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Sail Monterey Bay

Practical Check Out

Experienced sailors can challenge our practical 3 hour check out for a cost of $390.00 ($350.00 for members). Please scroll down for the practical check-out evaluation form.

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If you are not earnestly confident that you can perform all of the practical check-out requirements with a score of at least a 90%, we'd appreciate it if you'd take a course or a private lesson to improve and refine your skills. It's important that sailors requesting a check-out have had ocean experience as the Bareboat certified captain.

The sailing skills tested in the checkout are as follows:

Sailors must perform the following skills with competence and ease:
  • tight quarters maneuvering and challenging docking
  • reefing
  • coastal navigation
  • all points of sail with near perfect sail setting and steerage
  • sail shape and control
  • proper traveler use
  • controlled gybing
  • tacking
  • anchoring
  • man overboard
  • proper setup/take down
  • and more...
The purpose of the Practical Check-out is to assess the sailor's ability to competently and safely handle a sailboat, both under sail and power under all wind and sea conditions with confidence, precision and ease. Knowing the correct action in a given situation, communicating clearly to the crew what is expected and performing the maneuver with precision and confidence (what we call "Command Presence") are also critical components of the sailor's boat handling abilities.

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Feel free to contact us to find out more about our sailing courses or to sign up directly.

(831) 423-SAIL
(800) 374-2626

You are not required to utilize crew for every or for any part of the checkout - you may choose to singlehand. Our USCG skipper would be your standby crew. Should the sailor chose to use crew then one of the skills assessed is his/her ability to clearly instruct the crew on what they are to do and when they are to do it. Should the sailor chose to singlehand, the same criteria hold true, i.e., how well does the sailor prepare for the maneuver, how well does he/she take into account the prevailing conditions (e.g., wind speed and direction, current, proximity of other vessels, etc.) in planning the maneuver, how well does he/she recover when the initial plan goes awry, etc.

Sailing is a communication-intensive sport. Communication between skipper and crew is critical to avoid chaos and potential damage or injury. Even the single-handed sailor "communicates" with himself prior to taking any action, looking ahead, thinking through the action choices available and making alternative plans.

What is expected is that whatever approach the sailor chooses it is appropriate to the given situation and is performed with precision, confidence and ease with due regard for the safety of the crew and vessel.

The ASA sets competency standards for both sailing knowledge and on-the-water skills for sailors, as does the Practical Checkout. While the ASA standards may or may not require that a maneuver be done in a specified way, the critical similarity between ASA and the checkout is that the skipper display precision and confidence in safely handling the vessel.

Please see the Basic Sailing & Seamanship, Basic & Intermediate Coastal Cruising, and Bareboat instruction programs for other requirements. Most sailors who take the eight-day consecutive course can incorporate the check-out into course time. We also recommend that you charter or sail within 30 days of receiving your certification and continue to sail on a regular basis to stay current on your skills

Practical Checkout Evaluation Form
Candidate's Name: Date
Evaluator's Name:
Sailing Skill Tested Score
Departing and returning to slip (docking) (15)
Upwind Sailing (points of sail, tacking) (15)
Downwind Sailing (points of sail, controlled jibe) (15)
Heaving To (10)
Reefing (10)
Crew Overboard Recovery (20)
Properly securing boat at end of sail (10)
Basic Nav- STD & plot course to Monterey (5)
Total Score (90% passing)  
Proper Preparatory and Execution Commands (10)
Proper and steady course "as called" (20)
Proper sail trim (15)
Smoothness of maneuvers (e.g., overshoot, boom control) (20)
Always moving helm in the proper direction (Y/N) (5)
Smooth and proper jib sheet control (10)
Overall safety and control (20)
Total Score (90% passing)  
Evaluator's Recommendations:
Evaluator's Signature: _________________________________________________

The purpose of the Practical Checkout is to assess the candidate's sailing knowledge and ability to competently and safely handle a sailboat, under both sail and power, in all wind and sea conditions with confidence, precision and ease. Skills covered in the checkout include docking and maneuvering under power in tight quarters, reefing, coastal navigation, all points of sail with appropriate sail trim and steerage, controlled jibes, tacking, anchoring, crew overboard recovery, proper boat set-up and securing, and more.

Use the Evaluation Form to score the candidate's level of expertise in each skill area. The numbers in parentheses in the "Score" column are the maximum number of points allotted to each skill. There are 100 points possible for each section, "Maneuvers" and "Control/Command". A score of 90% in each section is required to pass the Practical Checkout.

At the end of the checkout, please sign and deposit the Evaluation Form in the staff mailbox in the office, or in the mailbox outside the office door.

Crew Overboard Recovery: At PY&S we teach both the "Figure 8" and "Quick Stop" methods of COR. The candidate is not required to use either of these methods. He/she is allowed to use any method to recover the victim. The only prerequisites are:
  • Recovery must be done under sail.
  • Vessel and crew must be under control at all times.
  • Vessel must be dead (or nearly so) in the water when alongside the victim.
  • Victim must be recovered on leeward side of the vessel.
The candidate is allowed two tries to recover the victim. If the candidate is unsuccessful on the second try, he/she receives a "No Pass" for the Practical Checkout.