Lyn and I 'Vic' met in 1997 and started Allabroad
Yacht Charter in 1999, Allabroad Sailing Academy
2001 and Navathome in 2010.
YMI Ocean Instructor and
co-writer of the Navathome courses.
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Over 20 years of sailing experience and over 35 years experience of computer programming.
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RYA Ocean Yachtmaster on both motor and sail.
Vic has been teaching sailing for over 20 years and achieved the RYA Yachtmaster Ocean Instructor qualification on both motor and sailing vessels.
Also holds level 2 power boat instructor qualification
RYA YMI instructor and
co-writer of the Navathome courses.
Over 16 years of sailing experience and over 18 years experience of computer programming.
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RYAÂ Yachtmaster Instructor on both motor and sail. Lyn has been teaching sailing for over 16 years.
Level 2 powerboat instructor.
Don Punch Principal
RYA Yachtmaster instructor, master class
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Having a chief instructor allows us time to update and improve our courses.
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Don is an RYA Day Skipper, Coastal and Yachtmaster theory and practical RYA instructor.
Most of your assistance and feedback will come from Don who is patient and gets brilliant feedback from
In 1997 Lyn and I met whilst I was working as a sailing
instructor at Conway School of Yachting. Lyn was taking
her Coastal Skipper practical course, on a different
boat from me I might add!
A few weeks after meeting we went on a trip to Ireland,
with Simon Calder and Fi Glover, as part of the Holiday
Program for the BBC. I hoped to gain some free
advertising for Conway School of yachting, of which I
was a shareholder at the time.
After the trip Lyn and I stayed in touch and before long we got
together. We decided to sell up, buy a new boat
and start a charter company with the name Allabroad
using the new boat to charter our way around the world.
Unfortunately, due to serious problems with our brand
new Moody 46 our trip was curtailed and we ended up in
Gibraltar waiting for repairs which never came. We
eventually settled with Moody Yachts but it had given us
the time to realise the sail training opportunities in
the Gibraltar area. We changed our charter company
to Allabroad Sailing Academy.
Allabroad was an instant success, so much so that it was
not long before we had bought a second yacht and Lyn was
duly sent off to take her instructors exam.
During our time with Allabroad it became apparent that
there was a serious need for a good online learning
course. There had been a constant flow of students
complaining about poor tuition especially distant
We had both had previous experience of writing web
material and programming. In 2005 we decided to write an
online Day Skipper theory course, however, we did not
know that we needed RYA permission to run them.
In retrospect the course was poorly written, although
some of the animations were quite good and some are
still used today. The main thing was that students did
complete it and gave us good feedback. The
positive response encouraged us to write the Coastal
Skipper / Yachtmaster course which was so good we had to
rewrite the Day Skipper course to keep up with it.
In 2008 someone reported us to the RYA for running
online courses without recognition. The RYA nailed
our hats on and gave us a month to get to get our
courses approved or take them off line. Now
we knew that the courses were good because we had
obviously upset someone and become a threat.
The RYA were, as usual, were very helpful and our course
material was passed to Mike Diamond one of the RYA
examiners of examiners. Mike went through the course and
pulled us up on a few things before approving it.
Navathome Australia was launched with a southern
hemisphere course more suitable to the area. This is
run and managed by Don Punch
The following year I started writing the Ocean
Yachtmaster online theory course and at times wished I
hadn't. When I took my OY course it was a disaster and
I knew little more when I came out of the classroom than
when I went in. I had been taught how to fill in forms.
It had made me realise the limitation of taking a classroom course where limited time meant the course
progressed quickly sometimes leaving students behind. I
wanted my course to work well and explain why and how
Ocean theory works.
I have a passion for astro navigation and astronomy so I was keen to find a
way to share it.
I spent months doing the animations and Lyn worked very
hard on the weather and passage making Modules (her
The animations were difficult, to say the
least, and we would regularly leave it for a while
before being inspired to try again. Eventually it was
completed and it looked good. We gave it to a few people
to proof read and work through the course to get some
feedback, changed a few things then sent it to the RYA
for approval. It ended up going through several of their
examiners because not all of them were up to scratch
with the ocean and did not fully understand themselves.
Eventually it ended up in the hands of Chris Slade,
another RYA examiner of examiners, who approved the
course and gave us good feedback. It it is now a
successful course with every single student passing
their assessment but it is a specialist course with a
limited take up.
In 2007 we handed control of Allabroad to my son David
and in 2010 sold our shares to him so that we could
concentrate on Navathome.
Since then we have rewritten all of the courses except
the Ocean, which was already new and we were very pleased with the result.
In the same year we decided that there should be a level
playing field and decided to let other schools offer our
courses so that they could advertise and offer online
courses to their students.
Once again we trod on the
toes of some schools already offering distance learning
and the RYA got in touch saying we were acting outside
of the terms of our recognition.
We thought we would be
stopped from doing it but once again the RYA ended up
being helpful in every way and found a way that we could
operate and keep within their guidelines. Our courses
were given the nod of approval from the head of cruising
and here we are.
The RYA are quite strict on how all courses should be
run which helps to keep standards up. They welcome
feedback as we do.
In 2011 we reformatted all of our courses and upgraded
them again. We work in the background, regularly making
changes to improve the course material. We started the
free forum to allow access, for clients and potential
clients, to discussions about the courses by encouraging
students to talk to each other and to offer their
feedback to potential future clients.
last year included intelligent software to
evaluate answers before they are submitted to the
centre. This gives students the chance to redo questions
taking into account automated advice. We are the only
ones offering this type of automatic feedback and so far
it has received a terrific response. It is now included
in all our courses.
Georgina worked for us at Allabroad and we were really
please to find she was willing to work with us at Navat
She now provides freelance services to our students
making sure there is someone there to answer questions
and along with Lyn and I we provide this service for up
to 16 hours a day.
This year we added optional
voice over to all important lessons. It can be
irritating so we include both written and voice
Still writing and still adding
great content to our courses.
We now offer the following online courses: The RYA Essential Navigation Course, our
own RYA Day Skipper Theory course, the RYA Coastal
Skipper / Yachtmaster Theory course and my favorite the
RYA Ocean Yachtmaster theory course.
Constant encouraging feedback
from our students makes us happy to keep putting
in the amount of effort required to keep our courses up
to date, interesting and full of great content.
For anyone who has taken the trouble to read this far we
wish them happy sailing and hope they book with us for a
Regards to all.
Lyn and Don