CUYC is accredited by the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) as a Recognised Training Centre.
We teach all RYA Practical and Theory Courses as well as the vast majority of the RYA Specialist One Day Courses: First Aid, VHF Short Range Certificate, and so on. Additionally, CUYC Skippers and experienced members of the club are always happy to pass on informal training tips and advice on general Cruising and Adventurous trips.
The Club offers three different types of sailing trip - Cruising, Adventurous, and Training. The emphasis on each of these is slightly different.
There is no requirement to undertake training before going on your first general sailing trip and indeed we recommend that for most people you gain some general experience of yachting on a Cruising or Adventurous trip before embarking on your first Training course whether this be an RYA Shorebased Theory course or an RYA Practical Training course.
To gain some experience, you just sign up on some of the trips, which are announced on the website programme (www.cuyc.org.uk/programme/). Don't worry if you have never sailed before: the trips are always well balanced in levels of experience. You'll be sure there are some more experienced people that are willing to teach you the first principles. In general, the Cruising trips are best for learning as a beginner as they involve a good balance between sailing and pubbing and in general consist of day sails generally along the coast. Adventurous trips are great for learning as well but for a complete beginner they may be a bit of a baptism of fire. Adventurous trips involve longer passages, often crossing the English Channel or sailing overnight. For those that have done a little dinghy sailing or some yacht sailing when they were younger for example, they may be an ideal way to get back into things.
Once you've been on your first weekend yachting, you'll be ready to start training and improving your skills (though there's no rush, so don't feel you have to!).
The RYA Yacht Training Scheme consists of a series of RYA Shorebased Theory courses and on the water RYA Practical courses. There are also One Day Specialist courses such as First Aid, VHF Radio, Sea Survival, etc and these can be taken at any time during your gradual training—though the first two are pre-requisites for the highest qualifications. At the upper levels there are also the RYA/MCA Certificates of Competence: RYA/MCA Yachtmaster Coastal, Offshore, and Ocean.
RYA Practical courses, with the exception of RYA Start Yachting, all require a minimum of 5 days training. This can either be taken as 3 x two day weekends, a 2 day weekend and a 3 day course, or a 5 day course. All durations of course are offered by the club at various points during the year. The pupil:instructor ratio is kept at 5:1 so as to ensure that all students gain as much as possible from the training and have plenty of opportunities for "hands-on" practice. Importantly, each course will contain students taking different qualifications - some may be doing RYA Day Skipper Pratical whilst others do RYA Coastal Skipper or RYA Competent Crew; some may be on their first 2 days out of 5, whereas some may be on their last. This all adds to the variety of the crew and helps ensure that at all times everyone is able to get something from whatever training is being done.
RYA Shorebased Theory courses generally last one Cambridge term, and include a minimum of 40 hrs teaching. This generally consists of 8 x 3 hr evening sessions during term plus a mid-course afternoon session and ending with a final revision & exam weekend at the end of term. In addition to this there are often informal optional pub meets and regular e-mail contact to help facilitate learning. A minimum of 75% attendance is expected though we do our best to accomodate all requirements.
RYA One Day Specialist courses cover a range of subjects in more detail than possible on the general practical and theory courses, and give specialist knowledge and qualifications needed for those planning to be skippers or first mates.
It is not necessary to take all the courses in order, but many of the courses have "pre-course requirements" either in the form of a prior qualification or in terms of experience logged (miles, days on board, night hours, days as skipper). There is little scope for bending these pre-course requirements as generally those that don't meet them will gain less out of a given course and lack the necessary understanding and appreciation of what is taught.
To the side is the RYA Yacht Training Scheme in summary. Either click on a specific course or click on the "Theory Courses", "Practical Courses " or "One Day Specialist Courses" buttons at the top of the page to go to more detailed information.