FAQs

I am a complete novice, is there a course for me?

The ideal course for you is the Competent Crew course. It is the course for the absolute beginner to learn the basics and enjoy the delights of sailing. At the end of this course you will have become a confident and competent member of any crew.

I have been sailing for years but have no qualifications, what course should I take?

The RYA scheme is designed to be entered in at whatever level is appropriate to your needs. Just send us a resume of your experience and we can make a suggestion of what level you should start.

I just want to build on what I learnt from my last course, can I come along as crew?

You do not need to be doing a particular course to come out sailing with us. You can come along as a mile and experience building member of the crew. You can still ask advice from our instructor but you are not formally part of the course. It’s a low cost way of getting quality experience.

What is the age limit for courses?

Currently we do not normally take under 16’s on our courses.  That said we sometimes make exceptions for experienced young sailors (dinghy or yacht) so please get in contact and we can discuss.

Do your boats meet safety requirements?

All of our yachts fully comply with the UK code of practice for small commercial vessels and meet all requirements as set down by the Hong Kong Marine Department and UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency.  All boats are checked before and after each course and all safety equipment is serviced on a regular basis.  Our yachts are also inspected by the RYA one each season.

How are your standards maintained?

Every year we are inspected by the RYA who fly out to Hong Kong to inspect our yachts, teaching facilities and processes.  During the year the RYA will select some of the students and contact you directly to enquire about the course you attended.

Do I need insurance?

The school carries full public liability insurance for its students.  However personal travel / cancellation / accident insurance is strongly recommended as the school does not cover you for such issues.

Where is the RYA training school located?

We are situated at the Royal Hong King Yacht Club, Kellett Island in Causeway Bay. Full details on our location in both English and Chinese can be found on the Yacht Club site here http://www.rhkyc.org.hk/KellettIsland.aspx. The best way of getting to the club is by local taxi or you can take the MTR to Causeway Bay, walk to the Excelsior Hotel and take the tunnel under the main road to the Noon Day Gun (see the web link for a detailed map).

Can I park my car at the RHKYC?

Sorry to day car parking for non-members of the RHKYC is not possible. Members please note that the club parking bylaws don’t permit parking for more than 48hrs or you get a significant charge.

Where do we meet at the RHKYC?

Your instructor will meet you in the RHKYC Chart Room. When you arrive at the club entrance, where the Reception is location, turn left and go up the stairs. Follow it round to the right and walk down the long outdoor corridor.  Now enter the clubhouse, up a few stairs and it’s right in front of you.  If this room is being used for a private function we will meet in the bar to your right.

What’s included in my course fee?

All practical sailing courses are fully inclusive of accommodation onboard and mooring fees.  All meals are provided from lunch on the first day to lunch on the last day.

Do I need to bring my ID/Passport?

Yes, you need some official form of photo ID as part of the course registration procedure.

What clothes do I need to need to bring?

Depending on the time of year Hong Kong can be exceptionally hot day and night or surprisingly cool.  Here is a table you can use to give an idea on the type of clothing required.

SEASON

MONTHS

WEATHER

AutumnOctober to early DecemberThe temperature is around 20˚C / 68˚F, with clear sunny skies and low humidity.
WinterMid-December to FebruaryThe temperature can start from under 10˚C / 50˚F to around 17˚C / 62˚F, warm clothing is required.
SpringMarch to AprilThe temperature ranges between 21˚C / 70˚F and 25˚C / 77˚F. As this is spring, the humidity can reach 80%, but it’s not hot yet.
SummerMay to SeptemberThe temperature ranges between 26˚C / 79˚F and 33˚C / 91˚F. It can be very hot and humid and there is little relief during the night.  Also, tropical cyclone or typhoons usually affect Hong Kong and the region in summer.

Most practical courses involve some night sailing so it’s wise to being some warm clothing, particularly in autumn, winter and spring i.e. thin thermal layers, long johns, fleece, etc. No matter what the season you must bring sun screen/block, sun hats, and the like. Clothes that are quick drying are preferable to jeans. All clothing should be packed in a soft holdall. We do not supply wet weather gear so please bring a good quality breathable waterproof shell preferably with a hood to protect you from the occasional tropical downpours.

What shoes do I need?

We do not provide footwear so you will need a pair of deck shoes or trainers with good grip and non-marking sole. In addition if it’s likely to be a wet week then you may want to consider sailing boots.

What bedding do I need?

We don’t provide bedding so please bring along a lightweight sleeping bag and small pillow.  If the weather is particularly hot we may run the generator and air-conditioning during the night so then it can get a little cool in the cabin.

What other kit do I need?

You will also need to bring a wash kit and towel, preferably the micro type that is quick drying. You may find it useful if you have your own torch, penknife and notepad.

Will I get sea sick?

Even Nelson suffered from seasickness, however it is not that common in Hong Kong waters as it’s usually relatively sheltered.  If you know you are susceptible, then it is worth buying some motion sickness tablets such as Stugeron from the chemist and bringing them with you.

How many students will there be on my boat?

We take a maximum of 5 students per boat on sailing courses (this is an RYA rule).  Our boats are capable of taking more than these numbers so there will be plenty of room for everyone onboard although you will probably share a cabin (see other FAQ about cabin sharing).

Do I sleep onboard?

For all practical courses you will sleep onboard the yacht.

Will I have to share a cabin?

It may be necessary for you to share a cabin.  Couples and friends will normally share.  If you are coming on a course on your own there is a possibility you will have to share a cabin but this would only be with someone of the same sex.

Are there washing facilities onboard the yacht?

There are heads (toilets) and showers onboard each yacht.  When you are in a marina you can also use the shoreside facilities available.

Will we be in a marina every night?

Although you will spend some nights in marinas, in order to explore some of the more beautiful locations and to get the most out of the sail cruising training you may also spend a night or two on a mooring buoy or a secluded anchorage.

Who does the cooking onboard?

Part of learning to sail is learning how to live aboard a yacht. All chores, including cooking, are shared equally between all students and the instructor.  The meals provided are pre-prepared, home cooked meals and simply require heating up in the oven.  The only other cooking that is required is vegetables or rice, etc.

Can you cater for my special dietary requirements?

We can only cater for basic dietary requirements such as vegetarians and food allergies.  When you book your course just let us know if you require any special diets.

Will I be able plug in my electrical appliances such as my phone charger or hairdryer?

Our yacht has both 12 volt sockets or standard 3 pin 240V sockets.  You can use the 12V sockets at any time and you are welcome to use the 240V sockets when in a marina when the boat is connected to shore power or when the generator is on.

Can I use my mobile phone?

We would ask that during teaching times phones are turned off to avoid distraction unless of course you are expecting an urgent call.  Mobile phone coverage is difficult or non-existent in some parts of Hong Kong waters so you can’t guarantee a signal.

Can I smoke onboard?

Smoking is only permitted on deck on the downwind side of the yacht.

How do I get a HK PVOL Grade II (max 15m) Licence?

There are only two way to get a PVOL II, the 1st by sitting the Master and Engineer exams at the HK Marine Department or the 2nd taking the HK Sailing Federation’s (http://www.sailing.org.hk) PVOL II course and exam. The HK Marine Department does not recognize any other external qualification in place of this certificate.

How do I get a HK PVOL Grade I (unlimited) Licence?

First you must have held a PVOL II for 12 months.  If you have a RYA Yachtmaster Offshore (not Yachtmaster Coastal) Certificate of Competence then you can apply to upgrade a PVOL II to a PVOL I at the HK Marine Department after you have held the CoC for one year.  This is totally at the discretion of the HK Marine Depart and this policy can be changed at any time.  Note that it’s not possible to use the RYA Yachtmaster to go straight to a PVOL Grade I.