This issue’s sailing tip is a pretty simple one. It will lead to you having more valuable practical sailing experience than you’d ever imagine. And it fits nicely in with any new years resolutions you might be considering.
When I lived in Austin Texas, I raced a lot with the local sailing club there on Lake Travis, an inland small lake. And I have to admit that much of my finer technical sailing knowledge came from those many regatta races.
When a sailboat racing next to you is inching ahead moment by moment you learn quickly the importance of accurate sail trim. And talk about drilling the rules of the nautical road – wow when you’re on collision course with dozens of yachts you’ve got to know the rules.
Here’s the tip: Join a local yacht club this year.
At NauticEd we REALLY believe that practical sailing experience is one of the keys to becoming an excellent sailor (of course we’re making a big assumption that you don’t have a goal to be a crappy sailor).
A bit of History: When we designed the NauticEd sailing certifications, we consulted with dozens of sailing instructors and many of the world’s largest charter companies. With out any hesitation, they all rated practical sailing experience as a must have to becoming a competent sailor (durh). When we looked at every other global sailing certification, none required practical sailing experience as a prerequisite to gaining the certification. That’s a bit strange we thought because in this digital age, it’s easy to write an algorithm that can combine theory knowledge and practical experience (well not that easy but you get the point).
Then we looked at the scuba diving industry and the scuba certifications. We found that the theory education was excellent but practically – if you can barely swim, you’ll still end up with a certification. Still strange! The scuba magazine editorials are full of complaints about new divers banging into the protected reefs because they can’t do the most basic buoyancy control.
When it comes down to it I guess, most certifying companies are more interested in the $ than the true competency of the student. Thus we decided to set the competency bar high so that the charter companies could truly trust a experience and theory based certification.
So here’s the big “but” that people ask us all the time then.
“But … how do I get sailing experience when I don’t own a boat”.
Well… in virtually every city with a sailing waterway there is a yacht club.
Joining a yacht club is pretty simple and relatively inexpensive for the return you’ll get. Costs range from $40 to $80 per month. And if you own a boat, many times the marina fees are less expensive than a regular marina.
Some clubs are very racing focused some are not. I’ll maintain however that even if you’re not a racing type person, racing experience will improve your cruising sailing skills vastly. Racing is like learning a language by immersion.
Yacht clubs are highly social and so you’re going to meet a lot of very cool and interesting people who will become your friends. Throw away the preconceived notions of the stereotype snooty stuffy yacht club and just join one and find out for yourself.
Yacht clubs many times have a nice pool for the kids to hang out in and they will get to hang out with other yachting type kids. A vast improvement from learning life skills at the mall.
Yacht clubs organize weekend sailing trips away. These are usually very fun flotilla events. Here you can learn a lot of overnighting and anchoring skills.
Occasionally yacht clubs will also organize a bareboat charter sailing holiday to places like the Caribbean, Mediterranean or the pacific islands. This is a great opportunity to join in on the safety of a flotilla.
Some people think that if you don’t own a boat, then what’s the point of joining a yacht club. However, if you don’t own a boat, then you should definitely join a yacht club. Here’s a big fact. Virtually all boat owners are desperate for crew for either racing or cruising events. This is proven by the dozens of post-its on the yacht club notice board from skippers looking for crew.
Typical Yacht Club Notice Board
So – this year, join your local yacht club. Put your name up on the notice board that you’re willing to crew. Commit to some regatta race series. Do some boat jumping to find the boat/crew/skipper that you like. Make some friends. Get lots of sailing experience and most importantly, fill out your free NauticEd electronic sailing logbook. As with above, your logbook is the single most important thing that the charter companies look at when you are trying to charter a boat.
And one more comment – years ago when I ran a large yachting membership program, the biggest reason that people dropped out was that they did not have friends to go sailing with them. A mistake that I made was that we should have promoted our boat owning members to also join a yacht club. There, they would have found plenty of new friends to go sailing with, from the exact same notice board mentioned above. If you own a boat – join your local yacht club this year.
Here’s an exciting addition to the NauticEd Sailing Certification system. We’ve now added a Qualified Crew Member Rank which is super easy to gain with the right education and experience. This announcement follows right on the heals of releasing the Safety at Sea clinic allowing for the advanced graduation to the Rank of NauticEd Captain. We’re really pulling the stops out these days and developing what a 21st century Sailing Certification should really look like.
A typical Qualified Crew Member Sailing Certificate
Qualified Crew Member applies to all those who have not yet made it to the Skipper, Bareboat Charter Master or Captain Rank. Or if you own a boat, it can apply to all those people that sail on your boat and you wish they knew a little more.
The Qualified Crew Member Rank works similar to the other ranks in that the student must pass a NauticEd educational course and log experience in our FREE online logbook.
To become a Qualified Crew member, the student must pass either the Crew Member Course or the Skipper Course and, for level 1, log a minimum of 10 days on the water. Alternatively, the student can shortcut the 10 days by becoming Proficiency Verified through an accredited NauticEd Hands-On-School offering an on-the-water practical training class and logging just 4 days.
This exciting announcement means that the Qualified Crew Member Rank is with in realistic reach of anyone without compromising any educational and certification integrity. Following that, the step up to Skipper is again with in easy reach.
To move through the levels in the Qualified Crew Member Rank, just follow this below:
Level I – 10 Qualifying Days or 4 qualifying days with Practical Proficiency Verification
Level II – 25 Qualifying Days
Level III – 50 Qualifying Days
Level IV – 100 Qualifying Days
Level V – 200 Qualifying Days
The Practical Proficiency Verification stamp works as simple as this:
Take the NauticEd Qualified Crew or Skipper Course
Visit an accredited NauticEd hands-on practical sailing school and request practical training to the Qualified Crew or Skipper rank.
When the instructor deems you proficient, he or she will electronically stamp your Sailing Certification.
Make sure you’ve logged at least 4 Qualifying Crew Member days and …
Viola – you’re a certified NauticEd Qualified Crew Member and your online Sailing Certification is instantly upgraded.
If you want to see how Qualified Crew Member Students will be tested on the water – visit this site and down load the Crew Member test out PDF.
Qualified Crew Member Sailing Course - e-book.
The Qualified Crew Member Course or the upgrade to the Skipper Course makes a really fantastic last minute Christmas Present Stocking Stuffer. Download this free word doc stocking stuffer:
Today, NauticEd Online Sailing School announced its release of the NauticEd Captain’s Rank. This coincides with the posting of the NauticEd Safety at Sea Clinic which is the final required course to attain the Sailing Certification Rank. The NauticEd Captain’s Rank focuses entirely on sailboat operations both near shore and offshore and is directed specifically towards the recreational sailboater.
Until now, many recreational sailboaters have been gaining a commercial boating license to attain the educational equivalence of Captain but with out the intention of operating commercially. Now with NauticEd, students can gain a Captain’s Sailing Certification with out jumping through the significant hoops associated with a commercial operator’s license.
This is very exciting for the sailing industry says Grant Headifen, Educational Director for NauticEd. ‘It means that we can have more educated boaters on the water and the investment cost in the education is well within reach of every sailboater. We’ve lowered the barriers and made the experience fun and interactive with multimedia learning. Now, if anyone wants to learn to sail, gain a sailing certification or just increase their sailing education, doing it online makes it more accessible and thus more likely to be done”. The Educational investment in the Captain’s Rank is less than $US300.
Headifen estimates it will take the average student 60 hours of study over time to complete the theory courses and online tests associated with the NauticEd Captain’s Rank. The NauticEd online Courses required to gain the rank cover a wide breadth of topics listed as follows:
Maneuvering Under Power
Safety at Sea
Captain's Rank bundle of Sailing Courses
In addition, a NauticEd Captain must have logged a minimum amount of real sea time which is denoted by a level associated with the Rank as follows:
Captain Level III - 50 days of sea time;
Captain Level IV – 100 days of sea time
Captain Level V - 200 days of sea time.
Time is logged on NauticEd’s online sailing logbook and can be accessed via iPhone and Android apps or on an internet connected computer.
NauticEd which stands for Nautic Education offers 2 lower level Sailing Certifications; Skipper and Bareboat Charter Master. These are achieved by passing fewer courses than listed above. NauticEd also offers other online courses such as a Catamaran Sailing Confidence, Celestial Navigation, and a Crew Course.
To learn more sailing tips from NauticEd Sailing School visit our website.
I get this message below all the time from people that I know or meet. Here’s one I got this morning through my Linkedin account.
Long time no see. Grant, I’m thinking about learning to sail. Your sailing vacations all over the world have inspired me. What do I do, where do I start, can I buy you a beer some time and get some advice from you.
Here’s my reply this morning
Would be good to catch up. In the meantime – here’s my advice. Obviously I’m a little biased here but you should really start with one of my online theory classes. I’d recommend the NauticEd day skipper courses. That will give you a good solid knowledge of what you need to know when starting out on a learn to sail quest.
Skipper Sailing Course
The next thing I would recommend is to spend ¼ million dollars on a boat – nah just kidding. Go join our local yacht club and do some racing. Almost every yacht club is begging for members to be crew on their boats. A note on their pin up board that you want to crew will attract multiple phone calls to you. Also just call their office and ask what you should do. But I guarantee that they will be more than happy to have you out there. Yacht clubs appear old and stodgy on the out side but once you get inside there are dozens of skippers that are keen to help out.
Whether or not you’re into yacht racing, racing is the absolute best way to learn fast through immersion and you can rack up the experience fast. By taking the skipper course you’ll have the theory knowledge to know what you’re doing on the boat. Now you just need to burn it into your brain with the practical sailing skills.
Log all your yacht club time in our free online logbook as it counts towards your sailing certification rank.
Another thing you can do is to go to the local sailing school. In Austin it is the Texas Sailing Academy. They teach a 2 weekend long basic introduction to sailing and will give you hands on training. Just make sure that whatever school you go to that they don’t put too many people on the boat at one time. It waters down your practical experience. Some schools do this to keep the cost down but if you’re there to learn to sail then you’re there to learn to sail not water it down with a cheap course. With Sailing courses you get what you pay for.
The other ways to gain practical sailing experience is to catch up with friends who have a sailboat. Funny enough but sailboat owners are almost desperate to have some one call them and say “would you like to come sailing with me on your boat this weekend”? But people learning to sail are always too embarrassed to ask – so sailboats tend to sit in the slip month after month. So just ask.
If your goal is to take a sailing vacation then I’d also recommend aiming to reach our Bareboat Charter Master Rank and our day skipper theory courses. Most worldwide charter companies accept our certification. Sailing vacations are the way to go. They’re relatively inexpensive and you get to go to some awesome places. As you know, every year we gather our friends and go somewhere. This year we’re chartering three boats with The Moorings South Pacific in Tonga. I was up there a few months back and wow – what an incredible place. By the time we get there next month the place is supposed to be teeming with whales.
Here is a question posted by one of our students today with our response following.
On 6/4/10 1:54 PM, “Ted” wrote:
I have recently started through your courses in the hope of chartering next winter. My own boat is a 25′ Catalina. From your information it appears that I will not receive credit for my days on water due to my boat being under 28′. Is that correct and therefore will I not be able to progress beyond crew level 0? Thank you for your time Ted
Some of your small sailboat experience is counted. However, the sailing certification and experience that the yacht charter companies are requiring is that their customers have some experience on larger sailboats before they responsibly release a sailboat to anyone on a chartered sailing vacation. As you can imagine, sailing experience is a major factor for them in lending out their charter sailboats. When we consulted with the major yacht charter companies in the world to put this program together they were adamant and rightly so that a proper and valuable sailing certification would include some big boat time.
My advice would be to buddy up with some one the local yacht club who has a larger boat to gain the experience you’ll need.
You will be able to advance to Skipper as soon as you log 5 days more on a sailboat 28ft or longer whilst you are acting as master of the vessel.
This is the day 2 introduction to NauticEd sailing school. Watch the video and/or read the text below.
This is day 2 of 6 in your introduction to NauticEd.
Today we’ll discuss the NauticEd Sailing Certification and show you how to get discounts off NauticEd courses or even get them for free using the our social media program.
Get Discounts and Free NauticEd Courses
Login now and go to the referrals tab. Follow the simple instructions to create your own promotion code. Send the promotion code to everyone and anyone you know that is interested in sailing. You can even post the promocode on your facebook wall right from that page or tweet it out. However you do it – make your promotion code known.
When others use your promotion code they get $15 off their first introductory course to NauticEd and you get to accumulate $10 each time some one uses your code. But hurry because if they use someone else’s, they can’t use yours.
About the NauticEd Sailing Certification
NauticEd provides Sailing Education and Certifications to the sailing and boating world. The NauticEd Sailing Certification is accepted by the world’s largest Charter Companies like:
BVI Yacht Charters,
Sailing New Zealand,
The Catamaran Company,
Gulf Charters Thailand
Dream Yacht Charters
View our video of the NauticEd sailing certificationView our video of the NauticEd sailing certification
Our Sailing Certification Works as Follows:
The Certification is based on 4 Ranks and 5 Levels within each rank.
Ranks are Qualified Crew – Skipper – Bareboat Charter Master – Captain. They are based on the theory education and passing grade the student has attained as well as a required minimum level of experience.
Levels reflect the days-on-the-water experience that a student has logged in the FREE NauticEd online logbook. An algorithm in the NauticEd software calculates the level awarded based on size of the sailing vessel and whether the student was master or crew on the vessel.
All students automatically start out as “Crew”
Students then begin to take online theory courses. To gain the Rank of “Qualified Crew” the student must take and pass either the Qualified Crew Member Course or the Skipper Course plus have a minimum of 10 qualifying days out on the water or 4 days with a professional instructor.
To gain the Rank of “Skipper“, the student must take and pass the Skipper Course and the Maneuvering Under Power Clinic. The Skipper must then have a minimum of 10 qualifying days out on the water to achieve Level I
To graduate to the Rank of a “Bareboat Charter Master“, the Student must in addition to the Skipper courses, complete the Bareboat Charter Clinic, the Coastal Navigation Clinic, the Electronic Navigation Clinic and the Anchoring a Sailboat Clinic. A Bareboat Charter Master can not have less than 50 days of qualifying experience on the water.
To further graduate to a “NauticEd Captain“, the student must then additionally take the Weather, Sail Trim, Storm Tactics and the Safety at Sea Clinics. A NauticEd Captain can not have less than 50 days of qualifying experience on the water.
The NauticEd software will automatically take care of calculating your rank at any time.
Levels are defined according to the following schedule:
Level I is 10 days qualifying experience on the water.
Level II is 25 days qualifying experience on the water.
Level III is 50 days qualifying experience on the water.
Level IV is 100 days qualifying experience on the water
Level V is 200 days qualifying experience on the water.
Qualifying days are based on an algorithm, which ensures that the majority of the experience is performed as the Master of a sailing vessel larger than 28 ft.
You can get more information on attaining levels here:
Because the NauticEd certification is based on theory knowledge and practical experience, it thus follows the same requirements that most countries place on an official license. For example the United States Coast Guard requires 360 days of practical experience on the water to be eligible for a Captain’s license.
It follows then that most charter companies world wide recognize and are happy to accept the NauticEd certification of Bareboat Charter Master Level III as a prerequisite to chartering one of their boats.
While I’m waiting for the America’s cup race to start and twittering the updates to the delayed start – I thought I’d add a blog update about our upcoming Tonga Sailing flotilla.
The dates will be August 30th to September 7th 2010.
Sailing in Tonga
Come join us in one of the most tropical sailing locations in the world. Only seven boats will be in the flotilla so contact NauticEd now at email@example.com
Requirements are that the skipper must have reached the Bareboat Charter Master Rank – see the video about how to get to this rank at NauticEd Certification on youtube.
Essentially you must have passed the following sailing courses: Skipper, Maneuvering Under Power, Coastal Navigation, Bareboat Charter plus have documented a minimum of 50 qualifying days on a sailboat.
This will be one of the most fun sailing vacations you could have. We’ve got loads of fun activities planned every day including a mini regatta. Tonga is known for its whale watching, pure white sandy beaches, the friendliest people and tropical fruit like you’ve never tasted. Come on!
NauticEd Online Sailing School will begin offering a Post Graduate Sailing Flotilla to its students. Students who graduate to the NauticEd Bareboat Charter Master Rank will be invited to celebrate their graduation by skippering their own charter sailing yacht with their friends and family for a week long sailing adventure.
Grant Headifen, Educational Director and Founder of NauticEd, has previously lead dozens of successful sailing flotillas throughout the Caribbean, Mediterranean and Pacific. “This time we’re spicing it up a little with a sailing adventure to the Kingdom of Tonga” says Headifen. “Tonga is ideal for this type of trip. It’s navigationally a simple sailing ground and is a safe introduction to yacht charter sailing vacations for someone who has not ventured beyond local and familiar waters. It’s also a pretty awesome location to ‘come and get your feet wet’ ”.
The Moorings charter sailing base in Tonga is owned and operated by Shane Walker. “Tonga has always been an excellent sailing ground but has not been highly publicized because it is slightly off the beaten track – but that’s part of the allure – untouched beauty. NauticEd has chosen well, during the flotilla participants will almost certainly see humpback whales, other incredible sea life, breathtaking beaches and clear clear water, with consistent 10-15 knot winds”. Says Walker.
NauticEd students who have reached the Bareboat Charter Master Rank have logged a minimum of 50 days of practical sailing experience on large sailing vessels and have completed relevant courses online through NauticEd’s online learn to sail, sailing education program. The online sailing courses that are a prerequisite are:
Maneuvering a Large Sailboat Under Power clinic
Coastal Navigation” clinic
Bareboat Charter Clinic
A video explanation of the NauticEd Sailing Certification system is available at http://www.nauticed.org/sailing-school-student
NauticEd’s electronically managed Sailing Certification allows students and NauticEd to determine automatically if the student has reached the Bareboat Charter Master Rank. Once reached, the student will receive an official invite to the Post Graduate Sailing Flotilla. “This is going to be a really fun and excellent celebration event” says Headifen. “on top of the excellent sailing and fun navigational exercises, we’ll have GPS treasure hunts, a mini regatta, a 100m dash on the beach wearing mask, fins and snorkel, there will be spot prizes for best boat maneuvering, best dressed crew, sand castle design etc etc etc. Reaching Bareboat Charter Master Rank is really an achievement and we’ll be there to make sure the Skippers are appropriately recognized.
The NauticEd post graduation flotilla will take place in August 2010 – with exact dates to be announced. Sailors interested in participating in the sailing flotilla in Tonga lead by a professional Captain should contact NauticEd.
Here is a question posted by Nancy KnudsenEditor Sail-World Cruising. Sail-world is one of the largest and respected online sailing news companies (http://www.sailing-world.com) to NauticEd this week. Followed by our answer.
I have a question about the sailing certification video you have sent me. The practical experience that is mentioned in the video. For a sailor not within practical distance of your facilities, how does this happen. Do you take the word of the sailor that they have completed this? – or what happens. As my readership is international, this is a very important point for me. (I understand that if it is an honour system then the ‘verification’ process at the end would make up for this) Cheers
TetraMedia established in 2000, operates the largest online marine news network in the world. It now has regional sites around the world, with Sail-World UK-Europe, Sail-World Asia, Sail-World NZ, Sail-World USA, Sail-World Australia, Sail-World Cruising International, Sail-World Cruising USA, Sail-World Cruising Canada, Sail-World Australian Cruising, Powerboat-World and Marine Business News. Each week, more than 165,000 newsletters are sent to subscribers, by its seven editors. More than a million individual boaters have visited Sail-World and Powerboat-World in 2009.
This is NauticEd’s response
Yes - as with all charter company resumes – it is the honor system. It is completely impossible to verify time. Additionally the United States Coast Guard accepts the honor system for the USCG Commercial Captains license as do most other country licenses.
What I’ve been able to do is to also back this up with a Proficiency Verification by a NauticEd affiliated sailing school. Right now we are encouraging schools to be affiliated with us because there are a ton of “students” (we are all students) out there who don’t see the value in taking a basic course if they are already past that point. Thus the entire sailing school network is missing out on touching many students. With the verification check out, schools now can actually add this to their income stream thus it’s a big incentive for them to align. Students benefit by solidifying their resume to charter companies and by picking up a few professional tips along the way.
The technology is simple but clever. When an instructor is finished verifying a student’s proficiency, he or she simple logs into the site and clicks the verification button against the student. Before the student can get home, their certificate is updated with the Verification stamp.
We’re making it pretty simple for a school to sign up with us. They must be an established school with a website and have commercially legal instructors and follow our standard when performing a verification. A new system that we will implement shortly is a way for students to publicly rate the experience with the school on-line on our site. This ensures the school is providing an excellent learning experience for the students else they may get a bad rating. This I think is essential for the growth of the industry – no one in the sailing industry wants a single student to have a bad/boring/unprofessional initiation experience to sailing.
So to answer you question specifically – we plan on expanding our verification-training schools. However even with out a verification the honor system for building a resume is fine. Whats’ exciting to us is our sailing iPhone app which makes it easy for a student to update their resume on the dock in 2 clicks.
If you have any more questions please let me know.
Grant Headifen Ph 512-696-1070 Go Completely Nautical Take the FREE online Rules of Right of way clinic for Sailboats at NauticEd.org
Challenge our sailing knowledge facebook app at http://apps.facebook.com/sailingrules The World’s Most Advanced Online Boating Education