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RYA Sail Cruising courses 2024

RYA Sail cruising courses available from April until mid October 2024.

'Excellent instructional techniques and very good facilitated debriefings, highly recomended'  'Excellent food throughout'  'Debbie's instruction and personality made it the most enjoyable experience, would 100% recommend this instructor and course'  'Patient instruction inspiring confidence' 'Very clear instructions, everything explained beforehand'   'Great week with good food and very clear instructions that helped me to learn very quickly'  'All very clear with good feedback'  'Fantastic'  'Constant feedback, postive, supportive'  'Instruction and hints to improve were good, I felt I can do it after being instructed'  'Excellent boat'  'A well laid-out boat, well equiped' 

RYA Day Skipper, Coastal Skipper and Competent Crew candidates April and June 2023

Very clear information, gradually building independence/confidence through observation and affirmation modelling of learning and reflection.'    'Food was really good. Compliments to the chef Jennie. Lots of it!!'   Really valued Debbie's experience in both sailing and training. Great to see and experience a woman in a leadership role, sharing her experience in what is perceived as a male dominated world (sailing). I will be recommending this course, particulary to women who I know are put off by male instructors!'    'Enthusiasm, clarity, flexible to learner needs'  'Calmness throughout, incredibly hard working, very personable, clear briefing and examples, Great fun to be with - nothing too much - First class.'   

'Altogether a wonderful experience and most memorable. Great boat, first class instructor, great course in world beating scenery. I could not have asked for anything more. Well done!' Food was superb - wholesome, filling and well prepared for optimal preparation'  

RYA Day Skipper candidates August and September 2022

'Debbie was tremendously experienced and patient, I had complete confidence in her'.    'Debbie manages to deliver theory and practical instruction in a clear interesting and understandable way'  'Lovely food and an interesting menu'  

'What a great course! I have learned and gained confidence from the experience'.  'Thoroughly enjoyable and I would highly recommend it'   'Clear instructions'  'Good feedback'   'Enthusiastic'  'Lovely yacht'  'Excellent food'  'Thank you for the wonderful experience, I look forward to sailing more!'

RYA Day Skipper candidates April and June 2022

A Day Skipper candidate in June 22 wrote this article about her experience  

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Glencoe Outdoor Centre is an RYA Recognised Training Centre


We offer comprehensive RYA training and qualifications. Whether you have never set foot on a yacht or dream of skippering your own yacht, we can help you take the next step


Why book your RYA sail cruising course with Glencoe Outdoor Centre? 

The spectacular sailing environment of the West coast of Scotland is unrivalled; Meals are fabulous; Well maintained yacht; Highly-qualified and experienced instructors.


Introductory sailing skills or skills development leading to RYA certification which can set you up to charter your own sailing boat. 

Debbie Williams Principal and Chief Instructor of our school is an RYA Yacht Master Instructor with commercial endorsement.

Our vessel is 'Alcuin', a Westerly Oceanranger 38 based at Dunstaffnage marina, just north of Oban.


RYA Practical cruising courses: RYA Competent Crew; RYA Day Skipper; RYA Coastal Skipper and RYA Yacht Master Coastal/Off-Shore preparation course.


RYA Shore based courses: RYA Day Skipper/Watch Leader theory; RYA Coastal Skipper/ RYA Yacht Master Off-Shore theory.

RYA Competent Crew

A 5 day certificated residential on yacht course introducing the complete beginner to cruising. The skills you learn will equip you to be a useful member of the crew of a cruising yacht. Minimum age 12 years (minimum unaccompanied 16 years).

RYA Day Skipper

A 5 day certificated residential on yacht course during which you will learn the skills required to skipper a small cruising yacht safely by day in waters which you are familiar. Minimum age is 16 years.

RYA Coastal Skipper

A 5 day certificated residential on yacht course during which you will learn the skills required to skipper a cruising yacht safely on coastal and offshore passages by day and night. Minimum age is 17 years.


Candidates for Competent Crew courses may complete their training alongside either Day Skipper or Coastal Skipper courses. 

2024 Dates:             Availability:         Prices:

7 - 12    April        course completed  £795   Coastal Skipper & Comp crew

16 - 21 June           fully booked         £795   Day Skipper & Comp crew


30 June - 5 July    fully booked          £795   Day Skipper & Comp Crew

18 - 23  August       fully booked        £795   Day Skipper & Comp Crew

15 - 20 September   1 place               £745   Day Skipper & Comp Crew

6 - 11   October        5 places             £695    

RYA Day Skipper/Watch Leader Theory

A 6 day certificated shore based course. The syllabus for this course covers the following: seamanship, coastal navigation and pilotage, chart work, electronic charts, position fixing, plotting a course to steer, weather forecasting and meteorology, tides, collision regulations.

The RYA describe the anticipated ability of the student following the course as follows: "possess the background knowledge to skipper a small yacht in familiar waters by day".


Day Skipper/Watch Leader Theory: (6 days)

Contact us for dates of our next course                  £375 

Residential option available 


RYA Coastal Skipper/Yacht Master off-shore theory

A 6 day certificated shore-based course.  Advanced training for more experienced skippers building on the Day Skipper course. This course equips you to navigate safely on coastal and offshore passages. This course will take your theory knowledge to the standard required for the Yachtmaster™ Coastal and Yachtmaster™ Offshore practical exams, concentrating on advanced navigation and meteorology skills. 

Please enquire for availability


Prefer to study via an on-line RYA theory course? Contact Ardent Training based in Tobermory. Ed and Charly Hewitt run their RYA courses from their boat Mipha in Tobermory harbour.






2023: Successful Coastal Skipper, Day Skipper and Competent Crew candidates; a minke whale swam with us for 30 minutes, Anti-clockwise circumnavigations of Mull, dinghy inside Fingal's cave on staffa; turquoise water at Lunga.

Feedback from 2021 Day Skipper candidates:

'I left Dunstaffnage reluctantly; I wanted another week! I was tired but inspired to sail, to learn and to develop as a skipper. That was a consequence of Debbie's instruction and to the support she receives from Chris and the wider team.'

RYA Day Skipper candidate October 2021

'instructions delivered in a very clear, professional and friendly manner.'    'Alcuin is a fine boat to learn on.'  'Incredible value for money.'  'Very enjoyable course where I learned a lot, and got more comfortable with sailing a yacht'. 

RYA Day Skipper candidates August 2021


'Debbie is as ever, clear, diligent, gracious, patient, organized and well in control.'

'Debbie is a fantastic instructor. Exactly the right combination of careful & caring, and laid back'.

'I finished the course buzzing, wanting to do more sailing and feeling like I had learnt a lot :)'

'You made us aware of the requirements, set out a plan and adjusted it to the weather, answered questions, informed us of our progress, worked on theory and practical - very well structured!'

2019: Successful candidates; Stunning weather & views; Sightings of a Minke whale, otter and many puffins on Lunga; Dinghy taken into Fingal's cave at staffa.

Feedback from 2019 Coastal Skipper, Days Skipper and Competent Crew candidates:

'Debbie provided excellent guidance with very regular constructive feedback. I personally gained a great deal of confidence.' 


'I enjoyed the course, learnt a lot, gained confidence, got to visit lovely spots and generally had a good time.'

'Clear info. Good pace of delivery. Well differentiated for ability. Excellent week with Glencoe Outdoor Centre completing my RYA Coastal Skipper. Debbie clearly knows her stuff and is an excellent communicator.'

'Clear concise instruction & feedback throughout. Very helpful.'

'I enjoyed the course and felt it helped me reach my aims of improving boat handling. Also a very nice and friendly & fun experience.'

'Debbie was a very good instructor and encouraged all the participants to reach their best potential.'

'A lovely course combining learning, fun, team working and camaraderie'.      'Debbie is a brilliant instructor - very patient.' 'The food was excellent, great variety.'     'I learned a lot and it was great fun.' Day Skipper candidates August 2019

'A fantastic RYA Coastal Skipper course with a hugely experienced and knowledgeable instructor in one of the most challenging and rewarding sailing environments - highly recommended!' Coastal Skipper candidate April 2019

Prices based up on a maximum of 5 students sharing a 38' Westerly Ocean Ranger

What's included?

5 days & nights aboard the yacht

Tuition from an RYA instructor

Fully catered by the excellent Jennie Larney who prepares delicious meals for us.

All fuel and marina fees

You will be allocated a berth upon our school yacht and should be aware that you will be sharing the yacht with other students. The maximum ratio of participants to instructor will be 5:1. 

You will be asked to complete an application form prior to confirming your booking to ensure that you meet the course pre-requisites / recommended pre-course experience.

Learn with family and friends

If you and your family or friends wish to book the whole boat and a private instructor, this can be arranged. Call us for details.

What we can organise for you that is not included in the course price:

Towels & bed linen

RYA log book and handbook

Waterproof hire

RYA theory courses

A £150 deposit is required for our RYA 5 day courses. The balance of fees is payable 2 months prior to course start date or immediately if booking at less than 2 months notice. 

RYA Yachtmaster off-shore exam preparation course

Pre exam preparation and coaching for those looking to take an RYA Yachtmaster exam at Coastal or Offshore level. Please contact us to arrange a bespoke course.

To enquire about any of our RYA Sail Cruising courses please email

or call us on 01855 811350

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