The syllabus includes the following topics:


    • Dead reckoning and estimated position
    • Satellite-derived position
    • Use of waypoints to fix position
    • Radar fixes
    • Techniques of visual fixing
    • Fixes using a mixture of position ines
    • Relative accuracy of different methods of position fixing
    • Areas of undertainty

The magnetic compass

    • Allowance for variation
    • Change of variation with time and position
    • Causes of deviation
    • Swing for deviation (but not correction)
    • Allowance for deviation
    • Different types of compass


    • Casuses of tides – springs and neaps
    • Tide tables – sources
    • Tidal levels and datum
    • Standard and secondary ports
    • Tidal anomalies (solent, etc.)

Tidal streams

    • Sources of tidal information
    • Tidal stream information in sailing directions and Yachtsmen’s Almanacs
    • Allowance for tidal streams in computing a course to steer
    • Tide rips, overfalls and races
    • Tidal observation buoys, beacons etc.


    • IALA system buoyage in Region A
    • Limitations of buoys as navigational aids


    • Characteristics
    • Ranges visual, luminous and nominal


    • Harbour regulations and control signals
    • Methods of pre-planning
    • Clearing lines
    • Use of soundings
    • Transits and leading lines

GPS and chart plotters

    • Principles of operation and limitations of use
    • Raster and vector charts
    • Datum
    • Importance of confirmation of position by an independent source and keeping a separate record of position
    • Importance of paper charts

Echo sounders

    • Principles of operation and limitations of use

Logs (speed and distance measuring)

    • Principles of operation and limitations of use

Deck log

    • Iimportance of log as yachts official document
    • Layout of log, hourly and occasional entries


    • Basic terms, the Beaufort scale
    • Air masses
    • Cloud types
    • Weather patterns associated with pressure and frontal systems
    • Sources of weather forecasts
    • Ability to interpret a shipping forecast, weatherfax and weather satellite information
    • Land and sea breezes
    • Sea fog
    • Use of a barometer as a forecasting aid

Rules of the road

    • A sound knowledge of the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, except Annexes 1 and 3

Safety at sea

    • Personal safety, use of lifejackets, safety harnesss and lifelines
    • Fire prevention and fire fighting
    • Distress signals
    • Coastguard and Boat Safety Scheme
    • Preparation for heavy weather
    • Liferafts and helicopter rescue
    • Understanding of capabilities of vessel and basic knowledge of stability

Navigation in restricted visibility

    • Precautions to be taken in fog
    • Limitations to safe navigation imposed by fog
    • Navigation strategy in poor visibility

Passage planning

    • Preparation of charts and notebook for route planning and making, and use at sea
    • Customs regulations as they apply to yachts
    • Routine for navigating in coastal waters
    • Strategy for course laying
    • Use of waypoints and routes
    • Use of weather forecast information for passage planning strategy
    • Sources of local and national regulations

Marine environment

    • Responsibility to minimise pollution and protect the marine environment

What to bring


  • Suitable clothing – layers are always a good idea
  • Gloves (optional) – can be purchased from us
  • Socks
  • Sailing or soft light-soled shoes – can be purchased from us
  • Sleeping bags
  • Sun cream, hat, towels, toiletries
  • Weather proof jacket / foul weather gear – we can provide foul weather gear on loan for free
  • Extra money for food & beverages – cooking on board the yacht is encouraged for the experience and to help stretch your budget


  • Light lunches during theory modules
  • Booklets supplied on loan for RYA Competent Crew course
  • Charts & navigation equipment on loan – can be purchased from us
  • Course completion certificates
  • Sheets & pillows
  • Full galley
  • Cleaning products
  • Tea, coffee, sugar, milk
  • Foul weather gear on loan for practical courses


National and some international flights land at Cape Town International Airport. The airport is approximately an hour’s drive from our office in Langebaan.

Car rentals from airport/Cape Town

There are drop-off points for the following rental car companies in Langebaan:


  • Telephone/Fax number: +27 (0)22 772 2807


  • Telephone/Fax number: +27 (0)22 772 1006

Airport transfers

Cape Shuttles

  • Contact person: Bill Spurling
  • Contact number: +27 (0)82 677 4672
  • E-mail address: bilros@telkomsa.net

Travel Arrangements

If the need be, we can assist you in making arrangements to meet your transport and alternative accommodation needs. We make use of a registered shuttle service between Cape Town and Langebaan.

EVENING BEFORE COURSE STARTS (only by prior arrangement)

We can meet you the day before your course starts between 17:00 and 18:00 at our office. Please make arrangements with our office prior to your arrival.


Please meet us at the Atlantic Yachting Office at the Club Mykonos Marina, Agora Square at 08:30. After the first day theory courses will commence at 08:30am and finish by 17:00.

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