In at the deep end
What else? Alternatively, sign up to Crewseekers International, which lists amateur and professional yacht crewing positions from day sailing to trans-ocean voyages — some take complete beginners. Registration costs £75 for six months.
How long? Five days in a classroom (shore-based) followed by five days practical (onboard), plus an exam.
Where? The Med for calm waters, however serious sailors should learn to sail in tidal waters. If you can’t face the weather in the UK, head to South Africa’s Langebaan Lagoon, around 75 miles north of Cape Town, with tides, sandy beaches and crystal clear waters.
Take 3: Learn the lingo
The ups: You charter a ‘bare’ yacht, without skipper or crew, and sail wherever you want at your own pace.
The downs: You need an RYA Day Skipper qualification or International Certificate of Competence (which can be gained in just five days) plus navigational experience.
The ups: No experience necessary as your skipper is in charge and you can help when you please.
The downs: You may have to get used to following orders.
The ups: You sail as part of a mini-fleet of yachts on an agreed route. It’s stress-free sailing with social events.
The downs: You may feel restricted but the activities are optional — if you’d like to take your own route for a day or two, you can.
Published in the March 2018 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)