John & James MacDonald // Zero-to-Hero Day Skippers

What’s Your Background in terms of Sailing Experience?
My twin brother and I had some dinghy sailing experience before the 11 days total that we spent with Wild West Sailing. We had spent some small periods boating in our youth, but nothing significant.

What Problem Were You Trying to Solve?
We had a desire to learn to sail as being out on the ocean is one of our favorite things and one of the most calming experiences I find. My father always told me that one of the most important things that I should do in my life is, learn to sail. Our older brother is an old seadog and had requested that we upskill to be able to join him on some proper voyages. So, we decided that it was time to heed my father’s advice and learn to sail properly. However, when we do something, we like to do it right and whole-heartedly, which led us to Wild West Sailing 🙂

How Was The Problem Affecting You?
The main problem was lack of knowledge and skills in this area. This led to a lack of confidence and a hesitation to get properly stuck in.

What Possible Solutions Did You Consider before coming to Wild West Sailing?
Before coming to Wild West Sailing, we had read some books, watched videos online etc., but these yield limited progress, as there is always a significant difference between what obtained from utilizing such second-hand information, with what one gets from experiencing a thing first-hand.

Why Did You Choose Wild West Sailing?
When looking for somewhere to learn to sail properly, we did the usual googling. The Wild West Sailing website really hit the right note for us. It was well presented, clear, concise and had a nice level of integrated video media to set the scene. It also clearly conveys the level of the instructor and his passion for sailing very well. It really captures the dream well, if that is a good way to put it? 🙂

What Would Have Happened If You Had NOT chosen to progress your passion for sailing further with Wild West Sailing?
This is a great question, as, at that time, our interest was strong, but I would not say that we had an instilled inherent passion for sailing. However, the time we spent with Wild West Sailing was so truly amazing that without doubt, was a turning point, Dave took a strong interest, and converted it into what’s shaping up to be a life-long passion. If we had not chosen to progress with Wild West Sailing, things could have been very different. Small choices in life can certainly have profound affects 🙂

What Risks Did You Consider?
Before signing up for courses in sailing in general, we were concerned about the potential elitist nature of something like sailing and that the on-board experience would be formal and tense. Wild West Sailing was the absolute opposite to our delight 🙂 Extremely friendly, approachable, informal, easy-going… The whole experience for sure, set us on the path we are on today with a real passion for sailing.

What Reservations Did You Have?
Really, our fears would have been related to being out of our depth and if the course turned out to be a formal and intense environment, this would have not been enjoyable and would have inevitably led to poor learning. This could also quench an aspiring interest in sailing as a whole.

What Measurable Benefits Have You Seen?
After the course, we have a true passion for sailing and a significant boost in confidence. On top of this important confidence boost, it gave us the knowledge and skills to be able to sail and manoeuvre a boat confidently. For sure, after the course, we are significantly better sailors and have an unquenchable passion for sailing. To be honest, as a direct result of the wonderful experience with Wild West Sailing, we are currently in the process of buying our very own racing yacht. So, I think it is fair to say that, on and above our time with Wild West Sailing being an utterly wonderful experience, it was a truly life-changing experience.

Did you have any fun?
We had great fun! Given that our initial reservations in taking a proper sailing course, were related to it maybe being formal, intense and not a lot of fun, it came as a massive surprise that it was the complete opposite while we learned the skills and knowledge to set us on a course for a life-long passion.

By |2019-09-17T13:44:08+00:00September 17th, 2019|Questionnaire, Reviews|0 Comments

Sophie Quagebeur // Competent Crew & Day Skipper All-in-One

What’s Your Background in terms of Sailing Experience?
My experience of sailing before the class was minimal:
I had an intro to sailing week camp when I was around 7 years old.
I later worked as a au pair for a family that spent a lot of time at a yacht club, I was sailing every once in a while but I was mostly hanging out around the boat yard.
I was a passenger on small sailing trip to Catalina Island in California and Corsica but I wasn’t responsible for anything. 

What Problem Were You Trying to Solve?
I was looking for tools and tips that would allow me to sail with confidence on my own boat someday so I can take vacation with the family and get them interested as well.
Important point that I wanted to address was getting a large sail boat in and out of a marina as well as parking maneuvers or driving in a crowded or tight places.
I wanted to learn to control my reaction in stressful situation, anticipating problems and solving them.

How Was The Problem Affecting You?
I considered those areas problems because it forced me to rely too much on the men or others sailing the boat to deal with that part.
I feel it was important I know how to sail and maneuvers the boat to not be a passive agent. I wanted to feel as competent- and confident as anyone else of the boat.

What Possible Solutions Did You Consider before coming to Wild West Sailing?
Before turning to Wild West Sailing I consider taking a week vacation/sailing course in Mexico where it’s closer to home and condition are more forgetful but I changed my mind because I feel it’s better to learn in changeable weather and “tougher conditioner so I am exposed to more possible problems. I was also interested in Ireland as a country and the sailing culture there. In the meantime I was looking at video on YouTube and downloading apps to get a familiar with what I was signing for and sailing vocabulary. David’s website seems to be more about sailing than just vacation like most website present themselves. 

Why Did You Choose Wild West Sailing?
I wanted to have a RYA certification and the website came up in the search, It seems the training was more in depth than the ASA certification, it had navigation course which I was very interested in. David’s resume was also very impressive. I wanted to combine a vacation and a learning experience with a certification at the end. There was no package on the website but David adjusted the schedule for us to make it happen. 

What Would Have Happened If You Had NOT chosen to progress your passion for sailing further with Wild West Sailing?
I think if I didn’t chose WWS and went with the ASA in Mexico I wouldn’t have not build enough confidence or learn about navigation. I still need more practice but WWS gave me the tool and the knowledge to perfect my sailing. I know now where to seek information. If I didn’t do the course it would have not open a new way of traveling and discovering places and island. WWS also gave me a new hobby and subject of interest; it’s nice to learn a skill that has nothing to do with work or productivity: one skill/knowledge to dive into purely for the fun of it and adventure. 

What Risks Did You Consider?
I had concern that most people had boat experience and were older men so it would be hard for me to fit. I didn’t want to be though as “not as capable”.

What Reservations Did You Have?
I was concern that I would be behind anyone when talking about specific term and doing boat manœuvres…

What Measurable Benefits Have You Seen?
The course has help me beyond just sailing. It has been something that I wanted to do for a long time but I never got around it because of how much I work. I was happy to invest myself for something that has nothing to do with work skills or production. It was only for passion and the desire to sail boat. It has opened new doors for me as far as how I have been traveling the world and I am eager to improve my sailing and navigation, I want to find a team or people that I can sail with on my time off. I am looking forward meeting new type of people that has nothing to do with my field of work. David and the way he share is passion is contagious. I really want to have sailing has part of my life now and not only for just a vacation every other year. 

Did you have any fun?
I did have tons of fun because everything was done in a none threatening way. We got to combine an awesome vacation with a new learned skills and share time with people we would ordinarily not cross path. I discovered the county of Sligo and Donegal as well as Irish tradition. It was an absolute blast and confidence booster. I would recommend David and WWS for anyone who wants to get hooked on a new passion or improve an existing skill. 

By |2019-09-01T19:45:59+00:00August 27th, 2019|Questionnaire|0 Comments

Magda Maczynska // Day-Skipper All-in-One

What’s Your Background in terms of Sailing experience?
Experienced in dinghy sailing on lakes. No experience on large yachts or on sea.

What Problem Were You Trying to Solve?
Needed to learn:
Navigation and pilotage for sea sailing,
Control and safe manoeuvers of boat under engine.
Rules and regulation for safe sailing on sea.

How Was The Problem Affecting You?
Since I had no experience and knowledge about sea sailing I was not confident to go on the sea and did not want to do it without somebody who had knowledge and experience.

What Possible Solutions Did You Consider before coming to Wild West Sailing?
I looked into few courses available. I wanted navigation classroom session where student and tutor can interact.Online courses are OK but I think you can get more from the classroom sessions.

Practical training to control boat under engine is a MUST, and maybe could be a bit more of it as this is the aspect that makes HUGE difference when you own the boat and you park your boat in marinas.

Lynx has fantastic reversing capabilities which I did not realize other boats might not have!!! Our boat does not reverse well but since I had the training “what, how and when” I was able to make it work for us ..so far any way.

Why Did You Choose Wild West Sailing?
I thought description of your experience was very good. Your website and description of courses were good. You responded to my email in timely manner and since I really wanted to do “all in one session” without driving every weekend from Midlands to the coast you made it happen for me and that is why I decided to choose WWS. Thank you Dave.

What Would Have Happened If You Had NOT chosen to progress your passion for sailing further with Wild West Sailing?
Well, I had to get the knowledge and experience on sea regardless so I would have to find some other course….

What Risks Did You Consider?
My worries:
Can I do it all in one session
Will I be able to learn all that is required and will I gain confidence to sail on sea.
How much more training will I need after to sail boat on sea after this course.

What Reservations Did You Have?
Reservations:
Yes location was important – how far away is the training centre and cost of accommodation.
I was not sure if I be able to understand navigation and definitely driving boat on engine was a huge fear of mine!!!

What Measurable Benefits Have You Seen?
I think I am much more confident sailor and still learning to be a skipper. It is not easy to make quick and good decisions in urgent situations…I still prefer to have some other experienced people around me to learn from them but I do helm the boat on sea now and drive the boat to and from the jetty so definitely huge improvement!!! Just more practice required now…

Did you have any fun?
Yes Dave I had fun. Thanks Dave.

By |2019-08-26T12:43:17+00:00August 26th, 2019|Questionnaire|0 Comments

Chloe Convey // FairWinds.ie – WWS Schools Sailing

I will admit when I was first asked if I wanted to do the FairWinds.ie sailing programme I was unsure about the whole thing. I had never sailed before and didn’t know if I wanted to start. I thought it over and decided to give it a chance.

On my first day out I was a little bit timid and unsure of what to do with myself but then I started talking to the instructors. They were extremely welcoming and reassuring. They promised me I would enjoy sailing. They weren’t wrong! We were given wet gear and sent out on the boats with an instructor. On my first day out it wasn’t windy which was actually very good because we got to get used to being on the boat, and we started learning words like genoa (front sail), the tiller, starboard and port. We learned about the dangers of the boom. We learned which ropes were connected to what. The first day was a day full of learning.

The next week we set sail for the first time. We learned to tack and how to put up the sails and how to put them away. All through the course we began learning more and more and eventually we started racing. That’s when the real fun started. By the end of the first course I had learned so much and knew that I loved sailing.

As the week flew by I began to miss sailing more and more. Then I heard the great news that the course was starting again. I was delighted by this news and knew straight away I was going to do the second course. As the starting date of the second course neared I became more and more excited. When the first day came around I was ready to go out again.

The second course again went very fast. We learned so much again and this course was more advanced. We learned things like how to pick up the buoy when moving, we learned how to read the wind, we learned who had the right of way when boats are coming toward each other. We done a lot of racing. This second part of the course was amazing. It was enjoyable and I learned so much.

As it was nearing the end we got the unique chance to go on a bigger boat and go out on the sea at Rosses Point. We all got our gear on and eagerly waited to board the boat. We soon set sail to a beautiful sight of the vast ocean ahead. Everyone was doing their jobs when we heard the shout of someone saying they saw a dolphin. Everyone eagerly looked around and we got the amazing chance to see four bottle nosed dolphins up close. They played around the boat for a while and eventually swam away. This was an amazing and unique chance. We slowly made our way back in while keeping an eye out for more dolphins!

Over all the sailing course was an amazing experience. I would recommend it to anyone that would have an interest in outdoor activity. It was one of the best experiences of my life!

– Chloe Convey

By |2019-08-30T12:55:50+00:00June 4th, 2019|Reviews|0 Comments

Orla Buckley // Day Skipper All-in-One

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

By |2019-08-26T12:42:44+00:00May 31st, 2019|Reviews|0 Comments