About Nomad Sailing

The Company

Nomad Sailing is owned and run by Jim Barden and his sister Lou. We have a practical base in Gosport and shorebased classrooms in London and the South-East

Nomad was established in 2008, and after obtaining RYA Recognised Training Centre (RTC) status has provided shorebased RYA training courses in various locations in London and the South East. We aim to give sailors and prospective sailors the opportunity to learn and refine all the navigation skills needed on the water, a thorough grounding in the 'rules of the road', detailed knowledge of buoyage, lights and shapes and an understanding of safety at sea, all in the comfort of the classroom.

Nomad 1 is Nomad Sailing's first boat (we aim to have many !!!). We have spent a great deal of time making her a fabulous training boat and felt she deserved a full page so please take a look at Nomad 1.

Our Pay Once and Pass Guarantee is that we won't give up on you - in the unlikely event that you fail to complete one of our courses - you can resit or rejoin another at NO EXTRA COST.

As well as providing scheduled courses throughout the year, Nomad also delivers bespoke theory training to small groups in homes, offices, clubs and workshops!

Although predominantly based in the South East of England, Nomad have delivered courses from Yorkshire down to the Algarve.

Sunrise on the Hamble

The yacht 'Nomad' joined the team in 2011, which as well as being used for training, will provide our students and others with an affordable and familiar boat to hire and sail throughout the year.

Over the next 2 years we plan to introduce some unique sailing holidays and experiences on various waters including the Caribbean, Balearics, Atlantic coast of Spain, Baltic and Scotland.


Why Nomad?

Although not without challenge, our training schedules always have your learning outcomes and comfort in mind. You will be given continuous feedback on your progress throughout the course - we are always happy to answer questions, demonstrate skills or let you have a go at that tricky manoeuvre again!

You will complete courses on 'Nomad 1', our lovely training boat, on which you will be given a comfortable berth and good quality food whilst on board.

Overall our focus throughout is on sound tuition, safety and of course plenty of fun!

The Instructors

Jim Barden

Jim Barden

Principal at Nomad Sailing, Jim has over 20 years sailing experience, having cruised all around the UK and Europe. He is a RYA Yachtmaster Instructor and has been teaching navigation and sailing since 2001.

Jim has a passion for the outdoors, and a zeal for imparting his knowledge of navigation and boat handling that is infectious. He ensures that all participants are comfortable and included, irrespective of their age or experience.


Lou Barden

Lou Barden

Lou is Chief Instructor at Nomad Sailing, has over 15 years sailing experience in various waters and has participated in a number of extended yacht deliveries. She is a qualified RYA Yachtmaster Instructor.

Lou resigned her career job in 2008 to pursue her passion for sailing, Lou has a patient and personable style that is a firm favourite with students.


Some Testimonials

Mike Low, Yachtmaster Prep/Milebuilder

Excellent instruction and opportunity to practice skills, well planned but flexible itinerary. Not too rushed

Emma Paton, Day Skipper

Jim, thank you so much for the theory course you got me through and the additional lessons you helped with when I struggled in some topics. I honestly feel that after trying another Sea School prior , you are certainly in a different league. The weekend I have also just had with you and fellow crew was excellent, you were always calm and approachable for help when you were instructing but also during the day when we were given free rein to manage the boat ourselves. At all times I was safe, learning and mainly having fun, thank you and I look forward to sailing and taking my next theory course with you

Sarah, RYA Competent Crew

Never having sailed or set foot on a yacht before, I signed up for seven days aboard the Melbourne Star hoping to achieve the status of competent crew so that I could one day soon sail into the sunset with my sailing smitten boyfriend.

Would I survive a week cooped up on a 35 ft yacht with a handful of sailing strangers, eating maggoty ship's biscuits and dodging container ships as we crossed the English Channel - at night? Could I cope with high winds, low moods, a bossy skipper and a bilious belly?

I survived, I coped and I revelled in it. My shipmates were wonderful, politely turning a blind eye to a mercifully brief bout of sea-sickness and nursing me back to health with Rich Tea biscuits. They taught me how to reef sails and sail around reefs. I learned how to helm in a high wind and mastered some knots that will be very handy around the home. I became adept at using a stove in a rolling sea and can make a caf? latt? at any latitude. I helped hitch up to mooring buoys in handy harbours and dropped anchor in cosy coves. I wobbled a bit clambering from yacht to bobbing dinghy but I think I impressed with my ability to row the crew ashore for a barbecue or a drink or two in a Channel Island pub.

It was a great week. I learned a lot about the wind and tides and I have developed an abiding respect for sailors, fishermen and skippers at sea. I miss my shipmates, the swaying of the boat, the bustle, activity and moments of great excitement contrasted with times of tired tranquillity and stillness. Above all I miss the sheer beauty of the sea and sky by day and night.

Oh, and the ship's biscuits weren't maggoty. In fact the food was fabulous. Taking it in turns we managed to delight each other with regular freshly cooked feasts such as French Onion Soup, Penne & Pesto and Mozarella & Basil salad. Sometimes the simplest food came at just the right time - egg and bacon sandwiches at dawn after an all night Channel Crossing with the Isle of Wight in sight.

Other memories include: listening to the latest Iggy Pop CD in a bar in Cherbourg run by a very impressive Madame, falling asleep in a sunny field on Sark after a restless night at anchor and docking at St Peter Port Marina, Guernsey, for a shower and a sheltered night's sleep.

To sum up - if you are thinking of doing it but are a bit afraid like I was - go for it - it is wonderful and Jim is a great teacher.