Sailing Workshops

Sailing Workshops

Workshop Details

We are running a series of monthly sailing workshops to help sailors brush up rusty skills and keep everyone fresh through the winter.  These are not just lectures – feel free to bring your questions and experience. We have suggested the following topics but if you have any other requests then let us know.

These mid-week sessions are aimed at sailors of all experience and levels of interest, with the intention of providing an informal workshop setting to focus on sailing topics.

The 60–90 minute sessions will be taking place in the function room of the Bishops Finger and then we can have a few drinks.

All workshops start at 19.00 and are free of charge – if you are interested in joining us please contact us for more information.

Time: 19.00

Venue: First floor function room of The Bishops Finger, 9-10 Smithfield, EC1A 9JR

Getting there:

  • Farringdon (Hammersmith and City Line, Circle Line, Metropolitan Line and mainline station),
  • City Thameslink (Holborn Viaduct exit),
  • St Pauls and Chancery Lane (Central Line)

Session Topics

Planning a Cruising Holiday

Most of us are considering or actively planning a sailing holiday in the UK or abroad. There are a number of things to think about before booking beyond the obvious decisions of a location and a boat. The workshop will include a useful list of things to think about; logistics, charter do’s and don’ts, tips for a comfortable holiday.

Preparing for the Fastnet and other offshore races

Talking through the course, typical course challenges, expected conditions on board, kit advice and other considerations that will make for a relaxed, fast passage. The workshop will be of interest to the experienced and those who are new to crewing for an offshore race, especially the Fastnet Race. The course, and navigation decision points, discussion will also be of interest to cruisers considering a run down to Devon, Cornwall or the Scilly Isles, which form part of the Fastnet route.

Being ready for your Cruising Holiday

This workshop will cover readiness for the first day and subsequent days to make them as smooth and relaxing as possible. Make sure that you are prepared – kit lists, boat handover checklists, route planning approaches, loading charts and routes on your iPad/tablet. If there is popular demand we have also thought about running a practical on charter handover/handback on a couple of boats.

Navigation and other useful preparation on an iPad/tablet

There are a number of navigation, weather routing and tide apps available for mobile devices. We discuss how they work and the opportunities to prepare prior to a race event or cruise.
Bring along your tablet and favourite navigation app.

Crew Management – how to create a relaxed and efficient atmosphere onboard

The small space on a boat can appear smaller when there are strained relations between a crew. Safe sailing requires everyone to not be distracted and able to communicate effectively with each other.  We discuss how to adjust to shape an effective team including different characters and individual expectations.


Weather prediction seems to be getting more difficult and on a more regular basis we have either huge amounts of wind or we’re almost becalmed.
We will look at how to obtain a weather forecast and how to interpret one, commonly used forecasting terms, land and sea breezes.
Tips on passage planning to minimise the negative impact of heavy weather.

Practical Tides

Climate change conditions seem to be making tide predictions more difficult. This workshop will talk through the practical considerations that cause tides to differ from the tide predictions.
We will revise the basics of tidal streams, where to obtain them, how to use them, calculating tidal heights using the rule of twelfth’s and tidal curves for primary and secondary ports.
Including combining traditional and electronic tide prediction sources.

Rope maintenance

Revision on the most commonly used knots and their usage.
Rope maintenance including whipping and splicing.
The causes and avoidance of rope twists and their impacts.

Passage Planning and Passage Making

How to prepare a passage plans, what to consider and how much detail to include. How to make best use of the prevailing conditions.  Combine traditional and electronic navigation and how to brief watches on the usage of the plan.

Pilotage and night navigation

Tips and tricks for navigating close to shore, the use of bearings, back bearing and clearing bearings.
Night Navigation and Lights- The difficulties of navigating at night, identifying different buoys and vessels.  You cannot be too familiar with these topics.

Safety Equipment and victualling a boat

What safety equipment should you have? What do you need? Briefing the crew in usage.
The importance of keeping the crew fed and hydrated. Menu ideas and what to buy including how to plan meals into the watch rota.

Basics of celestial and longer passage navigation

Why and how to navigate by the sun and stars.
What is the difference between Mercator and Gnomic charts and which is best to use.  Revise great circles and how they can be used in passage planning.

Race Strategy

How to get the perfect start, start line bias and mark rounding.
Anticipating changes in tide and wind.

Crew roles and watch systems

A detailed look at crew roles and responsibilities on a racing or cruising yacht.
How best to organize a crew to keep a boat sailing when cruising long distances or offshore racing.