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Old 06-30-2007, 11:45 PM   #1
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Okay. I’m going to take you up on your invitation to contribute/ask questions.

I’m considering buying a yacht and doing the cruising thing. I don’t want to end up being a nuisance to anyone, anymore than I can help it anyway, so I want to get at least a Coxswains Ticket to get some ‘professional’ qualification behind me and thereafter work my way up to perhaps a Masters, maybe. Besides that, I get this gut feeling that the way things are going, sooner or later the Maritime Authorities in Australia will require at least some professional qualification to be held by these boaties who take out a 40’ or 50’ hunk of wood or steel onto the ocean blue with the potential of causing mayhem and mischief to have some type of ‘professional’ qualification. I believe that is already the case in some countries and a requirement of some insurance companies. I do a bit of sailing etc and have some military maritime experience, however, that was a few years ago and wouldn’t be recognised by the authorities as current. I work shift work and as a result have 4 – 6 days off at a time quite often. I live in Brisbane.

Now, my question. Does anyone have any ideas on where I can get some time up on a boat, any type of a boat, so I can put get some sea-time up towards a recognised qualification? I’m handy with tools, fit and reasonably smart. (IMHO)

I’ve been hiding in the closest and reading with great interest the questions and answers on this web-site. I must say its fantastic, a wealth of valuable information and it seems a really great bunch of folk to associate with. Can’t wait to join you all out there.

Keenly look forward to any suggestions,

Sam
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Old 07-01-2007, 01:10 AM   #2
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Hi Sam,

There are several ways to go to gain certification. There are Yachting Schools in Brisbane such as www.southerncrossyachting.com.au which can provide you with everything from Competent Crew up to Yachtmaster qualifications. These schools are good but can be expensive. ( Southern Cross Yachtmaster course is 17 weeks for about $17,000).

If Qld is similar to the NT, look at options under the Uni of Qld Marine (TAFE I think is the ultimate administrator) and you can start with Fire Safety etc, through Coxswain and on up to the Master V certificate. Gaining seatime under a qualified skipper then becomes the difficulty, and from the point of view of gaining a professional qualification, sailing with the local yachtclub will not give you log hours.

However, after gaining your coxswain certificate, especially considering your military marine background, the Volunteer Coastguard based, I think at Manly, will log your hours for you if you want to splash about Moreton Bay in a decent sized patrol boat

If however, you just want to be a good sailor, the local yacht clubs will be good for getting time on a sailing boat. Good, reliable crew are always needed and keen amateurs will always find a spot for weekend and overnight coastal racing.

I don't think the government has any particular desire to license recreational sailors. I don't think it is because we have power as a voting bloc, but the upper echelons of government are littered with peak caps, cork shoes and blue blazers. As long as that remains the case we plebs are reasonably safe.

Glad to see you joining the contributing ranks here.

Best wishes

David.
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Old 07-01-2007, 03:22 AM   #3
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Hi David,

I’m with you about the TAFE and I’ll be doing the Fire Safety and Survival at Sea components with TAFE in the next couple of weeks. Then a 7 week (I think) full time TAFE course in October. I actually complated the Competent Crew Course with South Cross Yachting. As you say, very good expereince but also very pricy. The problem is, as you say, gaining seatime under a qualified skipper. Your suggestion of Volunteer Coastguard may be a possibility. I’ll make inquiries there soon.

I take on board your comments about the government, and the fact that a lot of them are ‘peak caps and blue blazers’ and from my experience many are ‘away with the bees’ but having worked in areas of compliance and enforcement and the associated world of ‘Empire Building’ I fear the worst. This is the ‘Age of Regulation’ in Australia as you no doubt are aware of from reading your past posts and I’m sure that sooner or later The Grey Nomads will run out of room on terra firma and decide to head out to the ocean blue and there the beaurocrats will identify a new feeding ground. I really hope I’m wrong.

Maybe someone out there wants a cheap, easy to get on with, deckie. Who knows?

Thanks for getting back to me so quickly. Just proves what a beaut site this really is!!!

Regards,

Sam
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Old 07-01-2007, 03:37 AM   #4
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If I may I'd like to expand Sam's question a bit more... or at least in a mosre specific direction.

At the moment I am planning on attending UKSA's Ocean Master Pluss course sometime next year, when I get the funds together and am in a place where I can take the time off from work. While this is definitely a great school what other schools would you suggest that provide a comparable level of training (Yachtmaster Ocean, or at least Offshore) for perhaps a better price?

I'm looking at the Southern Cross Yachting link now. But more good links to good schools are always appreciated.

J
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Old 07-01-2007, 10:02 AM   #5
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Sam,

As you are in Brisbane, Australia, one option for getting sailing experience is on a boat going to or from Hamilton Island Race Week and Airlie Beach Race Week.

Hamilton Island Race Week is 17th - 25th August 2007. So far there are about 130 yachts entered.

http://www.hiyc.org.au/

Airlie Beach Race Week is 9-16th August.

It looks about 1/3 the size.

http://www.hogsbreathraceweek.com.au/

Most yachts have to be sailed up from their home port (many are from Sydney, a few are from Brisbane / Gold Coast) and then sailed back again afterwards. Many regular crew cannot take long periods off work to do the delivery runs, as well as the race week/s, so crew vacancies are likely. The skippers are often very experienced, some are certified instructors.

If you are interested, try contacting local yacht clubs, or google some of the entries to get an email address.

I found 3 boats with crew vacancies in a quick search a couple of months ago. They were requesting crew to pay, but the cost was generally modest (a lot cheaper than a sailing course). One was a Volvo 60 - a fast ride but a bit too macho and uncomfortable for me!

best wishes with your sailing.

Rob
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Old 07-02-2007, 04:15 AM   #6
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Is anyone here familiar with the Straits Sailing school. http://www.straits-sail.com/index.shtml I recently stumbed across their site and it looks/sounds good but would like to get a third party opinion.

thanks,

J
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Old 07-02-2007, 04:56 AM   #7
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I did a Yachtmaster Fastrack with British Offshore Sailing School out of Hamble a couple of years ago - five months more or less solid classroom and sailing in the Solent and English Channel over the winter - cold but well worth it even though I opted not to do the final practical.

Chose BOSS over UKSA (and others) cos approach was no nonsense and very much directed towards what I wanted to achieve; this unlike UKSA which seemed strangely determined to offer me the best possible start to my career in the Maritime Leisure industry - not bad for youngsters but a bit off-target for a then near 60 year old!

BOSS's web-site is www.boss-sail.co.uk and Im sure that you'd find a chat with the owner, Peter Ellis, or one of his guys interesting.

Hope this helps; good luck
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Old 07-02-2007, 12:01 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Owen View Post
... cold but well worth it even though I opted not to do the final practical.

Chose BOSS over UKSA (and others) cos approach was no nonsense and very much directed towards what I wanted to achieve; this unlike UKSA which seemed strangely determined to offer me the best possible start to my career in the Maritime Leisure industry - not bad for youngsters but a bit off-target for a then near 60 year old!

Hope this helps; good luck
From what I have read and after contacting both UKSA and Straits I agree UKSA does seem to cater more to the rich yuppy kid crowd than the practical sailor who just wants to earn his certs and doesn't require an indoor pool and internet cafe...

Out of curiosity why would you opt out of the final practical after all that time and work?
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Old 07-05-2007, 05:37 AM   #9
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Frankly cos I didn't think I was good enough. Fastrak is great for those with sailing experience who want to get their act together qualification wise and, I'm sure, others who have more talent or are simply younger. Having decide to start out very late, my experience was the course itself and I didn't think that this was really enough to justify the title - the theory's fine but, it's likely to be experience that counts when the going gets tough.

That said, I've now completed some 6,500 nm in 2.5 years which has built up my competence and confidence as crew to the extent that I can now follow expert conversation and ask reasonable questions the answers to which take me slowly but surely up the unrelenting learning curve.

Whether I'll ever both to return to BOSS to do the practical, I don't know but I'm now committed to a year long adventure starting in LA heading south then west toward New Zealand in October so .... maybe when I get back!

In the meantime, I'm just enjoying each and every opportunity to crew for some great yachtmasters and lesser mortals on their pride and joys.
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Old 07-05-2007, 08:54 PM   #10
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Thanks for the honest answer. I admit I do want to get my certs but also agree that more practical experience is needed and hope to find a good crew position after the fastrack course.
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Old 07-05-2007, 10:12 PM   #11
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Hi Rob,



Sorry for taking so long to get back to you but I’ve had a few days off and been away from home and the internet.



I’ve had a look at the links to the Hamilton Island and Airlie Beach Race Weeks. Good Stuff. A definite for next year for sure. My only problem this year is the 7 week course I’m doing at TAFE. Unfortunately it takes up all my leave time.



Never mind, all good things come to those who wait.



There are a few other races on the East Coast suach as Brisbane to Gladstone and of course Sydney to Hobart. I’ll do a bit of research on those and see what I come up with.



J, I haven’t heard of the Straits Sailing School. I’ve checked out the site the only problem is that the school’s in Gibraltar and I’m in Australia.



I can certainly recommend Southern Cross Sailing School, in Brisbane, Australia, however. Top staff, good boats and you get your money’s worth.



Peter, thanks for your info, but I’m looking for something in Australia. I’m sure your advice will be of considerable assistance to others, especially those in the UK. I feel from reading your entry that you’re as positive about BOSS as I am about SCY. Otherwise I’m sure you wouldn’t be telling the world how good they are, thankyou. As you’ve said, it’s all about timing. There’s an incredible amount of stuff you have to learn before you jump in a yacht and start tripping the light fantastic – unless offcourse you want to be subject to Murphy’s Law more often than others.



Thanks to all,



Sam





Damn...I must figure out what's going wrong with my cutting and pasting!!
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Old 07-12-2007, 08:29 AM   #12
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Sam,

I have been thinking a bit more about your question.

I am no expert, but I would be surprised if many cruising yacht owners had professional qualifications (unless that happened to be their normal occupation).

I'd guess most most have done at least some recreational yachting courses plus learnt thru practical experience - .

Yachting Australia

set a sequence of courses, depending on your type of sailing.

Various sailing schools teach the various courses. This gives you a credible certification.

www.learntosailbymail.com is one cheap and convenient way to do the various theory levels.

After Competent Crew, the Yachting Australia system recommends you get a season or two of experience before moving up to the various skipper levels.

Getting the sea miles is the more time consuming bit.

Happy sailing

Rob
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Old 07-12-2007, 08:53 PM   #13
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Rob,

I had similar thoughts when I read the first post. It does seem like Oneman is desiring to become over qualified, just in case the rules change. I am not certain if there is such a thing in sailing as being over qualified. If there is, it is a much better chocie than buying a boat, knowing nothing, and learning by the school of hard knocks, while bumping into things at random; docks, reefs, land, other boats, ships, typhoons, or having to ask "Where am I?". People with that approach likely will get in trouble, maybe big trouble, or survive on dumb luck.

Than there is the middle, at least know enough for what one is attempting, which is what I think you were suggesting; do not set the goals to high, obtain adequate knowlege, and GO, learning more along the way. That sounds very reasonable.

Jeff
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Old 07-13-2007, 12:09 AM   #14
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I have the same question about the US. Where would be a good source for someone who has moderate experience sailing to get a lot of instruction in a fairly quick amount of time and maybe even go all the way to a yachtmaster cert?
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