Promoting Tall Ship Sailing for Adults of all Ages
In 1996 Classic Sailing founders Adam and Debbie discovered that there was plenty of provision for young people to to sail on tall ships, but virtually no opportunities for those over 25. We knew we were not the only ones over 25 that yearned for romantic adventures at sea. For over twenty years we have encouraged the ship owners to open their voyages to all ages. Under the Classic Sailing 'umbrella' we now have a fleet of sail training ships exploring the world with adult crews.
Encouraged by the demand for voyages for adults of all ages we are proud to have helped;
- To help create new wooden boats.
- The restoration of old vessels for safe commercial use.
- To creating the market for tall ship and traditional sailing for adults of all ages.
Classic Sailing is not resting on our laurels: We are still on a mission to make sailing with 'blocks and tackles' as mainstream as possible as a holiday choice. We work with customers, boat owners and skippers to continually raise standards of sailing trips and adventure experiences.
For this task we need your help to spread the word about the fun and the thrills you have enjoyed, and tell us where we can do better.
Classic Sailing - Giving An Unbiased View
Pilot Cutter 'Eve of St Mawes' was the charter boat that launched our business. Her voyages were popular and almost always full. We would be lying if we didn't say she was our favourite. Now 'Eve' has retired from service, our sales team have no such bias, and plenty of worthy replacements for your floating holiday base.
Classic sailing has selected the fleet on merit and all are independently owned. We can give you an un-biased and expert view of what vessel or voyage might best suit your holiday goals. With over 300 voyages a year to show you, there is no pressure from us to push you onto an unsuitable voyage through lack of choice. It is in our own interest to get it right for you, that way you can join the many that come back again and again.
Classic Sailing as Your Customer Champion
When you book a voyage through Classic Sailing your booking contract is directly with the Boat Operator under their terms and conditions. These will be clearly shown to you before you fill in a booking form, and you can read the Terms and Conditions Link on bottom of every page of our website.
In addition Classic Sailing has its own Customer Charter which explains what we will guarantee, over and above each Boat Operator’s Terms and Conditions.
The advantage of booking with us is greater financial security and Classic Sailing staff can be your customer champion if you experience anything below the fleets usual high standards of customer care.
Classic Sailing Customer Charter - Our Promises to You
Before you book with us
Before you book with us, you can be sure that....
- You can talk to a skipper
All our office sales staff are also experienced skippers and sailing instructors. Our office sales staff range from keen day skipper to round the world racers and RYA Yachtmaster Instructors. We are in regular contact the full time skippers and know when to ring them for unusual requests we can’t answer.
- All the boats share our ethos
We only work with traditionally rigged sailing vessels that share our ethos for hands on participation, welcome all levels of ability, seek out adventure afloat and revel in exploring ashore.
- We care about the ocean environment
Wildlife and environmental awareness and education have always been very important to Classic Sailing. All the ships we work with take care with recycling and disposing of rubbish and conform to international pollution laws. Many of the skippers are very knowledgeable about marine ecosystems and the wildlife you might see. On ocean voyages you may get involved in oceanographic or climate research. Some employ professional wildlife guides to give lectures and lead tours.
We work with vessels that are pioneering green initiatives from electric engines to cargo deliveries under sail.
Classic Sailing have had an environmental policy since 1997. link
- The boat crews like people and teaching novices
We only select vessels that employ staff that have a good empathy with novice crews and like working with people. Many skippers and mates come from a sail training or personal development coaching background so they are great encouragers.
- The vessels will provide safe adventures
All the vessels we work with have an excellent record for providing safe adventures. They are inspected annually and licensed for commercial charter under authorities like the UK Maritime Coastguard Agency or other countries national equivalents. This includes regulations for staffing levels, safety equipment, emergency procedures and environmental protection.
We know what makes a ship safe and still exciting to sail. Classic Sailing have been vessel operators and skippers for 20 years ourselves and run Classic Sailing as a RYA Recognised Training Centre with an impeccable safety record. The staff at Classic Sailing carefully vet the new ships we take on. We have the experience to understand what makes a safe ship, how to guest crews should be managed, and have experience of writing safe operating procedures.
- Our vessel descriptions come from sailing with guests
Our vessel descriptions are predominantly based on personal experience of each vessels sailing style out on the water, and continuing feedback from customers. We try and go sailing as often as we can to keep in touch with crews and customers.
- We will describe our sailing locations - through the eyes of a sailor
The four full time staff in Classic Sailing office have sailed enough nautical miles to circumnavigate the world six times (2018) but there are still plenty of places we have yet to explore…..
Where we are promoting a sailing ground that is unknown to us, we won’t make sweeping generalisations about itineraries, dolphins and polar bears. We will research it properly by ask the ship operators about their plans in detail.
If ships crew are being pioneers themselves, we double check the realism of their programmes by checking charts and pilot books and help each. We aim to give you honest advice what the voyage might be like. We generally know what is possible if the weather plays fair, and what is unlikely.
- After helping over 9,600 customers to go sailing, you can ask us anything
You can ask us anything. We have been selling sailing holidays for over 20 years and have safely sent over 9,600 people sailing since 1997. Where we can’t answer your questions or requests immediately, we can research it for you, or ask the skipper of the vessel. We know when skippers are in phone range or port, so leave your query with us. +44 (0) 1872 580022 or Contact Us
Handling Your Money & Bookings
When Handling Your Money & Bookings, we promise to.....
- Check your booking application and confirm availability within 1 working day.
The availability show on the website has to be updated manually so it is not always totally up to date, sometimes a group booking may unexpectedly fill a voyage. We will let you know availability within one working day of your application.
- Reserve an individual berth immediately – without payment for 7 days*
Reserving a provisional place for you is dependent on us receiving a fully completed booking form on line without any medical issues. If you have something that might prevent your crew application being accepted, we will contact you before reserving a place. If it looks ok, but we need more information from you, we will generally hold a place, pending a doctor’s note or similar.
We can generally make a provisional booking for you for up to 7 days without payment or your full commitment to the voyage. This is so you have time to check you can get the time off, check travel arrangements are possible without any danger of losing you place to another customer. If the voyage is coming up soon, on special offer, or your reservation is the last space, we may ask you to confirm with a deposit or full payment within less than 7 days.
- On acceptance of your booking form, send you a provisional reservation email within 1 working day.
The provisional booking email will include full invoice details by email and helpful information about joining ports, flights and travel tips, kit lists, vessel brochure if there is one or link to the vessel details, travel insurance link etc
- Offer a variety of payment methods and currencies, including on line.
In addition to your provisional reservation email we will send you a separate invoice enabling you to pay your deposit on line, or you can ring us and pay over the phone. We accept bank transfers to Classic Sailing in pounds or euros. Generally, you only need to pay a 25% or 30% deposit unless the voyage is within 12 weeks. If it is your first time sailing with us, there is a fixed booking fee of £20, or 30 euros per person if it is a non UK boat. On your second voyage with Classic Sailing our customer loyalty scheme kicks in and the is no booking fee.
- No charge for credit or debit cards
It is actually now illegal to charge for credit or debit cards. Classic Sailing have never charged customers when we process your credit or debit cards. What we can’t control is the currency conversion rate that your card provider will apply, but you will always have to pay a currency conversion charge if you buy a euro priced voyage with pounds or Vice versus.
We can’t take American Express – Sorry.
- Accept bank transfers in pounds or euros
If euros are the currency of your bank account then you can pay for a euro priced voyage by bank transfer into Classic Sailing euro bank account, avoiding currency conversion costs.
If you live outside the UK or the EU and want to pay us using a different currency like dollars it is very easy to do with on line banking by international bank transfer. Your bank will apply a currency conversion to the transaction, but they usually tell you the conversion rate and give you the option of rejecting it, if you think they are overcharging the going rate.
Our booking confirmation email will give you Classic sailing sort codes, account numbers, SWIFT and IBAN numbers for international transfers.
'Up Front' About Contracts & Travel Insurance
Regarding your Contract, Terms and conditions and selling travel insurance, we promise ....
- All the Vessels have third party liability insurance
The main reason we insist that you have travel insurance to protect you from the following possibilities: That you have to cancel or leave early, so you can recoup some or all or your voyage fees or travel. If you are injured or ill on a voyage then in most ports we can access free medical treatment via reciprocal agreements between nations. You still have to get there so covering taxis, or getting back to the ship or home could be costly. Also you do need to protect your belongings if you are bringing expensive cameras, electronic devices or clothing.
- To always show your vessels Terms and Conditions before you apply
When you book a voyage your booking agreement is with the vessel operator. Classic Sailing always offer you an opportunity to read the ship operators full Terms and Conditions before you fill in a booking form and give you another opportunity to check it at the end of the booking form before agreeing to it.
The Terms and Conditions for each vessel and this Customer Charter have links on the footer of every page of Classic Sailing Website.
- Travel Insurance - to offer unbiased advice on what to look for in a good travel insurance
We currently have a link on Classic Sailing website to a specialist yachting and tall ships travel insurer. You do not have to buy their travel insurance products, but you do need to take out adequate travel insurance for your voyage. You may already have an annual travel insurance that would cover your trip but please check the policy for the points below.
The reason why we profile a specific travel insurance company is because they have some additional extras that you might not find in all active holiday travel insurances. They are not the only sailing orientated travel insurance offering this.
If you choose your own, we recommend you look for the following specialist extras:
Make sure it covers sailing as an activity, and more specifically cruising on the sea and sailing as an adventurous activity where you will be active crew.
When selecting the correct geographical countries some travel insurances only cover up to the territorial limits with can be 3 or 12 miles offshore only. Our chosen insurer expects you to be offshore as part of a sailing holiday.
Look for a cancellation policy that covers you for associated travel costs in the rare event of itinerary change or voyage cancellation due to bad weather or mechanical failure of the ship you are travelling on.
If your insurance is not as good as we ask we can not be held responsible for the parts that would have been covered by a good sailing - tall ship travel insurance.
Before you travel
Before you travel we promise....
- Provide you with port information and travel tips on our website
On every voyage we promote you will find a web page on your joining port and your departure port. We try and keep these up to date, explaining different rendezvous points for different ship if more than one is using the port for a crew change. If there is a big event on in the port like a tall ships race we will warn you. Some ports are holiday destinations in their own right so we may feature a few local highlights. As a minimum it should have how to get there by road, train or air and airport transport links. Sometimes we recommend places to stay.
- Answer any queries about your trip quickly and accurately
We aim to give you an efficient, friendly and knowledgeable service and have over 20 years of experience of helping guests with their holiday planning. If you are struggling to find affordable transport or flights to a joining port we can often help you. If many are having the same problem we can flag it up with the ships operator to find a collective solution.
- Request your balance by email or phone you when its due, if you forget!
This is a good point to chat to us again and we can get excited with you! Please remember your voyage could be lost if your balance is not paid in time.
- Confirm when the full amount has been paid by email
When you pay your balance we will confirm all the details again, and supply you with an emergency phone number for the ship in case you get delayed on the day or cant find it !
- Supply you with all the information you need to join the ship
A month from your departure you will usually receive any final joining instructions. If where to meet is a regular spot it may be on our port pages already.
Sometimes you will get additional joining details from the ship operator or skipper direct at the last minute as the ships 'parking place' can be at the mercy of the port authorities.
Please be patient, if they are crossing oceans or even a long passage between busy marinas or ports in Europe, they may not know where they can berth until arrival, and the best made plans can be dashed by weather or changes to port facilities. They may have to anchor and pick you up by boat, so it is helpful if you give us your mobile phone numbers when you book so we can pass them onto the skipper.
Most the ships can be tracked by their AIS signal or a yellow brick device. Ask us and we can show you where to look, or the best marine traffic app for your phone.
After Your Holiday
After your holiday we promise to....
- Always ask you for feedback
We do our best to make it easy for you to feel you can comment, whether you do it via our feedback surveys sent out after your voyage, reviews on our social media or ringing us..
- Always respond individually to your feedback
Whether it’s a "thanks and see you next time", or a more complicated issue to resolve, we take your feedback seriously.
If you have any complaint about your voyage or vessel, safety issues or suggestions Classic Sailing will let you know we are dealing with it and when to expect an answer.
- Follow complaints up with the ships operator on your behalf.
If you prefer to remain anonymous then we don’t mind being the middleman, if it means we can stop something happening again or improve.
After discussion with the ships operators or crew, We will report back to you on any changes or improvements. If it is a really serious complaint and no satisfactory answer is provided, we can suspend or cancel working with a ship.
- Praise the ships crews when you compliment individuals
We will pass on all positive feedback to the ships operators too. Everyone needs to feed loved.
Whilst we don’t employ the ship’s crew, where we can, we try to let individual crew know directly when they have done well through texts or social media.
- Act quickly if the fault is ours 1
If you have a complaint about our website, voyage descriptions or booking process then we can deal with that directly. We promise to correct mistakes quickly, find out what went wrong and make improvements to stop it happening again.
If you need to cancel a booking
If you need to cancel a booking, we promise.....
- Inform the ships operator on the same working day.
If you have rung us to cancel, you will need to then confirm in writing (email is fine) that you are cancelling, and why you are cancelling, so we can help you fully.
A more crucial reason why you need to inform us in writing is to meet the ships operators cancellation and refund terms.
- Refund you promptly anything that is due
If the notice period in your specific booking terms and conditions entitles you to a full or part refund, Classic Sailing will pay you back promptly. This is usually via the same method you have paid e.g. refund to your card, bank transfer or cheque.
- Help you with a letter for any travel insurance claim
If you are cancelling short notice for a reason that should be covered by your travel insurance, then we will supply you with a letter confirming your cancellation and the money you paid Classic sailing for your voyage. This should satisfy your claim to your travel insurers.
If the Ships Operator is forced to Cancel a voyage due to bad weather, strikes or mechanical failure
If the Ships Operator is forced to cancel a voyage due to bad weather, strikes or mechanical failure or any equipment or vessel damage that makes the voyage unsafe or impossible to proceed, Classic Sailing promise....
- We promise to offer your holiday alternatives in writing, or refund your voyage fees
If the ships operator is forced to cancel a voyage due to extreme weather conditions, transport strikes or a mechanical or equipment breakdown that makes it unsafe to run the voyage, then we will work with them to create a package of alternative voyage offers or a full refund of voyage fees only; unless this can be covered by good yachting and tall ship travel insurance.
Either Classic Sailing or the ships operator will inform you in writing why the voyage was cancelled and what options you have. You will always have the right for a full refund under consumer law, but we will always try to find you an equal or better holiday.
- Help you claim for any associated travel costs if you choose a refund.
Apart from the refund of your voyage fee, you may be able to help you recover any associated travel costs through your travel insurance. Covering associated costs for these unforeseen reasons for cancellation can be covered by good travel insurance policies. We will assist you with whatever evidence you need.
If the Ships Operator Chooses to Cancel a Voyage or Booking
If the Ships Operator cancels a voyage due to to low numbers, staff shortages or commercial reasons, we promise....
- The Supplier should refund you in full for your voyage fees
If you have any difficulty you can talk to us and we will your customer champion if we think you are being treated unfairly.
- Classic Sailing will refund your booking fee
No quibbles, even if it is not our fault!
- Classic Sailing promises to refund reasonable associated travel costs, if the supplier does not.
If the ships operator chooses to cancel a voyage due to low numbers, key staffing shortages that can’t be solved in time, or commercial reasons, then this is a very different scenario. Your voyage fee should be refunded under the ships operator’s terms and conditions. Some vessel operators, but not all, will offer you some compensation for any associated costs you might have incurred to get to the ship and return home.
Classic Sailing Customer Charter promises to refund your associated travel costs under the following conditions:
- As long as travel or reservations are not refundable or associated costs are recoverable under a reasonable travel insurance.
- At prices that would be considered ‘reasonable’ for a traveller on their way to an activity sailing adventure.
- You can supply an itemised invoice of associated travel costs and proof of purchase.
- Proof that you have cancelled and not used the associated travel or accommodation.