Pathfinder Norfolk Broads Sailing Cruise


The 'internal' qualifications of Ordinary, Able and Leading Seaman are designed to be closely in line with the RYA (Royal Yachting Association) system. The three levels include the RYA Youth Sailing Scheme Stages 1, 2 and 3 requirements for learning to sail in keelboats - Leading Seaman is also substantially equivalent to the Adult Sailing Scheme Level 3.

At present, we are not able to issue RYA certificates or use the RYA logo - but the standards are intended to be at least as high as those on 'official' RYA courses.


Rigging : Can assist with hoisting sails and putting up the yacht's awning

Ropework : Know how to tie and use the knots: reef knot, sheet bend, figure of eight, and can cleat a halyard

Sailing Techniques, etc. : Be a useful and responsive crew member - when sailing, preparing meals, tidying up etc.

Can steer a yacht, including on a reach, along a river and when going about (in open water)

Understands how to control a yacht in simple manoeuvres and knows where the wind is coming from

Can paddle or row a dinghy

Sailing Theory, etc. : Know the rules of navigation (rights of way) on the Broads and correctly identify the navigation marks, including those marking local hazards

Know the meaning and/or position of :- port, starboard, bow, stern, rond anchor, mudweight, burgee, jib, mainsail, boom, mast, gaff, goose-neck, warps, mainsheet, jibsheet, halyards, shrouds, reaching, going-about, gybing

Personal Safety : Can put on a buoyancy aid correctly and knows the appropriate clothing to wear for sailing

Understands how to provide and receive assistance, including how to throw a coiled rope


ABLE SEAMAN (Including RYA YSS Stage 2)

Rigging : Know how to hoist and lower sails, and assist with raising and lowering the mast

Ropework : Know how to tie and use the knots :- clove hitch, bowline, round turn and two half-hitches

Sailing Techniques, etc. : Can helm a yacht (under supervision of an officer) when tacking, rounding a mark, adopting basic hove-to position (lying to), and getting out of irons (being stuck head to wind)

Can sail a shallow triangle across the wind (gybing optional) - such as sailing round an island.

Can handle jib sheets, mainsheet, sail halyards, mooring lines.

Be able to row a dinghy and bring it safely alongside a yacht

Understand how to operate the controls of the yacht's engine

Sailing Background : Know the meaning and/or position of :- windward, leeward, downwind, close-hauled, cockpit, forepeak, throat, peak, luff, leech, tack, clew, head, foot, topping-lift, bowsprit, for'ard, aft

Know the points of sailing :- close-hauled, close-reach, beam-reach, broad-reach, running, beating, going-about, tacking, gybing, bearing-away, luffing up, pinching, basic hove-to (lying to), no-go zone

Understands the principles of the Five Essentials (sail setting, balance, trim, course and centreboard/keel)

Rules of the Road : Can apply the rules of the river when helming

Meteorology : Can find the wind direction by several methods


LEADING SEAMAN (Including RYA YSS Stage 3 & Adult Level 3)

Rigging : Know when and how to reef and how to set the sails correctly

Ropework : Know how to tie and use the knots :- highwayman's-hitch, rolling hitch, double sheet bend, fisherman's bend

Has a knowledge of the meaning and purpose of splicing and whipping

Sailing Techniques, etc : Can helm and command a yacht underway without advice being essential in normal circumstances and be able to make good progress upwind in a restricted waterway (e.g. river)

Can command the yacht and its crew for: ‘triangular course’ (including gybe), ‘coming to moorings’, 'lowering/raising the mast', ‘basic hove to’ (lying to), ‘man overboard drill’

Demonstrate (as far as possible in the available boats) the basic principles of the Five Essentials (sail setting, balance, trim, course and centreboard/keel)

Know how to prepare for and take up a tow

Can handle a yacht under engine when under way, and bring it safely alongside, including making the boat stationary relative to the bank using the engine

Racing : Understands the principles of racing

Sailing Background : Know the meaning and/or position of :- midships, transom, cross-trees, astern, abeam, ahead, belay, gybe all-standing, in irons, quarter, running rigging, standing rigging, swigging, weather helm, sailing by the lee, stern-way, broaching

Meteorology : Know how to obtain a weather forecast and understands the Beaufort Wind scale

Clothing and equipment : Understands the importance of personal safety and basic safety equipment as well as the risks of hypothermia


Revised for Easter 2007, Minor Revisions November 2012

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