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Old 31-05-2011, 11:44   #1
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UKSA, BOSS or Hamble

I am getting more serious about taking a Zero to Hero course from one of the following schools:

United Kingdom Sailing Acadamy (UKSA)
How We Change Lives: UKSA.org

British Offshore Sailing School (BOSS)
BOSS Sailing Schools - British Offshore Sailing School UK

Hamble School of Yachting
RYA Sailing Courses, RYA Sailing School and Lessons, Learn to Sail: Hamble School of Yachting: Hampshire, RYA Sea School

Does anyone have any input on which of these schools would be best for a 55 year old guy who simply wants more instruction, practice, and sailing time.
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Old 11-09-2011, 04:09   #2
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Re: UKSA, BOSS or Hamble

Hello Twinkles,

I went on a total beginners introduction to sailing course with Hamble School of Yachting and was very disappointed. There were four other pupils all of whom were completing their advanced training. They all knew what they were doing and run the boat. I was just a bored passenger. There was no training as such and I do not know any more than I did before I set foot on the boat.

I expected a proper structured course. I left after the first day. Hamble never followed up why a first time pupil left their course. I emailed Hamble and they never replied.

I have read elsewhere that beginners are really not well catered for for on introductory courses and this proved it.
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Old 11-09-2011, 05:38   #3
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Re: UKSA, BOSS or Hamble

Hi Twinkles,

I am not especially enamoured by any of them. UKSA probably the best but only by nature of being the biggest. Try looking at some of the smaller schools Hot Liquid Sailing, RYA Sailing Courses in Southampton & Gibraltar : Hot Liquid Sailing or Stormforce coaching (www.stormforce.biz) both are in Southampton.
The smaller schools often offer a more tailored package with the focus upon your needs and desires.
I am an RYA Instructor PM me for more info.

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Old 11-09-2011, 06:26   #4
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Re: UKSA, BOSS or Hamble

I did the course at Boss many years ago and the problem was they thought they had to make it 'fun' while what I wanted was a serious 'navy style' training.

I would try and find someone who has a reputation for training professional seamen!

Mike Dymond is ex-navy and very professional, I would call him and ask for his advise.

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Old 11-09-2011, 08:12   #5
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Re: UKSA, BOSS or Hamble

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, casualsailor.
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Old 11-09-2011, 08:24   #6
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Re: UKSA, BOSS or Hamble

Simes has mentioned Stormforce and I know Doug personally. They operate out of Kemps Quay in Southampton so don't have the huge overheads of a big posh marina, its a working yard instead.

I would go down there and have a chat to them first.

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Old 26-09-2011, 01:36   #7
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Hi,
There is a really good school based in Lymington that's worth a look. They are recognised by the RYA and do the full range of courses. Beginner courses and experience building are a speciality and they have a great boat.
Try Jonathan Brier Yachting www.solentsailingschool.co.uk

Wish fair winds....
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Old 04-10-2011, 03:36   #8
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Re: UKSA, BOSS or Hamble

I am surprised that casualsailor had this experience with Hamble as i and many friends use Hamble year on year.

I have heard that Hamble offer a well run Fast Track course which is independent to the normal courses they offer so your not sailing with people who are just there for a week and maybe treating it as more of a holiday than a course. I'm sure all the other school on here are good too but i guess the best bet is to visit the school and see for yourself.
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Old 28-08-2016, 00:25   #9
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Re: UKSA, BOSS or Hamble

I have done an extensive course with Hamble School of Yachting and I can therefore speak of my horrible experience: what a waste of money this course! The quality of instructors is very very poor. They're just a bunch of friends that got together and decided to teach sailing. I am a teacher and I know a thing or two about teaching skills... or lack of them. 

In the classroom a teacher will explain you something and when you tell her that you didn't understand, she will repeat exactly the same thing just with a louder voice. Hello? I am not deaf, I can hear you, but I didn't understand you!

Another instructor during the radio course just didn't know his stuff. We asked questions and he simply could not provide the answers. He clearly said that he didn't know the answer to that. A bit later another student found the answers in the textbook. This happened on two occasions during the same day. 

The radar course was the same thing. The instructor could not answer simple questions. Also I didn't understand how test grading worked; everyone seemed to be passing regardless of the skills and performance on the tests. During exams, especially when there's nobody supervising us, we got a feel of who knew everything and who didn't. Those who kept seeking answers from classmates during the test and who probably shouldn't have passed, ended up passing just like the rest of us. 

On the boat we were mixed; newcomers together with experienced sailors building up miles. The experienced guys run the boat and the newcomers like myself had no choice but to sit and watch, just like the instructor who was supposed to be teaching us. No effort was made by the instructor to involve the nubies. It all felt more like a holiday, rather than a professional sailing course. Everyone was jolly happy, in the evening everyone got drunk, including the instructor and in the morning nothing starting until 10 o'clock. I was very disappointed to see my money wasted this way.

The food is ok, but nothing special. We did enjoy the frozen meals, but they were few and far apart. The rest was just junk food from the local shop.

The boats were... mangy. Things were broken here and there and guess who did all the cleaning, both when we arrived and when we left? You guessed right!

In the whole I think it's not a very good school. It would seem that you are not graded according to your performance, but according to how much you glow in the instructor's eyes. There is a wide choice of schools and to me this sits right at the bottom.
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Old 28-08-2016, 00:30   #10
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Re: UKSA, BOSS or Hamble

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sailing-Stuart View Post
I am surprised that casualsailor had this experience with Hamble as i and many friends use Hamble year on year.

I have heard that Hamble offer a well run Fast Track course which is independent to the normal courses they offer so your not sailing with people who are just there for a week and maybe treating it as more of a holiday than a course. I'm sure all the other school on here are good too but i guess the best bet is to visit the school and see for yourself.
I have done a fast track at Hamble School of Yachting and we were mixed. There were people that were only doing one module, treating it more as a holiday, rather than a professional course. People joined and left on a regular basis from beginning to end. I was very disappointed.
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Old 28-08-2016, 00:52   #11
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Re: UKSA, BOSS or Hamble

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Originally Posted by casualsailor View Post
Hello Twinkles,

I went on a total beginners introduction to sailing course with Hamble School of Yachting and was very disappointed. There were four other pupils all of whom were completing their advanced training. They all knew what they were doing and run the boat. I was just a bored passenger. There was no training as such and I do not know any more than I did before I set foot on the boat.

I expected a proper structured course. I left after the first day. Hamble never followed up why a first time pupil left their course. I emailed Hamble and they never replied.

I have read elsewhere that beginners are really not well catered for for on introductory courses and this proved it.
I can confirm that this is true. I also took a fast track course and I was very disappointed.

My personal experience with this school was very bad. The majority of the instructors are not very good and even though they will tell you that they will help you all the way, sometimes they're just not able to explain things better. They mark you according if they like you or not and not according to your skills. I have witnessed a person totally failing an exam and ending up being passed anyway.

The food is nothing special, just a bunch of biscuits and sweets from Sainsbury's. The good meals from the local butcher are frozen and they're kept in their boat's refrigerator until it's time to eat them. The boat's refrigerator gets turned off when you are at anchor or sailing, so good luck with those.

For a course of a week, the instructor is given something like 60 cash flow to pay for marinas. Marinas in the Solent charge between 20 and 40 per night and this makes it impossible to stay at marinas every day. The result is that sometimes instructor will cheat in places where they can get away without paying and this made me feel very bad, after having spent so much money for this very expensive school. One morning, while at anchor in the Beaulieu River, we had to get up very early, so that we could run away before the boat with the Ranger came around to collect the fee. Very unprofessional and a bit dodgy if you ask me.

Other times the instructor would says: "tonight let's anchor somewhere, it's fun and exciting". Little the students know that the instructor didn't actually have the money to do anything else. These courses are not cheap and they should not treat students like this.

An instructor marked me down simply because I didn't make tea, which is totally unrelated to my sailing skills. And by the way, I never made tea because I suffered with severe sea sickness and I just couldn't go below and fiddle with the hob, but the instructor wouldn't have it. Towards the end of my course an instructor wanted to get me off the boat at Weymouth, because I was seasick and he didn't like it. In the end I managed to stay on the boat, but he got back at me by refusing to sign my logbook with the correct miles. Basically he took miles away from me just because I was seasick and when I asked him to explain why he would do that, he refused to debreaf me at the end of the course. His name was Matt Sillars. Back at the office he lied to everyone about this, but I was able to provide a voice recording of the incident. Nothing happened anyway, because they are all buddies and they take care of each other.

You change instructor every single week and they will teach different ways and sometimes different things altogether. The learning curve gets really messed up. You learn something and the following week another instructor tells you that what you've learned was wrong and you have to do it a different way.

The yacht maintenance course was a total joke. The first day the instructor asked us what we would've liked to learn. He didn't have a clue about what to teach as and he repeatedly asked us what we wanted to get out of the course.

The sale repair course was another joke. They won't teach you to make good repairs of sails, instead they'll only teach you how to make repairs that will get you by until you get to a repair shop. Anyone can do that by consulting the leaflet that comes with any sail repair kit and you don't need to pay thousands to learn this. Furthermore for 70% of the lesson in the sail repair course, you will be making a silly bag like in a art & craft class. What a waste of my money and time!

If you really want to learn and have fun in the process, go abroad to the Canaries or to Greece and not only you will actually learn, but you will also save a lot of money. Yes, you got that right: it is cheaper to do the very same RYA course at the Canaries than to do it at this school, including the flight and the food! NEVER EVER AGAIN!!!
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Old 28-08-2016, 08:42   #12
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Re: UKSA, BOSS or Hamble

Sounds like some seriously bad experiences. I can't tell you much about the two British schools - but if you are interested in coming to the Caribbean to learn sailing - check us out! I would be happy to answer any questions you might have about setting up your Caribbean sailing adventure!
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Old 28-08-2016, 09:12   #13
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pirate Re: UKSA, BOSS or Hamble

Maybe you guys who are unhappy should.. instead of griping on CF.. contact the RYA and ask them to address your complaints.. if they can be justified the school may have its licence to teach revoked.. to the best of my knowledge the RYA is the only Agency in the UK authorised to issue the Certificates of Competence to the various levels.
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Old 06-09-2016, 17:27   #14
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Re: UKSA, BOSS or Hamble

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I was very disappointed.
Just wondering but are you British? I'm wondering if some of your issues might be cultural and possibly down to higher expectations than are likely to be met in the context of average solent sailing schools.
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Old 10-09-2016, 04:05   #15
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Re: UKSA, BOSS or Hamble

Having been suckered into posting on a thread resurrected by someone who seems to have joined the forum to vent at Hamble School of Yachting I should probably add some value. The OP doubtless chose 5 years ago (would be interesting to see feedback) and it was a question I faced well over a decade ago. So here's some general thoughts which may be, well, more than 10 years out of date.

You can't be sure your experience will be the same as that of others who've done the same course with the same school: So much is down to individual instructors. My course (taken in my mid-30s) with BOSS was marred by having the same "cruising instructor" (BOSS I think invented this sub-YMI status) for most of the course except YM prep week, short special courses and shore-based. Nice guy, hopeless instructor. First time I ever did MOB under sail was in my yachtmaster coastal exam. That was the second time I'd ever done MOB (first and only was under power in the dayskipper week in the first month). We'd all complained about him but the "customer is always right" concept really doesn't exist generally in the southern england boating industry (as I've later found). By contrast a couple of people who did a course in parallel with us thought their instructor was fabulous and had a great time and I had some good instructors for shore-based and short specialist courses.

TheSilkRoad's expectations that shore-based instructors are going to be experts in their field aren't reliably going to be met. These schools don't pay well. The educators aren't trained teachers. Advanced fist aid courses will be run by paramedics or ambulance crew, not anatomy lecturers. It won't be cockcroft and lameijer teaching colregs it'll be an ex-merchant marine guy supplementing his pension. The person teaching YM Ocean theory won't be a moonlighting cambridge maths lecturer who can coherently explain spherical trigonometry. I found that with BOSS, Hamble, Warsash college and I've found that on far more expensive professional qualification short courses. They should be "knowledgeable" in their field and able to convey sufficient detail to guide a student to a level where they can pass an exam but they won't be infallible.

The target market these days for "fast track" courses these days seems to be the parent-funded offspring of the well-heeled who want to work on superyachts so maybe luxury standards at places like UKSA are higher these days but BOSS in the early 2000s was "roughing it" to say the least. Apparently you can cram 6 paying punters and an instructor into a westerly fulmar for two weeks in winter. But arguably learning to live together in unpleasant conditions is part of the education. Not something you'll need for swanning round the globe en famille in your Hallberg Rassy 64 but something you will need to cope with offshore racing or a career at the low end of the yachting industry. Similarly with cleaning the boats: Isn't that just part of learning about boat life?

I've been told that the head of the outfit I did my course with was notorious for penny-pinching and say "ratty old westerlies" and everyone would know which school you mean. Did that matter? Actually no. They were decently maintained (one impeller and a couple of blocked fuel lines were the only failures in 4 months of *hard* use: nothing dangerous and no deck gear failures). The sigmas and fulmars were great sailing boats and far better to learn on than roller-furling AWBs. But there *was* penny pinching. The food.....the cheapest caterers to be found in all of hampshire probably don't have nutrition degrees. I ended up bringing my own.

Regarding a couple of specific points TheSilkRoad makes. You get miles in your log book for fully participating in crewing the boat and although I haven't seen my log book for a while ISTR (could be wrong) a specific instruction that incapacity through sea-sickness means your time doesn't qualify as "experience".

Making tea? Like cleaning, TheSilkRoad seems to think this trivial but Making Tea is the very bedrock upon which the Yachtmaster qualification is built. It's a protocol. It's a symbolic way of a skipper communicating that the wellbeing of the crew is at the centre of her or his concerns. YM Examiners can correct me here but there is a widely held belief that the making of tea is as least as germane to the assessment process as the safety brief. And I don't even particularly like tea.

Doing it somewhere warm instead? If you want a luxury extended holiday where you're taught what all the bits of string do (but there's no real tides) then fine. If you want a hard education in sailing then I'm not entirely sure you can beat the Solent and the channel in winter. Enough shelter that it's not insane, serious tides, huge range of wind and sea state and every technical quirk of navigation you can think of...Plus (in winter) none of the summer crowding. Which is, in some ways, a bad thing: I had to learn rafting up later, on my own.

Of course I didn't actually answer the original question but the bottom line is that the course I did and the course TheSilkRoad describes are more boot camp than luxury spa retreat and the education is more than just sailing. That may not be what everyone is looking for but in may ways it's no bad thing.

a long post and I didn't even answer the original question...
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