Explore the beautiful coastline of the West Country on an old wooden classic.
This is a cruise, not a course, but you will gain fantastic experience and cover a lot of miles. This area provides challenging navigation, with its famously powerful tides.
The West Country offers some of the best cruising in the world in our opinion. Build miles, practice what you already know, improve your navigation, increase your experience or just kick back and watch the world go by as we explore some lovely Hampshire, Devonshire and Cornish sea side villages and towns.
Setting off from Southampton we will aim for either Weymouth or Dartmouth as a first port of call. Both options are lovely. Dartmouth is charming. The entrance is guarded by a castle and the pretty town is over looked by the Britannia Royal Naval College. After a night in Dartmouth and a good look around you might head off for Salcombe which is a short sail across Start Bay. Salcombe is another delightful seaside town with lots of character and surrounded by rolling hills and fields, a character of the West Country.
West of Salcombe is the bustling naval port of Plymouth. You may pull into Plymouth before heading on to Fowey. Set in an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty this vibrant town is stepped in maritime history. There are mediaeval buildings standing next to Georgian buildings. Beyond Fowey is the lovely town of Falmouth and then the Helford River.
It is roughly 165nm to Falmouth. So there and back would be 330nm.
These are some of the places you will visit. It might be in a different order and dependent on the wind direction. A great thing about sailing in the West Country is that places to visit are conveniently spaced out and within a day or half a day’s sail of the next port.
This is a hands on sailing trip but previous sailing experience is not at all essential. Our skipper and mate will show you the ropes and the easy-to-follow techniques of sailing a traditional boat such as Golden Vanity that will allow you to get the most out of your sailing experience. That said if you would rather just enjoy the scenery and catch up on some reading that is fine.
Golden Vanity was built in 1908, she is very much an historical boat with an interesting past. She is a Mumble Bee class of Brixham Sailing Trawler. Built for any weather she is very stable and really solid.
She was built for the famous marine artist, Arthur Briscoe, who used to paint from her decks some of the last days of working sail. He also used to regularly sail her with close friends including the spy novelist Erskine Childers who wrote Riddle of the Sands.
On deck she is as she was all those years ago. Down below she has been fitted out with all the necessary comforts you might expect on a yacht of her size.
Golden Vanity can take 12 people. There would generally only be a maximum of 6 plus skipper and maybe a mate on board the yacht. There are 6 dormitory style berths up forward, a berth in the saloon and two berths aft.
Many crew - male and female - join us as solo travellers, though we do regualrly welcome couples, families and small groups of friends.
The trip is obviously weather dependent. If conditions prevented a trip to the West Country then the conditions might be more favourbale to head across the Channel to explore France and the Channel Islands. So you should bring your passport just in case.
In the unlikely situation where the conditions don’t allow us to cover lots of miles we would look to ensure you get plenty of sailing in the testing conditions that prevent the passage but in safer more sheltered local waters. Unfortunately we are not able to offer a refund or transfer to a later date if the itinerary changes due to the weather conditions.
There is no formal course on this trip. You can certainly record your miles in your logbook and they will go towards any RYA qualification you are aiming for.
Whilst the weather sailing of the south coast is actually fairly mild it is important to have the correct clothing.
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:
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. "LJ,
"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
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On the water courses that teach the beginner how to be a useful crew member and the advanced how to cross oceans.
A VHF radio is an essential piece of safety equipment and it is vital to understand the correct procedures.
Shorebased navigation classes that prepare you to safely find your way once afloat.
One day courses that broaden your knowledge and compliment the RYA practical and navigation courses.