PROGRAMME 2022 - 2023

Delivery Passage from Falkland Islands to Cape Town 11 April - 23 May 2020 - An opportunity for accelerated learning to build sea time and miles and practise ocean navigation and seamanship for Yachtmaster Ocean and Offshore qualifications.

In the course of this package Pelagic Expeditions is offering 3 training and practical experience components:

The Pelagic Theoretical Syllabus. A 5 days shorebased instruction course covering celestial navigation, meteorology, electronic navigation and communications, and yacht husbandry. See Pelagic 5 day Theory Syllabus here>>;

Practical pilotage cruise of the Falkland Islands. This 12 day cruise reinforces the navigation theory taught and practises boat handling skills such as anchoring in rugged, remote locations. Aspects covered during this phase and later in the ocean voyage include:

• Sail handling and trim
• Tidal coastal navigation and pilotage (including uncharted or poorly chartered harbours)
• Anchoring/mooring for strong weather
• Passage planning for strong weather
• Radar, setup and use of
• Use of paper charts, pilot guides, chart plotters and apps
• Safe tender and outboard use
• Familiarisation with the vessel and its systems before setting out on the ocean crossing
• Crew and vessel management as Skipper
• Practise of celestial navigation

Falklands to Cape Town Oceanic Voyage. Having learnt from preparing and provisioning for the 4,500 mile voyage to Cape Town, the voyage offers the opportunity to assemble sights for the Ocean Yachtmaster qualification and accelerated learning about all aspects of ocean seamanship and storm sailing tactics in particular. Topics covered include:

• Ongoing, regular yacht maintenance.
• Standing and running rigging checks and repairs.
• Splicing, whipping and other ropework.
• Weather forecasts, gribs and routing.
• Heavy weather sailing. Preparing for, different tactics (heaving to, sea anchors, drogues) and experience dealing with.
• Real celestial navigation. Sailing from Falklands to Cape Town via Tristan Da Cunha without GPS.
• Provisions, Water, Diesel and Electricity managment.

Timings for 2020. For the April/May 2020 delivery Pelagic Australis will be embarking her crew at Port Stanley on the Falkland Islands on 11 April 2019. After the training course on shore, and a further circa 2 week's cruise of the Falkland Island's scenic anchorages to put these skills into practice, the vessel will depart for her transatlantic voyage. This 4500 mile ocean passage is expected to take 21 days with an ETA into Cape Town of about 23 May. Weather and circumstances permitting a stop at the remote island of Tristan da Cunha is a possibility.

This is a unique opportunity to acquire ocean and storm sailing experience and skills at pace in a tough High Latitudes environment.

Pelagic Australis anchored off Tristan da Cunha


Recently, the RYA Offshore shorebased course has been augmented with more theoretical work which is now difficult to fit into an intensive five day time span and the course work has become more complex. Because the profile of our clients/students on this end of season delivery programme is mature rather than zero to hero youngsters, we have designed a course of study, The Pelagic Syllabus, that is more relevant to the cruise around the Falklands Islands and the ocean passage to Cape Town.

However this new programme is still 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. The new syllabus including the RYA Yachtmaster Ocean option, which emphasises celestial navigation and ocean weather, will be run by a qualified RYA instructor flown down from the UK, who will then stay on board for the Falklands cruise and the trip to Cape Town to help reinforce the course work, along with the professional crew.

"I believe this will make for a much more enjoyable and relevant experience, during what is a unique combination of instructional course work, a sailing adventure inshore and the experience of a long ocean passage ending in the Tavern of the Seas." Skip Novak


Shorebased navigation theory and practice

Navigation and seamanship training in demanding Falkland waters

After the training course in Stanley, the focus of this programme is to use the two week cruise within the complex nature of the Falkland Islands archipelago, see Falklands page for more info, for honing student's navigational skills and general lessons in seamanship relevant to ocean and heavy weather sailing .

Pelagic Australis in a Falklands harbour

This cruise will be under the guidance and assistance of the RYA instructor joining the vessel for the course, along with the Pelagic Australis crew. Then, the ocean voyage from Stanley to Cape Town, with the RYA instructor and supervised by the professional crew, serves to provide students with an opportunity to grasp every aspect of what it takes to pilot and crew an ocean sailing vessel across the breadth of the Atlantic Ocean.  In addition there will be plenty of opportunities to practise the celestial navigation skills learned earlier on the shorebased course and to aquire the data and qualifying miles to sit the Yachtmaster Ocean practical subsequently.

Later after completion of the voyage, a potential candidate can sit an 'Oral' exam with an Ocean Examiner where the sights are scrutinised and they are asked about all aspects of the passage and the 'Celestial Navigation'. If the examiner is happy, they 'Pass' their RYA Ocean 'Practical'. Please note that to take the RYA Yachtmaster Ocean practical, the candidate must hold a valid RYA Yachtmaster Offshore practical qualification. However as the sights and passage record are valid to sit the Ocean practical for 10 years after the voyage takes place, therefore there is a 10 year window to aquire an RYA Yachtmaster Offshore Practical license if a student is not already so qualified.

Navigation briefing for the 4,500 mile journey

Please Take Note: This is a hands on situation and is not a leisure cruise. Crew members will be required to stand a watch throughout, take turns at cooking, cleaning and maintaining the vessel. A reasonable degree of fitness and vitality is necessary for making this an enjoyable experience. In order take part in the Pelagic course training it is essential that the student is fluent in spoken and written English.

Experience Required: This is not a voyage for beginners. Every crew member is expected to have a reasonable degree of offshore experience to fully benefit from the course. An RYA Day Skipper qualification or other equivalent is the level we are looking for. Every prospective crew must submit any qualifications they have, plus a sailing CV in order for Pelagic Expeditions to judge whether he or she is suitable for this specialized voyage. There is no age limit, but we stress again that in order to benefit from this passage and the course, a reasonable degree of fitness and a high level of self motivation is required.


Pelagic Australis is run as a "dry ship" when at sea and possibly at some anchorages when there is a real possibility of having to 'up anchor' and move off. This is at the Skipper's discretion. In port reasonable amounts of alcohol can be consumed but excessive alcohol consumption that leads to situations which put people at risk, or where the harmony of life on board is disturbed to an extent that other guests are made uncomfortable will not be tolerated. If this situation arises, the Skipper reserves the right to return to port and to disembark any Charterer at an intermediary port, or disembark the entire group in a group charter if necessary.

Pelagic Australis is a recognized and licensed RYA training facility. Pelagic Expeditions will provide a qualified RYA Instructor to conduct the Pelagic syllabus in addition to the vessels skipper and crew who will instruct the students in all else as mentioned in the general syllabus.

Click here for details of the Pelagic syllabus

Student Comments on The 2019 Forty Day Training and Delivery Trip

"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 is 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 will 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

Pelagic Australis arrives at Cape Town June 2019 guided by Pelagic Syllabus students Celestial navigation alone. Photo: Simon Van Dam

Learning rope and rigging skills

RYA Instructor Alan Denham writes:

The Falklands offer a good mixture of weather, varied tides and many natural harbours. It is an ideal place to review sailing and navigational skills and put new skills into practice under the tutelage of the RYA instructor and the Pelagic crew.

The variability of South Atlantic weather means crew are kept busy with reefing and sail trim. It can blow anywhere between nothing to 60 knots, especially in the autumn. One day can be big winds and big seas, the next blue sky and calms. This allows students to think about optimum sail plans for the prevailing conditions.

Though the tidal range is not as large as many parts of the world, there is enough to make tidal depth calculations important. Students are able to practice some of the more intricate calculations required to get over shallow bars and to work out required depths for anchoring. Despite the relatively small range there are some deceptively strong tidal gates around the islands. A good example is Tamar Pass in the NW where tides can run up to 10 knots at Springs. This requires careful planning for the navigator.

The islands extend west to east some 150 miles making for some useful longer overnight passages. This gets the students used to getting into a regular watch system and to experience some night hours, all in preparation for the transatlantic journey ahead.

On the other hand, the natural geology of the islands give numerous natural harbours and bays to explore. Often, we are entering unexplored harbours so students may be using the dinghy and hand held depth sounder to con the vessel into her anchorage. Often we are making our own pilotage charts for future visits!

With no marinas, anchoring is the normal daily routine. Students learn the process of laying the ground tackle correctly and in strong wind conditions, maintaining an anchor watch. In some harbours, it may also be necessary to take additional ropes ashore. This involves good teamwork and coordination to help put out the wire strops, manoeuvre the tender, get ropes ashore and secure them on-board.

Pelagic Australis is fitted with all the latest electronic navigational equipment and students have the opportunity to learn how to navigate many of the trickier harbour entries with Radar and Pilotage techniques alone which are always good to practice.

Though generally traffic is light, there is still a good variety of commercial traffic around the islands requiring a good knowledge and application of the Collision Regulations. Though limited in number, there are a good variety of aids to navigation including lighthouses, buoys and transits.

The Falklands offer a true adventure sailing experience in one of the most remote corners of the world.



Students will arrive in Port Stanley on April 11th via the Saturday Latam flight from Santiago and can go straight on board. An alternative is to take the RAF flight from Brize Norton in Oxfordshire which will arrive a few days earlier. Guest house accommodation can be booked directly or through International Tours and Travel. We can recommend hostel or hotel accommodation for those nights prior to the embarkation date, and meals on those days will be the responsibility of the students.

Stanley Waterfront

Having moved on board on April 11th and the students begin the five day Pelagic course in a classroom in Stanley. On or about April 16th, Pelagic Australis will depart Stanley and begin the cruise through the archipelago of the Falklands Islands concentrating on West Falkland which has the best wildlife and points of interest. If the weather is favourable the entire island group will be circumnavigated before returning to Stanley to fuel and provision up for the ocean crossing to Cape Town.

Johnny Rooks are amongst the wildlife to be seen on The Falklands circumnavigation

The remote island of Tristan da Cunha is along the track at 40 degrees South and if the surf off the open roads is reasonable a landing will be attempted for a rare visit to this British overseas outpost, largely populated by descendants from ship wrecked sailors of old.

On a good day, Table Mountain can be seen from 50 miles offshore and our ETA is expected there about May 23 2020. Cape Town Tavern of the Seas!


The Falklands are a specialist destination. Local agents to book your flights to Mount Pleasant Airport in the Falklands and arrange for transfer to the vessel once there are:

International Tours and Travel LTD
1 Dean Street Stanley FIQQ1ZZ
Falkland Islands
+500 22041 tel +500 22042 fax
Contact: Sally Ellis


We suggest that if you are arriving via Chile that you plan to be in Santiago on the Thursday night prior to the early Saturday morning departure from Santiago to Mount Pleasant Airport in the Falklands. This will allow some slack for missed connections and bags that did not make connections. Note that there is only one flight per week going into the Falklands, so this is critical. We also suggest you stay at the Airport Holiday Inn while in Santiago as it is a walk across the street to the terminal. And, you can enjoy this fascinating city on the Friday and meet up with your team mates.


The Malvinas Hotel is the only true hotel, but there are other guest houses and boutique accommodations available. We can advise on those and you can book directly or through International Tours and Travel.


Crew must make sure they have visas if required for the Falklands and South Africa. Photocopies of these visas and proof of a return ticket out of South Africa will be required by Pelagic Expeditions. It is essential that you have at least two clear pages in your passport BEFORE entering South Africa.


RYA Delivery GBP 11,000. This cost includes:


Not included:



Click here for details of the syllabus


Equipment List 2 - For the Atlantic Deliveries.

Please  e-mail Skip Novak to reserve a place


Tristan da Cunha