Day Skipper/Coastal Skipper course in Gibraltar

The following article is from

RYA Practical Sailing Courses in Gibraltar

I had known for some months that I had to make 2007 the year to get my practical qualifications. It did seem a bit ridiculous after these four years of sailing not to have done a single practical sailing course!

Hence, when we visited the London boat show in January, rather than book a small yacht for the two of us on a Greek Island flotilla, thoughts were deflected to the more serious matter of where we could get our Day skipper or Coastal skipper ticket.


I have to say I wasn’t thrilled at the thought of missing out on Greece … hot sun, blue skies, and the relative peace and quiet of sailing around the Greek Islands.. or cold, damp sailing in a very busy Solent in the spring. That was, until Avi returned from a reconnaissance mission whilst I was carrying out retail therapy to counteract the mild depression. He was beaming and saying.,. “I think you need to come and meet some people who run an RYA sailing school in the sun.. and its tidal!”

Off we trotted to meet Alan Robinson and Fergus Anderson who run a very smart sailing school, Alfer Sea School, in the heat of Gibraltar… BINGO! By Jove we had found the perfect compromise, and before many days had passed we had booked flights and were all set to take our courses in May.


What could be better… it turned out to be every bit as promising as we had expected, and Alan, who was our skipper proved a skilful and thorough tutor, and at the same time, easy going and witty.

The 37 foot Jeanneau Sun Odyssy yacht we were aboard and its sister ship were immaculately kept, and although they were the racing/teaching versions of luxury cousins, the boats were extremely comfortable and well fitted out.

The weather was very hot and sunny, although a little more wind would have been perfect, however, we were able to make time for all the boat handling we could cope with and every attempt was made to accommodate all we wished to get out of the course. In our case, even a potted diesel engine course, and a whistle stop tour around the winches to help us with our boat husbandry.


Alison and Stanley Saffer came along too, and we all hugely enjoyed the five days.

Its very easy to get to Gibraltar from our area with Monarch, and the airport in Gib only five minutes or less from the marina. (Interestingly, berthed very near to us was Gypsy Moth 1V just resting up before her remarkable homecoming just recently.)


During the week we sailed up the cost to Soto Grande, and across the Straights of Gibraltar to Ceuta, the Spanish equivalent of Gib on the Northern coats of Morocco. Crossing the Straights, the very variable tidal directions and the effect of the current flowing into the Med afford excellent opportunity to understand how to shape a course to steer. As a big bonus, we sailed back in the company of many dolphins. Not quite what you would expect in the Solent.

It may not be everyone’s choice, however, I could wholeheartedly recommend this alternative if you want guaranteed warm weather and great tutoring. The school offers many types of course, and one can combine theory and practical if you have two weeks to spare.

More details can be found at the Alfer web-site…

Thanks to all at Alfer, Avi and I achieved Coastal Skipper practical; Alison, already a Day Skipper had a refresher week, and Stanley got his Day Skipper.

If anyone wants to know more, I would be happy to answer any questions.



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