Student comments

Posted on June 30th, by admin in News. No Comments

Not edited. So spelling not my fault !

Hi Jim You came up on my list of people I might know! Dont suppose your remember us coming to train with you back in 2009. Paul and Lesley, we were having a cat builtin South africa. Well, we are now into our 9th year of sailing and have had the most wonderful time- thank you! We sailed form Aouth Africa to Grenada 6200 miles as our first sailing trip and spent 6 years up and down the caribbean islands, Bahamas, Florida, East coast USA to Chesapeake, then Cuba. Last year we decide to tackle the pacific and had the most wonderful time visiting all the Islands before and after the Panama Canal. We’re now in New Zealand doing a 4 month road trip. Head home in June and then return to sail to Fiji and Australia in January most likely. After that our 10 yr sailing plan will need some serious rethinking! Hope things are going well with you, we did see your boat when we got the ferry over to Scilly isles a couple of years back. Hope the lessons are still going well and that all is good with you. I still have a vivid recollection of you sitting looking out at Cawsand shore eating a piece of cake and you looked like the most contented man! The lamb you cooked also sticks in my mind! Anyways, I think we’ve doe you proud! Fond memories All good things Lesley

Anyway, our week in Mago Merlino… not much to say other than perfect (except for the sickness!). I genuinely got a lot more from it than I had expected and strangely my confidence kept growing after leaving Plymouth. I have been thinking about all that I learned and it all makes sense now, in fact when we took the Prout out in Corfu, I had no doubts or worries about what I was doing and more importantly, why I was doing it. I think that in Plymouth I was doing things because I knew I should, but a week later, having thought about it all, it became logical and natural, rather than just a case of remembering what to do. It is now vital that I get back on the water ASAP, so whether it is in Cyprus or anywhere else, we are keen to get things rolling in the next month or so. I now know that I can dismantle a marine toilet and a winch, and I fully expect to have to do it, and a lot more in the future…

Without wishing to sound like a bum licker, I found your whole approach brilliant and perfect for my way of learning. Your calm attitude and approach were exactly what I needed. I never felt belittled or stupid and left feeling that I will, one day, be a very competent skipper with a bit of practice. Your patience with us all (particularly with Sabine, who obviously struggled with the language and with confidence in her own ability) was exemplary. I had feared that I would be made to feel like I was being ridiculous with my future plans and although I know I have a long way to go, you never once made me think I couldn’t do it. In fact, I now know that I can, even if I have to spend the 1st year going round in circles in the Med, I know I will get where I want to be. You may even see me back there one day on Mago Merlino, and hopefully with Jo this time!

Anyway, I thank you for your time, your patience and your expert guidance and I sincerely hope that our paths cross again one day.

Kind regards


Dear Jim
Just a little note to say a massive THANK YOU for another fab weeks sailing on Mago Merlino.  Your patience is amazing, and I feel like I have learnt loads, although it might not look like it at times!  I particularly enjoyed the company of Konrad and Stewart this week, not to mention your good self of course!
The journey “up north” was very smooth and fast ( 6 hours ), and I was home by 11pm.
Anyway, take care and thanks again.
Love and best wishes to all.

Hello Jim

I want to thank you for the great time on your boat. The Good Food. The good mood.
and the weather was not so bad either!

I’ve learned a lot, and it has given me much pleased. Every day on the boat was enjoyable for me.
The exercises were sometimes very exhausting.
For me it was a very interesting challenge the exercise with the GPS and the pilot to the river.
Some things I did not understand right away, but you’ve always explained very well, sometimes even twice.
I was happy that Maggi passed the exam, and I was a part of her crew.

As we did in ZERO wind, 5 kn, me is still not entirely clear

For me it was a very great challenge to do this in English. and I came to my limits and must certainly learn some English.

I can not list everything I’ve learned.

We will work through all the learning material again and send you the results.

My plan would be next year when you take me back on board to make a 5 day course with Sabine.
I did my search and found Flottilien sailing. Probably around Easter in Croatia / Biograd.

Thank you very much for the great time

best regards


Great! thanks Jim, we all really enjoyed the trip and sailing with you.
Frances and I have just been into the multihull Centre for a look around. Very interesting.

Am sure we will be keen on the course, will get back to you soon.

Off on the bikes now,



Dear Jim

At the end of the week you asked us to provide feedback. I thought I would wait until I had had a chance to put into practice what we had learnt before doing so. It also means I have been slow in thanking you for looking after me so well during the week – so apologies for that and thank you for a most enjoyable trip.
My candid feedback is that for much of the week I felt a bit of an incompetent on the boat. Your style is very straight talking. The good news is that you undoubtedly know what you are talking about and I think I accordingly tended to put myself into receive mode rather than proactive mode as I felt I was more likely to be told to do something differently if I used initiative.
However in receive mode I picked up an enormous amount and when it came to taking charge of my own boat I was far more assured about skippering it, which made for a safer and happier boat. Interestingly my son, who has been getting alot of experience racing at the Isle of Wight this year, seemed more ready to listen that the last time. There was good mutual respect and I am sure that was borne out of some really sensible things I learnt from you. Likewise, my wife, who is inherently scared of boats now wants me to charter for 4 weeks a year and wants to take a more active role herself (more of which later). We were in a gale force 7 at one point and all felt safe – we had 2 reefs, hit 9 knots and got to a well identified sheltered harbour.
Here of some of the things I learnt (off the top of my head now);
– You go as fast with a reef in a strong wind, it was enough to convince my son we could reduce sail
– Hoving to – I taught my son the operation and we used it as we were about to pass behind a boat only realising at the last minute it was trawling…put on the breaks….
– Getting mooring bouys – a piece of cake backing up to them
– Boom preventer – although the Leopard did not have winches in the right places we put one from the boom to a cleat – and one time my son was helming it did its job.
-Gybing – no carve gybes but nice controlled ones otherwise
– Getting in the genoa on a beam reach or between there and a  close haul with the mainsail to help stop it flapping – with due control from the sheets
-lassooing (spelling?) – not a great help due to preponderance of lazy lines but certainly nice to have in the armoury
– Briefing – my notes I took from your breifings were really nice to have
-Positively identifying marks
-Use of binoculars to get clearer views and early warnings
-Prodigious log taking – make for great records

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