Learn To Sail With First Class Sailing
If you want to be a competent sailor, with the option to grow into a skipper or Yachtmaster, then there are 13 excellent reasons why you should pick First Class Sailing as your source of nautical knowledge. Starting with...
1. Our Values:
We care. From the moment you first get in touch with us to when you receive your certificate in the post. We are concerned that you choose the right course for you, that you are kept well informed of when and where to join your yacht, that the food we choose suits you, that the instructors we employ are the best for you, that the yachts are maintained and your safety given the highest regard, that we provide you with the best waterproofs, that you get what you want and more out of any sailing you do with us.
Nothing gives us greater pleasure than hearing stories of past and present customers going it alone and chartering yachts in the Med and taking family and friends sailing, or buying their own boat and casting off to explore.
We want people to experience what it is about sailing that we love so much -
the adventure, the thrill and satisfaction of the arrival, the 360 degree horizon, the speed, the ever changing colours or the sea and the sky, the camaraderie, the challenge, the sound of water bubbling by, the escape, the freedom, the little surprises that crop up, the solitude, because 2 days on a boat is like 3 weeks on a beach in terms of clearing your head, the fresh salty smell, the sight of a dolphin, the sight of a whale!, the bond that strikes up with others on the water, the timelessness, the teamwork, the tan.
At the end of the day we put our money where our mouth is and offer a guarantee that offers 3 things. In short – if you are not happy with your course then we are not happy and if we can’t put it right to YOUR satisfaction we give you your money back; we promise to respond to your enquiries promptly and are here to offer unlimited support and advice to our customers forever; if you don’t pass first time round you can have as many more goes as you need free of charge until you do (doesn’t include Yachtmaster candidates).
2. Your Safety
Safety is paramount to everything we do and should never be compromised. There are some inherent risks in sailing but we take every precaution to minimise them. Our instructors are carefully chosen because your safety is in their hands once at sea. We have carefully considered operating procedures designed to give you the best experience whilst keeping you safe at all times.
Very very occasionally a yacht cannot leave harbour due to severe weather. When this happens there are plenty of things that are part of your course that will keep you busy while the weather subsides. However if you lose too much time we will give you opportunities in the future to complete your course at no charge.
We will be fair and honest in all our dealings with you and we aim to maintain consistent standards in everything we do and offer. If at any time you feel we have fallen short please do bring it to our attention.
3. Accessibility – being responsive to your needs
We want to make sailing as accessible as possible. This means three things to us.
Firstly our courses and trips need to be sensibly priced.
Secondly our courses need to be as convenient as possible so that they are made accessible by easily fitting into your diary. 7 evenings and a weekend for a theory course is very convenient to a lot of people as is a course over 2 and 1/2 weekends. A practical course works for many over 2 weekends (a short and a long) as it means most people only have to take one day of work.
Thirdly we are easily contactable and are available from 8am to 7pm 5 days a week.
We are constantly striving to improve what we offer and the way we work. From improving our website to making it easier for clients to find out about courses, to adding material to our course notes.
4. Quality Control
We monitor the standards of the many aspects that make up our business to ensure the course or sailing experience you receive from First Class Sailing time and again lives up to the standards we strive for.
In order to check our admin team, our instructors, our yachts and all the other elements that go towards making your course a great experience, are all on track and performing well, every one of our clients is asked to fill out a feed back form at the end of a course or trip. This helps us to ensure standards are being maintained, you the client are happy with the instruction/experience you receive and that we are responding to your needs throughout your whole experience with First Class Sailing.
We are subject to regular RYA and MCA inspections of our systems, our operating procedures and our yachts. We are also subject to occasional spot checks by these organisations. This ensures the integrity of the RYA standards and our quality is maintained.
5. Our Guarantee
We offer a 3 point guarantee.
We promise to respond in a timely polite manner to any enquiry you may have. If your call/email is unanswered immediately between the hours of 8am and 7pm it is because we are either on the phone or have just popped out of the office to shuffle boats around. We promise you will be first on our list when we get back and will have a response within 2 working hours.
In addition we promise all our customers unlimited help, support and advice FOREVER!
Whatever the course or trip you do with us we guarantee you will learn lots, have fun and have the best sailing/learning experience possible, whatever the weather!
If you have any concerns about your course or trip once it has started please raise them with us straight away and we will endeavour to put things right to your total satisfaction. Should we be unable to resolve matters to YOUR satisfaction we will give you a 100% refund.
First Class Sailing will stand by you. If you do not pass a course at the first attempt then we will keep giving you opportunities, free of charge until you do pass. (This does not apply to Yachtmaster Coastal or Yachtmaster Offshore preparation or exams).
6. Our Instructors
First Class Sailing instructors, whether on our shorebased or practical courses, are chosen for their experience, their enthusiasm, their personality and their ability to engage with clients from all walks of life and from all parts of the world. Many of them have had high flying careers of their own but take great pleasure in imparting their knowledge and experience of sailing to you.
We are conscious that our clients have high standards and even higher expectations, so we feel that the choice of instructor for our courses is key to delivering a First Class experience. We recognise that our instructors are very much the face of FIRST CLASS SAILING and therefore choose them accordingly.
Whilst we appreciate that everyone has to start somewhere, we do not generally employ newly-qualified instructors, who lack the experience and judgement that our own people can bring to your RYA sailing courses, holidays or trips. Most of our on the water instructors are predominantly Yachtmaster Instructors, not newly-qualified Cruising Instructors. Some are RYA Yachtmaster Examiners, others have sailed and raced around the world. All of them are chosen to make sure your course or trip is a really First Class experience.
7. Our Yachts
Our yachts are very well maintained and cleaned.
Thorough maintenance checks are carried out frequently (see Maintenance section below). In addition to the cleaning that happens at the end of a course our yachts are spruced up further before your arrival.
Most of our the yachts in our fleet are very new and have heating in each cabin and state of the art electronic chart plotters and radar.
8. Maintenance Checks
Things do go wrong at sea – at worst safety can become compromised and at best good sailing time can be wasted waiting for repairs to be carried out. Most of what can go wrong at sea can be avoided by thorough preventative maintenance and checks on equipment. That is why we have a designated person whose job every week is to perform thorough maintenance checks on safety items like the life raft and on Man over Board recovery equipment. Additionally throughout your course/trip these sort of safety items are checked continually by the instructor/skipper.
And once a month checks are also carried out on things like batteries, fire extinguishers, torches, engine mounts plus lots of other items.
These weekly and monthly checks all serve to ensure that the chances of something going wrong when you are on board are considerably reduced so you remain safe and your course is NOT cut short while valuable time is spent rectifying faults.
In December and January the yachts go through a thorough refit. They are lifted out of the water and inspected all over. Lots of items are serviced and replaced. This is also designed to ensure no problems arise when you are on board.
However, if something does go wrong all our boats are covered by Sea Start (AA/RAC on the water) and on the rare occasions that issues cannot be expeditiously resolved we will provide another yacht for you so that your course can be completed.
9. Our Availablity
We are open 8am to 7pm to deal with your queries. We provide a very personal experience. Any question you have just give us a call or email us.
We provide state of the art Musto oilskin waterproofs free of charge. It is important to have high quality gear when sailing.
11. Your Course Materials
We provide a comprehensive set of course materials on our theory courses, far and above that required by the RYA and provided by other schools. They help you complete the course and make it possible to catch up if you really have to miss a class.
These extra materials are included in the price of the course. You do not have to pay extra for them, unlike with other schools.
The only thing not provided is a set of plotters/dividers. But if you don’t have a set we can provide and deliver them to you and this option is given to you when you book a course.
When you book a course we also suggest books you may be interested in if you wish to read around the subject. They are not by any means required. If you order them in advance they will be given to you on the first day of your course.
12. Our Food & Catering
Food on board yachts is essential and can often make or break a trip. It needs to cater for all types of diets and be easy to prepare. We don’t think there is any excuse for it not to be healthy and balanced. In our view there is absolutely no need for tinned pies or pre cooked lasagnes and the like. The food we provide is fresh and healthy. (But we recognise the importance of chocolate once in a while!)
We can cater for any kind of diets. So let us know if you are a vegetarian, have a wheat intolerance, can’t eat diary, meat, nuts or anything else. We are quite used to requests and have no problem dealing with them.
13. The Sailing Area
First Class Sailing’s sailing area on the South Coast is mainly the Solent area which is a fantastic place to sail. It is one of the best places to learn to sail in the world. For a number of reasons. Namely:
There are many very different, interesting and attractive harbours, ports and inlets to practice sailing and navigating in to and out of. It is unlikely you will visit the same place twice in a weeks’ course and on some days you will visit two or three places. This variety means you experience lots of different ways of entering and leaving a place and all that that entails.
There are lots of other craft to see. High tech around the world single handed racing yachts, old wooden traditional tan sailed yachts, enormous container ships, oil tanks, car carriers, fishing boats, windsurfers, square rigged tall ships, high speed ferries, extremely fast motor boats, ribs, sleek classic yachts and many other different types of boats. They all create a wonderful spectacle and add to the enjoyment of sailing. They also offer excellent opportunities for students to practice their collision regulations.
A further advantage of the Solent is its geographical location. It is protected from the open sea by the Isle of Wight. This means that in almost all weather it is still possible to cast off and go sailing.