Frequently asked questions
We hope that you find all the answers to your questions here. If you need more information please contact us:
See the Crew Handbook for more detailed information
We will provide waterproofs and all appropriate safety equipment, such as lifejackets, but you will need to bring the essentials. Check out our Crew Handbook for a full list, but the essentials include toiletries and towels, sleeping bag, appropriate clothing for the time of year, trainers, swimwear, medicines and sunscreen / hat / sunglasses.
If you play a musical instrument such as a guitar, or a ukulele, please bring it.
No. You will join the boat around 11am, unless you are told differently, and we will provide lunch on board at about 1pm.
If you come as part of a group then all of the Crew will be from that group. If you come on your own, you will be with up to 11 other Trainees who are in the same age group as you. All the Trainees will either be 14-15 or 16-19 year olds. All Voyages are either exclusively for girls, or boys. We run some mixed Voyages for people aged 18-25.
We encourage everyone who wishes to sail to do so on their own, meeting other new people who are also on their own. If, however, you wish to sail with a friend then you may sail with one other person you know. We cannot take more than two people who know each other on the same Voyage.
As a Trainee, you will be an active Crewmember on the boat. You’ll quickly become a valued Crewmate and will soon feel like part of the team. You’ll get involved with every task on board, including hoisting sails, navigating and steering, and cleaning the decks. You will get involved with cooking and washing up, but don’t panic if you can’t cook, you’ll learn quickly. You will also have time to go ashore and visit new places. If the weather is right you might go swimming, visit a beach, or have a BBQ. Above all, you will be learning new skills, meeting new people and having a wonderful time.
Probably! Sailing at night is incredible and can be lot of fun. Sometimes the yacht might sail through the night, but don’t worry, you won’t be on duty all of the time. Each Watch usually lasts either two or four hours. Sailing at night is amazing, you may see shooting stars, a meteor shower or phosphorescence.
All Crew will be aged 14-15, 16-19 or 18-25. The Volunteers, or Afterguard, will be aged 16 and above.
Merrilyn is 62ft and can sleep a maximum of 16 people. Donald Searle is 75ft and can sleep a maximum of 20 people and Rona II is 68ft and can sleep a maximum of 23 people.
If you are aged 14 or 15 you will spend the first day in the Solent and then you will probably head West. Where you go will depend on the weather but you will probably visit the Isle of Wight, Dorset and Devon. You may also visit ports such as Portsmouth, Gosport or Yarmouth.
If you are aged 16 or above you may also visit places in France such as Cherbourg or Le Havre or the Channel Islands; Guernsey, Alderney or Sark.
Not on the boat, however you will be able to have showers ashore in marinas.
We understand that everyone uses their phone to take photos and stay in touch. However, there will be rules about when you’re permitted to use them, and there are limited facilities on board to charge them.
You will sleep in a bunk. All bunks are either in large cabins or in an open plan area.
Not much. All food and drink on board is provided. You may want money to buy souvenirs, a postcard or an ice cream when you are ashore but you won’t need a lot of money. We would recommend that you get Euros when you arrive in France as you need it, rather than bringing it with you.
Yes! The afterguard are very experienced and are there to make sure you are safe and to teach you everything you need to know. All of our crews are a mixture of those who haven’t and those who have sailed before – it doesn’t matter.
If you have any dietary requirement please ensure it is noted on your booking form. We will try our best to cater for restricted diets such as allergies, vegetarian, or gluten free however we cannot easily cater for fussy eaters.
A medical condition won’t necessarily mean you can’t sail, but you must tell us if you have any medical conditions at the time of booking. We need to consider whether it’s safe for you to sail. Also if you develop any medical conditions before you sail but after you book you must let us know.
Yes. A Sail Training Voyage is an approved activity for your Residential Gold Award. Please note, however, we ask that you tell us in advance and ensure that all your paperwork and admin is in order. We cannot retrospectively sign off on your paperwork.
You can never smoke below decks on a boat. Your Skipper will advise where and when smoking is permitted on deck, and whether over 18s can drink alcohol. We have zero tolerance to drugs. People who break this rule will be sent home or reported to the authorities.
It is no big deal if you do – even Nelson did! Don’t be afraid or embarrassed to admit that you feel unwell. Seasickness is nothing to worry about. Most people will experience it at one time or another, and it will pass. If you know that you suffer from seasickness, or you get travel sick, mention this when you book.
You have to sail with us as a Crew Member before you can be recommend by your Skipper to attend Watch Leader Training, after which you can sail as a Watch Leader.
See the Parents and Groups Guidebook for more detailed information
Our minimum age is 14. If you think that your child may have some barrier to sailing, but would like to sail with us, please call us to discuss. Even if sailing with us is deemed to be unsuitable we may be able to advise an alternative.
Please have a look at the Sailing Programme and email or call us to check availability. We will then send you a Booking Form.
We strongly advise that you take out insurance for anyone sailing with the Rona Sailing Project. It is very important that you ensure your policy covers sailing more than 12 nautical miles offshore. Please ensure that your child brings any relevant medical cards and contact information with them.
No news is good news, so if you don’t hear from your child don’t worry. They most probably aren’t using their phone as much or are too busy to call.
If you need to contact your child urgently you can call our Office and we will get a message through, as we are in regular contact with the Yachts.
We carry AIS (Automatic Identification System) on board, which is an automated tracking system that displays other vessels in the vicinity on the Yacht’s navigation screens and also allows tracking of vessels by Harbour Authorities etc. You can use this system to track the Yacht yourself using the Vessel Finder website.
We would advise that they bring some sort of ID, and/or proof of address or residency, but not necessarily a Passport.
If you are dropping your child please be here at 11:00am on the day the Voyage starts. Please try to arrive as close to 11:00am as possible. Access to the boat before this isn’t possible and parking charges apply in the Marina.
The pick-up time at Richmond Station is 9.30am and 11am from Southampton Airport Parkway. See the Parents and Groups Guidebook for more details.
Please collect them as close to 3pm on the last day as possible. If they are on our minibus then they will be dropped to Southampton Parkway for 3.30pm and Richmond for 5.30pm – however please note this is approximate as it is dependent on traffic.
No. We provide all appropriate safety equipment, such as lifejackets, harnesses and wet weather oilskins. It is not necessary to have technical sailing clothes, but warm clothing is essential. See the Crew handbook for full details.
A week long Voyage costs £215. A berth is secured with a £60 deposit, with the balance payable a month before the Voyage.
The fee covers all food and drinks for the week. Sailing waterproofs and all safety gear on board are included.
We can assist with bursaries for those who cannot afford the full £215 Voyage fee. Please note, we can only support people who have not had a bursary before and also only when a contribution is made towards the £215 fee.
Yes! See the Volunteers FAQs below.
Please contact us for more detailed information
With only a full time staff of four, we depend on Volunteers to man the Voyages and to help run and support the Project in a variety of ways. If you want to be considered as a Volunteer, please contact us. We also have an application form which you can fill in and send to us.
If you wish to sail then it’s preferable that you have some experience. We don’t require any sailing qualifications to sail however in order to progress you will need to gain RYA qualifications independently. Before you volunteer you need to complete an enhanced DBS check and an online safeguarding course. We are happy to explain all of this further.
Yes – however you cannot sail as a Skipper with the Project without having gone through the established process, regardless of your experience or qualifications. Everyone starts as a Supernumerary and has to be promoted through the ranks from Watch Officer to Mate and then to Skipper. This is because we are not just looking for Skippers, rather Skippers who can run a Sail Training Voyage in accordance with the ethos of the Rona Sailing Project.
Your first Voyage as a Supernumerary is like a training Voyage. You will learn how Voyages run and how we implement our Sail Training programme. After this Voyage if you sail with us again you will have access to the in-house training programmes relevant to your rank and experience.
While we will do our best to train people to fulfil their duties, we can only offer training to those who have demonstrated an ongoing commitment to the Project. Even though we are a recognised RYA centre, our resources are limited and we run courses on a non-commercial basis as necessary for our Volunteers.