You may have seen the following letter from our Managing Director, Philip Coatesworth, in February’s Yachting World

Dear Sir,

Your extremely balanced editorial on the Yachtmaster qualification in the January magazine will hopefully help to raise the profile of a topic which will be close to the heart of many involved in the employment of commercial yacht skippers.

We at PYD have long argued that the current Yachtmaster certificate, whilst an excellent qualification for the leisure yachtsman, is completely inadequate for anyone hoping to Skipper in a commercial environment. The problem lies not with the schools, most of which do a first rate job, but with the RYA’s syllabus which is simply not demanding enough for those wanting to earn their living at sea.

The key lies in raising the requirements for the commercial endorsement of the basic ‘ticket’, so that it is only awarded on the basis of , say, ten thousand very varied miles and perhaps a rigorous further examination.

Depending as we do on an extremely high standard of Skipper being available we will be introducing our own Skipper Apprentice Programme in 2005. The objective of this scheme will be to take relatively inexperienced Yachtmasters, who show promise, and over six months getting them up to a minimum of 10,000nm on a variety of passages Worldwide. During this period they will voyage as a Mate to a number of different skippers and complete at least one ocean crossing. They will also visit numerous ports, see some ‘real’ weather and experience a number of different boats, whilst being mentored throughout.

Naturally there’s some self interest in all of this since we hope the best of these individuals will go on to become PYD Skippers, but we hope it will in its own small way help with the wider issue, which the RYA or the MCA really must address.

Yours faithfully,

Philip Coatesworth


This letter has already generated considerable interest in the scheme, which is due to be launched in the early Spring of 2005. If you think you might be interested in participating why not get in touch with crew coordinator Jan Younger to find out more tel +44 1539 552140 email

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