RYA Sailing Courses in Turkey Two-Monkeys-Travel-Sailing-in-turkey-RYA-courses-in-turkey-RYA-competent-crew-course-in-turkey-1

Learning to Sail in Turkey – RYA Sailing Courses in Turkey @GoToTurkeyUK

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At the beginning of September 2016, I decided to take a RYA sailing course in Turkey, learning to sail a 42-foot cruising sailboat in the pristine blue waters of the Turkish Mediterranean. Read on to find out why I chose to take a sailing course in Turkey and how I signed up to a RYA Competent Crew course and managed to come away with a full RYA Day Skipper qualification!

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Ever since we motored out of Portobello Harbour in Panama to start our five-day sail through the San Blas Islands to Colombia, and I watched the sails being hoisted up the masts of the against the cloudy sunset sky, I knew that I wanted to live like this. Those five amazing days spent sailing through the Caribbean, stopping at picture-perfect desert islands to swim, snorkel and cook fresh fish on campfires on the beach, were some of the best of our entire lives and I decided then and there that I could do it too.

Having spent the two years since that trip dreaming of sailing and going out of my way to walk past harbors and marinas, I was finally in a position to take the first positive step by getting some real training and learning how to sail a boat! When I started looking into the types of qualifications needed to sail around the world, I found that I was going to need at least a Competent Crew and Day Skipper qualification in order to sail into ports and marinas in most countries in the world. While there are a few different qualifying bodies offering sailing qualifications, the one that is most recognised and respected worldwide seems to be the RYA – Royal Yachting Association – which has been the UK’s national governing body for various water sports and activities since 1875.

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Why did I choose to take a RYA sailing course in Turkey?

While RYA sailing training in the UK is probably the best in the world, offering training in challenging conditions and weather with plenty of tides and currents to contend with in the process, unfortunately, the courses were just too expensive for my budget. The Mediterranean, on the other hand, offers a lot of opportunities to save money with the same courses being offered by qualified RYA instructors at as little as half the price. We have spent a lot of time in Turkey over the past year and a half, so on the advice of a good friend, I ed , southern Turkey and reserved myself a place on a one-week RYA Competent Crew sailing course for only 700 Euros. The RYA Competent Crew sailing course in Turkey is exactly the same as the courses available in the UK with one major exception; RYA sailing courses in Turkey are NON-TIDAL. This is an important distinction to remember as tidal sailing brings with it a lot of extra challenges and considerations that you won’t find in non-tidal areas like the Mediterranean Sea. When you’re ready to try some tidal sailing then all you have to do is take the RYA Tidal Update course to get up to speed on tidal sailing.

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For my needs, though, the non-tidal RYA Competent Crew course in Turkey was exactly what I needed to get started and finally take the first big step towards my life of sailing!

Marmaris in Turkey is the perfect place to start learning to sail, as it offers direct access to some of the best sailing in the world, with warm, clear blue water, hidden coves, complex winds and best of all, the warmth and hospitality of the Turkish people every time you moor up for the night. It’s also very accessible via cheap flights from London; I flew from London to Dalaman airport via Istanbul, then after a short transfer taxi I arrived in Marmaris and checked into a clean and comfortable hotel for only 20 Euros per night, ready to start sailing the next day.

The RYA Competent Crew course in Turkey

The RYA Competent Crew in Turkey with Yuksel Yachting is a seven-day course with six full days of sailing where the instructor teaches everything you need to know about the basics of sailing, crewing and the safe handling and operation of a sailboat.

The basics we had to cover included the following:

– Sea Terms and Parts of a Boat, Rigging, and Sails

– Sail Handling

– Rope work

– Fire safety and fighting

– Personal safety equipment

– Man Overboard procedures

– Emergency Equipment

– Manners and Customs

– Rules of the Road

– Tender Usage

– Meteorology (study and knowledge of weather)

– Seasickness

– Helmsmanship and Sailing

– General Duties on Board

A good working knowledge of all of these aspects of sailing was what we needed to learn in order to safely and successfully crew a boat.

Over the six days of sailing, we covered 175 nautical miles from Marmaris to Ciftlik, Ciftlik to Bozburun, Bozburun to Koca Koy, Koca Koy to Datca, Datca to Ciftlik and finally Ciftlik back to Marmaris.

Here’s a Day-by-Day account of my RYA Competent Crew Course in Turkey

Over the six days of sailing, we covered 175 nautical miles from Marmaris to Ciftlik, Ciftlik to Bozburun, Bozburun to Koca Koy, Koca Koy to Datca, Datca to Ciftlik and finally Ciftlik back to Marmaris.

RYA Competent Crew Course Day 1 – Introductions and Preparations

On Saturday afternoon I arrived at the office of Yuksel Yachting located in Netsel Marina in Marmaris. Here I met the rest of the students I would be learning to sail with for the week and Colin, our RYA Instructor from the UK with 50 years of sailing experience and almost 20 of that as a RYA instructor. We were definitely in good hands. My fellow students and crew were three cousins from Jordan, only one of whom had previous experience of sailing and was talking his Day Skipper course, so we all more or less in the same boat! After a quick briefing from Colin, we headed to the supermarket to stock up on food supplies while we were on board. We bought enough food for light lunches on board and a few beers for each night in the marina!

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RYA Competent Crew Course Day 2 – Setting Sail, Motoring and Learning the Ropes – Marmaris to Ciftlik

We started the day’s sailing by leaving Netsel Marina in Marmaris and motoring out into Marmaris Bay. Every single move was a learning process, every step had to be considered and analysed before it was taken. Even what appears to be a simple maneuver, like leaving the marina, has a number of factors to consider, from obstacles, wind direction, propeller effect (prop walk), water depth and more. In a 42 foot boat weighing around 8 tonnes, a wrong move in the marina could be very expensive indeed! We spent about an hours practicing manoeuvres in the bay, like steering, holding a straight course and learning the basic ‘rules of the road.’ Then we raised the sails and set a course for Ciftlik, which turned out to be a short but challenging sail in 20 knots of wind and waves which crash over the bow and into the cockpit! In just several hours we have an introduction to sailing on all points of the wind, including a short dead run! We spent the night in Ciftlik marina, one of many stunning little coves where you can moor for free with electricity and use of the showers as long as you’re eating in their restaurant.

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RYA Competent Crew Course Day 3 – Planning a route and a full day sailing in changeable winds – Ciftlik to Bozburun

Our first-day full sailing took us all the way to Bozburun. Before we set off, we spent an hour learning the basics of route planning, including distance, weather, forecast wind strength and direction, any potential hazards and dangers, estimated arrival time and alternative mooring destinations. The winds were changeable due to the surrounding islands and local topography, something which makes this part of the Mediterranean Sea one of the most interesting for sailing. Eventually, we arrived in Bozburun and moored for the night. Unlike Ciftlik, Bozburun is a local authority operated the marina, where you pay a fixed mooring fee of slightly over $20 USD per night. Not bad for a 42-foot yacht, and eating in one of the local restaurants gave us access to shower and toilet facilities.

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RYA Competent Crew Course Day 4 – Practicing what we’ve learned – Bozburun to Koca Koy

Day four was a much more relaxed day with only a relatively short distance to sail compared with the previous day. Just several hours around the peninsula was the picturesque natural harbour of Koca Koy. Our route for the day took us around the peninsula and into a strait which funneled the wind, causing it to increase in strength and creating perfect downwind conditions. Our mooring for the night was similar to Ciftlik, except that there was only one family owned restaurant there which grew all its own vegetables and again provided great toilet and shower facilities. We ate dinner in the restaurant, which sold a huge selection of Mezes, fresh fish, seafood and all kinds of Turkish foods.

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RYA Competent Crew Course Day 5 – Koca Koy to Datca

Day 5 took us from the sleepy and picturesque Koca Koy to the busy tourist town of Datca, almost a straight line across the strait. Of course, there’s no such thing as a straight line when you’re sailing out of a strait towards open sea and against the wind. After a full day of tacking back and forth up the strait, the wind suddenly dropped, and we were forced to a motor in the rest of the way to Datca. Datca was probably the noisiest place we moored, as the promenade directly alongside and full of people moving from one bar to the next. Even so, I slept without any problem after five days full days of sailing!

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RYA Competent Crew Course Day 6 – Navigation and Night Sailing – Datcha to Ciftlik

On each day of sailing, one of us had taken the role of navigator, today was my turn. This was the best day to practice, as we would be to our destination in two stages – Day sailing and Night sailing. The day route took us through several different wind directions, past the Greek Island of Simi, around the peninsula towards Marmaris and into a small bay to eat, swim and rest ready for the night sail to Ciftlik. The day sail involved a good combination of up and downwind sailing and we arrived more or less at the time I had estimated that morning. After swimming in the small bay and sleeping for an hour or so, I sat down with Colin to look at the route for the night sail, which involved learning how to read and interpret information on the chart that we would be able to use at night. Everything from calculated lines of sight between rocks to lighthouses, depth readings, identifying different light houses by their signals and many others.

Unfortunately, we had no wind the whole way, but the following waves kept things interesting, causing the boat surf down the face of the waves as we came into Ciftlik in strong winds, making mooring in the small, shallow marina quite difficult!

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RYA Competent Crew Course Day 7 – Final Stretch and Emergency Manoeuvres – Ciftlik to Marmaris

With not so far to go to get back into Marmaris, we could catch up on the sleep we missed out on during our night sailing the day before. Today was also the day that Colin gave me the chance to skipper the boat with the chance that if it went well I could earn my RYA Day Skipper license at the same time as completing the Competent Crew. So I sat down to plan the route, made sure all the boat and crew were prepared and ready for sailing and briefed everyone on the route and plan for the day. The wind was not in our favour, dropping in and out, forcing us to use the engine for the latter part of the journey back into Marmaris Bay. Despite the lack of decent wind, the journey went well and we managed to find an isolated tunnel of the wind in one corner of the bay to practice maneuvers like man overboard and approaching a mooring buy under sail. As we prepared to head back to the marina and the end of the course the wind decided to pick up again, giving us a great final downwind stretch home!

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When we arrived back at the marina, we moored up, and Colin gave us the great news that everyone had passed, our crew mate passed his Day Skipper, and I had also shown I was able enough to progress straight to RYA Day Skipper!

Turkey was the perfect location to learn to sail, with so many facilities designed around sailing, beautiful scenery and such a massive variety of sailing conditions to challenge any sailor. Taking the RYA Competent Crew and Day Skipper Course in Turkey was only the first step in sailing the world, but it was a big step in the right direction and Turkey was the perfect place to do it!

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  1. My husband has had sailing experience in uk and around Greece,but no certification,we now live in ovacik near gocek ,Turkey,and now wants to get the qualifications needed to sail maybe with a view to get his own boat in the future. Can you advise us please if this is possible or will he need to do this in the uk thank you.

  2. Dear all

    We are aiming to get the coastal skipper certification and would like to get an offer from you.

    We are 3 people with no sailing experience. The best possible time is February for us and we can stay for 3 weeks. For the theoretical part, we are willing to do some pre study from home before. At the end we aim to get a ICC certification.

    Let me know if you have any questions.

    Thanks and best regards
    Afrim

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