OCSC Sailing School

Practical Tests

Description / Overview | Basic Keelboat | Basic Cruising | Bareboat Cruising

OCSC Practical Tests

OCSC's "Practical Tests": Basic Keelboat, Basic Cruising, Bareboat Cruising

These practical tests allow our US Sailing instructors to conduct the the on-the-water portion of the certification process. This evaluation of your skills is based upon OCSC's standards and US Sailing's requirements.

Basic Cruising and Bareboat Cruising

After completing our Basic Cruising and Bareboat Cruising courses, people often need more practice and can work on their skills in our "Bay Reviews". At the point where your instructor feels that you are ready for your "PT", you can then make your practical test reservation. In the practical test, you will be teamed up with one or possibly two other crewmates. In the three or four hours, we'll go through our list of OCSC and US Sailing required skills, having you demonstrate mastery and proving to them and yourself that you have all the skills you need and that you paid for! The PT's are held every afternoon, seven days a week.

  • Format: 2- 5 or 2- 6 pm
    If we have one or two people make reservations for a PT, the session will run from 2-5 pm.

Basic Keelboat

Our Basic Keelboat practical evaluation is an informal experience -- it actually takes place within each Basic Keelboat review. Your instructor will coach you during the three hours, and at the end, he or she will either certify you or recommend more practice.

  • Basic Keelboat Review
    Our BK Reviews are held from 10 am-1 pm or 2-5 pm seven days a week. We recommend that if possible you try to schedule your BK Review from 10-1 to take advantage of the favorable morning winds.

Above there are links to each of the individual Basic Keelboat, Basic Cruising, and Bareboat Cruising practical test explanations.


Good to know:

  • If you qualified for the course guarantee, you may take as many practical tests as you need to demonstrate competence and confidence to yourself and your instructor, subject to the 60 day limit of the guarantee from the start of your training at that level. When to attempt the practical test is best decided by both you and your coach; we want to give you a "real world" sense of your ability to keep yourself, your crew and your yacht safe, so the coaching you have become accustomed to will be absent.
  • If you are unable to keep a reservation you have for a free practical test, you still must give OCSC eight days notice or risk being assessed the standard fee for canceling inside of a week in advance. (For our standard course cancellation policy please click here.)
  • While in this period, if you feel that a private lesson with an instructor fits your schedule better than regular practical tests, you may take unlimited private lessons within the 60 day period at half-price. These provide a much higher level of personal attention during the evaluation and can be scheduled at the time and with the instructor of your choice, subject to availability.
  • Arrival time is 45 minutes prior to class to rig, and then derigging will take place after your practical test is completed.

Basic Keelboat Tests

Basic Keelboat practical test takes place in a Basic Keelboat review.

This review is aboard a J/24 and runs from 10 am-1 pm or 2-5 pm seven days a week.

OCSC standards for Basic Keelboat certification

  • Nomenclature: Demonstrates good knowledge of all basic terms (main sheet, jib, keel, tiller, starboard, port, bow, stern, windward, leeward, shrouds, leech, luff, etc.)
  • Rigging the boat: Rigs sails and tie the basic knots: figure 8, round turn and two half hitches, bowline, cleat hitch (with help).
  • Hoisting sails: Hoists, lowers and furls both sails.
  • Steering: Steers toward a landmark and on a point-of-sail.
  • Points-of-sail: Knows each point, can steer the boat to each, and trims sails within 10 percent of proper for each.
  • Coming about: Tack the boat without oversteering in moderate conditions and more than 10 degrees in over 15, and without getting stuck in irons.
  • Gybing: Gybes without broaching in less than 15 knots (or in less wind, without oversteering).
  • Wind direction: Knows where the wind is coming from regardless of his/her point of reference.
  • OCSC Standard for person overboard recovery, Basic Keelboat: Student remembers procedures to be followed immediately after someone goes overboard, sails the Quick Turn (figure 8) course accurately, and returns to the victim. In less than 15 knots, the student should be able to slow the boat to less than two knots of boatspeed. In more than 15 knots, no points should be taken off for problems associated with excessive speed or excessive leeway caused by the wind and waves.

Class Information

Cost:

  • Retail: $150
  • Member: $112.50
  • In Guarantee: No cost

# of students:

  • 3 maximum

Boat:

Formats:

  • Three- or Four- hour
    practical training
    Seven days a week
    2 - 5 pm or 2 - 6 pm

Prerequisites:

Appropriate experience.
(Please call us to discuss yours.)

Basic Cruising Tests

Basic Cruising practical test ("BC PT")

If you’re confident with the following list of criteria, you’ve chartered or sailed as a skipper before, and you’d like to test out of or challenge Basic Cruising, you’ll need to ultimately take a BC practical test (PT). We recommend starting with a review so you can practice these skills and get familiar with our marina and procedures.

OCSC standards for Basic Cruising certification:


Pre-Sail Preparation:

  • Boat set-up properly for conditions
  • Personal flotation device worn properly
  • Knowledge of crew briefing topics sufficient

Slip Departure Successful:

  • Crew properly placed and briefed
  • Traffic checked
  • Wind strength and direction managed
  • Engine cared for
  • Boat handled smoothly

Marina Procedures:

  • Safe position in marina maintained
  • Boat speed appropriate
  • Right-of-way situations properly handled
  • Sails hoisted/ lowered with two people only
  • Sails hoisted properly: sail luffing, vang and sheet loose
  • Crew communication
  • Boat kept away from pier/lee shore

Points Of Sail, Sail Trim, Use of Sail Controls:

  • Steered boat on command to A11 points-of-sail accurately (+/– 5 degrees)
  • With proper sail trim (+/–10 degrees)
  • Prevented any unintentional gybes
  • Demonstrated ability to use vang, backstay adjuster, outhaul, cunningham, mainsheet, traveller
  • Boat sailing well in heavy weather.

Heaving To:

  • Safely (gradually) tacked with jib backed
  • Allowed boat to Settle down
  • Kept tiller to leeward for 30 seconds without boat tacking

Reefing Underway:

  • Reefed underway as skipper and crew
  • Kept boat on close reach
  • Luffed main
  • Released vang prior to rehoisting
  • Proper luff tension
  • Used appropriate cringles and reef lines

Tacking and Gybing:

  • In both maneuvers, employed proper vommands and checked traffic beforehand

    Tacking:
  • At least 90 percent of tacks successful (not caught in irons)
  • Boat is kept near closed hauled and under control after the tack (+10 deg)
  • Turn is slow enough for crew safety


    Gybing:
  • Boat kept on a deep broad reach during prep
  • Switched sides before sheeting in
  • Stood against backstay (if standing method was chosen)
  • Main sheeted inside cockpit footwell
  • Eased sheet after the gybe sufficientlyOver 90 percent of gybes completed without broaching (in tests over 15 knots; 100% in less)

Person Overboard Recovery:

  • Demonstrates understanding and recognition of the zone of approach
  • Controls boat and crew; demonstrates knowledge of proper hails and commands
  • Appoints a lookout
  • Demonstrates knowledge of the importance of staying close to the victim
  • At least 75 percent of recoveries are successful as defined below:
  • Boat is stopped or nearly so with victim to leeward, with sails luffing
    1. Victim would take more than ten seconds to float from the shrouds to the stern
    2. Victim does not touch boat forward of the shrouds during the approach
    3. Tiller is kept to leeward during pick up
    4. At least one recovery is commenced while 1) close hauled and 2) on a deep broad reach

Operating the Boat in Reverse:

  • Boat steered in a straight or nearly straight line across the wind for at least three boatlengths
  • Tiller and engine coordinated properly
  • Effects of crosswind managed

Docking:

  • Fenders and dockline are in place
  • Crew properly positioned and briefed
  • Traffic in slip area checked
  • Time to enter properly judged
  • Wind direction and strength accounted for
  • Engine used properly and gears cared for
  • Boat is brought Into the slip so the bowperson can step off
  • Boat momentum should be small enough to allow a small crew person to control boat by the shrouds in the slip

Knots / Line Handling:

  • Bowline
  • Figure 8
  • Cleat hitch
  • Sheetbend
  • Clove hitch - Round turn and Two half hitches
  • Line coiled and crowned
  • Line throwing

Properly Secured Boat:

  • Lines all made up
  • Fenders properly placed
  • Docklines properly tensioned and cleated
  • All loose gear stowed below
  • Halyards moved to pulpits (all fair)
  • Engine hoisted
  • Traveller adjusted away from finger pier
  • Forward hatch checked and secured
  • Sails properly folded/flaked
  • Jib in bag
  • Mainsail covered

Class Information

Cost:

  • Retail: $150
  • Member: $112.50
  • In Guarantee: No cost

# of students:

  • 3 maximum

Boat:

Formats:

  • Three- or Four- hour
    practical training
    Seven days a week
    2 - 5 pm or 2 - 6 pm

Prerequisites:

Appropriate experience.
(Please call us to discuss yours.)

Bareboat Cruising Tests

Bareboat Cruising practical test ("BBC PT")

If you’re confident with the following list of criteria, you’ve chartered or sailed as a skipper before, and you’d like to test out of or challenge Bareboat Cruising, you’ll need to ultimately take a BBC practical test (PT). We recommend starting with a review so you can practice these skills.

OCSC Standards for Bareboat Cruising Certification

Pre-Sail Preparation

  • Boat set up properly for conditions
  • Inventory checked
  • Knowledge of crew briefing topics and general safety issues
  • Wheel brake eased and turned stop-to-stop
  • Checked overboard discharge
  • Shifts transmission at Low RPM's
  • Knowledge of prop walk

Knots:

  • Bowline
  • Figure 8
  • Cleat hitch
  • Sheetbend
  • Clove hitch
  • Round turn and two half hitches
  • Line coiled and crowned
  • Line throwing

Slip Departure Successful:

  • Crew properly placed and briefed
  • Traffic checked
  • Wind ctrength and cirection managed
  • Engine cared for
  • Boat handled smoothly
  • Running spring line used properly
  • Speed only enough to maintain proper control
  • Did not touch another boat

Close Quarters Maneuvering:

  • Back and fill: using wind, prop walk, and gear shifts, student can turn the boat around in a space no
    larger than between the fuel dock and “Y” dock
  • Can operate the boat in reverse for three boat-lengths accounting for cross wind as well as prop walk
  • Controls the wheel against forces placed on it by sternway

Marina Procedures:

  • Safe position in marina maintained
  • Boat speed sufficient
  • Right-of-way situations properly handled
  • Kept boat away from pier/lee shore
  • Sails hoisted properly: Sail luffing, vang, sheet loose
  • Crew communication
  • Unfurled foller furling carefully without allowing the drum to freewheel
  • Furled roller furling only when sail was luffing or in the lee of the mainsail

Points Of Sail, Sail Trim, Use of Sail Controls:

  • Steered boat on command to all points-of-sail accurately (+/– 5 degrees)
    with proper sail trim (+/–10 degrees)
  • Prevented any unintentional gybes
  • Demonstrated ability to use (if boat is equipped with) vang, backstay Adjuster, outhaul, cunningham, mainsheet, traveller to keep boat sailing well in heavy weather
  • Communicated proper instructions to crew

Heaving To:

  • Safely (gradually) tacked with jib backed
  • Allowed boat to settle down
  • Kept helm to leeward for 30 seconds without boat tacking

Reefing Underway:

  • Reefed underway as skipper and crew
  • Kept boat on close reach
  • Luffed main
  • Released vang prior to rehoisting
  • Proper luff tension
  • Used appropriate cringles and reef lines

Tacking and Gybing:

  • In both maneuvers, employed proper commands and checked traffic beforehand

    Tacking:
  • All tacks successful (not caught in irons)
  • Boat is kept near closed hauled and under control after the tack (+/–10 degrees)
  • Turn is slow enough for crew safety

    Gybing:
  • Boat kept on a deep broad reach during prep
  • Warned and protected crew during the maneuver
  • Gave clear directions to crew assisting
  • Eased sheet after the gybe sufficiently
  • All gybes completed without broaching

Person Overboard Recovery:

  • Demonstrates understanding and recognition of the zone of approach
  • Controls boat and crew
  • Demonstrates knowledge of proper hails and commands
  • Appoints a lookout
  • Demonstrates knowledge of the importance of staying close to the victim
  • At Least 75 percent of recoveries are successful as defined below:
    1. Boat is stopped or nearly so with victim to leeward, with sails luffing (victim would take more than twenty seconds to float from the shrouds to the stern)
    2. Victim does not touch boat forward of the shrouds during the approach
    3. Helm is kept to windward during pick-up
    4. Skipper or crew can react the victim with a boathook
    5. At least one recovery is commenced while 1) close hauled and 2) on a deep broad reach

Docking:

  • Fenders and dockline are in place
  • Crew properly positioned and briefed
  • Traffic in slip area checked
  • Time to enter properly judged
  • Wind direction and strength accounted for
  • Engine used properly and gears cared for
  • Boat is brought into the slip so the bowperson can step off
  • Boat momentum should be small enough to allow crew to pass a permanent sternline to the skipper while
    entering the slip and to control the boat with bow and stern lines

Class Information

Cost:

  • Retail: $200
  • Member: $150
  • In Guarantee: No cost

# of students:

  • 3 maximum

Boat:

Formats:

  • Three- or Four- hour
    practical training
    Seven days a week
    2 - 5 pm or 2 - 6 pm

Prerequisites:

Appropriate experience.
(Please call us to discuss yours.)