We love messing about on boats!
We want to share our passion by teaching how to sail safely and be self sufficient on the water so that others can get the same sense of enjoyment, relaxation, satisfaction, excitement and adventure from messing about on boats that we do.
Established in London in 2000 by the late Saul Masson, First Class Sailing is now owned by Principal Charlie Tulloch.
First Class Sailing operates from various locations in Central London and from Shamrock Quay in Southampton on the South Coast.
We run RYA shore based navigation courses in London and specialise in going into offices in and around the City to run evening navigation classes. We also hold these courses over weekends at the Cruising Association in Limehouse. In addition, we run all the RYA supplementary 1 day courses – VHF, Diesel Engine Maintenance, First Aid, Sea Survival, Offshore Personal Survival and Radar – in London, usually at weekends.
Shamrock Quay in Southampton is where Head Office is located.
From here we run the full range of RYA Courses, on shore in our modern classrooms and on the water on a range of yachts. As well as RYA courses, we offer a number of supplementary courses such as Yacht Rigging and Splicing, and Marine Electrics and Systems, Boat Handling weekends and Mile Building weekends and weeks. All are designed to improve your knowledge and give you more confidence on the water.
In addition to training courses we run all sorts of sailing holiday activities that include cruising the West Country in the UK or exploring France and the Channel Islands, or a longer trip sailing to the Norwegian Fjords and back.Sometimes we run voyages round Britain, or across the Atlantic over to the Caribbean in ‘the ARC’, and then back across the Atlantic. We run trips to and in the Baltic, cruises in the Caribbean, and up to Norway’s Lofoten Islands in the Artic Circle. Plus more!
Every year we enter the Round the Island Race and every other year the Rolex Fastnet Race along with the Royal Ocean racing Club qualifying races.
On many occasions we have also entered in the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC) which is a 'cruising race' from the Canary Islands to the Caribbean.
Charlie is an RYA/DoT Yachtmaster Ocean Instructor. His Dad taught him to sail on a Drascombe Dabber on the River Dart.
Before First Class Sailing Charlie taught people to sail at several Solent-based sailing schools, worked as a delivery skipper moving boats of all sizes around the world, worked on charter boats off the UK Coast, skippered a privately owned boat to Panama and around central America for a year, skippered and worked as mate on large 80-100ft sailing trawlers such as Keewaydin, Leader and Provident taking adults and disadvantaged young people sailing, and spent a year on container ships carting anything from onions to DVD players around the world. He has a 1st Class Honours degree in Merchant Ship Operations.
Martin Joined the team in 2018 having moved down from London where he worked as a property Manager, taking care of bespoke housing.
Although new to the yachting world Martin has been a Senior dinghy sailing instructor and sailed since the age of four.
Most weekends he is out on the water racing with the plan to gain more experience on the yachts in the near future.
Sam is our operations manager predominately looking after our boats and skippers and with a background in both banking and education runs a very tight ship. She comes from a very sailing focussed family - her dad was an RYA Yachtmaster Examiner who spent 12 years sailing around the world and Sam and her family joined them on various legs and locations. You may often see Sam around the Solent at the weekends on a variety of boats but probably zipping around in their rib.
Bella is part-time and doesn’t like to work too hard. She will often be found in her charging pod/ bed behind Sam’s desk unless you have food in which case she shows off her upbringing with golden retrievers and will be sat begging for titbits. She loves being on the water but not so keen on being in the water!
Richard is a Yachtmaster Offshore with around 12,000 nm logged, which includes two Atlantic crossings. The first crossing from Bermuda to Shamrock Quay via the Azores and Portugal was his first time on a sailing yacht with Charlie as Skipper! He's also sailed on an 80ft Maxi and Challenger 67's & 72's. Prior to sailing he had a career in the motor trade and has also worked for the Tall Ships Youth Trust for over a decade.
These days he spends more time ashore but still loves helping novice sailors take their first steps out onto the water. He will most likely answer the phone if you call the office or reply to any enquires you might have about any of our courses, whether it be Competent Crew or RYA First Aid at Sea.
We have an exceptional team of instructors. Some are freelance, many work only for us. We are quite selective. Generally, the instructors we use have been/are successful in other walks of life and choose to teach sailing because they love it.