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Boating advice, inspiring talks from fellow cruisers and more! Have you booked your place yet?

Join the Royal Yachting Association for a RYA Cruising Conference like no other! The popular annual event will be heading online this year, but just like in any other year it has a packed schedule to interest regular and novice cruisers alike. 

Event speakers will be covering the real-life stories from fellow cruisers, giving practical cruising advice that should both inspire and entertain, as well as delving into the future of boating with sustainable drive alternatives. 

Epic adventurer and four times Whitbread Round the World Yacht Race contestant, Skip Novak, will be taking to the virtual main stage as this year’s keynote speaker. 

“I am so pleased to be joining the line-up of the RYA Cruising Conference,” said Skip Novak. “During these times when so many sail and motor trips have been cancelled due to the Coronavirus restrictions I’m really looking forward to being able to join this virtual event and share my experiences with fellow cruisers.”   

Skip’s presentation, ‘How excelling in basic boating skills can enable you to accomplish your cruising dreams,’ will focus on the advantages of utilising uncomplicated on-board systems when voyaging. Drawing on his own wealth of experience through his 30 years of travelling in high latitudes, Skip will demonstrate how those skills can be sharpened and transferred to your next cruising adventure.    

Skip added: “After so many years of voyaging and in spite of getting on in years I am still convinced that having less gadgetry and conveniences on-board makes for a richer sailing experience.”

As the builder and operator of both Pelagic and Pelagic Australis, built out of Skip’s wish to combine his sailing and mountaineering skills, he now spends every season in Antarctic waters and sets new standards in expedition yacht construction and design. In 2016, Skip was awarded the Tilman Award by the Royal Cruising Club of London for his work pioneering Antarctic sailing expeditions.

“We’re thrilled to be able to welcome Skip Novak as this year’s keynote speaker. He is a great inspiration to many cruisers and brings with him a score of expedition stories and cruising knowledge which we’re sure will excite and engage our audience,” commented Stuart Carruthers, RYA Cruising Manager. 

“Skip’s chosen topic of utilising uncomplicated on-board systems will be a great complement to the other talks at the Conference, which range from how to read the weather, the past, present and future of charts, to how to use electronics as an aid to navigation.”  

Although the event cannot be held in-person this year the conference will still be delivering informative and eye-opening talks from a range of speakers. Topics for the breakout sessions include an introduction to radar from instructor Alan Watson, how to use electronics as an aid to navigation by RYA instructor and examiner James Davies, as well as a talk by Ivan Haigh from University of Southampton on how tides really work, why they are so important and why their characteristics vary so much. 

Phil Horton, RYA Environmental and Sustainability Manager, will be exploring the alternatives of sustainable engine drives during his talk, ‘The Future of Propulsion.’ 

“I’m looking forward to using the session to showcase the range of energy possibilities that are currently available to boaters, including electric and hybrid drives, hydrogen and biofuel energy. It will also be great to discuss the other new sustainability opportunities that may soon be readily available on the market,” Phil commented. “Alongside that we will also be taking a look at how the supporting infrastructure at our marinas and harbours may need to change and adapt to accommodate these new advancements in technology.”

Tickets to the Conference will allow you access to not only the live speaker sessions, but also to the Exhibition Area where delegates will be able to visit virtual stands and chat with RYA experts. You also will be able to learn all of the latest updates on travelling to and from the EU and ask your post-Brexit questions directly to members of the RYA Cruising and Government Affairs team. 

Visitors to the event will also be able to brush up on key rope skills with the assistance of Marlow Ropes, who will talk cruisers through the importance of preparing your ropes for longer passages, how to protect against wear and tear and how to diagnose damage in running rigging.

Visitors will also be able to learn more about the current trends in the cruising world by watching the on-demand presentations and videos. 

Despite the conference being online there will still be plenty of opportunities for the audience to get involved and a chance to put your questions to the speakers. The full event agenda is now available on the RYA website.

Don’t forget to also pop by the Bishop Skinner Marine exhibition stand who are proudly supporting the day as the event partner. They offer a range of insurance options for RYA members and can offer excellent levels of cover and discounted premiums over a range of covers from dinghies and paddleboards, to motorboats and yachts.  

The RYA Cruising Conference takes place 09:30-14:30 on Sunday 21 March 2021, bookings are available now. Places are free for RYA Members and just £10pp for non-members.

Register to book your place in the virtual audience here. 

For all the latest conference news visit the RYA Cruising Conference page or follow the Royal Yachting Association on Facebook and Twitter.

For all RYA Cruising Conference enquiries, please email: