Competent Crew

“This competent crew course is for beginners and those who would like to become active crew members rather than just passengers.” from the RYA website.

The first step doesn’t always have to be the hardest.  This 5-day live-aboard course is fun.  Too often people look at sailing as this vastly complex sport with strange ropes and strange nautical terms.  The RYA comp crew course is designed to ease people into sailing in a relaxed and safe environment.

It is especially useful for anyone who’s not sure if being on the water is really everything it’s made out to be.  At Topmast we understand not everyone is cut out for life on the water, which is why we offer our special guarantee: if you don’t want to go on with the course after 2 days then we’ll refund the final three days and still give you an RYA Start Yachting certificate.

What Kind of Things Do We Learn?

We’ll teach you things like the difference between the bow and the stern and you’ll be able to distinguish between a halyard and a sheet.  Pulling up sails and tying knots are an everyday task at Topmast.  We’ll show you how to put on your life jacket and you’ll learn how to get on and off the boat safely and maintain your dignity at the same time.  But let’s face it the number one thing you really want to do is steer the boat – and yes, you’ll get to do a lot of that.

Specifically, you’ll learn sea terms and parts of a boat, her rigging and sails, sail handling, rope-work, fire safety precautions, personal safety equipment, man overboard, emergency equipment, a little meteorology, seasickness, helming, general duties, manners and customs, rules of the road, dinghies and  docking.

After the course you should be able to steer, handle sails, keep a lookout, row a dinghy and assist in all the day to day routines.

What’s The Boat Like?

The boat is nice.  It’s not a luxury yacht but it’s fun and easy to learn on.  We never take more than 5 students and typically 3-4 at any one time.  We may anchor overnight for a bit of an adventure but for the most part we’ll be in a marina where you’ll have access to a shower.

Where Do We Sail?

We sail out of the the Collin’s Bay Marina in Kingston.  We’ll stay fairly close to Kingston for the first day or two before venturing further afield and exploring the 1000 Islands or the Bay of Quinte.

What Does It Cost and When Do We Go?

It’s $1650 for 5 days and 4 nights.  Our season runs between April and November.  If you want more information then please send us an email at and we can give you more specifics.

How Do I Prepare For the Course?

NauticEd has a great online prep course (here) or you can order an e-book from the RYA (here).