Originally Posted by whisper
However I would get some training on the same sort of boat before we went
I think that is sensible, sailing looks easy from the shore or a motor boat afterall everything is so slow, but it's not - you need much more awareness of your environment than in a rib! The suggestion to do some dinghy sailing is not stupid but two observations having learned in dinghies and had brief encounters with much bigger things...
1. The handling and experience on a big boat is totally different to a dinghy. It's also rather different controlling 100k of yacht in a way that might need a lifeboat if you get it wrong from a 3k plastic sailing school tub where most problems can be fixed with a paddle or a nudge from the friendly rib watching you.
2. I'm not sure the rya dinghy scheme actually trains you to sail (que a furore from rya dinghy instructors) but it teaches the mechanics and the practicalities very well (some, but certainly not all of which transfer to big boats). The distinction I am making is that it trains techniques and theory rather than a fundamental understanding of seamanship and skippering. The big boat courses look on paper more targeted towards that. e.g. On a big boat anything tricky can often be tackled by dropping the sails and motoring, an option not available to most dinghies so understanding when that is prudent isn't the norm.