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A Combined Yachtmaster Training, Caribbean Cruising & Racing Adventure
Why Second Star Sailing School?
To make it easier for you to find the courses and dates you require, we have now added our Current Course Availability page detailing current courses that are on our schedule and available dates when any course can be scheduled for you. Availability is always subject to bookings received.
If the dates you are interested in are not shown please email us for availability of a yacht and instructor and we will set the course up for you.
The next Yachtmaster “Xpress” courses are currently scheduled to begin on the following dates:
- January 10th, 2021 Includes participation in the RORC 600 Caribbean Regatta, Heineken St. Maarten and possibly Antigua Sail Week
- February 7th, 2021 Includes possibly participating in the RORC 600 Caribbean Regatta, Heineken St. Maarten and Antigua Sail Week
- March 7th, 2021 Includes participation in Antigua Sail Week
- April 4th, 2021 – Special, might include finishing in the Mediterranean
Our Yachtmaster “Xpress” programme is probably one of the most comprehensive fast track courses currently available.
The goal is to train complete novice sailors through the entire RYA Yachtmaster (Sail) Scheme from the basic Competent Crew course to a successful Yachtmaster Offshore Certificate of Competence examination in 16 consecutive weeks.
This is an intensive period of learning and skills training, combined with a Caribbean Cruising Adventure. We limit our student intake For the Yachtmaster “Xpress” programme to maximum 4, although occasionally we may add an additional student for the Competent Crew, Day Skipper Practical, both theory courses, and supplementary courses.
Please see our Caribbean Islands Guide for a taste of how comprehensive your adventure will be.
In the first 4 weeks we teach the fundamentals of sailing, boat handling and skippering, plus sailing and navigation theory up to the advanced level of Yachtmaster.
These first courses are:
- Competent Crew
Day Skipper Theory We are also offering the theory as an online option prior to joining us to maximize your time at sea
- Day Skipper Practical
Coastal Skipper and Yachtmaster Offshore Theory. We are also offering the theory as an online option prior to joining us to maximize your time at sea
In week 5 you take some courses that are essential for your Yachtmaster Examination application, plus other non-essential training that we believe is important to create an all-round competent Yachtmaster. These are:
- SRC(VHF) Radio – essential
- First Aid – essential
- Diesel Engine Maintenance – non essential
- Radar – non essential
- Power Boat Level 2 – non essential
When these 5 weeks are completed your Caribbean Cruising Adventure begins and lasts for 10 more weeks.
One of the criteria for Yachtmaster Examination is miles logged. These must be a total of 2,500 nm of which 50% must have been logged in tidal waters.
Another criteria are non-stop passages over 60 miles during which the candidate must have been skipper, and some passages must be overnight.
We achieve tidal miles by sailing south from Antigua to the waters of St. Vincent & The Grenadines which the RYA consider tidal.
You may not be aware of the islands that make up the Caribbean Chain but there are many. From Antigua heading south we have the opportunity to visit some, or all, of the following:
Guadeloupe – Isles des Saintes – Dominica – Martinique – St. Lucia – St. Vincent – Bequia – Mustique – Canouan – Tobago Cays – Carriacou – Union Island – Grenada.
Weather and sea conditions permitting we may also get the opportunity to sail out into the Atlantic Ocean to Barbados, or further south to Tobago.
During these 4 weeks we head south and visit several of the islands and bays en route, before heading back to Antigua and stopping off at more of the islands we did not get the opportunity to visit on the way down.
Please see our Caribbean Island Guide link above for a graphic illustration.
During these 2 weeks we alternate your Yachtmaster Instructor and sail north and cruise to some of our closer neighbours in the Leeward Islands to the north.
Heading north we can visit:
Barbuda – St. Barth’s – St. Maarten – Saba – Statia – Nevis & St Kitts.
Please see our Caribbean Island Guide link above for a graphic illustration.
We change instructors to ensure you get experience, anecdotes and knowledge from 2 different sources.
For these 4 weeks we head south again with a change of Yachtmaster Instructor to ensure that the islands and bays missed during the first trip south are visited during this second trip.
During the above 10 weeks of cruising you will have achieved your Coastal Skipper Practical qualification.
Once you have returned to Antigua for the last time we then go into your Yachtmaster Preparation Week that culminates in your exam.
The purpose of the Preparation Week is for our Instructors to assess your strengths and weaknesses and hone the latter. They will also advise on which grade of Yachtmaster you should apply for because if you do not succeed at Offshore, you will not be given Coastal as a consolation prize, and you will have wasted your examination fee.
We try to allow 2 days off a week (Fridays and Saturdays) but there may be times when these have to be forsaken. The absolute priority is to log the required miles, so it may be necessary, due to weather and sea conditions, to sail more in order to achieve more!.
This equates to less than US$940 / week.
When compared to the cost of a 16 week skippered yacht charter covering the vast majority of the Eastern Caribbean, this is extremely good value.
What is included in your course fee?
- On yacht accommodation during all courses and events, including shore based courses.
- Participation in Caribbean Regattas and the training weeks – including the RORC 600, Heineken St. Maarten and Antigua Sailing Week
- Safety kit, and race kit (t-shirts, caps etc)
- Open air, waterfront and covered classroom / student common room, with free WIFI, refrigerator, and views of the Antiguan hillside.
- All RYA course notes and certification.
- Yacht charter for the 2 days of examination. Each student is examined for 12 hours during this period.
- Highly experienced RYA Instructors.
- A minimum of two alternative yachts for experience of different manufacturer’s designs and sailing performance
- Berthing fees, boat fuel, water, etc.
What is not included?
- Examination fees for SRC and Yachtmaster exams as these are paid direct to the RYA through the examiner.
- Onboard provisioning and meals or travel ashore.
- Accomodation between scheduled courses per your specific program dates
- Island Tour or Expedition expenses.
- Visas or other required personal travel expenses
You will find the books “Yachtmaster for Sail and Power” by Alison Noice and “The Seaman’s Guide to the Rules of the Road”, and James Stevens’ “Yachtmaster Handbook” extremely beneficial.
Please visit Bookharbour for these publications.
We have sourced, as a service to our booked clients, several different accommodation choices in the Jolly Harbour area for those times before or after your course. These vary in style and budget so you should find something to suit you. We have negotiated special discounts, however we do not act as a third party agent so please contact each accommodation directly. Please see here: Accommodation Suggestions
We also offer on yacht, uncatered, overnight accommodation for one night before, and the night of the final day for US$30 / night / student. This helps considerably when considering accommodation costs.
Our terms are 25% deposit to secure your place with balance due 6 weeks before commencement date. Full payment is required if commencement is less than 6 weeks. To assist with your budgeting, we are happy to discuss stage payment plans for balances providing the final payment is made not less than 6 weeks before course commencement. If you are interested in pursuing this adventure you are advised to secure your berth early, as we operate a “1st come, 1st served” booking policy based on the receipt of the deposit payment. We appreciate that undertaking a course with our School will involve additional planning on your part in terms of travel and accommodation, however due to the level of interest we are unable to reserve berths without a deposit. If you require further information please email us.
Medical Advice Note:
This course is run on sloop rigged monohull cruising yachts and involves all aspects of sailing including living on board a yacht, sail trimming, helming, basic navigation, paddling a dinghy, plus power boat handling. Please seek medical advice if you are in any doubt in your ability to participate.
Should you decide to go ahead with our School to further your sail training, we will send a part completed Booking Form for each student to secure your berth. Once your deposit has been processed you will be on board!