Shore-based Coastal Theory Course

6 days pleasant learning in Malta. Next course: 25 Feb – 3 March 2023  

  • 6 days of intense, yet friendly and relaxed learning

  • Complex issues explained with an holistic approach in an easy to understand way

  • All necessary theoretical knowledge to join a practical RYA Yachtmaster Prep course later

  • Hands-on tips what you really use during every-day skippering
    – learn where you need to be exact and where approximations are accepted and still keep you safe

  • Combination of electronic and traditional navigation

  • Discounted hotel prices which can be extended for some relaxing holidays in sunny Malta 

  • Pleasant lunches and evening dinners with heartily sailing discussions   

  • Feel the comradeship of the Reginasailing family – learning and sharing experiences together 

  • You may take the RYA Yachtmaster Offshore Theory assessments (at no extra cost)

  • Get prepared for your Yachtmaster Offshore exam

  • Course is held in easy to understand English with explanations in German or Swedish possible




The Syllabus

The subjects are as wide as they are important and interesting. Some examples of the hands-on subjects: Tidal Navigation, Navigation in Fog, Buoyage, Lights, GPS and Plotters, Coastal and Offshore Weather, Rules of the Road, Fire Safety, Distress Signals, Man Overboard, Helicopter Rescue, Passage Planning, Stability etc.

The curriculum of the RYA Yachtmaster Offshore Shore-Based course in Malta consists of: 



1. Position
– 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 lines
– Relative accuracy of different methods of position fixing
– Areas of uncertainty

2. The magnetic compass
– Allowance for variation
– Change of variation with time and position
– Causes of deviation
– Swing for deviation
– Allowance for deviation
– Different types of compass

3. Tides
– Causes of tides – Springs and Neaps
– Tide tables – sources
– Tidal levels and datum
– Standard and secondary ports
– Tidal anomalies (e.g. Solent)

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

5. Buoyage
– IALA system buoyange in Region A
– Limitations of buoys as navigational aids

6. Lights
– Characteristics
– Ranges – visual, luminous and nominal
– Rising and diping distances
– Light lists

7. Pilotage
– Harbour regulations and control signals
– Methods of pre-planning
– Clearing lines
– Use of soundings
– Transits and leading lines

8. Electronic Navigation
– Principles of operation and limitations of use
– Raster and vector charts, Datum
– Confirmation of accuracy while underway
– Knowledge of independent source and keeping a separate record of position
– Importance of paper charts


9. Echo sounders
– Principles of operation and limitations of use

10. Logs
– Principles of operation and limitations of use

11. Deck log
– Importance of log as yacht’s official document
– Layout of log, hourly and occasional entries

12. Meteorology
– 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 breeze
– Sea fog
– Use of a barometer as a forecasting aid

13. Rule of the Road
– A sound knowledge of the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, except Annexes 1 and 3

14. Safety at Sea
– Personal safety, use of lifejackets, safety harnesses 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

15. Navigation in restricted visibility
– Precautions & Limitations in fog
– Strong knowledge of Radar navigation
– Navigation strategy in poor visibility

16. 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

17. Marine Environment
– Responsibility to minimise pollution and protect the marine environment


These subjects are further deepened during the Practical Coastal Sailing and the Practical Offshore Sailing, respectively. 

The Preparation

The taught subjects are wide-spanning and the course is very intense. It has therefore lately been expanded from 5 days to 6 days, since the days simply got too long and tiresome. 

Therefore it is very important to get prepared before you come. Especially the Col-Regs need to be learnt by heart, since it’s not fun to spend your valuable time in Malta by learning shapes, lights and horn signals in your room! 

I have compiled a variety of books you you can buy and choose from. Most are in English, since this course is held in English and the RYA stipulates that it needs to be taught in the international language of the seas. Having said that, I have recently written a book that covers the necessary subjects in German. So for all German-speaking participants, reading “Praxisguide Fahrtensegeln” is a great preparation for the course in your own mother tongue. 

Please don’t forget to use your 10% discount code rs-BHAPGG10 when ordering from

Praxisguide Fahrtensegeln, you can buy directly from the publishers Delius-Klasing-Verlag. 



Course Info


The venue: The 5-star Corinthia St George Hotel:

After years at the 4-Star Corinthia Marina Hotel, we have been upgrade to the 5-star Corinthia St George Bay Hotel in St Julians for the same discounted price as before! And if you bring your spouse to participate at the course or, alternatively, just for him/her to enjoy the island during our day-time course hours, your partner pays no more than for the breakfast as an extra fee!

Prolong your stay over the week-ends to enjoy some own sight-seeing and exploration of this historically interesting island! Especially Valletta is definitely worth a visit! 

The Corinthia St George is one of the absolute top hotels in Malta, offering us a first-class conference room with a direct exit to the pool area with sea view. The Hotel is situated directly by the sea and offers great opportunities for combining your RYA theoretical course with holiday. It can’t get any better! 



Hotel prices for 2023 are (still!):

Superior single room with sea view: EUR 115 per night including breakfast
Superior double room with sea view: EUR 125 per night including breakfast

Coures date:

  • Yachtmaster Offshore Theory course: 25 Feb – 3 March  2023


An evening at the Royal Malta Yacht Club. The sail training week is just as well a social event where we gain from each others’ experiences and enjoy the company.


Number of participants:

In order to grant the exclusive character and an individual and efficient learning experience, the number of participants have been limited to around 10 students.  


Price for the course:

  • Course Fee: Yachtmaster Ocean Theory course (6 days): EUR 995 plus travel, food and hotel
  • Assessment Fee: Yachtmaster Offshore Theory assessment (3 in total) during the course: NIL, included in the above

Additional costs:

  • Hotel: The cost for the hotel nights are paid on site directly to the Corinthia hotel and booked via Reginasailing
  • Coffee breaks, water, lunches and dinner which are shared equally between the joining participants (see below)
  • Obviously your individual travel cost to Malta


Our spacious conference room with direct exit to the pool deck and with sea view.

Outside our conference room overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.

Course price includes course notes, training and exercise booklet, training charts, assessment test,  RYA certificate for the RYA Yachtmaster Offshore Shorebased course.


What to bring:

Please bring: pencil, eraser, colour pencils, notebook, divider, course plotter (navigation triangle or Portland Plotter).




Coffee breaks are at 10:30 and 15:30. For EUR 5 per person and break you receive ample tea or coffee with cookies and homemade cake in the mornings and freshly made fruit salad in the afternoons. These are enjoyed just outside our conference room in the sunshine! (well, almost always there is sun in Malta…)


Our conference room to the right and the sea in front of us during coffee breaks in the sun.


Water bottles are supplied on our conference table and cost 3 EUR per large bottle. The total number of water consumed is divided through the number or participants (including me, of course). Typically the total consumption after 5.5 days cost around 20-25 EUR per person. 

Lunches are planned, but not necessarily, to be enjoyed jointly. Some wish to have a lunch break on their own or having a short nap after an intense morning! Often lunches are great fun, I must admit,  joining in for more talks about our joint sailing dreams…

To enjoy an efficient lunch, we choose from the menu and order during morning coffee breaks. At around 12:30 we walk over to the lunch terrace of the hotel at “Henry J Beans” which is then promptly served thanks to the fact that we ordered it during the morning break. 

If your spouse or partner is making you company for a holiday on Malta but does not join the course, they are obviously very warmly welcome to join for lunches and dinners! 


A salad or wrap for lunch?


Dinners can be enjoyed on your own or jointly with the group. Typically I join you for most (but maybe not all) of the evenings. We enjoy dinners in my favourite restaurants in vicinity, trying out local Maltese food (e.g. at Gululu) or choose cozy Bianco’s on the exceptional rainy day. My favourite restaurant is OdyC Bistro overlooking Spinola Bay, by the way. 


Lunch during a Reginasailing theory course in Malta. Here at “Gululu”.


Possibly the top of evenings is when we jointly meet at the renown Royal Malta Yacht Club, (also famous for hosting the annual Rolex Middle Sea Race). As a member of the RMYC, I may invite my participants as guests at this exclusive club. 



Pre-dinner drink on the terrace of the Royal Malta Yacht Club.

Reginasailing dinner at the Yacht Club.


Flights and getting to and from the airport:

Malta is one of the easiest places to fly to from all over Europe. Air Malta, Lufthansa, Ryanair are just a few of the many airlines that fly into Malta several times per day.

The hotel offers a shuttle service from and to the airport (approx 23 EUR) but the easiest way around on Malta is to download the BOLT-App to your smartphone and let one of the over 1,000 BOLT-drivers pick you up anywhere and drive you exactly where you need to go. 



If you intend to take the RYA Yachtmaster Assessments, it is strongly recommended that you come well prepared and have a good understanding of the basics of navigation. You are, however, also welcome if you wish to learn as much as you please without doing the assessments in which case you, obviously, may come as prepared or unprepared as you like.

Please be aware, however, that it is very helpful if you are on the working level of an RYA Day Skipper or have taking your “SKS” in Germany. Alternatively, reading the Complete Day Skipper by Tom Cunliffe or Praxisguide Fahrtensegeln by myself makes the course so much more relaxed to attend!

Please check here for some examples of books to read. 

Please don’t forget to use your 10% discount code rs-BHAPGG10 when ordering anything from




Book early:

Please contact me, preferably including some short information about yourself, if you are interested to participate in one of the upcoming theory courses.

What previous participants say: 

"The real benefit of the course was the team chemistry created by Leon. The Yachtmaster theory course in Malta brought together very different characters of sailors at all levels to produce a fun, motivated, always open and helpful crew that guided itself through long working hours of navigational calculations, rather monotonous ColRegs and different aspects of passage planning – never leaving behind the slower ones and always with a good joke at hand. As a consequence, I signed up for the first possible opening as crew on Regina Laska. I look forward to the next steps." Click here to read more

Christoph Lussi, Germany, taking the RYA Yachtmaster-Theory-Course in Malta 2019

"It was a very intensive week in Malta. Adding essential knowledge and skills to my, until then, basic and rudimentary sailing education was really a challenge to me. It was interesting to see how everybody was ambitious to pass the test and it was Leon´s personal merit to form a group of people, who didn't know each other before, to become study-teams where all were interested in heightening their own skills." Click here to read more

Achim Helmenstein, Cologne/Germany, Cranchi Endurance33 Motorboat owner on Mallorca, taking the RYA Yachtmaster-Theory-Course in Malta 2018

"Leon is a great teacher. He always started with the concepts. Understanding the concepts helped me when I did not get a detail- I just went back up to the concept and worked it through. His personal observations on my learning style greatly supported the learning process. Light touch yet remarkable. I was very impressed and surprised with how much I learnt and how my confidence and interest grew. I worked hard all week and enjoyed every minute."

Sandra Morson, Scotland, HR40 owner, taking the Yachtmaster Theory course in Malta 2018

"Leon is simply wonderful. I have passed the Yachtmaster theory assessment already when I arrived in Malta, but felt that my understanding of the subject was academic rather than working knowledge that can be applied actively at sea. Leon’s fun, interactive teaching style changed that. On his courses, the learning stays with you after you have left the classroom. Plus, he has the patience of a saint. Every question from each student was answered thoughtfully, in comfort and style, of course. Thank you, Leon!" Click here to see some photos

Carol Wu, Hongkong, taking the Yachtmaster Theory course in Malta 2018

"Despite Leon’s colourful examples and very patient attempts to clarify things, I felt frustrated and limited in my basic knowledge. I was very grateful for the patience shown by Leon and other members in the class when I needed to go back over something simple. While Leon clearly provides you with the academic “tools” to use, his real gift in presenting this course is in his manner of leading the many discussions, providing relevant personal examples with his trademark enthusiasm and drawing out personal experiences from his students so that your learning is reinforced. So, in hindsight, I learnt far more than I initially thought." Click here to read full story

Cyndy Moncrieff, Australia, taking the RYA Yachtmaster Theory Course in Malta.

"Leon passed on the huge amount of intense matter with great enthusiasm, giving us students so much fun and we laughed a lot! Leon’s vast experience and his stories constantly kept us attentive. The session on meteorology was phenomenal. Both the pro's (there were two Lufthansa airline pilots amongst us) and the amateurs were impressed by how clearly and vividly Leon brings meteorology to life. I would like to highly recommend this course to anyone interested in learning about sailing, navigation and seamanship in a highly pleasant atmosphere.
" Click here to read full story

Ralf Gude, Germany, taking the RYA Yachtmaster Theory Course in Malta

"II participated in an intensive learning week, doing the RYA yacht master prep-course in Malta. Leon teaches in a relaxed and easy to follow way. It was fun, also because our group was working together very well. We were laughing a lot during this week and that 
is the most important thing. 
For me, I can say, that my first step for navigating in tidal waters is now done! I`m looking forward to do the second step in summer by sailing in Scotland with Leon onboard Regina Laska.
" Click here to read full story

Ludwig Obermeier, Germany, taking the RYA Yachtmaster Theory Course in Malta

"This is a real "crash course" and the "fast lane" in sailing theory. A really realistic and hands-on way of learning! I had lots of fun doing it, and sticking to Leon, who repeated over and over again: It's all about understanding! I do not quite understand how Leon is doing this, but he probably chooses his students carefully, since I was only surrounded by very smart, open-minded, international and very warm-hearted people, which made me feel so comfortable right away!" Click here to read full story

Julia Pukelsheim, Germany

"If you wish to learn navigation and laugh at the same time, take a course with Leon!"

Kajsa Lemby, Sweden, owning HR31 "Bikkuri"

"During this RYA theory course in Malta, we could get a glance of the friendly way of learning! A course, where learning was made so easy and gave so much joy! All participants were wonderful people and I think this has lead up to friendship for life! A crash course for some and a good repetition for others. And all this embedded in a great holiday-feeling in the sunshine!" Click here to read full story

Stefan Graf zu Dohna, Germany

"I must confess: Maths is not one of my favourite subjects so I was afraid this theory course would be tough on me. However, Leon’s sensitivity against my very modest love for Maths was encouraging and I never got that ugly feeling of ‘not being smart enough’. It was so nice to solve all Maths problems in such a ‘relaxed’ way!" Click here to read full story

Esther Leuenberger, Switzerland

"The RYA shore-based training course in Malta was a fantastic week. Leon is a great teacher with profound knowledge as well as the best inspirer on sailing I have ever met so far! You could virtually feel the daily increasing desire by all participants to sail more!" Click here to read full story

Achim Schindler, Germany, HR43 owner

"Leon’s way of delivering this RYA course by taking just a small group of no more than 8 students and to gather these on Malta was so spot on! I really enjoyed the fact the course was so full of great true stories taken from the real world packed with Leon’s vast sailing experience. Therefore, the theory felt so hands-on and practical and 'un-theoretical'" Click here to read full story

Christian Pukelsheim, Germany

"It was so exciting to learn with Leon that I felt uplifted into a new dimension. We all become so energized and motivated to learn more and more about sailing and Leon’s easy to understand way of explaining and his unbeatable entertaining “story telling hours” helped us to come so close to our dreams that we could almost touch them! Anything suddenly seemed possible and nothing undoable, you just have to follow your heart and live your dreams!" Click here to read full story

Marianne Karlsen, Switzerland, owning a J/88
For more information on the syllabus and suggested books, see here.