Because we don’t have a lot of sailing experience, the most important thing for us was just to get in the water. It would be possible that we would hate it or get really sea sick.. Then we would have to rethink the whole sailing idea.
So in autumn 2016, we did a CWO I (RYA Competent Crew) course in the Netherlands. We geared up on bad weather clothes and expected some crazy september weather, but it actually turned out to be awfully pleasant.
Over the course of a week we got familiar with basic manoeuvres, the motor and navigating. We anchored at the IJsselmeer and sailed to Terschelling, which was an amazing daysail with crazy currents, tides and good wind.
Just before the sailing course I got my theoretical sailing license (the International Certificate of Competence) which came in very handy. Knowing all the rules and regulations made me look like a total sailing nerd. To get the ICC, I took an online course (144 €) which took me about 2 months before taking both the tests of ‘Vaarbewijs’ I and II (70 €). It is super interesting, as it covers general regulations, weather patterns, manoeuvres, mechanics, emergencies and navigation.
The only obligatory license besides the ICC is the VHF license. During the winter, Thomas got a German SRC Certificate. This is needed to use the VHF both at sea and on inland waters. I got certified for inland waters and also signed up for a SRC VHF course, when it turned out I didn’t need to get this license anymore as Thomas’ license was acknowledged in the Netherlands as well. I will definitely do the online course but I might not be taking the exam (which costs 590 euros including traveling expenses). Probably not.
Because we might be interested in joining the ARC, we also signed up for a World Sailing Sea Survival Course. This was super interesting as well, covering first aid at sea, man over board, fires and marine fireworks. We decided against getting a firearms license for marine fireworks, as the gun is illegal in some countries and we can also use handheld fireworks.
But of course, the most important thing is experience. All the salty sailors out there advice us to get the licenses and just start sailing. That’s exactly what we are going to do! Next up is a week of sailing lessons on our own boat with a salty friend who is going to help us getting to know Scehawk.