completed the World Sailing Safety and Sea Survival course prior to this year’s Sydney to Hobart race. Terry was highly professional and the course was extremely valuable, as it helped everyone to understand their responsibilities and practice strategies and procedures to prevent and address emergencies at sea. I would highly recommend this course and Terry Wise to anyone considering doing an offshore race"

John WinningCEO of Winning Appliances Group