How to Impress your Yachtmaster Examiner part 1
You’ve completed your YM prep week and now it’s time start the exam, first thing to remember is that he/she is human, we like to chat, have a cup of tea and get to know you.
You only get one chance at first impressions, so be organised; you should have your SRC, 1st Aid Certificate, a passport photograph and either a logbook or summary of your experience (don’t if you don’t have them all, you will have a short period after the exam to complete them). A completed exam application (downloaded from RYA website or ask the school for one) is a real bonus and can save 15 mins completing it.
The examiner will always want you to give form of safety brief, the organised skipper should be confident with the equipment on board, where it is and how it works, have a check sheet to keep you on track and keep it concise (reading the instructions on the flares or fire extinguisher doesn’t look professional).
You will be set a passage and be given some time to prepare, it shouldn’t be a surprise to you as you already know the weather and tide conditions. The best skippers keep it simple and effective, you have access to the chart and other publications, so don’t attempt to make inaccurate copies of these accurate documents.
Before you cast off think about the wind, tide and how the boat performs, how you set the boat up and talk to your crew tells the examiner a lot about your boat handling;
• Keep it simple.
• Use the tide and breeze to help you leave the mooring, springs should be used unless proved otherwise.
• Badly positioned or unused fenders are asking for trouble (top tip; cover the bow and stern and evenly spaced in between, plus rover if required).
• Never expect to just run along the pontoon.
• Have a plan B (just in case)
Once you are clear of the mooring, settle down, tidy up the lines and fenders and as soon as possible pass the helm to a crew member, allowing your valuable skills to direct and do pilotage.
Next time; Playing in Harbour situations