As our summer draws to a close (well despite it being in the mid 30’s today), in the world’s other great sailing paradise, the Mediterranean, preparations are getting underway for the season ahead.
Across Greece, Croatia, France and Spain charter companies are refitting boats, taverna’s are being swept, old men are preparing to spend the summer belting dead octopus against rocks (I am not sure why they do this – must make the fish gaskets more tender) and harbour masters are preparing their impressive summer uniforms. Nobody does a uniform like a European male in a position of authority. Stripes down the side of the pants, epaulets garnished with what looks like gold fruit and a captain’s cap worn at a raffish angle. Moustaches and riding crops are popular additions as well. When Jenny and I were cruising the Med we made our first Italian landfall at the picturesque port of Santa Maria di Leuca. The next morning we were greeted by a platoon of one of the 135 different para military police forces that the Italians seem to have and such was the magnificence of their uniforms I thought they were a forgetful brass band that had misplaced their instruments. The main purpose of their visit was to tell us that they couldn’t process our paperwork there and we could do this at our next port. This conversation was repeated at every port we visited for the next 3 months. We never got an Italian stamp in our passports. I guess there is no point wasting your captain’s outfit sitting in an office doing paperwork, when one can be strolling the promenade smoking cigarettes.
But that was 20 years ago and much has changed. Those well-dressed chaps will now be falling over themselves to get a look at your ICC (international Certificate for Operators of Pleasure Craft) certificate. Yes folks for those that are contemplating chartering in the Med, particularly Croatia and Greece, the ICC is now required. It is also now the ‘boat licence’ for Mediterranean waters for skippers of private vessels.
The ICC is issued by the RYA to holders of an RYA Day Skipper practical certificate or higher certificates (free to members) or those with the relevant experience and knowledge can undertake a half day assessment. This can be done on board your own vessel (if suitable) or on board one of our boats. The assessment covers navigation and tidal knowledge, collision regulations, safety and a practical component including sailing (obviously not if it is for power!), boat handling, docking and man over boards.
Some ‘coaching’ is allowed but people should take time to prepare for the assessment. Our RYA Online Essential Navigation course is ideal to cover much of the theory part of the assessment.
There is also an excellent publication, the ICC handbook to help candidates prepare.
Of course many people opt to do the full Day Skipper course, giving them the skills to fully enjoy their Med charter experience. We will also show you how to conquer the dreaded Med mooring.
Watching charterers attempt their first stern to mooring packs the tavernas every afternoon and has the local boat repairs licking their pencils in anticipation.
Call the office to discuss the best program for you but don’t wait – there is some lead time in receiving your ICC certificate and the season is fast approaching.
That’s all for this week, until next time let’s get those fenders at the back of the boat!