Sailing - Qualifications,
Availability, Plans and Dreams




Date achieved

RYA Competent Crew (tidal and non-tidal) practical

March 1998

RYA Day Skipper for Sail and Power Craft (Shore based)

March 1994

RYA/DoT Coastal Skipper and Yacht-master Offshore Shore-based

May 1995

RYA GMDSS Short Range Certificate

December 2002

RYA Diesel Engine Course

February 2003

RYA Day Skipper - Tidal (Practical)

September 2003





pre 1961

approx 20 hours sailing a dinghy on a lake


approx 50 hours skippering a 35 foot yawl in Hawaiian waters including passages through a reef in and out of harbours and out of sight of land. The boat had no engine.

pre 1992

approx 3 days as crew and watchkeeper on 31ft yacht from Amsterdam to Margate in rough seas with a head wind (mainly motoring) and heavy swell. The motion gave me sea-sickness but I was able to do all my watches.

April 1995

Crew and trainee in 32 ft yacht for two days sailing 80 miles Maryland Essex to Harwich and return. Max wind force 6.

March 1998

Crew and trainee in 32 ft yacht for two days sailing 59 miles Maryland Essex to Brightlingsea and thence to Harwich and return. Max wind force 3. 5 hours night watch.

September 2003.

5-day Day Skipper practical course out of Conwy, North Wales.



Years ago I learnt to sail on a lake in Gloucestershire. My favorite memory is of a time when there was a squall, with lashing of rain (it was summer) and a wild wind. Instead of going ashore I sped my boat up and down the lake at what seemed breakneck speed. Exhillarating!

Later I was stationed in Hawaii and had access to many exciting facilities - water skiing, surfing at Waikiki, and sailing. I progressed by a series of tests from a dinghy to a 20 foot sloop, thence to a 35 ft yawl, the Red Witch. It had no radio, no motor, no anchor. We sailed, sometimes tacked, through a gap in the reef then way out to sea, out of sight of land, or went along the coast to Waikiki. I was proud of my ability to dock gently by heading into the wind, once doing so neatly outside the bar of the Hawaii Yacht Club.

That was all way back in 1961. For decades I dreamt of returning to sail in the Pacific, with little tide and a steady trade wind. Another yearning is for solitude. Thus I dreamt of sailing single handed across oceans.

In the mid 90s I took RYA shore-based courses and found time for a few weekend trips off the Essex coast and one from Holland to Margate. But I could never find time for any serious sailing.

Now that I am retired I feel I must work to realise these dreams. My plan is to do some crewing to gain much needed experience, and to pass the RYA practical courses, so as to gain the full Yachtmaster Ocean qualification. Then, or perhaps in the process, to sail at least across the Atlantic, maybe further afar.

April 2021: I have given up all hope of realising these old dreams.

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This page written/revised: 2002-12-08, … 2021-04-072023-11-30