RYA Day Skipper Course on a Gaffer

This is Day Skipper course on a traditonal classic sailing boat for aspiring skippers with some gaff rig experience and basic navigation and sailing skills.

This Day Skipper course will be on Golden Vanity.

You need to have already done a Competent Crew Course or be at Competent Crew level, have done a bit of gaff rigged sailing and you need to have completed the Shorebased Day Skipper course or have navigational knowledge to that level before taking this course.

We offer gaff rig sailing weekends for those wanting to get some gaff experience.

With the helpful instruction and guidance of our instructor you will learn how to skipper a gaffer and all that that entails.

Accommodation and food are provided on board. You’re welcome to do the course by yourself or with friends. If your friends/partner wants to do another course, such as the Competent Crew Course they can do it on the same boat at the same time.

Built in 1908 Golden Vanity and is very different from our other more modern yachts - although she does have all mod cons! And lall the principles of sailing are exactly the same.

She is wooden and has a gaff rig - so her main sail has four sides to it and a wooden spar on the top edge. She has no winches and is sailed using traditional rope handling techniques.

Looking for the Theory course? View Day Skipper Theory Course .

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This is a course for aspiring skippers with some yachting experience (ideally gaff rig experience) and basic navigation and sailing skills. The Day Skipper Practical qualification is the qualification that most charter companies, in places like the Mediterranean, require you to have. You can use this qualification to obtain an International Certificate of Competence (ICC) by sending the certificate to the RYA with an application form.

Experience being in charge on a yacht, taking credit when all goes well and being responsible when it doesn't. Learn to skipper a short passage with the instructor on hand to give advice and encouragement and ensure your safety.

The RYA Practical Day Skipper Course is a 5 day course.

You sleep and eat on board.

Having already done some sailing you will know how good sailing can be for having a break from things. It is a holiday. Expect to finish this course having had lungfuls of fresh air, pleasantly tired but at the same time reinvigorated!

Minimum Pre Course Experience: 5 days, 100 miles, 4 night hours. Ideally you need to have done a bit of gaff rig sailing before. We do offer gaff rig weekends and longer trips.

Recommended Knowledge: There is not time on the Day Skipper Practical Course to cover all the navigation skills required to skipper a yacht, so you need to know these or have done the Shorebased Day Skipper Course in advance.

You also need to have a good basic sailing ability. It will be assumed that you know how to sail to the level of Competent Crew standard.

Course Content: Basic Pilotage, boat handling, seamanship and navigation

Ability after the Course: You will be able to Skipper a yacht in familiar waters by day. Or charter a boat in somewhere like the Med.

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Golden Vanity was built in 1908 for renowned marine artist Arthur Briscoe. Whilst sailing her with his wife and small son extensively of the south coast of the UK and in the North Sea he captured some of the last days of working sail.

She is a Mumble Bee class of Brixham Sailing Trawler. These type of boats were built to sail in all sorts of conditions. She is extremely solid and provides a fantastic platform for learning to sail on.

She is 53ft overall with her bowspirt and 39ft on deck.

Golden Vanity has 5 sails to play with.3 headsails, the main which has a gaff, and a topsail.

The boat is made out of oak frames with Oregon pine planking.She has a hollow Douglas Fir mast.

At the bottom of the companionway steps is the chart table and aft of that a single berth each side.

Moving forward is a voluminous saloon with a table to port and galley on the starboard side. There is a comfy ‘shelf’ bunk behind the saloon table. In the forepeak there are 6 cosy bunks arranged into three sets of 2, a spacious heads and steps leading up through a whale back shaped forehatch on to the foredeck.

Each bunk has a reading light. There are a number USB charging sockets dotted around and when in port we can plug into mains power.

There is hot water and heating for the cooler months.

You will be sharing spaces with other people and the areas are not segregated. Golden Vanity is 'coded' to take 12 however on an RYA course there will not be more than 5 doing the course and with Covid around it will no more more than 4.

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Except for supper on the evening you join the boat, we cater on board for all meals. We provide food that is healthy and nutritious, including salads, vegetables, white and wholemeal bread, chicken, lean minced beef, salmon, museli, cereal and yoghurt. In fact, just the kind of food that you might buy yourself. For snacks there is plenty of fruit, but also a supply of chocolate and biscuits.

If you have any special dietary requirements, be it vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, gluten free, or allergies, we can normally accommodate these. Just let us know when you fill out your booking form.

You will sail mainly in the Solent. [Here is a map of the Solent]. You may go out of the Solent as far as Poole to the West and Chichester to the East but there are plenty of places to visit within the Solent without going to the same place twice in a week.

The Solent is a great place to learn to sail and get qualified. There are numerous harbours, bays, creeks, rivers, marinas and anchorages making it ideal to practice a whole range of yachting skills. Because of the large volume of other boats and busy shipping activity, the Solent is always fun and interesting.

The Isle of Wight provides some protection from the worst of the Channel weather, meaning the sea within the Solent can stay relatively flat compared with conditions in the open sea. But at the same time the tides in the Solent provide Day Skipper students with an excellent challenge to their seamanship and navigational skills.

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Golden Vanity is based in Shamrock Quay Marina, Southampton. Getting to Shamrock Quay is very easy. It's about an 8 minute taxi ride from Southampton Central Station, or 15 minutes from Southampton Airport if you are coming from abroad. If you arrive by car there is plenty of free parking and there is security 24/7.

Occasionally a course may start at somewhere other than Shamrock Quay. It may be very close to Shamrock Quay or in Hamble. We will give you plenty of notice when this is the case.

We find it is better if you arrive the evening before your course starts. This way you can settle in and start getting to know the boat, the skipper and your crew mates before the course really gets under way. If this is not possible then you need to be at the boat by 8.00am on the first day of the Sailing Course.

You can expect to get away by 5/5.30pm on the final day of your course. If you are catching a train we recommend you do not book a ticket in advance as we can’t guarantee you will get away at 5pm on the dot. It may be a bit earlier it may be a bit later.


Click here to read about Golden Vanity's interesting past.

How was Golden Vanity constructed

Have a look here to see how Golden Vanity was built. Over 100 years ago...


In addition to RYA courses we offer fun hands on holidays cruises on Golden Vanity

The price varies depending on whether weekends are involved or not.

Included is all food on board, use of oilskins if required, all fuel/gas, and all safety equipment.

To return to the main Golden Vanity page click here.

Golden Vanity Day Skipper - Dates


10-14 July on GOLDEN VANITY
Day Skipper starts evening of 9 July
Monday - Friday
£ 947
24-28 July on GOLDEN VANITY
Day Skipper starts evening of 23 July
Monday - Friday
£ 947

4 - 8 September on GOLDEN VANITY
Day Skipper starts evening of 3rd September
Monday - Friday
£ 947
18 - 22 September on GOLDEN VANITY
Day Skipper starts evening of 17th September
Monday - Friday
£ 947
25 - 29 September on GOLDEN VANITY
Day Skipper starts evening of 24th September
Monday - Friday
£ 947

2 - 6 October on GOLDEN VANITY
Day Skipper starts evening of 1st October
Monday - Friday
£ 947
9 - 13 October on GOLDEN VANITY
Day Skipper starts evening of 8th October
Monday - Friday
£ 947
16 - 20 October on GOLDEN VANITY
Day Skipper starts evening of 15th October
Monday - Friday
£ 947
Contact us
0203 006 3717
Our Locations

Shamrock Quay

William Street



SO14 5QL


c/o Cruising Association

CA House

1 Northey Street


E14 8BT

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