Sailing Jollies 

Confidence and experience building in an environment of safety and enjoyment

Many people talk about 'getting their miles' as if it's the most important thing in their sailing development.  

Yes, you need them, (2,500 for YM Offshore) but if you get 3,000+ miles on a transatlantic crossing where it was all on one tack, no berthing the yacht and nothing to do but read books for 3 weeks, can you call that quality experience?  If you join a pro delivery, the skipper may not be helpful, you may only motor and you may not be allowed to touch much on the yacht.. same goes for 'freebies' - crewing on private yachts where you help (make tea for) a yacht owner or keep him company but otherwise don't learn a lot, and almost certainly won't be allowed to berth it. 

Valuable experience building on Seawolf in Gibraltar including racing sails, spinnaker and Code Zero with In2wind Sailing
Extremely useful tips, tricks and techniques are ALWAYS a feature of the Sailing Jollies spring and autumn one way, multiple yacht events! 
Rich Rowe, Director of In2wind Sailing and Sailing Jollies creator, with the real boss, Ruth Murray

Mile building with training, skills & drills, berthing, sail trimming, night hours, watches, time as skipper built in - who else gives you that?

Our main events are the multi yacht one ways from Athens to Kefalonia and Kefalonia to Corfu every April and from Athens to Skiathos each May, both fleets returning in October to Athens for winter.

At Sailing Jollies, we say 'Make sure you get decent quality, worthwhile miles and don't just sit there doing not a lot.'   You really should aim to sail on as many different boats, with as many different skippers, in as many different places as possible.  Ruth has sailed on 22 yachts with 6 different Skippers over 16 months, what a way to build her experience!

The iconic Pronavia 38 racer cruiser "Bongani"

Take on board the good habits and avoid the worst practices of the people you meet and sail with along the way and you won't go far wrong.  Lastly, do not rush to get your next qualification - it's easy to spot somebody who hasn't really had much actual skippering experience - build it up over time and become really confident before moving to the next stage.  Why get out of your depth and make the whole thing stressful?  By the time you take your YM exam, it really should just be like taking the examiner out for a nice day's sail.. that's how he wants it to feel, after all - he'll be thinking 'would I let this guy take my family out?' 

Tanking along in a great breeze on Omegasail's Bavaria 51 Cruiser, Sea You

You get what you pay for...

There are plenty of opportunities out there to sail for free through crew matching sites, but here are a couple of scenarios to be mindful of before asking yourself if it's a good idea to go with what you don't know..

1. The private owner needing crew, where often 'the wife' is either not interested, or left long ago.  Usually the owner offers free or 'contribution only' sailing in exchange for crewing help or company.  All very well for some miles, but ask : Is the boat properly maintained?  Engine, sails, rigging, safety gear?   Is the owner/skipper interested in helping you develop?  Do you know his experience and qualifications are genuine?  Will he teach you anything?  It can be all about the owner's wishes and you may have no say in where you go, what you do and you may not get to do or touch very much on board, as owners can be very protective of their 'baby'.  Ask for references about the yacht and owner, from people who've sailed with him before - don't be shy to clear up the above points, if they're reluctant to give the info, that is a negative sign.  Whether people would sail with someone again is probably the universal indicator of a good skipper, so do ask if you can speak to previous crew.

2. The professional delivery, where a delivery company or owner pays a professional skipper to take a yacht from A to B.  The delivery company and/or skipper then aims to fill the yacht with enough (unpaid) crew or passengers to get the job done.   Great for miles, sure, but what is in it for you?  Time is money, the skipper is on a deadline, so it often won't be about you getting anything very much out of it, other than doing as you're told.  Delivery skippers can sometimes be uninterested in helping you (from genuine first hand experiences I've heard) and often the yacht has to be effectively 'sterilised' i.e. upholstery covered with bin liners, taped up, you must bring your own sleeping bag, cutlery and crockery.. where's the fun in that?   Plus you sure don't get to see any of the lovely spots along the way, or relax in the sun with a glass of wine or a beer.

So why do a 'Jolly' instead of a 'freebie' ? 

All sailing is valuable experience and the above may be fine too - but our Jollies are deliberately set up for developing sailors at all levels who want more out of a trip than simply the miles.  I take only the positivebest aspects from the different types of sailing (racing, holidays, courses, deliveries and mile-builders) without the down sides, creating a genuinely enjoyable, challenging yet relaxing, educational sailing experience that will leave you wanting nothing more from a week or two on the water each year.   Many of my guests sign up for the next Jolly before we even know where and when it's going to be, and trips are now filling up and selling out 6-12 months in advance.  April 2018 has sold 25 out of 27 boat weeks (9 yachts x 3 weeks) so grab the last places before they fill completely!

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You will actually get to see and experience many of the places you're sailing between, enjoy the atmosphere, take a drink or two, learn, practise and involve yourself in whatever you want or need along the way.. could it be any better?  I believe these are the best value trips out there - I can keep it this affordable because I own no Greek charter boats myself, I only use quality, nearly new or very well maintained charter yachts, often that need to be moved from A to B by the company, therefore we get a discounted rate for doing them a favour by making a charter out of their repositioning need.  I therefore have few outgoings other than the charter cost, my flights, no boat mortgages or loans, no expensive premises, no maintenance, almost zero paid advertising and no year-round berthing costs to pay.. which I am happy to pass on to clients, in very much a 'win, win' situation for all.  To date, I know nobody doing exactly this.. turning charter company early and late season fleet repositioning requirements into one way charters with informal training and development.  Easy!