CSSA is recognised as an approved training establishment by the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) and offers courses that lead to nationally recognised RYA qualifications. If members wish to improve their skills, the CSSA's volunteer instructors will be only too willing to help. A wide range of practical training is available, enabling members to qualify as approved yacht skippers or dinghy instructors.
As CSSA instructors are all volunteers, course costs are generally cheaper than commercial sea schools. Here's a list of courses and training that the CSSA currently offers:
These are non-formal courses and do not lead to certificates.
Short sails in sheltered waters of 1-3 days, with novice crews living and sleeping aboard to get the feeling of yachting and enable them to decide whether to continue with sailing as a pastime.
Short sails of one-three days for crews who have sailed before and wish to learn the practical skills of manoeuvring under sail and engine, berthing in marinas and picking up mooring buoys under various conditions of wind and tide.
The Civil Service Offshore Racing Club (CSORC) sometimes runs short courses specialising in the crewing skills required for racing, such as sail trimming, tactics, starting procedures, and spinnaker handling. These are sometimes followed by participation in a short inshore club race.
Formal courses that lead to internationally recognised certificates:
These are all five-day courses to an RYA syllabus with instructions by an RYA qualified skippers. There is a minimum starting experience requirement for these courses, set by the RYA. If competent, all pupils receive an RYA course completion certificate from the CSSA.
RYA yachtmaster coastal and yachtmaster offshore require candidates to demonstrate their abilities in a practical one-day examination with a professional RYA examiner who is not a CSSA member. The CSSA runs five-day preparatory courses for these examinations, which can then be taken on the CSSA yachts. The total course duration is usually six-seven days including two days for examining three-four candidates. These qualifications, plus CSSA references, allow members to charter the CSSA yachts in either coastal or offshore waters.
This certificate requires the candidate to complete a 600-mile offshore passage out of sight of land as navigator or watch-leader, using a sextant for astro-navigation. Each year one of the CSSA yachts may organise a long distance cruise which is suitable for this requirement. Candidates must first have attended a course of evening classes on the theory of celestial navigation.
Although these are not strictly training courses, the cruises on the CSSA yachts with approved skippers can be used to gain seatime, mileage and night hours which can be recorded in a RYA yacht cruising logbook (G15) as required for all of the higher certificates. It may also be possible to get sections of the logbook signed-off for specific practical abilities during cruises.
The RYA sail training scheme also provides certificates for shorebased theory courses (day skipper or yachtmaster theory and yachtmaster ocean theory) which are usually taught as a series of weekly evening classes at schools and colleges during the winter. Many CSSA members are involved as tutors in these classes, but details of your local classes should be obtained from the RYA or your local library or adult education authority.
The CSSA has coastal dinghy clubs in Plymouth and Southampton water, and inshore clubs in Berkshire, Essex, Lancashire and Middlesex. All of these clubs have training officers and offer some informal dinghy training for new members. Several of the larger clubs also offer formal RYA dinghy courses which provide certificates at several levels for those who meet the required standards in both the theory and practical aspects of sailing.