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RYA Practical Sailing Courses on Classic Boats, Theory Courses online.

RYA Online Theory Courses - SPECIAL OFFERS 


Classic Sailing has been a recognised RYA Training Centre for 15 years. We currently offer practical sailing courses through a RYA Training Centre in Plymouth, Devon with classic boats in their teaching fleet. The boating courses we offer are RYA Competent Crew, RYA Day Skipper Practical, RYA Watch Leader (for bigger yachts), and exam preparation with intensive boat handling and navigation practice for RYA Yachtmaster Coastal or RYA Yachtmaster Offshore exams.

These are taught to Royal Yacht Association syllabus and standards by experienced RYA Cruising Instructors and Yachtmaster instructors. If you successfully complete a RYA course you will gain a certificate that is recognised all over the world. Sailing Courses that are UK based rather than the Mediterranean or Caribbean will give you a solid grounding in tidal heights and currents. With those skills the whole world is your oyster.







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Take Time to Learn and Enjoy the Scenery

The voyages are 6 or 7 days long rather than the minimum 5 days so you have more time to enjoy sailing a classic boat. We teach sailing along some of the most iconic coastal landscapes in Britain. Famous headlands like Start Point or Lizard Point. Wooded river valleys that stretch far inland in Cornwall and Devon. Wild estuaries and salt marshes with seabirds and waders. Historic ports, smugglers quays and secret coves and caves. There is plenty of variety for teaching exercises from anchoring under sail to night navigation under unpolluted skies. 

The skills you learn combine traditional seamanship with modern technology like radar and GPS, with the added bonus of a holiday on a beautiful boat.

Picking up moorings without pick up bouys. Smugglers Cottage on the River Fal
Picking up moorings without pick up bouys. Smugglers Cottage on the River Fal

Why Learn the Ropes on a Classic Boat?

The advantages of sailing onboard a traditional boat are many fold:

Deep keeled gaff cutters are great for beginner which gives them a sea kindly motion, un-cluttered decks and high sides so you can walk safely down the deck without side stepping down a narrow strip of plastic deck.

All the ropes are in the open so you can see were they go and what they do, nothing is hidden in masts and booms. Without the mechanical advantage of winches you are more aware of the forces of nature and working as a team builds friendships and adds to the pleasure. Why fight nature when you can harness it in safe traditional ways.

Our classic boats still have GPS, depth sounders and there are plenty of yachts around in port and out on the water to show you self tailing winches, jamming cleats and more 20th century fittings and features of the sailing world.

Learn to sail with a proper tiller on Golden Vanity
Learn to sail with a proper tiller on Golden Vanity.

Why Learn to Skipper on a Boat with a Bowsprit?

It's a great opportunity to pose.

Having a big pointy thing out the front, does help concentrate the mind and think ahead.

Manoeuvring under power you learn how to glide effortlessly and gently to a pontoon or quay. You are actually learning to 'park' a vessel that might be 58ft long with the bowsprit, so your instructor is not going to squeeze you into a small marina....and it is a huge buzz to bring a beautiful boat alongside under its own momentum.

Sail balance is important on all vessels but learning on a gaffer with a bowsprit or a yawl with two masts starts to teach you skills that can be applied to much bigger sailing vessels. When you get that dream job on a super yacht with three masts you will have more idea which sails to put up and in which sequence.

For skippers, the stable motion of a deep keeled vessel and a large chart table makes learning to navigate a lot easier than on many modern vessels.

Success aboard distinctive classic boats comes with a sense of achievement unmatched on a modern yacht. Your colours fly just that little bit higher.

you don't have to go out on the bowsprit but its a great pose
Not part of the RYA syllabus but quite fun

Classic Sailing can also offer the following:

  • sailing lessons and tuition on all our vessels as part of your holiday
  • Over 60 mile passages for your Yachtmaster Offshore qualifying experience

  • Over 600 mile ocean passages for astro nav / ocean yachtmaster - ask us, as you have to be a watch keeper

  • MCA / STCW 95 Eligible sea time for super yachts and tall ships

  • Advice on Super Yacht / Sail Training Professional Career Path- from Yacht Rating - Officer of the Watch - Chief Mate - up to Master (yacht 3000 ton)

"You are more aware of the forces of nature and how you must work with the wind rather than fight it" Andrew

Vanity and a full sized Brixham trawler
Vanity and a full sized Brixham trawler. photo by Valery Vasilevskyi


Sailing experiences you might like
Recommended vessels and why

Traditional boats make learning to sail easy and if you have been out on the water for years there are always gaps of knowledge to fill. With the RYA practical courses and the online long distance theory courses we hope to make your course informative, worthwhile and inspire you to join the wonderful world of sailing a traditional wooden boat. 


Elegant gaff yawl Moosk has been teaching RYA courses to young people for several years, but in 2017 she is teaming up with Classic Sailing to offer RYA Competent Crew, Day Skipper and a Yachtmaster Exam Preparation Course for adults, outside the school holidays.  Moosk is 39 ft on deck and a fast and well behaved boat to sail. She feels more like a classic yacht than Golden Vanity, whilst Vanity has the bigger deck space and high bulwarks of a working boat.

Moosk runs RYA Competent Crew, RYA Day Skipper and Yachtmaster Exam Prep courses from Plymouth with Devon and Cornish coasts to explore.

Read more about  Moosk the Vessel, her instructors and courses

Moosk for RYA courses

Moosk for RYA courses in Devon and Cornwall

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"A life changing experience with talented crew who gave us hope for mankind ...and biscuits"

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Why book with Classic Sailing?

The call of the sea

Destinations for sailors & explorers

Over 300 voyages a year

11, 051 customers introduced to

traditional boats and tall ships.

Tell us your sailing dreams


Office Team of Skippers

6 Times Around the World between Us

Selling Holidays for 22 Years

2 Dogs to make us laugh

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