I have been sailing since I was a child – crewing for my father on his racing yachts and then crewing and helming on racing dinghies at the local clubs. I own my own 28 foot boat with my partner and we planned to sail it around Ireland for the last 2 years but haven’t done it.

I was always confident in smaller boats under sail but under power I had very little experience. I had no experience with coming alongside pontoons or marinas safely and securing the boat (as I always left this to someone else). I had no idea how read a chart and I want to sail around Ireland so reading charts and making it safely into unknown areas will be essential.

I felt very anxious about this planned trip to sail around Ireland until completed this course. Now I feel confident that I know enough to do it safely. I had considered letting other people teach me on the way around Ireland. I’m very glad I reconsidered this now.

The course was recommended to me by a number of people and luckily for me it was local and the dates suited :)

I think if I had not done this course, I would keep putting off the plan to sail around Ireland due to the anxiety of not knowing enough to do it safely. I might even have gone another whole season without sailing at all.

The biggest obstacle to me was the dates. I have a super hectic life and the previous year I couldn’t fit the course in at all. But luckily the course was delivered in 2 parts – the Theory in the winter months over 5 weeks and the practle in the early summer over 2 weekends. There were several options for course dates too which was great. The cost was a consideration – but when I broke it down its only €100 per day which is a Bargain for what you get!

My only fear was will I enjoy this or will it be like work ? Will I be cold and sore hahaha?

But it was very enjoyable – I had a great time :)

I am way more confident after completing this course, I have a new enthusiasm for sailing and I am really looking forward to heading out again :)

I had loads of fun. FUN FUN FUN :)

Orla Buckley