What to do as a sailor on dry land? In my case, turn back to the books and brush up on the skills required on Amneris – so this month I did the RYA Yachtmaster theory course.
I’ve been meaning to do this for a while, to supplement the navigational theory I learned for the Day Skipper and Sternik Morski courses. So I sign up for the course with Navathome and wait a few days for the study support material to arrive. Naively, I imagined this would be a brief and relatively simple affair – brushing up and revision, filling in the odd knowledge gap here and there, then clicking the button to start the exam and that would be that. I’d have to fit it around work for clients, but that would be fine; I probably knew most of what I was expected to learn anyway.
The humbling reality couldn’t be more different. When the RYA award a Yachtmaster certificate, they place the emphasis on the “master” part – and it doesn’t matter whether it’s shorebased or practical, you have to prove beyond a doubt that you are worthy of the title.
It takes several weeks to work through the Navathome online course (which is sound in content but could surely benefit from the services of a professional proof reader – or at least a quick check by a native English speaker). To supplement this, I have several other texts which help expand and enrich the subjects I’m supposed to know. I’ve also got access whenever I need it to Navathome’s wonderful tutors.
When I finally do start the examination online, it’s far from the click, click, click done exercise that I expected at the beginning. The whole assessment takes 12 long hours, and requires an exhausting intensity of concentration, and my practice chart, already worse for wear from use during the course, is practically in tatters when it’s over. But it pays off, and I’m relieved to receive the notification that I have passed muster. Now I can finally call myself Yachtmaster… theoretically, anyway.