Practical celestial sail training

4 1/2 days of gaining practical celestial experience on the edge of the Atlantic 

  • Some legs are longer, combining the 4 1/2 days of practical celestial with relaxed cruising 

  • Quick Re-cap of celestial Theory 

  • Enjoy some short coastal sailing legs while learning to use the sextant

  • Learn to use the Weems/Plath Star Finder

  • Prepare for your sun-run-sun sight and shooting stars and planets at twilight

  • 1 1/2 days sailing out into the Atlantic using celestial navigation

  • Perform a compass check

  • Try out a Smartphone App that does it all for you!

  • Approved by the RYA as a celestial navigation passage for your Yachtmaster Ocean Exam

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


Who said celestial navigation was complicated, anyone…?! Maybe wise to take the theory course in Malta first…



The syllabus

Day 1:

  • Arriving onboard around noon
  • Safety briefing
  • Sailing to a pleasant fishing village for dinner in a local restaurant or anchorage with BBQ onboard

Day 2:

  • Celestial theory re-cap of sun-sight reduction and familiarisation with templates 
  • Lunch   
  • Checking the sextant for perpendicularity, side error and index error    
  • Active practicing with the sextant while sailing to a new destination   
  • Determining the best shot and judging your sextant handling  
  • Sailing to a pleasant fishing village for dinner in a local restaurant or anchorage with BBQ onboard

Day 3:

  • After breakfast, sailing to a near-by villages
  • Lunch onboard  
  • Celestial Re-cap of the moon, planets and stars  
  • Learn to use the Weems&Plath Star Finder 2102-D
  • Preparing for twilight shots at the end of day 4
  • Dinner in a local restaurant and early night 

Day 4:

  • Early breakfast and leaving on a straight course out into the ocean
  • Solely using classic navigating (no GPS)
  • Practicing morning shots of the sun, noon-sight and afternoon sights  
  • Get your sun-run-sun to be presented to the RYA Yachtmaster Examiner (if you go for the Ocean certificate)  
  • Do a compass check (also necessary for the Yachtmaster Ocean Exam)  
  •  Shooting the moon *
  • At twilight, shooting stars and planets *
  • Try out a smart-phone App and compare with your own calculations 
  • Landfall back to land during night in the dark, practicing radar navigation 
  • Lunch and Dinner onboard
  • Arriving around midnight

Day 5:

  • Lazy breakfast
  • If desired: Mock Exam presenting your sun-run-sun and compass check for the crew
  • Leaving the boat around noon 

* Weather permitting and if visible 

Did you know why it’s essential to have a centrally placed compass on the pedestal for ocean sailing? Ever wondered why you have a pin in the middle sticking up in the center of the compass rose? It’s for deviating the compass on the ocean without electronics. Checking the compass by means of celestial information, e.g. after a lightning strike!



Using the Reginasailing templates while underway.

Bonus: Using the Weems&Plath Star Finder

Learning to use the Weems&Plath Star Finder is not part of the RYA Yachtmaster Ocean curriculum, but is taught as a bonus to Reginasailing participants. 

You will learn how to add the moving planets onto the star finder (Planets means “Wanderer” in Greek). When knowing how to determine the Local Hour Angle of the First Point of Aries around twilight, you will see how easy it is to know which star is found in what bearing and and what altitude on the sextant.

All you need to do is simply to pre-set the found altitude on your sextant and look in the direction giving on the Star Finder and you will see the star in question close to the horizon looking through your sextant.  You just fine-tune the altitude with the micrometer on your sextant, take the time of shooting and quickly get an Intercept with Position Line. Two or three stars and planets later, you have a nice fix! 

If you wish to purchase your own Weems&Plath Star Finder 2102-D don’t forget to use the Reginasailing 10% discount code from Bookharbour.
The code is: rs-BHAPGG10

Learn to use this highly practical Starfinder by Weems&Plath in order to pre-set your sextant and look in the corresponding direction in order to find planets and stars.


Video on a typical celestial training passage

See this video to get a feeling for how celestial training is performed on Regina Laska. This was taken during a passage to the Azores, but also shorter passages, such as over the Bay of Biscay or just out of sight of land from Galicia or Portugal are available to practice your sun-run-sun!



Next available Celestial Training legs

Du to high interest, participants having taken part on the shore-based Celestial Theory Course in Malta will have a priority when booking these legs. This also makes sense, since you need a fairly good understanding of celestial sight reduction before you join.

Space permitting, also participants who have joined another RYA Theory Course in another RYA Training Center are welcome.

Practical  Celestial Sail Training

Leg 3-2023: Lorient/France – La Coruña/Spain (20 – 31 May 2023)

Leg 11-2023: Portosin/Spain – La Coruna/Spain (30 Sept – 9 Oct 2023)


Click on the links above for the corresponding legs to see what they cost. Their price differ depending on the total length of the leg.  



Shooting planets at early at Twilight

Shooting stars at late twilight.