Grant and I just spent the last 5 days on a yacht getting our “Competent Crew” RYA certification, which basically just means we know our way around a boat and know the basics of which sails do what and how to raise & lower them.
The course was about an hour north of Barcelona on the coast, in an area known as Costa Brava. There are gorgeous Spanish towns that just tumble from the mountains to the rocky shore. Needless to say, it was a great place to learn to sail and even better place for the views!
Lots of houses like this one built right onto overhanging rocks:
There was 1 instructor and 4 students, including us, on a 38-foot sailing yacht. We slept on board in the marina every night and sailed about 5-6 hours a day, about 100 miles in total.
Our home for the last 5 days:
Grant down below (that’s the berth we shared in the background):
Part of the crew at work:
As you might expect, Grant already knew quite a bit going into the course from his Corpus Christi and A&M sailing days. He was a pro! In fact, the other students called him the upwind specialist. The instructor pointed out that you can always spot a dinghy sailor because of their understanding of wind. Grant easily picked up on some of the more advanced skills beyond our course, like maneuvering the boat in the marina.
The upwind specialist at work:
I was quite nervous going in – thinking what if I’m seasick the entire time? However, it turned out to be a blast, and we had a lot of fun! I learned a LOT in a short period of time. It was nice to be surrounded by experienced sailors to ask whatever question might come up.
Me watching the wind direction as I take the helm:
One great thing about the sailing course was how laid back everyone was. Certainly, we learned rigorous safety standards and techniques, but each day was capped off with a cerveza on the marina, getting to know the other sailors. As chance would have it, all of us on the boat had quit our jobs around April of this year to take time off. I think this week really cemented for me the seize the moment attitude that I’ve been trying to cultivate in this time off. I have never felt so at peace with our decision to take time off and move abroad as I do right now. There is just no way I would have done what I did this week without Grant and I giving ourselves the time and space to do it.
The next RYA course is called Day Skipper and would allow us to charter a boat up to 60 miles offshore anywhere in Europe. It focuses more on how to actually steer the boat, calculate passages, and maneuver the boat in close quarters. After this week, Grant and I are both thinking that we will do that training! We’re also going to seek out more opportunities to sail. Our end dream is to be able to sail around the Greek isles on our own chartered boat.
So, who wants to join us for a Greek isles yacht trip?