PROGRAMME 2022 - 2023

Southern Ocean Delivery Passage from Puerto Williams, Chile, to Cape Town 20 March - 4 May 2023 on board the new Pelagic 77 Vinson of Antarctica - An opportunity for accelerated learning to build sea time and miles and practise ocean navigation and seamanship for both RYA Yachtmaster Ocean and Offshore qualifications.

In the course of this package Pelagic Expeditions, on board the new Pelagic 77, Vinson of Antarctica, is offering 3 training and practical experience components:

The Pelagic Theoretical Syllabus. A 3 day shore based instruction course covering celestial navigation, meteorology, electronic navigation and communications, and yacht husbandry continuing on board in the Beagle Channel for another 2 days. See Pelagic 5 day Theory Syllabus here>>

Practical pilotage cruise of the Beagle Channel and possible rounding of Cape Horn (To be confirmed when covid and other regs in force at the time are known). This 10 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

Puerto Williams to Cape Town Oceanic Voyage. Having learnt from preparing and provisioning for the 4,300 mile voyage to Cape Town, the voyage offers the opportunity to assemble sights for the Ocean Yachtmaster qualification. This also includes 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 and practicing reefing, heaving to and below decks management.
• Real celestial navigation. Sailing from Falklands to Cape Town via Tristan Da Cunha without GPS.
• Provisions, Water, Diesel and Electricity managment.

Students practising taking sights on the Oceanic voyage to plot position without help from GPS

Timings for 2023. For the March/May 2023 programme Vinson of Antarctica will be embarking her crew at Puerto Williams, Isla Navarino, Chile on 19 March 2023 to begin training the following day 20 March.  After the training course on shore and onboard, and a further 10 day cruise of the Beagle Channel's scenic anchorages to put these skills into practice, the vessel will depart for her transatlantic voyage. This circa 4,300 mile ocean passage is expected to take 24 days with an ETA into Cape Town of about 4 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 through the Beagle Channel and around Cape Horn followed by 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.

"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 Chilean waters

After the training course in Puerto Williams, the focus of this programme is to use the 10 day cruise within the complex nature of the Beagle Channel, see Beagle Channel destination page for more background, for honing student's navigational skills and general lessons in seamanship relevant to ocean and heavy weather sailing.

Vinson of Antarctica in Puerto Williams

This cruise will be under the guidance and assistance of the RYA instructor joining the vessel for the course, along with the Vinson of Antarctica crew. Then, the ocean voyage from Puerto Williams 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 acquire an RYA Yachtmaster Offshore Practical license if a student is not already so qualified.

Navigation briefing for the 4,300 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 Expeditions 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

Vinson of Antarctica under sail

Click on the image below to read Kate Schnippering's blog Creativity in Continuous Motion from the 2022 Delivery trip

A long passage across the South Atlantic is life in continuous motion. Even when our bodies are adapted, everything is physically moving. We cannot set something down for long before it slides across the surface. Hold on at all times. Time, too, becomes more circular than episodic. Awake or asleep at any time of day: 3 hours on watch, 6 hours off, 24/7. At first this felt like perpetual jetlag, and then it settled into a rhythm I found profoundly creative. More>>


Vinson of Antarctica arrives at Cape Town May 2022 guided by Pelagic Syllabus students' Celestial navigation alone.

Learning rope and rigging skills



Students will arrive in Puerto Williams on 19 March via a LATAM flight from Santiago to Punta Arenas followed by a DAP airlines flight from Punta Arenas to Puerto Williams. See . Students can immediately go straight on board. For early arrivals 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. Puerto Williams with clubhouse Micalvi in the background

Having moved on board, on March 20th, the students begin the three day Pelagic course with 3 days in a classroom in Puerto Williams or onboard, depending on Covid restrictions in force at the time. Again as dictated by any Covid restrictions in force, on or about 25 March, Vinson of Antarctica will depart Puerto Williams and begin the cruise through the Beagle Channel. If the weather is favourable, time permits and the necessary clearances can be achieved a visit to or rounding of Cape Horn is a possibility.

Cape Horn

2022 students round Cape Horn on Vinson of Antarctica

Following the Beagle cruise the 4300 mile voyage to Cape Town begins. 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 1 May 2022. Cape Town Tavern of the Seas!


Crew must make sure they have visas, if required, for Chile, Argentina 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 15,000. 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