Pre-course reading

For all the RYA practical cruising courses it’s very useful if you can do some prior reading and preparation.

The books are available from either of the following suppliers:

Each course has an official syllabus/logbook and a book of course notes associated with it. We strongly recommend that you obtain and read the books relevant to your course, before joining us for the course:

  • For all courses: RYA Yachtmaster Scheme Syllabus and Logbook (G158)
  • Competent Crew: RYA Competent Crew Skills – 2nd Edition (CCPCN)
  • Day Skipper: RYA Day Skipper Practical Course Notes (DSPCN)
  • Coastal Skipper: RYA Yachtmaster Shore-based Notes (YSN)

(Coastal Skipper requires theory knowledge to Yachtmaster level)


Widely regarded worldwide as the ultimate practical sailing qualification, the RYA Yachtmaster Coastal and RYA Yachtmaster practical exam is designed for very experienced skippers with excellent boat-handling skills under power and sail, as well as an in-depth theory knowledge of navigation techniques and rules of the road.

Sail Nelson offers a 6/7 day practical preparation week and Yachtmaster exam for sailing skippers who already have the necessary, experience, skills and knowledge to do some final preparation and then sit the exam.


The Yachtmaster week is NOT designed to teach you to become a Yachtmaster, rather it’s a week of preparing and polishing your EXISTING skills and knowledge, in order to give you the best chance of passing the practical exam. By signing up for this course you are confirming that you have checked that your experience, skills and knowledge is appropriate for this level of certification.

During the week on board your instructor will help you to decide whether to sit the exam at Yachtmaster Coastal or Yachtmaster Offshore level. In some cases, it might be that we advise you to postpone sitting the exam until you have further developed your skills/knowledge in certain areas. Regardless of your decision, by signing up for this week you are committing to remain on board for the preparation and the duration of the exam, as all candidates work as crew for each other.

If you decide not to sit the exam for yourself then we will refund your exam fee. The experience of crewing for other candidates is extremely useful and provides a real insight into what’s required for you to pass the exam at a later date.