Some of the photos on this page - alter to a different picture when you 'mouseover' or 'tap' the picture.
Some “Safe and Fun” feedback, February 2017
Hi, Thanks for the links. I have completed the Safe and Fun course – all good.
Communications were good – clear instructions in the e-mail and website. Will recommend others to use 1st Watersport.
Regards D. Luxton.
Dear Carol RYA Interactive are investigating your feedback. Regards Eric
I completed the course on Sunday after many attempts. I loaded the web link on my iPad but had to repeatedly start again. The screens froze, the next button would sometimes be positioned off the page. With some frustration, I loaded the link onto my mac book. Again with similar results. We do not have a PC. The link needs to be checked to ensure it works across different platforms. It was somewhat distracting and frustrating.
Regards Carol B, Sent from my iPad
Your details have been passed to me by Eric at 1st Watersport with regard to the problem you had with your online Safe and Fun course. We are sorry that your experience through the course was not as it should have been, and we have done extensive testing to try to find out where the problem lies.
We’ve been through the entire course on both the Mac and iPad, both with the same operating systems that you are using, and haven’t managed to replicate the problem.
Sorry this is inconclusive. As you have already finished the course you might not want to spend any more time on this but if you are able to give us any more information about what happened and whether you saw any error messages, we will certainly take another look.
Regards J. H. (RYA)
SRC Leicestershire, November 2016
Hi Eric, Thanks again for the assessment. I am now looking forward to using my new equipment next season – that seems a long way away but will no doubt come round soon enough. I will try to take heed of your comment re actually using the DSC facilities as much as possible!
I have been reflecting on the assessment and our discussion re “learning it from the book”. As I said I found the RYA Radio publication (G22) excellent. I also used Reeds VHF DSC handbook by Sue Fletcher which is available as an App on Android tablets. It contains a lot of information but is not so easy to use as the RYA book and there are a few conflicts – possibly due to how up-to-date the information is, as you suggested. All in all not too difficult too get a grasp of the theory.
However what one does miss, learning this way, is the use of actual equipment which would be available in the classroom course, or use of a simulator with the online courses. You allowed us plenty of time to familiarise with the kit, and were happy for us to spend longer if needed, but it’s still strange facing real operation for the first time. Still I think you made allowance for that for which I thank you again.
All the best for the future of your school – and, of course, good sailing! Malcolm
||Dear Eric, Thank you for yesterday. A very well presented, thorough and enjoyable course. I hope the other three all passed their assessments and I look forwards to sailing with them in the future.|
It was also lovely to meet Janet-at last! Wishing you both good health n a Very Happy Christmas. Best Wishes Maggie
PS I knew we wouldn't get through all those biscuits!!
Day Skipper Shorebased, Leicestershire, January - April 2016
Hi Eric, I’m (almost) sorry the course is over.
Really appreciate the effort you put in to the feedback from the course exercises. The additional insights you gave over and above what was required really help me to understand the pitfalls I needed to avoid. The classroom sessions were a good mix of serious learning and fun although I won’t miss the anchor ball or diver flag.
What for me started out as just getting the basic qualification (Day Skipper) has now turned in to a thirst for more knowledge and for that I thank you.
See you next year for Yachtmaster Coastal theory? Enjoy your summer sailing and don’t forget you are welcome aboard my boat anytime.
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Eric — Thanks for another well run and informative course.
Your feedback on the homework was invaluable , providing additional thoughts based on your experience helped bring to life the importance of some of the questions. The excellent coffee and biscuits went down well.
Looking forwards to putting my new knowledge to use. Thanks again, Richard
Offshore Yacht Master Exam - PASSED, Hamble, March 2016
Firstly just want to say thank you very much for everything, after having done the exam everything you taught / told me was spot on and was very helpful during the exam.
The examiner’s going to send me a copy of his notes that he took during the exam so i can forward them onto you when i get them, if you’d like.
Hope your weekend course went well, and best of luck with everything in the future. Back to work tomorrow for me.
Thanks again for everything, looking back on it you were brilliant so i really appreciate it.
Instructing RYA Coastal/Yachtmaster course for Alba Sailing, Dunstaffnage, October 2015
Thanks for such a great course, lots to cover but all done with a smile and a gentle nudge in the right direction when one was needed.
First night on anchor in Loch Aline, then Salen Jetty on a pontoon, Loch Eatharna (Coll) anchor, Tobermory pontoon last night back to base.
Wonderful scenery, great company, brilliant food, didn't rain all week! It's a fantastic sailing area, lots of places to visit, saw a Minky whale, Sea Eagle, Golden Eagle and an otter.
Fair winds Roger
Did you forget about that thick advection fog we had on the last afternoon? Eric.
Adventures Offshore, Edinburgh to Fort Augustus and Inverness, August 2015
Thank you for the pleasure of your company on our expedition. Thank you for your patience in answering my endless stream of questions. When we next meet, there will be a lot fewer questions from me and I may be of more use in working the boat.
Whilst in Fort Augustus I spotted a sign for the Great Glen Way, and might have a go at walking it – it’s time I attempted a long distance footpath.
I’d like to do the proposed tripB across the Channel to the D-Day beaches, but Guiding commitments must come first next year.
Please let me know the next time the ‘Old Salts’ are sailing, you could find I’m there with you. Until we meet aging, happy sailing.
Instructing for Britsail, Inverkip (Firth of Clyde) June 2014
I hope you got home safe and well. Thank you so much for the most amazing course. I started the course very anxious and, to be honest, I
was not looking forward to the course. I have come away with a passion for sailing and a huge amount of knowledge. It's all thanks to you.
You were incredibly patient and kind. You made me laugh a lot and made the course fun. I loved your passion and the time you took to show me the ropes (literally). You also took the time to point out and chat about the wildlife and places of interest.
My plan is to send my teenage children to learn to sail in your very safe hands.
Thanks so much for your help, you are a lovely man.
With kind regards, Julie
We had a great week last week on the above course with an interesting mix of participants who under Erics guidance developed into a crew that could "sail the boat".
I would wish to record my appreciation to Eric for his leadership and teaching skills. I have had a pretty wide and diverse education both professionally and in leisure activities and I can count on one hand the number of instructors/examiners who demonstrated such skills that Eric demonstrated during our week. Not only to myself but reflected in how he addressed many different competences of all on board. I would certainly be very keen to sail and or be examined by Eric again.
I have developed a considerable dislike for in line reefing but that does not detract that Chimere is a lovely yacht to sail!
Thank you once again for all of your assistance and I look forward to sailing with Britsail and Chimere again ... and Eric!
Kindest regards, Donald
RYA First Aid course, Leicestershire, March 2015
Day Skipper Shorebased, Leicestershire, January - April 2015
Thank you for putting up with the four of us for the past couple of months, I have to say I really enjoyed your course.
When we started it I remember thinking this is going to be a lot to learn and flicking through some of the books your recommended I did wonder if it would actually make sense. Even in the first couple of classes learning to stop calling charts maps, and thinking I would never get the chart symbols right.
Your teaching made the learning great fun, and your passion for all things boating really helped with the course.
Once again many thanks for getting us through the exam. All the best
Day Skipper Shorebased, Leicestershire, October - December 2014
Good idea about the Symbols, Colin - will post you some more coursework. Eric.
Very best wishes for the New Year and thank-you for little boat to keep me in a nautical mood.
I will be away next week but would be greatful if you can provide have another chartwork assessment paper as I think it would be very helpful to try and embed your teaching.
I thought your passing of flags with questions during course (perhaps you could do symbols too?) was helpful and importantly - the repetition really helped with recall.
Many thanks, Colin
YM Prep for Alba Sailing, Dunstaffnage, Autumn 2014
Dear Alba Sailing, Thanks for a wonderful week aboard Clear Blue in preparation for the YM exam. Really enjoyed the wall to wall sunshine, and will forgive the occasional foggy patches and light shower on the last day.
Well done to Eric for preparing Andy and I so thoroughly for the exam. He can be a stickler for detail, but that only helped us to feel more confident in front of the examiner. I also wanted to thank Eric for looking after us so well during the week, always first to volunteer to do the galley duties and cleaning up.
Kind regards, Russ
Instructing for Alba Sailing, Dunstaffnage, June/July 2014
Thanks again for making the RYA training session challenging, interesting, enjoyable and successful.
All the best, Don.
||Just a wee note to thank you once again for such a special experience on the yacht. It really was a pleasure to spend the week with you and in your capable hands. We had a marvellous time and every single minute was packed with a new experience:- whether it was it was watching wildlife or wild seas, every minute was worth being there.
Alex was blown away by your technical knowledge and the fact that you could always relate the facts to the background story to help us to absorb and remember and he likes to parley with people who know their stuff.|
We both loved how flexible your teaching style was and that you would try anything to help us to get to grips with such a vast new world of knowledge and skills. But neither of these competencies matter if you can't relate to people with warmth, kindness and humour and that's what made you such a pleasure to spend time with and learn under.
Alex was so touched that you said you'd happily sail with him any time and we feel the same. I promise we will keep reading our competent crew manual and becoming more familiar with the world of sailing.
Thanks again and kind regards Alex and Mairi
Day Skipper Shorebased, Notts - Leicestershire border, March 2014
Thank you so much for all your patience and help during our Day Skipper Course. We really enjoyed ourselves and are thrilled to have passed, we can't wait to take our practical next and I know we feel better prepared thanks to your calm, helpful teaching.
Will & Richard
Clyde, March 2014
Thanks for including me as crew on the week’s Yacht Master training course in the Firth of Clyde. It was a great experience; beautiful scenery, good company and an excellent opportunity to improve my sailing skills and get some sea miles under my belt. I’m still dizzy from going around in circles all day with MOB practice.
I am, of course, up for any other opportunities for crewing that may come up.
SRC Leicestershire, March 2014
Just to say, Eric, how successful I thought the DSC course at Thurmaston on 15 March was. Good teaching, and a good choice of examiner on the Sunday.
We all passed, even though there was some nervousness on the Saturday about whether this would happen.
Your patience was rewarded by the improvement in the candidates’ performance in the assessment.
Thanks Eric for an educational, practical but as importantly, fun 1.5 days on the SRC course and exam.
We were your guinea pigs on the new course and covered a lot of material but the small group and relaxed environment meant we all learnt a lot (and practiced it) amid the camaraderie and humour.
Thanks particularly for including me in at short notice.
Great course that was run in a relax way but ensured we understood the requirements to successfully operate a VHF radio while afloat. It was great to use my new skills while passing the Lydd firing range last weekend and in communications with the coast guard and firing range.
Great choice of examiner as well.
Thanks Richard and Claire.
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Sorry it has taken me so long to contact you, I wanted to thank you for the radio course,Although we all passed, which is obviously down to you and how you handled the course, You put us at ease and explained any queries we had,we had some laughs which went down well with the tea and biscuits!
I felt that the RYA hand book that we are required to have had a lot of technical Jargon in the first 25 pages that it nearly put me off doing the course.
RYA advise that we study this book for 3 hours which would be fine if you missed the 25 pages out, The person handling the course could inform the students of what is relevant to us from these pages.
Thanks again, regards
Easter weekend Sail, East Coast - April 2014
Thanks to Eric for organising the trip, Adrian for a substantial larder and to the ancient (?) mariners for their good company and questionable cooking.
Day Skipper, Leicestershire, October - December 2013
Thank you for organising and delivering such an excellent and enjoyable day skipper theory course. I feel as well prepared as I can be for the practical in the Spring.
Time willing I look forward to coming back next year for the Coastal / YM course.
Yachtmaster Prep, Clyde, September 2013
Apologies for the delay in getting back to you- life’s been a little manic since I returned to work!
I just wanted to drop you a quick line to say thank you for all your help and advice during the prep week. It stood me in good stead.
I’m sure you will have heard from the others but our exam started at 8am on Saturday morning and finished at 4pm on Sunday. At one point we saw 45+ knots of wind! The examiner was tough- and certainly enjoyed setting us challenges, but was very fair and made the whole think a little less terrifying than we all expected.
Thanks again for all your help and support- much appreciated!
West Coast of Scotland, July 2013
||Thank you again for the beautyful sailing week in Scotland.|
I have never seen before such a professional instructor and skipper with that kind of patience.
All the best and hopefully we will meet again soon.
West Coast of Scotland, June 2013
Thank you all for a fantastic week.
I will send you some puffin video clips once they have been edited.
Maggie, were you serious about the Scilly Isles? Maybe we could all get together again next year and go there.
Is that a Puffin landing on your head Maggie? Eric
Following on from Jon's email I'd also like to thank you for a lovely week.
The company, sailing and activities were great. Yes I am serious about the Scilly Isles if Eric's interested. Hopefully all your waterproofs are dry by now!.
Have a good week and thanks again. Maggie
Clyde, June 2013
Last weekend I passed my exam Yachtmaster Coastal. The examiner was really very kind during the whole weekend. I'm very happy right now.
Thank you for Eric: I was very pleased with your incredible amount of patience, calmness and your personal approach. It felt like you really understood on which levels we were, what to approve and how you could stimulate us to get to a higher level as a skipper, sailor and person.
So within 2-5 years I will be back as a student and examcandidate for Yachtmaster Offshore. Much better prepared and hopefully having you as my teacher.
Best regards, Diana J
Sailing Easter, March-April 2013
||What a great weekend. Had an amazing time despite the cold. Many thanks. Sail soon.
Thanks for another great sailing experience. Yes! weather cold but company great. Look forward to next time.
Many thanks, Alan
||I just wanted to thank you for organising our little sail in the Solent. Everyone really enjoyed themselves. I thought that you were very good particularly at instructing the teenagers. They didn't seem fazed by the conditions.
Kind regards Wendy
SRC Course, May 2012
Just a quick note to say thanks for a really good VHF course last week. The day went really quickly and I appreciated the teaching from someone who had as much Sea time as you. This makes a big difference to some of the generic training providers I approached before booking with you.
Good to have met and thanks for a great day. Be in touch regards future activities! Best, Denis
Mileage Builder, Easter 2012
Appreciated Steve - but we could have done without that bag of wind on Easter Monday! Eric.
||Thank you very much for the great mile builder trip from Southampton this Easter 2012. It was a great mix of sailing, crew and abilities.
As the least experienced at sailing I found everyone really helpful and understanding. I have once again learnt a great deal from yourself and also the other crew members. The trip: Southampton - Le Havre - Honfleur - Gosport - Southampton was the really good mix of a long passage, short passage, some shore time, another long passage back and a short hop from Gosport to Southampton.
227 nM in 4 days. Once again thanks to you and the rest of the crew. I look forward to booking another mile builder with you towards the end of the season this year. I hope you have a good summer session teaching and that everyone finds it as fun an experience as I have.
||Thank you for a superb mile builder from the moonlit night crossing to La Havre, the beautiful town of Honfleur with it's calvados specialist shops and the return across the channel. Then the exciting sail down the Solent in up to force 9 winds on the last day.
All made possible by you're good skippering. Look forward to the next one!
West Coast of Scotland, August 2011
Thank you Eric for a superbly organised holiday. Great yacht, great food and great destinations.
The day at Staffa was especially memorable. Thank you again. Jon.
SRC Course, June 2011
Eric - just to let you know how much my teenage son and I enjoyed the VHF course you provided for us. We both learned a lot, and appreciated your clear explanations and true-to-life practice exercises. We're looking forward to putting all to use in the next few weeks.
Having spent a reasonable amount of time trying to find such a course online, I'd have no hesitation recommending to anyone in a similar situation that they should get in touch with you.
If you must have a photo, here you go!
All best wishes, Peter
Manoeuvres, March 2011
|Dear Eric, Thank you very much for organising the recent 'pontoon bumping' w/e.|
With just Frank and I on board we had ample boat handling opportunities and plenty of navigation practice.
The lack of wind did nothing to dampen the spirits and the sailing we managed on Sunday morning was great.
Thanks to you I have now had the confidence to charter a Moody 31 (complete with tiller) in Dartmouth in May as my first skippering experience.
Thank you again, and hopefully I will sail again with you soon.
All the Best, Maggie
Coastal / Yachtmaster Shorebased Course, February - March 2011
Many thanks for allowing me to join your Coastal Skipper/Yachtmaster Offshore Shorebased Course even though you had already started the course a few weeks before I first phoned you. A particular thank you for being flexible enough to provide me with additional contact sessions to enable me to catch up with the work you had already done with the others on the course. I would also like to take the opportunity to thank Nick and AJ for welcoming me to the course and to Nick for hosting the group sessions, it is very much appreciated.
The course which involved 40 hours tuition plus exam time spread over several full days was certainly intensive and the homework exercises time consuming, but it was worth it. The presentations on your secure website for students were particularly helpful for revision. Next step for me is the Practical.
I would have no hesitation in recommending you to anyone thinking of taking this course. Your professionalism, flexibility and thoroughness were evident throughout the course and contributed to my successful result.
Many thanks again, Steve Woodford.
Manoeuvres, Feb 2011
Thanks for organizing the manoeuvres course, (pontoon bumping). This course is a must for anyone needing experience at one of the hardest parts of a sailing trip, i.e. leaving and arriving alongside. We all were given the maximum hands on time after your expert tuition and advice in each set situation which was partly driven by our specific requests as to what we wanted to practice. During the weekend you also passed on sailing advice and hints from your extensive experience and local knowledge of the Solent.
I am now much more confident in organizing the boat and crew in close quarter handling in a variety of situations and approaches. Your arrangements and catering were as ever first class and I look forward to my Coastal Skipper practical in May.
Crew found for Skippers requirements: Good company and good cook for Catamaran.
We arrived safely in Wells yesterday evening. The trip went well apart form the wind which was on the nose most of the time.
We covered 265nM over the ground; don't know how far through the water as my paddle wheel needs replacing.
We left Portsmouth on Saturday afternoon and arrived in Bembridge that evening, waited for the high tide to pass and then parked on the beach. When the tide had gone out we cleaned the hulls, had some sleep and left Sunday morning at 0730 heading for Brighton. Tied up in Brighton at approx 1730.
Departed Brighton at 0200 and arrived in Ramsgate at 1800. Left Ramsgate at 0530 next morning and arrived at Southwold at 1730, having actually sailed a bit across the Thames. Left Southwold at 1000 and arrived at Sea Palling at 1500 anchored behind the artificial reef. Left Sea Palling at 0900 arrived at Wells fairway bouy at 1500, then waited till 1600 for the tide to rise and we were tied up at around 1700. John was a great crew member. A competent sailor, good company and a good cook. Thanks very much for putting me in touch with him.
Early starts on Cat move to Norfolk! 3rd Feb 2011
||Great trip with Roger, invaluable experience, not a cruise by a long way, not often that you get the opportunity to sail around the country port by port.|
The weather was ok but wind direction awful all week, very cold, early starts 1.00am one day to get the distance in, we needed the recovery time in each port as there were only 3 of us. No watches - just long days with the planned evening haven of a warm pub or marina shower to look forward to and keep us going.
||A highlight for me was the sunrise at Sea Palling after a night on the anchor behind the breakwater, more like a Caribbean sunrise than the real thing!|
The gale forecast for the Friday meant that we had lost any opportunity for a day just 'sailing', as we needed to push on to get to Wells before the weather broke, so mostly we motored or motor sailed.
Arrived in Wells Thursday late afternoon and spent the night safely on the pontoon. The crew got on famously, and although it was cold enough to make it uncomfortable hard work, we stayed on good terms all week, despite none of us ever having met before.
Cooked some lovely food on board, and warmed our spirits with a shot of Navy rum to keep the cold out in bed. I'd go again tomorrow: thanks for the contact.
Kind regards John
West Coast of Scotland, August 2010
Just a short note to say how much I had enjoyed the week in the Western Isles. The week was I felt, well organised and conducted.
The holiday was conducive to learning, with many opportunities to actively participate, very much hands-on sailing, even if the first few days were a little damp. Throughout the week we were actively consulted over the planed routes, in particular the possible bad weather that we could have encountered had we had followed a certain course. I feel at the end of the week that I have learnt a great deal and feel more confident about my own abilities.
An important fact that should not be overlooked, was the catering. While the facilities could not be compared to my own kitchen, the food that was produced was very good and plentiful. Every effort was made to consider the preferences of all on board, the final meal could not have been better, well save for a drop of the amber nectar in the meal - which would have been my choice.
The vessel that was charted, "Jeanne", I found to be of a high standard, I am unfamiliar with what constitutes good or not so good, being my first time aboard. I was pleased to see that, 'make do efforts' affect all holidays, my experience of caravanning, sailing, biking, all have this element, it helps make them.
At the end of the day I would certainly do it again, thanks for the experience.
Kind regards Paul
Falmouth to the Scilly Isles, July 2010
||Following a few 'set-backs' (thanks to Cornish Cruising) we set off on our week's holiday sailing to the Scilly Isles. Eric could have performed no better even if he had worn his underpants on the outside!
The wind and tides were forecast against us which meant we were later leaving than originally hoped... in view of Jenny's temporary 'health-blip' (too much ginger beer perhaps?), it was a blessing we didn't carry out the suggested plan of night sailing!|
||After spending a night in Penzance wet dock (and it was raining) the first real challenge was to clamber over several trawlers and scale the harbour wall complete with ruc-sacs containing shower gear to reach the 'shower block' ... if a taxi had suddenly appeared then and there Jenny would have jumped in with a cheery wave!
Eric decided to use his time wisely and go to the local fishmonger whilst the queue for the 2 showers subsided. By the way ... ask him how to cook 'Brill' next time you see him ... we've found out since we came home!|
However ... the weather was absolutely wonderful once we reached the islands and we had a fascinating walk around St Agnes and later on had a meal at a bistro on St Mary's ... halcyon days indeed.
||Jenny found the shipping lane very exciting ... especially when one of the ships changed course just for little old us!|
The return journey was fabulous as the wind and tide were with us so we came back to Falmouth under sail.
Thank you indeed Eric and first mate Nigel (yes, another Nigel would you believe) for getting us there and back safely...loved it!
Jenny & Nigel Hargreaves July 2010
Manoeuvres, March 2010
||Just a quick note to say 'Thank you so much again for a really great weekend.' We thought you were very patient, fair, gave clear explanations, listened to our needs, and didn't get too annoyed (I hope!) with my frustrating questions! Then to top it all off your hospitality and cooking was a dream!
We were really delighted, and given we paid the final balance on our yacht last week are now super super excited about what the summer holds for us out in the Mediterranean, with your top-tips we hopefully can't go wrong! (well once I've practised the lasso technique some more that is)|
We'll definitely send you a postcard to let you know how we're getting on,
Thanks again, Joanna & Matt
Sea Survival Course, February 2010
||Excellent course. Everyone enjoyed it, also had a sociable evening on Friday with some of the others as well! Thanks for a well-organised event.|
See you soon, Mike
| ||All had a great day! Course very good: dunked; fire & smoke; upside down rafts; jumping off platforms --- very useful experience.
Thanks from W; G; K & T
| ||Brilliant and absolutely paramount for anyone thinking about taking to the sea! I enjoyed every minute of it and I'm sure everyone else who went, did too. Thanks for both the opportunity and the experience.
Best Regards, Tim.
| ||Many thanks for organising the course at Fleetwood. I found it very instructive, particularly the helicopter lift and the righting of the upturned raft. It brought home to me how short one's survival rate is in cold water, just hope I won't have to put the theory into practice!
Christmas Rally, December 2009
||Thanks for a smashing wk end much appreciated.|
||Thanks again for last weekend. I had a great time.|
Bank Holiday trip to Cherbourg, August 2009
||Thanks again for a most enjoyable trip & for the knowledge and experience gained.
It was good to be able to put some of the theory learned at night school into practice.
Hope to be able to join up with you again on one of your trips.
Many thanks, Alan
Cross the Channel Experience, June 2009
||We had a great time, on a great boat (44´ Jeanneau Sun Magic, "Armadek" ). Soton to Guernsey in one go - about 21 hrs, then Jersey, Alderney, IOW and back! Plenty of experience and challenging on your abilities - if you wanted to be! Eric is a great host and cook!
. . . . hope you had a good trip home - thank you for leaving ARMADEK in pristine condition! Firstaway Yacht Charters
Manoeuvres, February 2009
||Many thanks for a wonderful weekends sailing. Thank you also for the effort you put into making the time on board worthwhile for everyone, and for your patience on several occasions!
It was good for me to sail with a lovely group of people who all had more experience.
Please keep me updated of any future courses or events, and I look forwards to sailing with you again.
Scotland, August 2008
||We thoroughly enjoyed the trip even though Carol was apprehensive prior to going about the weather. It goes without saying if the Misses is happy then so am I. Jesting aside, the trip was better than I thought it would be, I was expecting some variable weather which we had a little of, but was surprised by the amount of sunshine there was when considering the weather in other parts of the UK.
The wildlife we saw: porpoise, whale, basking shark, gannet and other bird species in its natural habitat was very fascinating, the highlight for us being the close up of the basking shark when it came alongside.
The rugged landscape and different geological strata of the islands particularly Fingal's cave on the southern side of Staffa absolutely amazing and beautiful and well worth seeing.
"Clova" the yacht was an excellent choice for the trip, well-founded and very comfortable, Eric as usual providing excellent leadership skills and catered very well for us. The "haggis" dinner was a very pleasant surprise, I can honestly say we were not looking forward to it but as it turned out we thoroughly enjoyed it and look forward to having it again.
| ||I was pleasantly surprised at the beautiful scenery that we saw on the trip and how warm it was. The boat was extremely comfortable and spacious and had a very secure feeling about it.
My highlights were going into Fingle's cave with Peter and Mark in the dinghy, and seeing the basking shark right up close.
As Trevor said the Lochalsh butchers haggis was a real eyeopener, we'll be having more in the future accompanied with a tot of Tobermory malt.
||Just a quick note to say thanks for a great week and a special thanks to Eric for being a great skipper and the crew for their company and banter. The weather was superb and we always seemed to have fair wind & tides too.
Clova is great especially the dinghy on davits and an outboard, I liked that bit!
We covered a lot of miles and saw a lot of the Western Isles as a result. My personal highlight was going into Fingle's cave; Elise particularly enjoyed walking up to the top of the uninhabited island with Clova in the anchorage below.
Peter and Elise Thorne
Ipswich to Bergen, Norway, July 2008
||Just want to say thanks again for a great trip! A good experience that many people would never hope to achieve. I know how you like to run your trips and I know given the chance there were a couple of things you wanted to try different though not always with success. I felt I have learnt a lot on this trip though and that has got to be a good thing.
I shall be looking forward to the next trip.
Cheers, Mark Carr
The trip with you was great. I think you did a great job considering I had too little theoretical knowledge.
Round the Island Race 2008
| Thank you again for organising the round the island race, it was a great weekend. Cheers, Steve Smith|
| ||Thanks for organising the weekend. I did enjoy the experience despite being 'missing' (with mal-de-mare) for a good portion of time. I have not given up on sailing and will be back!|
||Just a note to say very many thanks for a great long weekend. I enjoyed all three days and especially, of course, my first race in a yacht.
Thanks for all the time you put in to the organisation for the event and for taking on the responsibility of skipper, navigator, tactician, victualler, sign writer and head chef. Everything went very well due to your skills, preparation and conscientious approach to everything.
Your tactic of going wide must have paid off for us to have come 393rd overall. What a great result. It is way above what I expected we would achieve.
||Just wanted to thank you for organising the whole event. I can only repeat the other's comments. Your considerable effort and organisation skills let alone your culinary skills and man management produced a perfect sailing weekend. I appreciate what a task it must have been.
I thoroughly enjoyed the whole weekend and learnt a lot, in particular race tactics. Both yours and John's experience was invaluable to us all.
I see that the next race is organised for June 20th 2009. Please pencil me in (if you will have me) and you wish to enter another race. Once again a pleasure to sail with you.
||Thank you very much for providing an excellent sailing experience over the weekend, the highlight being the race on the Saturday, which I thoroughly enjoyed.
Sitting down on Sunday evening reading the Sunday Telegraph's report on the race I was surprised to read 11 man over board's reported, numerous retirements due to collisions and mechanical failures, even Ellen MacArthur had a failure near Hurst, it does make you realise what an excellent race we had.
It was interesting to read that the big racing yachts made the run on the south side of the island early on in mist and fog, at speeds of up to 32 knots (five times faster than us, what were we doing wrong?). When you have been there it makes you realise how awesome that must be.
Regards from The Baltic
||About two years ago I arrived to UK and since that time was planning to sail. I have couple of years of experience
sailing on Baltic Sea, however haven't got big experience with tides and sailing cross-channel, so decided to sail with
somebody who know that waters and who can also teach me about sailing, on waters surrounded UK. I have chosen to sail with Eric.
Later on I realised that this decision was spotted on, according to learning British way of sailing, and get new
experience from very patient, nice and absolutely experienced sailor. So if somebody from UK or even better, abroad (like me),
is looking for sailing and learn how to sail, I would recommend Eric as a very first choice. Very good quality
of sailing, learning, organising trip and amazing opportunity to spend hollyday or just a long weekeng.
Przemek - Poland, June 2008
Selina to France
||Unforgettable sailing through the Solent with you to France. Really enjoyed this well-organised trip to my home
country where food and drinks were also well chosen, bravo au chef! Would recommend to anyone especially to
de-phase yourself from day-to-day routine. Again, great organisation and charming boat, thanks again. Bon vent!|
Tom Gere, May 2008
Sea Survival Course, January 2008
||The sea survival course at a centre in Fleetwood outside Blackpool that provides training for the Merchant Navy
and Offshore Industry was very good indeed, and up to the usual high standard I've come to expect of any training
provided or organised by Eric. We started with training in the classroom, running through everything from basic equipment to emergency safety
procedures. The classroom was well-equipped with examples of everything from different types of lifejackets and
liferafts to used flares, so it was possible to handle everything and understand exactly how it worked, and the
instructor was very patient with the very many questions we asked! Safety procedures such as when to evacuate the
boat, how to use the liferaft and when to get into it were carefully explained, and we were privileged the instructor
shared with us his experience of a real-life emergency when the yacht he was on was lost.|
We then adjourned to the pool and were shown and practised how to conserve energy and warmth in the water, "synchronised
swimming" techniques whereby several people swim linked together thus ensuring that weaker people are not lost, how
to right a liferaft in the water (easier than it looks) and how to get into a liferaft from the water (harder than
you'd think). We also had two mock-up helicopter winches each, one from the water and one together with someone else
from the liferaft, before our last exercise in a darkened, noisy, smoke-filled pool where we had to jump in, swim to
and get in the liferaft and follow all the correct procedures once in there. It was surprising how disorientated one
gets even within the safe confines of the centre. We then had a video with an enacted emergency which made it very
clear why all the emergency guidelines should be followed. (It was explained that not all liferafts are equipped with
playing cards and navy cigarettes!)
We had quite a jolly stay in a local hotel, and the local beer was excellent! I feel far more confidant that I
would know what to do if I am ever faced with a real survival situation at sea. Thank you again to Eric for
organising some first rate training.
Dawn Fisher, February 2008
||Just a quick line to thank you for organizing such an interesting and informative course on Saturday. I hope I will
never have to put the theory into practice but I will certainly feel a lot more confident now if I have to do so.|
| ||....thanks again for organising the weekend course. Lets hope we never need to put it into practice.|
M.S., January 2008
| ||Thanks for organising the sea survival course. It was very worthwhile and enjoyable and I would recommend it to others.|
||What a fantastic five days off the coast of Ireland! My thanks to you for organising the outing and for
your excellent tuition throughout. I still cherish the memory of performing sailing exercises surrounded by
dolphins playing around the boat. I would certainly recommend sailing with Eric to any aspiring sailor.
Alan Russell, Oct 2007.
Cuxhaven Mileage Builder with Adventures Offshore, 2007
||Thanks for another very memorable sailing trip, my 5th sailing experience and
the 2nd through Eric. The mileage builder from Ipswich to Cuxhaven, Germany has added a great deal to my
The Force 9 winds that touched Force 10 at one point gave an exiting ride with a feeling of
relative safety. Thanks to skipper Martyn Smith, you and the rest of the crew. And of course not forgetting ‘Ocean
Scout’ the 49 foot Oyster ketch.
Radar Course, at Southampton with Firstaway, 2007
||What a superb course, many thanks to Eric for such superb organisation. Well
worth the effort of travelling to Ocean Village Southampton for the course, the classroom sessions
could have been held anywhere but to be able to go to sea on Day 2 and put into practise the
classroom lessons from Day 1 was invaluable. It's not quite as easy as the book suggests but what
an interesting and exciting way to develop real skills.|
Our class was split into two groups, one group on the helm while the other group was below decks
giving navigation instructions ‘blind’ just using the radar screen and charts. We were attempting to
simulate thick fog but we had the safety net of having the skipper always on hand to ensure safety
of the boat and crew as we experimented. After a while we started to recognise the ‘targets’ but I
still kick myself for missing that bl**dy great tanker that I thought was a headland! Many thanks once again.
Alastair Cook sent this to me in 2007
||It was easy to go to night school and learn the theory but how do you get the vital
sailing experience, a chance to try out the desk top exercises, a chance to see if sailing is for you?
Eric got me on board a yacht for the first time, pulling sheets, taking the tiller, hoisting sails, getting wet and cold, always eating well and sleeping well.
I have now sailed with Eric several times and that has led me to acquiring a share in a boat on the Hamble with all the opportunities that will give me.
Eric offers a range of sailing events for all levels of skill from those wanting to sail for
the 1st time, undertake recognised training courses, or to those wanting to sail in an area they have not been to before.
| ||Alistair Cook helped me when I first started my web site. He was the very first person to promise and send feedback to me. Whilst not with me, Alistair continued to sail yachts, lead an active life and stayed in touch. He passed away after scaling Kilimanjaro in September 2011. He was a good shipmate.|