The Coaching Cruise – a new version of the Mariner Boating cruising rally

Mariner Boating Holidays has been creating and hosting yacht rallies for thirty years – mixing cruising with a little racing, structure with freedom, adventure, and exploration. Introducing new sailing venues in varied locations some firm favourites and some new each year. Seventy five percent of Mariner clients are repeat or referral.

Now they have combined with three of the leading sailing schools in Australia to offer aspiring sailors the opportunity to develop their skills while enjoying a fantastic sailing experience in a fascinating location. Mariner will add an RYA qualified instructor to the rally team to conduct coaching sessions on the water, a few theory sessions on the shore and offer free access to the coach during all of the two week rally around the Spanish Island of Majorca in Spain.

The Flying Fish Academy in Sydney, Yachtmaster in Melbourne and Sunshine Sailing in Mooloolaba will offer the rally to their students as a step up the learning ladder. The coaching cruise will not be a formal training course, however, but it will build the skill and confidence levels of those just out of school or prepare students for more learning.

The experience may even establish eligibility for the ICC examination (International Certificate of Competence), which has become the minimum ticket for a charter skipper throughout the Mediterranean and other parts of the world. The ICC is roughly equivalent to the RYA Day Skipper certificate. Anyone with the experience, however, can sit for the ICC assessment at an RYA accredited sailing school such as the three mentioned above. The assessment for the ICC is part theory and part practical and takes about four hours.

Now back to the rally. The two week event will circumnavigate Majorca with a program of six passage races, long table crew dinners, interspersed with six leisure days when participants will explore the shores of this fantastic island. The first and last days are cruises to get used to the boat, and the worst part, to get ready for leaving it. As mentioned earlier the rally will be hosted by Mariner Boating Holidays and supported by a local technician who will also be the language interface between the rally participants and the fast speaking locals, who even have their own brand of Spanish.

The western side of Majorca is precipitous with Port d’Andrax, Soller and Pollenca complemented by anchorages such as Sa Foradado and Cala Boquer. The eastern side has the ports of Cala Ratjada, Porto Cristo and Porto Colon with the nature island of Cabrera off the south coast, possibly the top spot of the whole itinerary. The rally will sail early in October when the locals tell me the weather is still great but the European tourist tide has subsided. Statistically the daytime maximum temperatures are in the 23 – 27° range. Nights are cooler which is great for comfort on board.

The prevailing winds around Majorca are west – north westerly but direction and strength can be altered dramatically by the proximity of high land. The rally takes the clockwise direction around the island because the west coast tracks in a north easterly direction and reaching conditions have been our experience except for the norther tip where we have often had to work to the northernmost cape of the island.

During the passage races between the ports each crew will enjoy two full days of on-water coaching in all aspects of cruising and racing. Safety, preparation for sea, maneuvering in tight spaces, anchoring, sail setting, trimming for speed, race tactics and navigation will all be on the agenda.

On the leisure days the scenery, excursions, restaurants, history and exploration of the inlets of the sea (Calas) will more than fill the days. Some of the towns along the way are tourist honey pots, but it’s easy to get away from those busy places. In fact it’s easy to miss them altogether because a big percentage of the sun seeking tourists collect in the same places so they can lay beside each other on the beach and get serious quantities of Vitamin D.

The Mariner Rally has been set up to accommodate singles, couples and complete crews regardless of their previous sailing experience. Phone Mariner for more information on (02) 9966 1244, visit the website or email




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