The Royal Yachting Association runs a system of sailing qualifications that will take you all the way from novice crew member to ocean yachtmaster. (These are quite different from the RYA dinghy sailing qualifications). All the details are listed in the RYA G15 cruising logbook which can be bought on board for £6.
In a voyage of five days or more on board Prolific, you can do the Competent Crew certificate. On shorter trips, you can still do the Start Yachting certificate. Both qualifications can be earned by putting in a little extra effort on a normal voyage. To get either certificate, you need to get all the relevant sections signed in your logbook. If you don’t complete all of them on one trip, you can finish the rest on another voyage.
Both qualifications are widely-recognised and respected. If you want to go on and sail other boats with other people, an RYA certificate provides evidence of what you have learned. Even if you don’t plan on doing a lot more sailing, the certificate offers proof of achievement which might be worth mentioning on a college or university application, or on a CV.
Everything you need to know to earn a certificate will be taught in board, but if you want to give yourself a head start, you can practise learning to tie some knots before you come on your voyage. Shown below are eight knots. You need to be able to tie all of them to get your Competent Crew certificate. For Start Yachting, you just need to know the figure of eight, round turn & two half hitches, and bowline. Don’t worry if you find any of them difficult – someone on board will be able to help you.
If you are getting serious about sailing, there are other qualifications available at our shore-based training weekend.
Crew handbook (pdf)