RYA National Sailing Scheme Advanced Modules Seamanship Skills

Plymouth & Devon Schools Sailing Association RYA National Sailing Scheme Syllabus & Logbook G4 Book Cover Photo

On successful completion of this course you will be capable of manoeuvring a dinghy in a seamanlike manner and making good seamanship decisions in moderate conditions. Most of this course afloat will be done without an instructor onboard in order to increase the self reliance and decision making of the sailor.

At PDSSA we take this course in a variety of small dinghies. You may be sailing single handed, in a two man boat with another sailor and an instructor close to you in a safety boat. An instructor will generally only get onboard with you to demonstrate a technique.

It is recommended that all participants consolidate their skills by practicing between courses.


  • 16 Hours split over two consecutive days or run over a series of shorter sessions.

Pre – requisites

Course Detail


  • Can tie a fisherman’s bend, rolling hitch and sheet bend
  • Can demonstrate heat sealing and whipping


  • Heave to
  • Reef afloat
  • Recover a man overboard
  • Be towed by a power vessel
  • Anchor, including principles and techniques for different circumstances
  • Sail Backward
  • Sail in adverse circumstances e.g. no rudder or no centreboard
  • Knows how to prepare a road trailer and secure a boat for transportation

Sailing theory and background

Understands the following terminology

  • Windward, leeward, abeam, forward, aft, ahead, astern, to weather, downwind, amidships, quarter, pinching, sailing by the lee, luff, bear away, planing, sternway, broaching

Knows and can apply the following International Regulations for the Prevention of Collisions at Sea (IRPCS)

  • Meeting other sailing vessels
  • Meeting power-driven vessels
  • Following or crossing narrow channels
  • Action by stand-on vessel


  • Knows how to and can recover from total inversion
  • Knows sources of information on weather patterns for the day
  • Can interpret forecasts and understands local effects
  • Aware of The Beaufort Wind Scale and changing weather conditions including fog
  • Capable of practical application of Launch/Recovery and Sailing Techniques and Manoeuvres on coastal waters
  • Can use tide tbles
  • Understands the rate of rise and fall Twelfths Rule
  • Is aware of tidal streams
  • Has a basic understanding of charts and important symbols


There’s not much that you’ll need to begin with.

We can provide you with a wetsuit, spray top and buoyancy aid. Our sizes range from Junior Extra Small to Adult Extra Large.

We will expect you to bring the following items:

  • Swimsuit to wear under a wetsuit
  • Rash vest or thin T-shirt to wear under a wetsuit if your swimsuit doesn’t cover the top half
  • Wet shoes such as wet suit boots, dinghy boots, old trainers which give rugged foot protection. We have found that open toe footwear and crocs are not suitable as they either fall off too easily, have no grip when wet or could lead to serious foot injury. Garden wellies are not suitable for sailing courses either
  • Towel and wash gear to shower and dry afterward if required.
  • Food and drink. Most of our courses run over two full days so bring enough to eat and drink each day. It’s a good idea to take a drink bottle afloat. These can be carried in an accompanying safety boat for you.
  • Sun glasses if it’s bright…make sure you have a retaining strap too.
  • Hat, beanie or cap especially on very sunny or cooler days.
  • Sun protection lotion. We recommend a water resistant lotion with a SPF50 rating.
  • Enthusiasm to learn!!

Optionally a pair of sailing gloves to protect your hands and fingers would be useful and helps protect your hand and fingers from blistering when wet and working with dinghy sheets, lines and other ropework. These are relatively cheap and can be purchased on-line or locally at one of the boat chandleries.

Sailing is a physical sport but has many facets.

If you’re getting in it to win it the fitter you are the better. You’ll be able to sail some very extreme sailing boats with adequate training and experience.

However if you’d prefer a more sedentary pace your fitness level will be fine as long as you can safely move from one side of a small, moving boat to the other.

Yes we run regular RYA Sailability sessions where you can learn to sail in our adapted boats. We have a crew-lift hydraulic electric hoist to help you in and out of the boats.

Of course if your ability means you are able to move around and you can get from one side of the boat to the other safely then our larger regular boats are there for any of our standard sailing courses.

We’d obviously love to have a chat with you first to gauge the best options but are sure we can get you afloat.

We prefer Cash, Cheque or bank transfers in payment for courses. We currently do not have the ability to take payment by card.

Payment by Paypal is also possible by special arrangement with the centre manager. An additional fee is payable to cover the additional transaction costs we incur from Paypal.

Our Address is

Plymouth & Devon Schools Sailing Association
Boathouse 17
Madeira Road
The Hoe

Plymouth & Devon School's Sailing Association don't use sat nav post code to find us iconWARNING: Don’t use the postcode on a sat nav to find us….you won’t !!

You’ll find us at the southern end of the Barbican Wharves between the Barbican Landing stage, The Old White House on the end of Pheonix Wharf and Elphinstone car park. All of this below the south eastern quarter of the Royal Citadel. Check us out on the map here and on our contact page.

Course Dates

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