In this top level course, we help you rapidly upskill your sailing and navigation so you can explore farther and escape to sea for longer. The Yachtmaster Offshore course is our final level of cruising instruction, following the Royal Yachting Association standard of training and resulting in globally recognized certification. The Yachtmaster Offshore certification can provide you with all the knowledge and skills to pursue extended voyages and offshore sailing for fun or it can be commercially endorsed, opening the door for you to launch a career in the global sailing industry.
The goal of the Yachtmaster Offshore course is to develop your skills as a skipper capable of safely commanding a yacht up to 150 miles from a safe haven.
Yachtmaster Offshore is taught over 5 days in a live aboard format. The course includes five full days of training to prepare you for for an extensive practical exam by a third party certified examiner. Please note that the exam must be booked separately! Contact us for details and see the full curriculum below for details on the topics covered.
You need substantial sailing experience and knowledge before taking the Yachtmaster Offshore course. This must include:
1. Minimum 50 days at sea covering 2,500 nautical miles.
2. At least 5 passages over 60 nautical miles long, acting as skipper for at least 2 of these passages and including at least 2 which have involved overnight passages.
3. At least 5 full days of experience as skipper.
4. Knowledge of all sailing theory, seamanship and navigation to the RYA Yachtmaster Theory level. Taking the theory course is very, very strongly recommended if you wish to be successful in the practical course.
5. VHF marine radio operator's certificate.
6. A valid first aid certificate.
Your sailing experience will need to be demonstrated by an accurate logbook. Sign up for our mileage builders to get the extra experience! Contact us if you're unsure about your readiness for the Yachtmaster Offshore level and we will help you gain the necessary experience.
During the Yachtmaster Offshore course, your instructor will perform an ongoing assessment of your skills and endeavour to help you get up to the appropriate standard. If you are able to do this during the course, your instructor will recommend that you attend the Yachtmaster Exam with an independent examiner from the RYA. If your instructor finds that you are not ready for the exam, they will not recommend that you take it in this cycle and you will have the opportunity to pursue further mileage and experience before trying again.
In 2019, Sea to Sky Sailing is hosting an RYA Yachtmaster Examiner from the UK for two practical exam sessions. There is a separate fee of 220 GBP (approximately $390 CAD) for attending the exam, which is payable directly to the RYA prior to attending the exam. Each session is approximately 48 hours in which the examiner will assess up to 4 students at a time on all aspects of the Yachtmaster curriculum. Students who are recommended to take the exam can book for either September 30 to October 2 or October 3 to 5… please contact us for booking and details.
Please note that this is a very challenging course, and you must meet the pre-requisites outlined above before beginning the course. Please contact us if you have any questions on how to build your mileage and meet other pre-requisites.
Maximum of 4 spots available.
This course is open to ages 18 and up.
20% off for ages 18-25.
5% GST is added at checkout for Canadian customers.
Included in Registration
You will receive 5 full days of hands-on training from our talented instructors to ensure you are prepared for some serious sailing! The Yachtmaster Offshore program is not just an exceptional training course, it is also an adventure. You get to live on a boat for a whole week! You can expect a lot of fun and new experiences with a rustic level of comfort. Please check the required and recommended items listed for live aboard sailing, as well as reviewing the section on what to expect life to be like on board. Find both on our FAQ page here.
Registration includes all food and beverages for the duration of the course, from lunch the first day to lunch the final day, with the exception of one dinner. We enjoy one dinner on shore during the course, students are responsible for their own costs on shore. Check this section of our FAQs for what else is included and not included.
Yachtmaster Offshore Course Curriculum
The Yachtmaster Offshore course provides a mix of theory and practical training outlined in the following sections. The course is designed to increase your depth of knowledge of all topics introduced at the Day Skipper or Yachtmaster Coastal level and further hone your skills as a skipper so you are prepared and confident in embarking on long distance passages far from familiar waters. The course covers:
Students will be responsible for performing daily safety checks of all equipment and systems on board, and describing what additional checks should be performed on a less frequent basis. This includes hull and rig checks, instrument checks, gas and propane system checks, basic engine checks, safety equipment checks, and ensuring suitable tools and spares are on board.
Effective communication with crew, duty of care, delegation of tasks, good leadership, and essential steps such as filing a trip plan on shore will all be reviewed and put into practice. Students will also become familiar with ship to ship and ship to shore communication, including use of the phonetic alphabet and VHF radio protocol.
Menu planning, planning for re-provisioning in remote areas, understanding fuel and water capacity and range, and other aspects of preparing for longer cruises are covered.
Students are expected to already have a full working knowledge of international collision regulations, lights, sound signals, day shapes and both IALA A and B buoyage. These will be reviewed and knowledge assessed throughout the course.
We will introduce and practice a variety of crew overboard recovery maneuvers under power and sail. Procedures for first aid emergencies, fire, flood, grounding, abandoning ship, storm survival and other emergencies will all be covered in depth.
Students are expected to be familiar with true, apparent and boat wind, the combined forces of CE and CLR, and how to fine tune sail and rig trim to adjust lee and weather helm; we will put this knowledge into practice daily during sailing drills to enhance each student's sail trim skills. Time and conditions permitting, we will introduce use of the spinnaker for optimal downwind cruising.
Power handling in close quarters, helming under sail in waves and in strong currents will all be practiced in order to ensure students can conduct rapid risk assessment and mitigation while underway.
Docking, Mooring & Anchoring
Students will have the opportunity to practice docking under a variety of conditions and dock configurations, including springing off and entering/exiting berths in reverse. Anchoring drills will include a discussion of heavy weather anchoring, the use of dual anchors, trip lines, how to stern tie and how to clear a fouled anchor.
Major emphasis will be placed on the importance of correctly calculating tidal heights in primary and secondary ports, understanding the causes of spring and neap tides, using tide tables and current atlases, and applying all this knowledge to passage planning and chart work.
Obtaining and analyzing marine forecasts, surface pressure charts and other weather information is a key component of the course. Students will be expected to understand cloud formations and what they indicate, weather patterns associated with frontal systems, the cause and characteristics of sea and land breezes as well as different types of fog. Students will use this theory to determine where and when to sail.
We build on the charting skills introduced at the Day Skipper level, helping students to improve their navigation techniques so they are prepared to navigate accurately both by day and at night (yes, night sailing is involved in this course!). Taking a running fix, plotting a course to steer with tidal vectors and leeway, and navigating with the use of depth contours, plotting DR and EP, and use of the various instruments on board will all be covered. Students will practice keeping a precise ship's log throughout the course, use some electronic navigation tools, and understand the limits of accuracy and margins of safety inherent in marine navigation.
Students will prepare passage plans each day and plan for a multi-day coastal cruise. This will include calculating trip timing for safe passage through tidal passages, harbour pilotage plans for entry by day and at night, understanding harbour regulations, assessing hazards along the route, safe harbour contingency planning, and various strategies for skippers to develop strong passage plans efficiently.
Yachtmaster Offshore is taught over 5 days, from 9am on Day 1 to 4pm on Day 6. We start and finish the course at our home port in West Vancouver at 5750 Eagle Harbour Road.
By Public Transit
Bus #250 between downtown Vancouver and Horseshoe Bay offers access with a stop at Eagle Harbour Road. 5 minute walk from the bus stop to the club.
Free parking on the street around the corner from the club lot. Please do not park in the club parking lot as it is reserved for members and you will be towed.
Marine Drive is a popular cycle route although does not have much of a shoulder on many parts of the road. There are plenty of secure locations to lock your bicycle while sailing.
Join us for some of our cruising adventures or continue developing advanced sailing skills by participating in some racing events.. we even offer opportunities to race abroad, so keep an eye on our Overseas Racing adventures!
More questions? Contact us!