Header image: Henri Lloyd in St Katharine Docks before the race start

Theory Course

The term “theory course”, which encompasses an optional course provided by Clipper, implies that it is one course. In a way it is, but it comprises several sections:

  • RYA Essential Navigation and Seamanship – a 2-day course providing an introduction to navigation theory safety and seamanship
  • ISAF Offshore Safety at Sea – a course designed to highlight issues to consider when offshore for a prolonged period
  • Meteorology
  • Ocean Currents
  • Deck Walk
  • Engine Checks
  • Winch Maintenance
  • Splicing and whipping of braided ropes



The RYA Essential Navigation course was mainly revision for me, as I gained an RYA Yachtmaster theory qualification back in 1999, but it was surprising how much I’d forgotten. Guess it demonstrates that if you don’t use it, you lose it!

The ISAF Offshore Safety at Sea course combines with the practical RYA Sea Survival course that you do as part of Level 2 training to create an RYA/ISAF Offshore Personal Sea Survival qualification.



The Meteorology and Ocean currents lectures followed closely on this.

By the end of the fourth day of pretty intense classroom work, my brain had soaked up pretty much all it was going to.

So it was a relief when the Friday came and we were outside, on a boat. Moored alongside, but on a boat. It was cold, but at least we were outside!

We learned how to do a deck walk and do engine checks – wobbled anyone?
In the afternoon we learned how to strip down and maintain a winch. Rather than doing this for the exercise, our course tutor, Em, found a winch on a boat that had been having problems. And this was one of the winches with three gears, just for added complications. But best to learn on. Others will be more simple because there will be fewer gears.

The next day, the Saturday morning before travelling home, we were back in classroom but still doing practical work, learning whipping and splicing of the braided ropes that we will have on board.

It also gave opportunity to try on the various foul weather kit that is available either for purchase from Henri Lloyd or that they will supply as part of our package.

It was during this week that Clipper Ventures confirmed I could retake my Level 1 training, and gave me dates to choose from February to April. I knew it would be cold so tried on a fleecy Henri Lloyd mid-layer.

1 Comment

  1. Anna on 6 May 2013 at 06:55

    Sounds more like a practical course than a theory one. Good lock