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Stoneways Marine 2021 - LEADERBOARD

Restrictions ease on a special date for one sailing couple

by Marc Turner, RYA Scotland 1 Jul 2020 14:32 BST
Daniel Smith and Becky Jeffrey onboard their boat InTuition in Largs © RYA Scotland

Daniel Smith (39) and his partner Becky Jeffery (29) were set to be married this Friday the 3rd of July, the day travel restrictions are to be eased and overnight accommodation is allowed in Scotland in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Daniel Smith, a RYA Examiner, Trainer and former skipper in The Clipper Round the World Race started his own RYA Training Centre to provide practical skills as part of the RYA Yachtmaster scheme, but like the wedding plans this had to be put on hold as activities ceased.

The couple are looking forward to the opportunity to cast off again and restart their business and personal plans to explore Scotland's coasts. They also provide some appropriate advice to those thinking of heading afloat over the coming months.

"The weather forecast looks terrible for the 3rd of July so we maybe in luck." comments Becky on the significance of the date. "We have done a few short days sails together locally and having the freedom in the water has been lovely. We have been a lot more cautious than maybe we would have been in the past and staying within our safety limits as much as possible. Thinking twice and making sure we are comfortable. What we're really looking forward to is heading away overnight which we will now be able to do from Friday."

"Growing up I was taught how to sail in a dinghy with my family in Northern Ireland. I liked the idea of doing the Clipper Race and that's where I met Daniel. It is nice to be able to go sailing with someone that you completely trust and has been there and done that and I know will keep me safe and make the right decisions."

Daniel has had significant experience afloat both as an instructor and as a skipper in the Clipper Round The World Race in 2015/16, with leg wins including the famous Sydney Hobart Race before becoming the depute race director. His inspiration lies in showing others ropes and is why he set up a RYA Training Centre.

"We got the boat at the end of last year and spent the winter preparing to start up as a RYA Training centre. Really the idea aims to teach people to sail, as this is a passion of mine, passing on the knowledge and skills to look after yourself, your boat and sail the best you can."

Dan continues, "The way I learnt was through the RYA Scheme and it set up good standards around planning and making sure we are keeping an eye on things and we have practiced safety drills, like dealing with someone falling overboard and we are capable of getting back ashore safely if something does go wrong."

Becky added. "So much of the RYA courses are all about the preparation before you go out sailing and that's always in the back of both of our minds before we go afloat. Have we done the checklists? Is the boat working properly? Have we got all the equipment we need and that is part of what the RYA installs almost subconsciously at this stage and this increases your confidence when you go afloat and makes the day much happier. It's a bad day if your engine breaks down and we've managed to avoid that through the checks we perform before we head out."

As the couple plan, revise and re-plan their honeymoon they are keen to ensure they are considerate of the places they plan to go to. Becky continues:.

"I come from Northern Ireland and I have been really looking forward to see some of the islands, but we're also well aware about how nervous people will be about us arriving on their doorstep in the current climate. They don't know who we are and they don't know where we've been. What we want to do is make sure they are as comfortable as possible and to check ahead to see that ports and harbours are happy to have us if we plan to go there. We want to buy local and spend our money on the islands in the safest way possible. Make people feel comfortable with our arrival and not to be nervous."

James Allan, CEO of RYA Scotland added:

"Our guiding principles throughout the pandemic have been about being considerate of others and being conservative in the risks when we go afloat. Dan and Becky's story illustrates their approach in these current times and how RYA Training has shaped the skills and habits around planning ahead and the importance of safety while afloat."

"While the weather, equipment and skills may determine where Dan and Becky go on their honeymoon, the choice of destination is particularly important with many of coastal and island communities opening up for the first time."

"We are all starting to get quite excited about getting back to our boats, boards and foils this Friday. In line with the Scottish Government's easing of restrictions the team at RYA Scotland have been bringing together revised guidance, which covers details for facilities, marinas, clubs and training centres who enable our diverse activities, alongside general advice for those planning to head afloat, to keep them safe and the communities they visit."

Updated guidance will be available on Friday the 3rd of June at the Return To Boating page of our website. RYA Scotland continue to provide support and detailed guidance across all forms of boating.

For further information on training opportunities visit and to find your nearest RYA recognised training centre.

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