After months of lockdown we were delighted to resume practical sailing on 29 March. The Spring and vaccines have brought new optimism for the sailing season ahead and we are now working flat out to meet demand. We are particularly happy that we can provide the sailing that loyal customers have waited for so long. Of course its not over yet; some restrictions remain and we have to remain vigilant while working to deliver the best sailing experiences possible in these times. We fervently hope that current positive trends will continue and that the recovery programme will unfold as envisaged in the original roadmap.

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This is the first course you can take to start learning and gaining qualifications at sea, and it’s an easy introduction into sailing. But don’t think this means you will be doing little, and not getting involved!

I boarded the yacht in October during glorious balmy weather and met my boat – mates who I was about to spend two nights and two full days with, in a small intimate space. We all sat in the cockpit chatting and finding out a little about one another, and possibly all gauging how competent we thought each other was. All a little nervous and naturally slightly apprehensive about what the next few days might hold, I certainly was, and I’m sure I wasn’t alone!

For some of the crew this was their final weekend to get signed off for their day skipper qualification, others were mid course and one person was just commencing their day-skipper experience. I was the only one on-board doing my competent crew, with no aspirations at this point for day-skipper.

I can honestly say being on-board a small yacht with complete strangers, all learning together, sharing stories and experiences was an extremely rewarding and enjoyable way to spend two days. It was fortunate, as it turned out, we all had an appreciation for living in a small space, cleanliness and were all able cooks, good tea-makers and all with a keen interest in learning to sail.

I thoroughly loved the camaraderie, teamwork, cups of tea in the cockpit and laughter. Yes I did learn and pass my competent crew certificate during the weekend. I also cooked for the crew, washed-up and trimmed the sails, learnt my knots, spent time at the helm and listened with interest to the chart navigation lessons.

I have a few highlights; the sunrise over Sheppey on Saturday morning as we sat at anchor, the sea was dead calm and for a moment you could almost believe you were in the Mediterranean. Saturday night out in Queensborough with all the crew plus captain, we all watched the rugby in a local pub drinking a few too many pints and laughing lots.

Sunday was a welcomed cooked breakfast before setting sail and navigating the Medway waters and arriving into Chatham Harbour early afternoon, we then scrubbed down the boat, cleaned the interior and departed.

It was a weekend of meeting new friends, sharing great experiences, lots of fresh air and fun, and I would highly recommend it.

I know we were lucky with the weather but as in everything in life, arrive prepared for every eventuality and enjoy.

I have since booked to spend a whole week sailing with Elite, so maybe I might become a day skipper one day.

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