Southampton Boat Handling Master Class (Starting evening August 14th)

Shamrock Quay, Southampton, 15 - 16 August

A lovely yacht approaches a cross wind and cross tide berth. One member of the crew stands at the bow - rope in hand - the skipper stood at the helm gently guiding the yacht into its berth. Then with two meters to go all hell breaks loose - arm waving, wild gesticulating, swearing, shouting - followed by the inevitable crunch and blame game!

› Why learn to sail with First Class Sailing?
Shamrock Quay, Southampton
15 - 16 August

It could all be so different! Many of our clients have asked us to provide specific training in boat handling under sail and under power - and we are happy to do so.

We give participants an opportunity to be instructed in berthing and unberthing techniques and then practice handling a yacht under power on and off pontoons in a variety of marinas. Time will also be dedicated to boat handling under sail so you will practice picking up buoys, man over board and maybe even sailing on and off pontoons.

Whether you want to brush up on your skills before a practical course, a charter or a flotilla holiday or you just need the practice, this master class can be tailored for you.

There will only be up to 4 students.

The idea of this weekend is that you will spend one day focusing on boat handling under power and the other day focusing on boat handling under sail. However conditions may mean that you do some of both on each day.

The weekend will help you develop your skills and confidence in sail and power handling on a yacht, including advanced power handling techniques. If there is anything specific you wish to practice let us know - the weekend can be tailored to your needs. On the sail handling side the same applies - let us know if there is something specific you wish to cover but you can expect to go over things like MOB practice, picking up buoys under sail, sailing on and off pontoons and the finer points of sail trim.

It works best if you can arrive on the Friday evening although this is not an absolute requirement.

Accommodation is on board, use of oilskins is included, food on board is included for all meals apart from the Friday evening meal.

You will practice approach to and departure from marina berths and mooring buoys, anchoring, turning in confined spaces, using prop walk and the effects of the wind and tide, ferry gliding and stern-to mooring (for chartering in the Med).

You will practice sail trim and sail handling techniques and learn how to sail efficiently and safely, while increasing boat performance, including up and down wind techniques, points of sail and no go areas, sail trim and control, tacking and gybing, sail balance, sailing on to mooring buoys and marina berths, poling out the headsail, heavy weather techniques and use of the storm jib.

"There's no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothing." Billy Connolly

Whilst the weather sailing of the south coast is actually fairly mild it is important to have the correct clothing. We provide state of the art Musto Oilskins that are brand new every year, free of charge.

Space on a boat is always at a premium, so you should pack your clothes in a soft holdall that can be stowed away in a locker. Bags with wheels or metal buckles should be avoided, as these may damage the woodwork on boats. You will need:

  • Sleeping bag
  • Pillow
  • Towel
  • Warm clothing. It can sometimes be considerably cooler at sea than on land.
  • Fleeces and thermals are good for chillier times of the year.
  • A sunhat/baseball cap
  • A woolly hat for cold weather
  • Suncream
  • Sunglasses
  • Retaining strap for glasses/sunglasses
  • Sailing gloves
  • Non marking shoes (Trainers or deck shoes)
  • Non-slip/non-marking waterproof sailing boots (not agricultural-type wellies). These can be purchased from the chandlery at Shamrock Quay for about £40.
  • Waterproof clothing (unless you have asked us to provide it for you)
  • RYA Logbook, if you have one, if not we can provide one for £7.49
  • Current passport (if sailing holiday or trip may involve other countries)
  • European Health Insurance Card (if sailing holiday or trip involves other EU countries)
  • Health insurance documentation (if applicable)
  • For clothing, remember that you will be outdoors most of the day. A range of sporty, layered clothing is best. Jeans are OK, but not ideal as they are hard to dry if they get wet. You want to be warm, comfortable and able to move easily. We provide waterproof Mustojackets and trousers free of charge. Just let us know your sizes on the booking form.
  • Soft bag for all your belongings (no hard suitcases please)

We provide all safety equipment such as lifejackets and harnesses.

What did you like most about about your course? Well-defined and beautifully balanced act between people, didactics and technology. Combo is rarely achieved successfully but it hits the bull's eye! How would you rate the support you received during your course on a scale of 1 to 5 with 1 being very poor and 5 being excellent? 5 no doubt. From the first feedback onwards it's guaranteed you are not alone! I like the way anecdotes and facts are sprinkled occasionally alongside the syllabus, like recent ship wrecks in the Channel, etc. This certainly makes reading more interesting as text books tend to be somewhat drier. Please use any occasion to exploit that approach. That enriches the reader immensely as it is first-hand knowledge in its purest form, and that is certainly difficult to obtain anywhere else. Well done. "


"The Instructor was an excellent coach and really took the time with our class to ensure we all understood all aspects of the course. He was patient and prepared to take the time to ensure we all had the best knowledge transferred to us. He was an excellent instructor and had a significant amount of detailed knowledge that was most helpful to me and the rest of the class. He is passionate and fully committed to his work and goes above and beyond to ensure you are capable and have a really enjoyable experience learning with him. First Class Sailing are well organised and the logistics, course material and facilities were all top notch "

David, Director

"First Class Sailing should be your only choice for embarking on any theoretical or practical learning experience you may require. Regardless of previous experience it is defiantly No1. Choice for getting the best start around your sailing experience requirements. "

David, Director

"An excellent outfit, well equipped with good boats and brilliant instructors, that is small enough to give a warm personal service but big enough to cope with the full gamut of yachting experiences"

Thomas H.,

"I am no longer scared of the engine, touching bolts etc."

Georgina, Office Manager

"Excellent instructor - gave freely of his experience - very dedicated and enormously helpful."

Colin McKnight,

"Professional and effective. Good equipment, taught by knowledgable and enthusiastic professionals."

Ron G.,

"The instructor was the perfect balance of show and tell mixed with letting you make your own mistakes safely. (The booking process) was all very professional and friendly. I felt the booking official actually cared about getting my booking right. Friendly, personalised, professional with out being officious. "

Andy C.,

"Excellent and I highly recommend to take any of First Class Sailing's courses"

Daniel O., Senior Manager

"Best Sailing School in the UK!"

Stefano D, Director

"Don't choose courses on basis of price. All courses are not the same. Both First Class Sailing Theory and Practical courses are 'First Class'."

Michael T,

"Great practical use of equipment. Good class size. Relaxed. "

Hannah T.,

"Good clear explanations and pragmatic approach, was very easy to follow. Excellent instructor."

Neil M.,

"Hands on, excellent instructor. Very professional, excellent course, 1st Class Service. "

Julian N.,

"Clear and focused on practical needs. "

Julein Q.,

"Concise, covered all relevant and necessary material without unneeded extra time. Instructor was friendly, informative and extremely competent. "

Troy B.,

"Good level of detail and experience from instructor. "

Robert A.,

"Good entertaining tuition. Lots of anecdotes to make it interesting, great practical experience."

Nick S.,

"The booking was well handled and the confirmation emails received speedily. Very helpful to receive pre course notes. Professional, helpful, good value. "

Sarah R.,

"Friendly informative courses delivered in a relaxed environment by knowledgeable instructors. "

Allyson F., Head if UK Retail Marketing, Henderson Global Investors
Book Here Today!
Shamrock Quay, Southampton
15 - 16 August

15 - 16 August (Solent Sailing Weekend Course)


Shamrock Quay, Southampton

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RYA Theory Courses

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One Day RYA Courses

One day courses that broaden your knowledge and compliment the RYA practical and navigation courses.

Contact us
0203 006 3717
Our Locations

Shamrock Quay

William Street



SO14 5QL


c/o Cruising Association

CA House

1 Northey Street


E14 8BT

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