Sarah Shepherd experiences the first of three theory exams on her quest to become a Yachtmaster.

Day 24

I’m not quite sure why I have a mental block about tidal calculations, but I just do. Today we experienced a full day of calculating tidal heights with the added complication of secondary points. It took me almost the whole day to answer six questions and each time I had to rack my brain to get the right answers.

It was really frustrating particularly as yesterday was such a positive day; today couldn’t have been more annoying. The only consolation was that I wasn’t alone, most of the group was muttering expletives, and the constant use of the rubber was a sure sign of problems at hand.

Before we all lost the will to live, Andy altered the topic to GPS and we worked through some infinitely more straightforward questions.

We have our IRPCS (International Regulations for the Prevention of Collisions at Sea) exam tomorrow morning, so our evening agenda is sadly mapped out!

Day 25

Great way to kick start the day with the first of three yachtmaster exams – one and a half hours of IRCPS (or Rules of the Road). All of us spent an entertaining night trying to memorize lights, sounds and collision regulations, so to finally regurgitate the information onto paper was actually a great relief. Thankfully the paper was quite straightforward and all of us passed, achieving 80 per cent or above.

We spent the rest of the morning practising tidal calculations, a sticky subject for most following yesterday’s session. Glad to say that after some more help from Andy, it is now finally starting to make sense.

The afternoon session focussed on weather with revision on frontal depressions, highs/lows, sea breezes and fog. Even though the topic of weather is vast, we are merely scratching the surface with the theory syllabus. Apparently next week on our Skipper Passages to the Channel Islands we will go into more depth studying the weather each day and cloud formations.

A long night of studying lay ahead for most of us, in fact we stayed in the classroom until almost midnight running through various exercises and comparing our answers. Safe to say that our brains are now almost packed to capacity and we’re all looking forward to getting the final exams over with tomorrow.