What about safety?
Our activities are adventurous and so it would be misleading to say that they were free from any risk. Safety is the foremost consideration of every aspect of programme design and policies. Since Sail Camp is all about hands-on learning, our staff place high emphasis on safety and risk awareness, passing these critical elements on to their team at all times.
Why sail as part of a flotilla?
A flotilla is a group of boats that voyage together. There are many reasons why sailing in this way is preferable for both the novice and more seasoned sailor... We've outlined a couple below and more specific details on the flotilla concept in that section of the FAQs.
Group Dynamics: Most young people prefer to sail as part of a larger group, where they can interact with as many as 80 people and 30 staff from just about anywhere. Aboard your own boat, your crew is always co-ed and small (8-12 people), and grouped based by age and grade. About ninety percent of all activities are done together within this tight-knit team, yet it's a lot of fun to go ashore and be part of a larger group for a beach BBQ or party night! Plus, we'll get some friendly competition going between all the boats during the inter-boat competitions.
Safety: Sailing as part of a larger group of vessels offers the unparalleled safety advantage of having backup support if necessary. It allows us to have medical staff, trained to a higher level than would otherwise be possible, to be on site, travelling with the group full-time. It also allows our directors to interact with all of our students and staff, maintaining our high level of professionalism, teaching and safety standards throughout the entire programme.
What if I've never been sailing or diving before?
No problem! Our programmes are designed to integrate those who have limited or no previous experience in sailing or diving. With our experienced, patient and dedicated instructional staff you will soon pick up the ropes of being a member of the crew and also learn how to get your hair wet!
What's the food like?
What types of vessels do you use?
All of Sail Camp's vessels are chartered through Sunsail, the world's largest charter operation. Sunsail is the number one choice for a yacht charter and has more than 1200 yachts at 36 bases in 23 countries around the world.
Over the past 30 years, Sunsail has gained a strong reputation for reliability and quality. Offering more choices than any other charter company. With in-depth knowledge, a wealth of experience and an unrivalled reputation for professionalism, this brings Quaystage and Sail Camp a service that is second to none.
All of the yachts that Sail Camp charters are "bareboat", meaning that Sunsail provides the equipment and Sail Camp provides the staff and crew. The yachts we use are built and fitted by the world's leading manufacturers and maintained to the highest standards. All come fully equipped with domestic essentials, as well as safety and navigational equipment.
What do I have to buy to participate?
Sail Camp provides almost all equipment necessary for our activities. This includes all scuba diving equipment (except for wetsuits, if needed). We will send a clothing list of general items to bring and information on minor spending money needed for stamps, ice cream and souvenirs.
Can I smoke on Sail Camp programmes?
No. For both health and safety reasons any use, possession or association with tobacco products may be cause for immediate dismissal from the programme, without refund.
We agree to hold our level of language to a high standard. We also agree to abide by our smoking, drug and alcohol policy. Sail Camp is strictly a no smoking or drinking programme, and any use or association with any tobacco product, alcoholic beverage or controlled substance, including misuse of prescription medication, may result in immediate dismissal from the programme, without refund.
What about seasickness?
Anyone can be prone to sea sickness (including the staff!) so please don’t worry about it. The permanent staff on board the vessels are used to looking after people who suffer. Sea sickness will usually pass after 24 hours, by then you will be used to the motion. The secret is to take sea sickness medication 24 hours before you depart, keep yourself busy during the periods you feel sick and if you can, don’t give in to it and remember it will soon pass.
It normally takes people 24 hours to find their sea legs. We recommend that if you are on any other medication that you check with your GP before taking sea sickness medication.
What about sun protection?
During our programmes, we spend a lot of time outdoors and, for the most part, the weather is warm and sunny. There are awnings (biminis) on all of our vessels, yet sun protection is still a concern and something that we take very seriously. We strongly recommend that all crew take precautions to protect themselves from the sun and this includes the following:
- Regular application of a dermatologist-recommended sunscreen.
- Wearing a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses.
- Wearing a long or short-sleeved SPF UV filtering surfer-style rash guard.
Does the price of the programme include my airfare?
As our students fly from all points of the compass, the Sail Camp tuition does not include the cost of travel to and from the programme.
We work directly with a travel coordinator to assist parents in obtaining low cost flights to our programme locations.
What's the typical crew member like and where does everyone come from?
There's really no such thing as a typical crew member. Crew members join us from round the UK and from over 10 foreign countries, so there is naturally a lot of geographical diversity. Most students come to us with limited or no previous experience of sailing and scuba, yet have an interest in learning these and other water sports.
Will I be aboard with crew members of the same age and grade as me?
Definitely. We know that your experience will be better if you sail within a group of similar aged young people. In most cases, you will be aboard with your age and year group. All Sail Camp experiences are dedicated youth experiences. This is something unique to the flotilla concept. Some of our single boat programmes may have a larger age range aboard, so please call us directly if this is of particular concern.
Are boys and girls on the same boat together?
Yes, life is co-ed and so is Sail Camp. We always aim to have a good mix of boys and girls together and this goes for our staff as well. Boys and girls live in different cabins aboard and bathroom facilities are separate too. Privacy is thus maintained. The Crew Agreement and Code of Conduct lay down rules regarding the privacy of the individual and how to behave appropriately.
Can I come with a friend?
Sure you can, but don't feel like you are going to be left out if you don't, as around 80% of our crew members come on their own. We are very aware of the fact that "two's company and three's a crowd", so we do limit the number of crew members who know each other aboard the same boat where practical.
Do I need Travel Insurance?
Yes. You should seek cover for the risk of participating as an active member of a crew on board a sailing vessel. If your programme includes diving you will need to ensure that you are covered for this. Whilst we can provide information about insurance cover, we have no affiliation to any insurance company and do not endorse any particular product. We are however happy to help with any questions you may have and give guidance.
I am doing my Duke of Edinburgh Award. Does Sail Camp count?
A voyage on board a Sail Camp vessel can count as your residential element in the Gold Award or Queen’s Scout Award. It can also be used as your organised activity. Please bring along your DofE or Scout log book and the Captain will sign this off for you at the end of the voyage.
Where does the staff come from and what are they like?
Like our young people, our staff comes from all over the globe with all sorts of different backgrounds. On any one given programme we can have as many as 30+ staff in one place at the same time. This is a huge advantage over a programme that runs as a single vessel since our students can interact and learn from a far greater number of fantastic teachers and role models.
Any staff member who operates one of our smaller or single vessel programmes has a minimum of two years' experience teaching with us, this way we can provide first class staff and a first class experience.
What are their qualifications?
The qualifications and experience of our professional staff are diverse. Every member of our team is multi-talented, combining the practical skills essential to the operation of a mobile live-aboard programme while covering their particular area of expertise. They include licensed Skippers, RYA Yachtmasters, PADI staff instructors, marine scientists, oceanographers and Emergency Medical Technicians.
What medical training does your staff have?
All staff members are trained first aid responders. Additionally, on the flotilla programmes, an Emergency Medical Technician sails full time with each flotilla of boats.