BVI Trip – IYT Dayskipper Certification – Tortola Sailing School

Heading Out
Oct. 25 0500

A pre-dawn takeoff from CDG to SXM. Oct. 25, 2014.

An early start. A crisp night. All the stars are out. Orion as clear as you like in the south. Lying down. Revellers walking home. Last of a subdued house party murmuring away.

Nervous. Excited. Feel like I’ve forgotten something. But I don’t really need that much. I’ve got what I need. Wallet. Passport. Phone. One of these days at least one of those will be as quaint as a vinyl LP.

When I get back in just over two weeks I’ll have a solid foundation in skippering boats up to 78′ in length. This particular certification is ‘IYT International Day Skipper’.

What is IYT?

While it isn’t compulsory to obtain any certification and most charter and insurance companies don’t offer any discounts for certification, it is still a useful framework in which to gain knowledge and experience. There are a lot of different certification brands out there, RYA, ASA, US Sailing, and IYT. I didn’t really choose IYT for any reason. Instead, I chose the school and location based on what I wanted and this happens to be the certification they offer. I’ll most likely actually pick up with RYA training once I’m back in the UK, specifically the Yacht Master ladder.

For me, the two most important things I’ll come away with on this course are the VHF radio comms certification and a lot of hours of sailing experience. I’m going to be cranking about 6-8 hours a day for 10 days.

The flow of IYT training and where I’ll sit.

What is Day-skipper?

After completing the course and training and then passing the written and practical tests I’ll be able to sail boats up to 78′ in length during daylight hours up to 12 miles from shore. Basically this will let me muck about in decent cabin cruisers with friends on holiday, which is pretty much the point. Below is a detail of what I’m going to learn and/or be tested on. 

The course content consists of the following modules:

  • Responsibilities of a bareboat skipper
  • Crew safety checks
  • Hull and rig checks
  • Machinery and systems checks
  • Fuel and water capacity and range
  • Menus and quantities
  • Float plan
  • Sources of meteorological information
  • Weather patterns
  • Sea and land breezes
  • Cloud types and formations
  • Pilotage and passage planning
  • Considerations when planning a passage
  • Routine for navigating a coastal passage
  • Passage strategy
  • Port regulations, customs, immigration
  • Pilotage plans
  • Vessel handling in confined quarters
  • Mooring, anchoring, coming alongside
  • Ropes, knots, care and use of lines
  • General deck work
  • Tides and currents theory
  • Tidal heights, springs and neaps
  • Rule of “twelfths”
  • Position fixing, running fixes
  • Plotting the effect of tides and currents
  • Collision regulations
  • Lights, shapes and sounds
  • Application of the regulations
  • Advanced dingy handling

Form of daily updates:

  • What I learned
  • What I was happy with
  • What I was unhappy with
  • What I’m looking forward to
  • Musings and updates
  • Photos / Videos
Beautiful cloud formations over Saint Martin.
Beautiful cloud formations over Saint Martin.

Itinerary (times local)
Oct. 25 – The travel hump

  • 0500 depart Kentish Town
  • 0710 Air France LHR CDG
  • 1030 Air France CDG SXM
  • 1730 LIAT SXM EIS
  • 2000 Arrive at Sugar Mill in Apple Bay Tortola

Oct. 26 – Free Day

  • A free day
  • Run. Lunch. Work. Study. Relax.

Oct. 27 – Day 1

Arrive at Soper’s Hole Marina at 0800 to meet fellow students and instructor. Every day we will moor or anchor up for the night around 1700 and either cook aboard or go ashore to have dinner, this will be depending on the location.

Oct. 28 – Oct. 31 – Days 2 – 5

Continue going through the course syllabus. All the modules in the course outline will be covered. Locations visited will most likely include: Cane Garden Bay, Norman Island, Jost van Dyke, Anegada and Virgin Gorda. First written test end of week.

Nov. 1 & 2 (Le Weekend!) – Days 6 & 7

Re-provision the boat and focus on theory and plan for the second week; what points to work on, etc.

Nov. 3 – Nov. 6 – Days 8 – 11

Revise and hone learnings from Week 1. Perform more crew duties and start to take command of ship. Working toward becoming a competent and safe skipper.

Nov. 7 – Day 12

On the last day we sail back to Soper’s Hole Marina. Once back ashore, we will finish the course in the office with paperwork necessary to complete your certification.


My Kit

  • Arctyryx plain duffle
  • iPhone 5S
  • iPad Mini with Logitech cover / keyboard  (WiFi Only)
  • MacBok Air 13.5″ 256Gb 8Gb RAM
  • WordPress
  • BlogPadPro
  • Boat? TBD

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