It is not unusual for me to take on a student who has just purchased their first yacht and on discussion find that they have spent over £500,000 or more on their new toy.
Often this has been the result of some long held dream that has finally been achieved by years of hard work developing a business that makes this purchase possible.
If I had been consulted first, I would have recommended that instead of buying a brand new 40-50 yacht, that their first boat should have been a slightly tatty 30-32 footer. In a smaller boat any errors would have been less critical, but I have noticed that owners are often far more nervous handing a new boat than one that already has a few minor bumps and scrapes. This nervousness itself is sometimes the cause of problems.
This smaller boat would have allowed the owner much more room for error and experimentation so that they had a good feel for boats before taking on the considerably greater challenges of a larger yacht.
In the past if you owned a yacht you probably came from a nautical family, you would have grown up sailing and rowing dinghies, sailing as crew on the family boat, then your first yacht would have been a small vessel with minimal facilities. Every few years this boat would have been replaced by one a few feet longer and by the time you could afford a 50 foot yacht, you would been very experienced at all aspects of running and maintaining a vessel.
This experience is rare now as people can afford to buy quite large yachts as their first boat. Unfortunately, no matter how many courses you take or which instructor you go to, they can not cover all the experiences that are required to feel comfortable and safe skippering a larger yacht.