Ocean Voyages and Pelagic Syllabus Training Courses

Annually, Vinson of Antarctica sails from South American waters in early April and makes a circa 24 day ocean passage from Puerto Williams, Tierra del Fuego to Cape Town, South Africa. Prior to this, over a period of about 15 days, we run a shorebased course to the Pelagic Syllabus, followed by a training cruise of local anchorages in the Beagle Channel and Cape Horn area before departing on the ocean voyage.

Tristan da Cunha from Pelagic Australis

The voyage continues offshore, across the South Atlantic, with a hoped for landing on the remote British island of Tristan da Cunha, before making a landfall on Table Mountain above Cape Town. This is a true sailor's classic voyage.

The 4300 mile trip caters to people of all ages who are relatively experienced offshore sailors and who wish to complete the Pelagic Syllabus course. It is a unique opportunity to acquire ocean and storm sailing experience and skills at pace in a tough High Latitudes environment.

This programme is relevant for students wishing to eventually get their RYA Yachtmaster Offshore License, as in one sweep it provides double the ocean miles required for that ticket.

See programmes page for details of current training voyages on offer >>

See below for accounts of earlier voyages on Pelagic Australis



"For some time now I have read Skip Novak’s opinion pieces in Yachting World, always appreciating his insightful and balanced commentary. So when I saw this training and delivery trip advertised under his brand I was quick to register my interest.

My primary purpose was to complete the Ocean Yachtmaster ticket. The prospect of a cruise around the Falklands and a visit to Tristan da Cunha as part of the 4,000NM ocean crossing to Cape Town was a significant bonus. Our RYA instructor did a great job both in the classroom and putting it all into practice as we circumnavigated the Falklands.

Pelagic Australis proved to be a well built and maintained vessel suited to short handed, high latitude voyaging. A very comfortable home for our six weeks aboard.

Apart from being excellent sailors and good hosts,the skipper, mate and crew, were enthusiastic Astro navigators. So an unexpected opportunity of the expedition was to navigate the ship to Cape Town without the GPS. This meant I was thoroughly prepared for the Yachtmaster oral exam - my ultimate objective.

For me the expedition delivered on its promise in every respect."

Campbell Mackie

"The delivery trip from the Falklands to Cape Town onboard Pelagic Australis at the end of the 2018/19 southern hemisphere season was, in a word, awesome. The structure of the 6 week trip provides a fantastic opportunity for sailors, who may already have some experience, to broaden their knowledge and develop new skills onboard a fit-for-purpose boat in unique and isolated waters which otherwise none of us would likely visit. The combination of celestial navigation theory and practice, navigation of the Falklands Archipelago and an Atlantic crossing develops sailing abilities and confidence immensely."

"A lot is down to the seaworthiness of Pelagic Australis for high latitudes. The trip provides a different type of sailing and in different conditions to those I, or indeed most sailors regularly experience. Pelagic is exceptionally well designed and the application of Skip’s vast experience in high latitudes is evident. This imparts great confidence, even on the foredeck in F9, yet at the same time I thought her a joy to helm."

"The skipper, Edd Hewett and permanent crew were outstanding and quickly established a great atmosphere, allowing everyone to take on as much responsibility for the running of the boat as they wanted while never compromising the safety of crew and vessel. Edd, mate Charly and crew Simon always made time to train, explain and pass-on their experience and knowledge. Hospitality, victualling and camaraderie onboard meant everyone left with a great experience. The first week was classroom based in Stanley and covered the theory of celestial navigation led by Alan, an RYA Instructor. The following 2 weeks were then spent cruising the Falklands Archipelago with Alan onboard to put theory into practice and try taking some sun sights at sea. The Falklands are a remote, unspoiled group of islands and exploring them while still relatively unknown was a real gem. The geography is just spectacular with abundant and unique wildlife."

Before setting off on the Atlantic passage we all decided to raise the stakes and aim to complete the voyage navigating solely by celestial means. After the week’s training onshore we wanted to see if we could do it so we taped over the GPS and set-off. Our first landfall after 12 days was arriving at the remote volcanic island of Tristan da Cunha right where we expected it to be in a pitch-black F9 gale at 2am. One of the benefits of the trip is that we could all take sightings and aggregate the output for better quality plots and we found this a great way to build our skills. We all came to appreciate first hand how tricky it is to get a reliable sight from the sun when it’s hazy of overcast and on a rolling deck. Arriving in Tristan we were all ecstatic! Likewise, seeing Table Mountain appear through the spreaders was another navigational success. The GPS had stayed taped over and we had done what we set out to do. A great team accomplishment which we’ll all keep the memory of for a long time.

Overall, everything about the trip was outstanding and I thoroughly recommend it to anyone who wants to extend the boundaries of their sailing experience in a unique, challenging and rewarding way, or who simply wants to become a better navigator and seaman sailing in waters they otherwise wouldn’t visit."

Phil Driver


Read an account in RYA magazine on the trip from Tierra del Fuego to Cape Town. See 2009 Delivery and RYA training trip Chile to Cape Town .

On board study of the Pelagic Syllabus


Pelagic Australis moored in Caleta Brecknock Tierra del Fuego