After the long but informative Online Theory, Its time for the fun and games and Practical training. Running out of Bunbury, West Australia OceanWest Charters which are TripAdvisors #1 Attraction in Bunbury (which says as much about the quality of OceanWest as it does about Bunbury as a location!) is where it all starts on a 46′ Beneteau called Selene.
After an informal meeting of the other students and an in depth Course and boat briefing we are underway for our 5 days of Practical training, covering preparation for sea, deck work, navigation, pilotage, meteorology, rules of the road, maintenance and repair work, engines, victualling, emergency situations, yacht handling under power, yacht handling under sail, passage making, night cruising.
Gary – RYA Instructor
Gary our Instructor, an Old HMS Navy Boy, turns out to not only a deep pool of sailing knowledge, but possibly one of the most cool, calm and collected individuals around, even in the face of imminent disaster and stupidity of some of the students (not me this time!) he keeps it together without even raising an eyebrow let alone his voice.
Over the 5 Days and Nights we really get to grips with various forms of Boat Handling under power and sail with real focus on Man Over Board, Anchoring, Picking Up a Mooring, Coming along side jetty’s and springing off, Pilotage at Night and Day as well as General boat handling skills at sea, all this thrown in with what we learnt on the theory side – Passage planning, Chartwork, Position Fixing and so on.
Over the 5 Days we sailed down to Quindalup (around 60K’s) Via Bussleton and Geograph Bay Spending Nights at either Marinas or Moorings before heading back up to Bunbury for the final day.
For those with limited Skippering experience this is a fantastic course, which will give you a great theoretical knowledge and a good start in your practical skills and is a real confidence builder.
One of the bonuses to come from the course, was meeting Trevor a fellow student, who albeit a real flippant South African with Welsh heritage, he was to become a good friend and partner in my current boat – More about this later.
Trevor trying to Look Cool