The RYA Yachtmaster Ocean Theory Course examines astro-navigation, the use of the sextant and worldwide meteorology. It assumes a knowledge of all the subjects covered in all the other shorebased courses.
During the Covid 19 pandemic we are offering an INSTRUCTOR LED ONLINE Day Skipper course on Zoom. You can see the instructor, ask him questions, see your fellow students, see the whiteboard and any slides the instructor shows. It's just like being in the classroom apart from you are sat in the comfort of your own home. Click the dates and availability button for more details.
For centuries sailors have guided their ships across the oceans by celestial navigation or nautical astronomy. On the RYA Yachtmaster Ocean Theory Course you will learn how to fix your position with a sextant by observing the sun, moon, stars and planets. For the modern sailor it is not only a fascinating art, but an essential alternative to electronic navigation when crossing oceans.
Looking to practice using a sextant? See our Celestial Sailing Weekends where you can get some hands on practice. After the pandemic obviously.
This course is for those aspiring to blue water cruising and is ideal for holders of the Yachtmaster Offshore certificate of competence who are preparing for their first ocean voyage. It is also suitable for those who enjoy and have a general interest and curiosity in navigation and how one can find a position by using a sextant and the heavenly bodies.
Minimum Pre Course Experience: Coastal and offshore sailing. Prior to the course your navigation skills should be at the standard of the Coastal Skipper / Yachtmaster Offshore shorebased course.
Ability after the Course: Background knowledge to skipper a yacht on ocean passages.
Course Content: Astro-navigation, ocean meterology.
We provide a comprehensive set of materials to assist you with the course including:
For those wanting the full Yachtmaster Ocean certificate we can help arrange the 600-mile qualifying passage.
Exams: With this online version of the Yachtmaster Ocean Shorebased course it is not possible to invigilate the exam over the internet to the standard set by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency. This matters if you have a plan to get the Ocean Yachtmaster Certificate of Competence (the practical certificate) one day. There are 3 options:
1. Sit the exam on your kitchen. Upon successful completion and a pass we can issue a Course Certificate endorsed as 'non invigilated'. If you are taking the course for fun and for your own interest, then this is a good option. However, when/if you take the Ocean Yachtmaster Certificate of Competence oral exam you will have to sit a written paper prior to the oral exam.
2. Sit the exam in the company of an RYA instructor. When restrictions ease we will have some dates to facilitate this. Alternatively, if you know of an RYA Instructor (can be any type of RYA instructor - eg jetski/windsurfing/dinghy/yacht) then you can sit it with that person where ever you are in the country/world. That instructor then needs to send us the paper and assuming you pass we can then issue an 'invigilated' certificate. This means when/if you take the oral Certificate of Competence test you will not need to sit a theory paper beforehand.
3. If you need to get the Ocean Yachtmaster Certificate of Competence as a prerequisite for the MCA Master 200 (unlimited) or you intend to become a Chief Mate/Master 500/3000 then you have to take an invigilated exam with an RYA Instructor.
Some difficult principles to grasp! It takes a while to get to grips with the principles of astro navigation so do not be put off if you don't understand everything you will be taught straight away.
A knowledgeable instructor who will give you plenty of support if you need it.
It is not a problem if you have to miss a lesson providing you are prepared to put some effort into catching up. The sessions are recorded to watch later in the week There is a fair bit of homework each session and providing you do this you know you will have caught up sufficiently. Also the instructor is available on phone/email in between sessions.
Courses are run over 40 hours plus time for exams. Evening classes generally start at 6.00pm with the instructor being available from 5.30pm. Weekend classes start at 9am.
Zoom class timings vary and you should check the timings of the specific course dates that you are interested in. The link below will take you to the different dates.
This is a course in astro-navigation and worldwide meteorology which also reveals the mysteries of the sextant. It assumes a knowledge of all subjects covered in the other shorebased courses.
You will need a set of dividers which you will probably have from the Yachtmaster Shorebased course. We can provide them for £20. Alternatively you can buy them from most chandleries but they will probably be more expensive. You will be asked if you want us to supply you with this item when you book a course.
"Thanks very much for your entertaining lessons, they were definitely something to look forward to during my week! This shows that people can do the course over video chat, it is actually quite easy to follow along online."
"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
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