On week five of her course, Sarah Shepherd our Fastrack Yachtmaster student, goes back to the classroom for final theory studies.

Day 22 Monday

I can’t believe we’re already embarking on our week of Yachtmaster theory – time is truly flying. We’re now back in the classroom under the instruction of Andy Hunt for another week of studying textbooks, drawing diagrams and sitting exams. Today was a revision session for us all, recapping on chartwork and buoyage, navigation and International Regulations for the Prevention of Collisions at Sea (IRPCS).

The session was intercepted with a discussion from Martine Young, Flying Fish Careers Advisor with a chat about our sailing career opportunities. The various employment options (charter, superyacht crew, deliveries and yacht instructors) were explained and work responsibilities and estimated salaries outlined. There was a definite emphasis on ‘earning your stripes’ as Martine perfectly summarised it, dispelling any notion anyone in the group had at entering the marine marketplace as full time and high paid skippers. Appropriate entry-level positions as deckhands and mates were suggested as reasonable starting jobs, ultimately leading to skipper positions once we’ve gained more experience and spent years in the trade.

Day 23 Tuesday

We started today’s session with a ‘quick fire round’ of lights and day shapes from last night’s homework and the IRPCS.

Then it was a full day of tidal calculations, estimated positions and course to steer diagrams. Thanks to all the practical work last week on the X332, I finally feel as though the penny has dropped. The time on the water really helped with the understanding of the diagrams. The Yachtmaster theory syllabus is slightly more complex in terms of navigation, but nevertheless I feel much more confident.

The majority of us remained in class afterwards to complete our evening’s homework. The keenness was not strictly work orientated due to the fact that Chris and Darren (a couple of the students from Part 1) were sailing over to Cowes for the evening. We had a great night chatting about our week on the water and laughing at the minor mishaps about the boys’ first sail alone across the Solent.