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Yacht Sailing

While yacht sailing is an active endeavour that can involve its share of physical work, it can also be an incredibly relaxing pastime as well. Yachts can be a brilliant space for onboard entertaining, whether it’s enjoying a light lunch or simply passing the time with those on your course and your instructors.

Always included in our holidays

All necessary big boat sailing equipment

Instruction or guiding


Friendly & social atmosphere

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UCPA will provide you with a wetsuit and lifejacket. Please bring your personal belongings in soft bags for easy storage on board, not a hard suitcase. Bring a light sleeping bag or bed sheet, a pillow, a pair of trainers, a torch/headtorch, gloves and warm clothing. Be prepared for protection from the sun, with a cap/hat, suncream and sunglasses. You may wish to take fins, mask and snorkel.

Do I need to know how to tie any knots? 

Of course not, that is why you are on a sailing trip, to learn and improve on your sailing skills! 

What level do you need to be for this trip?

These yacht sailing trips are open to all levels, therefore you may be on a boat with mixed abilities. However, this does not mean you will go back to basics, you will learn skills relevant to your own level and experience.

On a UCPA yacht sailing holiday, the key things that you will learn will be how to work as a team whilst sailing. Communication is key when leading or being part of the crew. It is not all plain sailing...a single person cannot take all the responsibilities. Each of you will have certain skills in which he/she has excelled. Therefore, the work is divided among different individuals who collectively work as a team for the successful working of the ship. Self sufficiency and independence is key on a boat, UCPA sailing trips are all about mucking in and helping each other have a great week.

You will not receive a certificate or qualification, but these yacht sailing trips are all about gaining experience and knowledge to progress in your sailing ability. UCPA do not have a qualification scheme for sailing, but your skills will be recognised in future courses as you will know what you are doing by the end of this full on week!

The skippers on UCPA yacht sailing trips are volunteers. They are qualified under the French system and have been quality checked and assessed by UCPA, therefore they have been trained to ensure you, the crew have the best experience possible whilst gaining vital sailing skills. The amazing scheme whereby UCPA offer skippers a voluntary opportunity to gain experience at sea, build on their own knowledge further and not have to rent a boat!

Do the skippers speak English?

Please be aware that as UCPA are a French organisation skippers and crew will usually be French. We always request a skipper with at least some level of English, but this is something we cannot guarantee. The crew is made up of others holidaying with UCPA, they tend to be of mixed nationalities where English is often a second language.

We use a variety of sailing boats, but this style is the most common. 

As you can see from this layout, the yacht has 3 separate double berth cabins and a flip up ​table in the seating area which can also be used as a bed. Therefore the yacht can sleep a maximum of 8 people (including the skipper). UCPA boats that are 9-11 metres in length and are ​very comfortable, making life on board a real pleasure. There is a toilet and shower on board, however at each port you'll stop at showering/toilet facilities. With a fully working kitchen on board, there is no excuse for not making fantastic meals for everyone. Each night people often take it in turns to cook and you can either eat below deck or up on top deck. 


Sailing courses are slightly different to other UCPA trips. Food, fuel for the boat, and port fees are not included in the cost. Please budget around €15 per day for these additional costs for the duration of the trip.

How does it work cooking on the boat?

If you are new to cooking aboard, don't expect too much of a yacht's kitchen. Creativity, patience and cooperation is key to a successful meal! People tend to take it in turns to purchase food for the boat and cook for everyone. You obviously can buy food just for yourself, but UCPA love to encourage the social side of everyone eating together and chipping in to help each other out. Don’t be afraid to experiment with the few ingredients that you have to make a delicious meal for the crew. A top tip, wash up as you dirty pan can take up the whole kitchen onboard!

Please read the below information and email 

How does it work?

UCPA skippers are a small team of volunteers looking to gain experience without having the cost of hiring a boat, insurance and forking out large deposits. UCPA provides all of this through this voluntary scheme. 

What qualifications do I need in order to apply to be a volunteer skipper?

It is a minimum requirement to have a RYA/or equivalent to ‘Day Skipper qualification’. You would also benefit from having a ‘Coastal Skipper’ qualification, but you can still apply with just ‘Day Skipper’ as long as you have experience out at sea. 

How many weeks are you required to volunteer for?

UCPA’s minimum requirement is four weeks every two years. You can do much more than this though, it is up to you! 

How do UCPA train you?

You will undertake one week technical training, 2 weeks shadowing UCPA professionals on a flotilla and you will be trained on ‘how to work with others’. 

Why is this a great opportunity?

  1. You don’t pay to go on these trips

  2. Being a UCPA volunteer skipper enables you to gain valuable experience and mileage all around the world

  3. You can bring friends with you

  4. You don’t need to fork out thousands on hiring a boat, insurance and deposits

  5. You may even brush up on your French language skills! 

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