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International yachtmaster training sailing course

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International Yachtmaster Training Sailing Courses

By Ken Jones

The International Yachtmaster Training programme was introduced in 2001. This article looks at the first 5 sections: Introduction to Yachting Certificate, The International Recreational Crew Certificate, Radio Operator/Communications Certificate, Watchkeeper/Flotilla Skipper Certificate, International Bareboat Skipper Certificate

Module 1 is the Introduction to Yachting Certificate

The International Recreational Crew Certificate is divided into 6 modules, module 2 gets us under way and you will be learn about safety on board a boat and the use of the life raft and first aid kit, fire extinguishers, flares, life jackets and safety harnesses. What clothing and footwear is suitable for the varying conditions met while sailing. Seasickness and it's symptoms, cause and prevention. How various equipment works including: battery selector switch, bilge pumps, cabin lights, cooker & butane/propane gas, heads and water pumps together with general housekeeping rules.

You will learn a very basic theory of how a diesel engine works and maintenance procedures such as checking the level of the oil, changing the oil, changing filters, ensuring the flow of cooling water to the engine and how to change impellors. You will be taught how to keep a good and effective lookout, which should be maintained at all times, while under way. You will take a look at basic navigation, course plotting, nautical charts, safe passage conditions, tides and currents and weather forecasts.

On the practical side, module 3, you will learn how to coil a line and secure it to a cleat, tie a number of knots and use the winches. You will learn how to secure the boat for sea and then how to leave a berth, once under way you will undertake the duties of a lookout, learn how to hoist and set the sails and while helming the boat go through tack and gybe routines. You will anchor the boat and go through man overboard recovery drill.

Module 4 is theoretical and you will look at the International Regulations for Collision Avoidance or the "rules of the road". Specifically looking at lights, shapes, and sound signals. You will look at some more sail handling techniques, there is more work with charts and compass and to conclude you will take a look at marine customs, etiquette and manners.

The next practical module includes safety checks and look at the through hull fittings, engine warning lights and alarms and the emergency fuel cut off. You will learn deck seamanship with more docking and mooring routines. More sail work, bending on, hoisting, lowering, reefing mainsails, handling sheets, lines, halyards, outhauls and sail trim. You will learn more skills at the helm, tacking, gybing, sailing a triangular course, sailing a compass course and heaving to.

Module 6 looks at both theory and practise of Dinghy/Tender handling. You will learn the different types of tenders, engines, spares and maintenance and safety equipment. On the practical side you will learn to row, how to move under power, launch and recover and transfer to and from the dinghy to the boat or dock.

This section concludes with an assessment of theoretical knowledge and practical skills gained. At the of this course you will be a useful crew member on any small yacht.

The Radio Operator/Communications Certificate is a stand alone module. You will learn how to operate a radio including emergency calls, calling ship to ship, ship to shore, the types of marine radios available and the regulations governing it's use. An examination concludes the course.

The next 5 modules are the International Watchkeeper/Flotilla Skipper Certificate

Number 8 is theoretical and looks at the responsibilities of a watchkeeper, charts and chartwork, the compass, magnetism and concludes with a look at buoys and marks.

The next practical module concentrates on safety including a briefing that should be given to crew members when they join the vessel and looks at the galley area which if not used correctly can be a danger to all those on board. The rest of the section is devoted to boat handling and develops on the skills learnt in the International Recreational Crew Certificate course.

Back to theory in the next module with a look at basic first aid. More work is done with the International Regulations for Collision Avoidance. Finally you will take a further look at marine customs, manners and today's ever increasing legal requirements.

In module 11, the next practical stage you will prepare a passage plan, and while undertaking a short passage work still further on boat handling skills.

This section concludes with an assessment of theoretical knowledge and practical skills gained.

You have now reached a level that entitles you to the International Certificate of Competence or ICC. It is suggested that the skippers of vessels are required to hold this by some European countries. I have never been asked for mine by the authorities and I know of no one who has. It is also suggested that some companies require it prior to allowing charter of a boat. Again I have not come across this in practise.

The next three modules make up the International Bareboat Skipper Certificate and the first looks at taking over a vessel and the necessary checks on hull and rig, machinery and systems, instruments, safety equipment, spares, tools, fuel, water and provisions. It looks at tides and currents and what causes them. You will learn how to use tide tables and gain an understanding primary and secondary ports. There is some more chartwork that includes position fixing and plotting a course to steer to counteract a current. The section concludes with a look at the responsibilities of the Skipper, their communication with and delegation to the crew.

On the practical side you will develop sailing skills with more general deck work, ropes, knots, splices, the care and use of lines. There is more vessel handling work including anchoring, berthing, mooring, handling in confined areas and handling with currents.

This section concludes with module 16 and includes a look at the weather and sources of weather information, personal observations, weather patterns, land and sea breezes, the different cloud formations, rain and fog. You will learn pilotage. There is an in depth look at passage planning including pilot books, almanacs, considerations for passage planning, coastal passages, passage strategy, port regulations, pilotage plans. Finally you will take a further look at the International Regulations for Collision Avoidance. The section concludes with an assessment of theoretical knowledge and practical skills gained

2004 Yoon Chee Tuck    Contact me

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