Travel from France and Learn to Sail in the UK

Aspiring French Sailors living across La Manche in France can easily attend a First Class Sailing course in England to obtain an Royal Yachting Association (RYA) qualification.

The Sailing Courses are provided by our experienced, patient and friendly instructors who are used to dealing with a wide range of abilities and nationalities. So whether you are a total novice or have many miles of experience come and join us.

RYA Yacht Sailing Courses all fall under the RYA ‘Cruising Scheme’. There are 3 categories of courses:

Shorebased navigation theory classes. These can be taken online anywhere in the world or in a classroom.

Practical Sailing Courses. These take place on a sailing yacht. Accommodation and food is all included on board.

One Day Supplementary courses. For Example Sea Survival, Diesel Engine Maintenance, VHF (SRC) Radio, First Aid.

A great many of our customers come from abroad and have English as a second language. We are used to dealing with customers from a wide range of countries and many French that live and work in London as well as those that live in France come to take our courses. We run one day supplementary courses in London (VHF, Diesel, Sea Survival, First Aid) and practical sailing courses on the East Coast In Essex and South Coast in the Solent.

You will need to speak and understand English to participate in these courses. It is a rule that all RYA Sailing Courses are conducted in English. That said, a large percentage of our customers have English as a second language. Don't worry if you don't know what all the English names for different parts of the boat are - you will soon pick it up.

Shorebased Navigation Courses – Online from anywhere in the world

Navigation classes can be taken in a classroom. They are usually in London over 7 weeks (1 evening a week) and a weekend or over 2 and ½ weekends. This is perhaps not particularly convenient if you live in France.

Of more interest will probably be the online version of these navigation classes. The online version can be done anywhere on the planet with an internet connection. We send you some course materials and a username and login. You can then take the course at your leisure at a pace that suits you. Friendly email and phone support is provided if required.

Online theory courses are:

For those seeking a commercial endorsement the Professional Practices and Responsibilities (PPR) Course can also be taken online here.

RYA Practical sailing courses start and finish in Southampton on the UK’s South Coast (in the Solent). The Southampton base postcode is SO14 5QL.

Practical sailing courses are held on our clean, well maintained, heated and modern French yachts. Accommodation is on board the yachts and it is recommended that you stay on board the yacht the night before your course starts, for those arriving in the UK from Europe. All food on board is provided for. We can cater for any dietary requirements. A course lasts for 5 days.

Our practical sailing classes include:

These one day courses are a compliment to the practical sailing courses and take place at various venues in London, usually on Saturdays and Sundays.

Choose from:

Venues in London are selected so that they are easily accessible via the underground. We can suggest hotels nearby should you wish to stay overnight.

Travelling to the UK from France for RYA sailing courses is easier than you may first think. There are many different choices available including:

  • The Eurostar – This is a very quick and cost effective option. The Eurostar runs from Paris to London on an hourly basis at affordable prices. You can easily get from London to Southampton using the extensive and regular train network.
  • Driving - You can take your car across from France to the UK using the Eurotunnel, which runs from Calais to Folkestone in Kent. You can then drive to Southampton via the quick, motorway system but remember to drive on the left hand side in the UK!
  • Flying – Another option is to fly from one of France’s airports. Gatwick, Heathrow or Southampton are the best airports to aim for. Southampton Airport is about 15 minutes in a taxi to where the classes run in Southampton. Gatwick and Heathrow are about 1 hour and 30 minutes drive or similar time on the train.
  • Ferry - If you would prefer to travel by ferry there are ferry ports in both Portsmouth (Hampshire) and Dover (Kent), which are both accessible to London and Southampton by car or train, once you have arrived at the port.

As a RYA Recognised Sailing School we use the standard RYAsyllabi as well as RYA qualified instructors. The yachts used have all been checked and are approved as meeting RYAstandards; this means they are safe, well maintained and suitable for use in your sailing classes.

Here at First Class Sailing we are regularly assessed ourselves to ensure that we are fulfilling the RYA’s high standards as well as those of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA).

We are proud to be part of a scheme that is highly respected worldwide, which means our sailing students know they are receiving safe as well as top quality instruction.

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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