Giovanni Pomari is a passionate sailor who fulfilled his dream: to become a Rya yachtmaster offshore. We are very happy to share his story and his emotions. And if you need to know more about Giovanni, follow his Instagram profile: https://www.instagram.com/sailing.pomo/
One day, while I was talking to my wife, I realized that we aspired to change our lives forever, doing so by living and organizing holidays on a sailing boat.
Starting from that moment, my goal was to turn that dream into reality. However, to be able to do so by the rules, I did need to get an official license.
Having traced the course of all things accurately, I found out that the “yachtmaster commercially endorsed” fulfilled all the requirements of what I was looking for.
I knew it wouldn’t have been easy, especially considering that I should have tried to combine my current job, find some time to study, take the course, take the exam, all the STCW courses and all the other courses to get to the commercial endorsement. Nonetheless, it is said that difficulties must be faced one step at a time, so I started my journey.
I closely started looking at what it meant to become a YM, and which experiences and skills were needed for that position. I immediately realized that it needed a different, higher starting level of preparation from mine, which was mainly based on my experience as a passionate sailor during holidays.
Thus, my first step, even before I enrolled in the course, was to study a lot.
I bought as many books as possible, especially those recommended by RYA, and I began to approach my passion in a completely different, methodical and professional way.
Every time I had the chance to go out on the boat I tried to have a different attitude, so as to see if I had the skills to face this adventure.
Then, in November 2019 I decided to enroll in the course. That would have taken place in Venice, particularly in the RYA school Venice 4 sea, in the early months of 2020, when we still did not know what covid-19 was.
From the very beginning, the theoretical course turned out to be at an even higher level of my expectations and I realized that without my study, which did last almost a year before the course, I would have never passed the course.
My classes did last all day, and I was assigned homework to do in the evening, which made it really intense.
However, I instantly realized the serious and professional approach that our instructor had, and this excited me and gave me even more motivation. I tried even harder, trying to put all my passion into this new experience.
Following the theoretical course, there was a second, practical part of the course in sailing. This was very challenging and equally formative.
It consisted of five days of sailing, 14 to 18 hours a day, where we addressed any topic in-depth.
The instructor really helped us to take a different and deeper awareness of the environment, the method, the seriousness and the preparation needed to become a YM.
Venice has proved to be a fantastic ambience, both from the point of view of the enchanted beauty of the places, which certainly made me fall in love with this magical city, and from the technical point of view, since it has proved to be an extremely complete gym for navigation, with everything one could need.
Also, it is a place with a very prestigious maritime history, and it’s been a pleasure to take the YM license in such a historically important place.
The commitment and the result required were really high. There was not a single topic that was not analyzed in those days, and each topic did result in great importance.
One example might be provided by the IRPCS, the rules for preventing collisions at sea.
We all know and learn a small part, which we think can be enough to navigate. In reality, the rules are way more detailed and, by knowing them deeply, we might be able to evaluate various situations in different ways. For instance, the recovery of a man overboard is a fundamental procedure, and is concretely and practically addressed in all possible scenarios. Maximum preparation is required as long as safety is concerned.
Everything is planned with this logic, namely being theoretically prepared by knowing how to act safely.
And that’s what it means to become a YM: being able to navigate in every condition, in safety. It also means being able to avoid situations in which you would not navigate safely, being able to recognize such situations before they occur and being able to handle unforeseen situations while always trying to prevent them from occurring.
Then it comes the big day: The exam’s day.
Clearly, the tension played its role, but managing tension was something that one learned during the course (unfortunately you notice this only after the exam).
One wonders what will happen, what the examiner will expect from the students, what’s the best way to cope with the test; but those are just the classic doubts before any examination.
All the doubts were immediately clarified by the examiner: the exam consisted only in “making me feel comfortable, by entrusting you my nephew to cross the English channel at night.” Well.. that was not such a relaxing premise.
Nonetheless, that is a concrete and realistic assessment of one’s own skills and abilities, carried out by an extremely competent and skilled sailor.
The exam was intense and it included 2 candidates at a time. During that, one could really face every kind of situation, luck or bad luck will definitely not matter. It was definitely a long day for me.
It consisted of an extremely concrete and real route, based on the practice of everyday navigation by sea.
The instructors and the examiners are people of a really uncommon preparation, competence and experience. Having their approval is undoubtedly a source of pride for anyone, as a new awareness of one’s abilities. I sincerely want to thank them for that.
This was an important step for me, and I am proud of it. After that, I immediately decided to work on the engine conversion, and I did it with enthusiasm, again throughout the practical course.
My passion and my love for the sea is constantly getting bigger and bigger.
As for now, my goal is to be able to board a boat over 20 meters and accumulate enough experience to take the “MCA 200”. As regards the future, we will see…
One step at a time. Every day one step.