This Celestial Sailing weekend offers a practical hands on experience, a great way to get some sextant practice and a chance to find out if it's a subject you'd like to take further.
For centuries sailors have navigated their way across the oceans by celestial navigation or nautical astronomy - using the sun, moon, plants and the stars. For the modern sailor it is not only a fascinating art but essential when crossing oceans as back up to the modern and much relied upon electronic navigation.
If you are curious about how to use a sextant or have taken the Yachtmaster or Ocean Theory courses, or are even self taught, our celestial sailing weekends are ideal offering both an introduction and a refresher. All are welcome. A big advantage is that you learn in a small group, under the supervision of an expert instructor.
The weekends involve sailing along the south side of the Isle of Wight and back up through the Needles. If the weather permits we may look to go further offshore.
If you have your own sextant bring it along. You can compare the pros and cons of different models ranging from the very basic through to the proper thing. The course will cover the basic principles behind using a sextant to fix your position, initial sextant checks, meridian passage, sun sights, star planning, compass checks and whatever else we can fit in.
These weekends offer a practical hands on experience, a great way to get some sextant practice and a chance to find out if it’s a subject you’d like to take further.
The weekend is obviously dependent on the weather and the final decision will be made by the instructor, it is very rare that the forecast would prevent this course. We will offer an alternative program should this happen.
If the conditions don’t allow us to leave the Solent we would look to ensure you get plenty of sailing in the conditions that prevent the course but in safer more sheltered local waters. Unfortunately we are not able to offer a refund or transfer to a later date if the itinerary changes due to the weather conditions.
The weekend will cover the basic principles behind fixing your position using a sextant.
You will cover the essential initial sextant checks, meridian passage, sun sights, star planning, compass checks and whatever else we can fit in. Plus you will get some great sailing!
Whilst the weather sailing of the south coast is actually fairly mild it is important to have the correct clothing. We provide modern, branded waterproof trousers and jackets free of charge.
Space on a boat is always at a premium, so you should pack your clothes in a soft holdall that can be stowed away in a locker. Bags with wheels or metal buckles should be avoided, as these may damage the woodwork on boats. You will need:
We provide all safety equipment such as lifejackets and harnesses.
What did you like most about about your course? Well-defined and beautifully balanced act between people, didactics and technology. Combo is rarely achieved successfully but it hits the bull's eye! How would you rate the support you received during your course on a scale of 1 to 5 with 1 being very poor and 5 being excellent? 5 no doubt. From the first feedback onwards it's guaranteed you are not alone! I like the way anecdotes and facts are sprinkled occasionally alongside the syllabus, like recent ship wrecks in the Channel, etc. This certainly makes reading more interesting as text books tend to be somewhat drier. Please use any occasion to exploit that approach. That enriches the reader immensely as it is first-hand knowledge in its purest form, and that is certainly difficult to obtain anywhere else. Well done. "LJ,
"The Instructor was an excellent coach and really took the time with our class to ensure we all understood all aspects of the course. He was patient and prepared to take the time to ensure we all had the best knowledge transferred to us. He was an excellent instructor and had a significant amount of detailed knowledge that was most helpful to me and the rest of the class. He is passionate and fully committed to his work and goes above and beyond to ensure you are capable and have a really enjoyable experience learning with him. First Class Sailing are well organised and the logistics, course material and facilities were all top notch "David, Director
"First Class Sailing should be your only choice for embarking on any theoretical or practical learning experience you may require. Regardless of previous experience it is defiantly No1. Choice for getting the best start around your sailing experience requirements. "David, Director
"An excellent outfit, well equipped with good boats and brilliant instructors, that is small enough to give a warm personal service but big enough to cope with the full gamut of yachting experiences"Thomas H.,
"I am no longer scared of the engine, touching bolts etc."Georgina, Office Manager
"Excellent instructor - gave freely of his experience - very dedicated and enormously helpful."Colin McKnight,
"Professional and effective. Good equipment, taught by knowledgable and enthusiastic professionals."Ron G.,
"The instructor was the perfect balance of show and tell mixed with letting you make your own mistakes safely. (The booking process) was all very professional and friendly. I felt the booking official actually cared about getting my booking right. Friendly, personalised, professional with out being officious. "Andy C.,
"Excellent and I highly recommend to take any of First Class Sailing's courses"Daniel O., Senior Manager
"Best Sailing School in the UK!"Stefano D, Director
"Don't choose courses on basis of price. All courses are not the same. Both First Class Sailing Theory and Practical courses are 'First Class'."Michael T,
"Great practical use of equipment. Good class size. Relaxed. "Hannah T.,
"Good clear explanations and pragmatic approach, was very easy to follow. Excellent instructor."Neil M.,
"Hands on, excellent instructor. Very professional, excellent course, 1st Class Service. "Julian N.,
"Clear and focused on practical needs. "Julein Q.,
"Concise, covered all relevant and necessary material without unneeded extra time. Instructor was friendly, informative and extremely competent. "Troy B.,
"Good level of detail and experience from instructor. "Robert A.,
"Good entertaining tuition. Lots of anecdotes to make it interesting, great practical experience."Nick S.,
"The booking was well handled and the confirmation emails received speedily. Very helpful to receive pre course notes. Professional, helpful, good value. "Sarah R.,
"Friendly informative courses delivered in a relaxed environment by knowledgeable instructors. "Allyson F., Head if UK Retail Marketing, Henderson Global Investors
On the water courses that teach the beginner how to be a useful crew member and the advanced how to cross oceans.
A VHF radio is an essential piece of safety equipment and it is vital to understand the correct procedures.
Shorebased navigation classes that prepare you to safely find your way once afloat.
One day courses that broaden your knowledge and compliment the RYA practical and navigation courses.