RYA theory courses online

About us

Lyn and I 'Vic' met in 1997 and started Allabroad Yacht Charter in 1999, Allabroad Sailing Academy 2001 and Navathome in 2010.

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 learning tuition.

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 passion!).
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.

Changes 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 Navathome. 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 over.

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 great course.

Regards to all.

Vic, Lyn and Don

Copyright © 2010-2019Navathome.com.au. Navathome Australia is a family business based in Bunbury, Western Australia.
The School Principal is Don Punch who is an RYA Yachtmaster instructor and has a Master Class 5 for power and sail.