My Gap Year Sailing In Australia
William Dugdale, 18 from Greshams School, Norfolk decided to take some time out before university to learn a new skill and fulfil a dream of becoming an RYA Yachtmaster in Australia. William had spent many years sailing as a child and wanted to take it to the next level and learn all the skills required to be a confident skipper of a yacht.
Name: Will Dugdale
How did you find out about Flying Fish?
What were you doing before Australia?
Before I came to Australia I was working in a kitchen, a boatyard and as a gardener to raise money to travel.
Why did you choose to do a Yachtmaster in Australia?
Sailing had always interested me and the idea of using my gap year to gain a tangible qualification that was internationally recognised appealed to me.
What was life like on the Yachtmaster Course?
Life on the Yachtmaster Course was both challenging and rewarding.
Spending every weekday sailing made it feel like progress was inevitable, while often having weekends to myself allowed me to explore Sydney in my free time, and to see the city from the land not just from the water.
What sailing skills did you enjoy most on the course?
The skills I enjoyed most on the Yachtmaster Course were manoeuvres under sail as it is reassuring to know that you don’t have to rely solely on the engine.
What personal skills did you learn on the course?
The Yachtmaster Course taught me a range of personal skills from time management to cooking and prepared me for life after my gap year – not only on a boat but in the real world too!
What was the highlight of your gap year?
Seeing dolphins as we sailed down the east coast of Australia.
What was the hardest thing on the course?
Poling out the jib, I still don’t fully get it!
What were the instructors like at Flying Fish?
The instructors were incredible. Very knowledgeable and, more importantly, very patient. You never felt stressed when they were around, even in 30 knots of wind on the first day on a yacht.
What was the highlight your time on land?
The friends I made on the course – I’m still in touch with many of them (and dating one of them!) and of course the nightlife in Manly.
How would you describe life living in Manly?
The house in manly is perfectly located, literally a stones throw from the beach and just a 10 minute walk to the bars and clubs. This means you can enjoy a night out and have a swim the next morning without having to wake up properly.
The nightlife in Manly is unique, perhaps not as busy as in the city proper but more relaxed for that same reason. Sharkies is a must see.
Any advice to anyone thinking of doing a Yachtmaster Course in Australia?
What did you do after the course?
Myself and some friends I made on the course rented a camper van and drove up the coast (I also went to New Zealand with a friend) then when I got back to England I got my Dinghy Instructors Certificate and spent the summer teaching people to sail as well as helping out at a boat yard and occasionally crewing on larger boats.