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Shearwater Sailing School

Woolverstone Marina, on the River Orwell, Suffolk

Hi Mark,


Thanks very much for the update. As you will no doubt have realised, the week surpassed my expectations and I came away from it with a huge amount of confidence and many new skills.  Vernon is an excellent instructor (but you already know that) and his ability to keep the conversation going as well as a sense of humour and an inexhaustible supply of anecdotes made the whole event very special.  


Tim (Coastal Skipper April 2018)

Hi Mark


Just to let you know that I had an excellent time last weekend, Tom was excellent, the only downside was the lack of wind, preventing us from actually doing much sailing, but I guess it’s a good excuse to do another weekend!


Thanks again,

Danny (ICC Weekend - March 2018)

Hi Mark and Tom,


Just wanted to say how much we enjoyed our introduction to sailing course last week - you were amazingly calm the entire time - even when that boat was heading towards us and we were packing the sail away as Cecily steered!  We are all really looking forward to our holiday even more now and will send you a photo of us all - in Shearwater t-shirts of course!  


Hope you are surviving in this wet weather!  We are v bored and would rather be sailing!


Jude (Start Yachting - April 2018)

Hi Mark


I just wanted to pop you an email as a follow up to the trip we did last week. I’d like to say how great Vernon was and how good I found the whole trip. It’s given me a massive confidence boost not only with the sailing aspect, which is what I really wanted out of the course, but also it’s opened my eyes to how open and inviting the yachting  community really is. Vernon had a lot of information to give which superseded the syllabus, was always there to answer a question and constantly challenged us all to think on our toes.


An overall great experience and I’ll certainly be in touch for any further courses.


All the best

Matt (Competent Crew April 2018)

Hi Mark,


I should like to thank you very much for your ICC course this month (April 2018). As a latecomer to owning my own sailboat, and quite "long in the tooth" now (I think this means an "old geezer") I found your course rejuvenated me considerably. I learned such a lot in such a short time. Your patience and your considerable teaching and sailing skills sent me away with big "springs in my steps". That is a great achievement for me given that my wife complains about me grunting and groaning as I get up out of chairs. Clearly, you should have an honorary degree in physiotherapy and psychotherapy. Joking apart, you provided a thoroughly stimulating learning environment for the ICC course. And the same applies to the beautiful countryside and waterside at Woolverstone Marina.


Jim (ICC April 2018).

Hi Mark


Thanks very much for a great coastal skipper course. I learned a lot; the environment in which to learn that you both created was excellent. On top of that your messages were consistent and succinctly put across with a great deal of patience too. Shanti is a great boat so all in all I could not have asked for more.


We chatted about my next step towards Yachtmaster Coastal which would be to do the prep course your are running on which I would like to book onto.


Best wishes

Jonathan (Coastal Skipper to London and return May 2018)

Hi Mark,


I've just posted off my RYA feedback form which reflects how much I enjoyed the course. I'm also recommending you to my brother-in-law. He lives in France, has just retired and is keen to do a Day Skipper course.


Once again thanks to you and Tom for a very enjoyable course. It ticked all the boxes!



James (Day Skipper May 2018)

Having just completed the Day Skipper practical course, I would just like to once again say a big thank you to both the school and especially Tom for the excellent tuition. His training style is excellent, keeping everyone involved and interested, installing confidence in all of the “students”. Will definitely be back for more courses and other events.


Regards Tony (Day Skipper May 2018)

Dear Mark & Tom

Many thanks once again for a great weeks sailing and great company too.I look forward to seeing you both in the not too distant future.


Very best regards

David  (Day Skipper July 2018)

Hi Mark and Tom


The trip was outstanding in all areas. I could not fault a single thing and will not hesitate to return when the time is right.


Although I will be sailing my own boat from St Katharine Docks to Levington and back soon with my friend Graham who is a yachtmaster instructor, I have gained a lot of confidence on your course and do think I could do the trip even without Graham if the conditions were fair.


Tom did exceptionally well in skippering the trip. Given Tom's experience and ability, which cannot be questioned, he was also able to keep everybody on board entertained for the six days, which I know from my tour guiding experience is not easy, especially when everyone is occupying such a small space. There were plenty of entertaining stories too, not least holding tank disaster somewhere in the med!


I will happily recommend Shearwater Sailing School to others and hope to return very soon.


Martin (Day Skipper to London and return, June 2018)

Hello Mark,


I just thought I'd let you know what a great time had aboard Shanti 2 last week with Tom and crew. The whole week was filled with great sailing, very informative training and great food. Tom was a brilliant skipper showing a lot of patience with us all and communicating the RYA syllabus in a very clear and concise manner which was easy to follow and understand. He was also a great host, cook and source of knowledge and made the whole experience very safe, relaxing and enjoyable.


The crew were a great mixed bunch and we all got along well partly due to the relaxed and safe environment aboard. I learnt a lot during our 7 days cruising around the English channel and it has increased my appetite to learn more and progress through the RYA sailing scheme.



Mark (7 Day Cruise)

HI Mark and Tom,


I am so sorry it has taken so long to get the evidence to you that we had benefitted from your excellent teaching at Easter!  We had a fabulous (and eventful at times) holiday in the Northern and Southern Ionian and met another of your pupils - Tony - I’m attaching a photo of him with us all as well.  I am sure we will be back for more training but this year.  Thank you again for a wonderful introduction to sailing.


Warm regards

Jude and family (Med sail training weekend 2018)

I wanted to say thank you to Tom for the superb week we had in August on the cross channel passage. What an absolutely brilliant way to do the Day Skipper practical beginning with a 16 hour crossing to Oostend and to sail along the Belgium and French coast covering 230 nm in all. Tom’s teaching style is exemplary - show and tell - followed up by supportive comments that build confidence quickly and seemingly easily, but always resulting in an appetite for more learning and more sailing. The unsaid part of the experience is how a disparate group of people quickly meld into a supportive group that adds enormously to the experience. By the by, Tom is also pretty handy in the kitchen. I look forward to more time with Shearwater and the lovely Shanti.


Tom (Day Skipper practical - Aug 2018)

Hi Mark,


Just wanted to send a huge thanks to yourself and Tom for a great couple of weekends on the water. I'm thrilled to have my day skipper license now and definitely looking forward to building up some miles with you again next year - I'll keep a lookout for dates on the website, but do feel free to get in touch as and when new trips launch.


As a complete newbie to sailing, I realise I'm probably not the easiest person to teach, so I really appreciate all your patience and hard work getting me through the course. Tom was absolutely brilliant throughout and great fun too, so I'm afraid I don't have any constructive criticism to leave - you're both doing a wonderful job!


See you next summer, (Nicola Day Skipper Sept 2018)

Hi Mark,


Just wanted to say thanks again for everything and for letting me crash on Shanti last night.


It was a great prep for the exam day and as you said making it a tougher work up made the exam easier. Your instructional technique, relaxed, clear and concise, is first rate. It creates the best sort of learning environment allowing you to get the best out of your pupils. Shanti is a lovely boat; what with good food, good company why would anyone want to learn to sail at any level anywhere else?


Thanks again Mark,


All the best,


Jonathan (successfully passed Yachtmaster Coastal Oct 2018)