Majestic Line in Scotland – Worth Watchi

Majestic Line in Scotland – Worth Watching for the Western Isles


Tips and Tricks for the Fastnet Race

Having done the Fastnet Race a few times both as crew and skipper I feel there are some tips and tricks to help you for the race.

1 Prep you and the boat

Rig check, empty your boat and unload everything you do not need, weight is key.  Consider an out of the water inspection especially if you have hit the bottom recently!  Book a lift out, wet and dry the bottom to get a smooth weed free finish, also polish the topsides and deck.  The psychological  advantage of a clean bum, shiny boat and water beading on the topsides  will help you believe in your performance.

2 Train train and train

Train everybody for each job on board especially for kite gybes.  Have people’s main positions which you can slip into at key times such as the start and night gybes.  By training everyone for every job people will have an understanding of how their job affects other people.

3 Learn from the offshore races

Learn how people are affected by seasickness, and how you are going to cater for the race.

4 Get rested the night before

Sleep and rest is key, a rested crew is a fast crew!

5 Have tides prepped and the weather prepped beforehand

Do not leave these jobs to on board when they can all be done at home.

6 Read the Race Instructions well before the race. 

7 Start on the line! 

8  Sleep whenever you can ( you are not all needed all the time)

If the wind is light or you are off the wind extra people on deck will get in the way, it is best to give people the extra rest for the future.

9  Eat Drink and keep warm

10 Think of the race as lots of short races

In your mind section the race to lots of short races, Lands End is NOT home, the winning and loosing is in the last 50 miles, save some energy for the last big push.

11 Apply the same pressure and concentration at 4am as durning the day

4am is when the human body is at its lowest so apply extra pressure pressure then to get the edge on your rivals!

12 The last 20% of the race is the decider

This is when you are running on fumes, if you have the energy left here it is where the difference is made.

6 Enjoy yourself to the max! 

There are few occasions where you will see the sun rise and set, dolphins during the night and the sky without light pollution to see the shooting stars and satellites.

Paul Bew-1  Paul Bew


Why Should I do First Aid? – Paul Bew City Sailing

Why Should I do First Aid?

Last night on the way back from an exhibition at Alexandria Palace we drove past the emergency services administering Chest Compressions (CPR) to a poor chap on the pavement.  He was lucky he had the emergency services with him, I wondered how many people would be trained and willing to help if they were not there.  I also thoughts of other First Aid Incidents:

A lady collapsing on the jubilee line in a packed carriage, I was the only person who helped her.

A motorcyclist hit the back of a bus head on and I was the only first aider.

One of our customers who a after one of our courses attended a cyclist and administered first saving his life.

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As a family man it would be a reckless abandonment of  my unreserved duty of care to my children as to not know what to do if my little ones stopped breathing, had a bad fall, road accident or choked on an object.

A first aid course only takes a day (or two evenings), we all use the roads where 1700 people die and 23000 people have a life changing injury each year so the chances of needing first aid are pretty high.

The problem with first aid is that we say:

It won’t happen to us.
Someone else will do it.
I would be no good in an emergency.
I do not like blood.

Well, –  during our courses we teach you not only what to do, but we bury in the depth of your mind the mantra below so when you have a first aid situation you will go into auto pilot.


Danger  (Take a deep breath and check there is no dander to you).

Response (shout at them and gently shake them, you do not want to give the kiss of life to someone sleeping!).


Airway (Tilt the head back carefully)

Breathing (Check they are breathing properly – gasps should be taken as not normal breathing)

GET HELP 999, 112 or any other method.

CPR (if there is no breathing give 30 chest compressions and 2 rescue breath.)

If you do nothing

At 3 to 4 mins brain damage occurs.

If you do chest compressions only 

At about 5-10 mins brain damage occurs (depending on the oxygen in their blood stream when you start) but this could be the time it takes for emergency services take to get to the situation.

If you do chest compressions and rescue breaths

You will keep the person alive indefinitely. Fabrice Muamba was kept alive for 78 mins.


What is a AED and why are they now everywhere now?

An AED is an Automatic External Defibrillator.  If someone has a heart attack their survival rate is 6%, with an AED it is 38%, it DOES make a difference.

Are they difficult to use?

NO, press the on button listen to the voice prompts and follow the commands it is very easy.


So with such little training YOU course save the live of a loved one or save the life of another persons loved one, stop putting on the excuses and book some training today.

Paul Bew-1

Paul Bew

Paul owns and runs City Training and City Sailing and offers many courses in London,  to groups, individuals and families. He specialises in Sailing First Aid and Sailing courses.




How Can I get into Sailing?

I often get asked by people, “how do I get into sailing”?

There are many ways for getting out on the water, here are a few below.

Learn to dinghy Sail

If you are learning the best place to start is a RYA Level 1 Dinghy Sailing Course,  Details are HERE, this is only a weekend and you will learn the principles of sailing, wind awareness and by the end of the weekend you will be sailing your dinghy in triangular courses without an instructor.  These skill is invaluable and is directly transferable to yacht sailing as your yacht is a glorified dinghy where you can make a cup of tea. Our local Sailing Centre is near Canary Wharf  on the safe Millwall Dock.   Docklands Sailing and Watersports Centre.


Do a RYA Theory Course

Especially in the winter it is a good thing to get the theory done so  you can spend your time sailing and not learning at the chart table. We would recommend to start with:


RYA Day Skipper Theory  This is a beginners class that will teach you all you need to know before to go on a yacht.

RYA Sea Survival Course  This is a course that will prepare you if it all goes wrong, it involves a practical session in the pool as well as a seeing a lifejacket inflate.

City Sailing

There are other theory courses which will further help you with your sailing, many of them are entry level and will broaden your knowledge base.

City Sailing Club Meet Up  

This is an on line sailing club where members can organise sailing trips, socials and where special deals are posted, it is a great way to meet people who are interested in sailing and also a most cost effective way to get on the water. It is growing all the time and has over 700 members, please join us.

Join a race crew with the RORC register (Royal Ocean Racing Club).

Surprisingly as long as you can commit to a whole season or race program then people will take you on as a race crew even if you have little experience.  You are not expected to pay a fee and your only expense maybe a share of the food.  It is a great way to meet a team and to get lots of miles of fun, but you HAVE to be committed to the season and put in work hard.

Yacht Deliveries 

I started with deliveries and did a couple of Ocean Crossings with Nick Irvine at Reliance , this took me to the USA, St Martin, Bermuda and from Corsica to the BVI.  It gave me over 10,000 miles and memories I will never forget, if you have a chunk of time it is well worth doing and will only cost you a small joining fee and your expenses.

Sailing Clubs 

There are many cracking sailing clubs in the UK, I belong to the Holy Loch Sailing Club and sponsor the City Sailing HLSC Regatta.  The club is a great way to socialialise and keep your sailing skills, if you have children they will love the sailing club.

Charter in the UK   Free Gin

Chartering is a great way to sail, you do not have to invest a lump sum, you do not have all the headache and bills of your own boat and you can change your venue at will..  Chartering has come a long way, the boats are more user friendly, you can also get great deals in the winter.  If you charter through Fairview Charters and mention City Sailing then you even get a free bottle of Gin from City Sailing.


Charter Abroad More Free Gin 

With the Euro getting cheaper and guaranteed sun then the med is getting very popular especially  Croatia and Greece.  If you book outside the school holidays you get a lot more for your Euro.   SeaMaster  offer a cracking service where they give you a great vessel, location choice and even integrate their searches to get you the best flights including Easy Jet and Ryan Air. Have a look at the link, if you charter through the link you will get a £50 discount off your charter AND a bottle of Gin courtesy of City Sailing.

Sailing in the med

How do I become a skipper? –  Watch out for the next blog.

Paul Bew
Paul is a RYA Yachtmaster Instructor and Examiner and has owned sailing schools for 15 years, he also has been a Sail Training Skipper and has worked on Square riggers. His is the principal of City Sailing London.


City Sailing Paul Bew How to pass your RYA Yacht Master Exam

How to PASS Your RYA Yacht Master Exam

Ten pointers on how to pass your Yachtmaster Exam by RYA Examiner Paul Bew I am often asked how to pass the RYA Yachtmaster Exam and feel that it would help to let you know how this is done. Below are a few pointers that help you pass the exam. Here are my tips!

1 Get your paperwork together. Have a copy of the RYA Application AND the RYA Practical Report Form , PRE FILL IT IN all the paperwork. It is on the RYA web site HERE. Also have your G15 Log book filled in with your 2500 milage and 5 passages of over 60 miles with 2 as skipper.  ALL this paperwork a PHOTO,  First Aid Certificate and VHF licence should ALL be in one folder to hand to your examiner when he/she arrives.

2 Learn How to Sail  This is the biggest failure in my experience, if you can not sail you will not pass! There are a lot of people who have sailed around the world and fail to sail on their exam. This problem is never there with a dinghy sailor, if you do not dinghy sail then two weekends on a level 1 and level 2 RYA Dinghy Course is well worth the time, this is only two weekends ands a lot of fun. In London the offer this for only £170 per weekend.

3  Read the Examiner notes  The examiner will be working strictly to the notes they have from the RYA a copy can be downloaded HERE.  This gives the examiners parameters and exactly what they are looking for, I can not stress how much you should read this.

4 Know your theory  It would be a shame to pass everything and not know your theory. If you have not done this go to a school for a RYA Coastal Yachtmaster Theory Course. Also the RYA Book of Navigation Exercises is a good source of revision.  If you go to a good school they will give you a backlist of the IRPC Exam Papers, make sure you can do these to 100% without looking at the book. If you show a deep knowledge of the Theory the Examiner will not probe. In my experience people do not know the sounds and shapes on the IRPCS.  Also have an up to date forecast and a printed weather map for the duration of the assessment.

5 Do the task asked  If they ask you to go to Cowes then go to Cowes!  Sail as you would normally sail, use all the nav aids, put a waypoint in the plotter or GPS, use navionics and use the engine when required.  If the examiner wants to see you do this without they will ask.  When you do a MOB, USE THE ENGINE, think and plan how you would get the person out of the water.

6 Put yourself in the position of the examiner  There is nothing nicer than a candidate who is well prepared, can sail, is safe and can show with confidence he/she are able to skipper a vessel with novices aboard. The examiner loves sailing (that is why they do the job!) and enjoys to see people do well and enjoy their sailing. A happy boat with everyone passing well is what the examiner would like.

7 Plan the domestics NEVER let the kettle get cold, always have good food not plastic sandwiches, find out what the examiner likes- are they vegetarian. Plan time to eat, there is nothing worse than not eating and drinking as an examiner. 8 Find out before about passage plans and pre exam work Some examiners want you to plan a passage beforehand which will involve a drying secondary port, find out before hand and prep this, some will ask you to do this on the day. The examiner will be pleased if you call them up and ask them!

9 Sail the area before hand  The examiner on the day has a limited area due to time constraints, if you have time sail into every harbour day and night and make your passage plans beforehand so no passage will be a surprise to you.

10 Be ready to go There is nothing worse that getting to an exam and the people not ready to go.  As an examiner you are paid per person, so if you have to wait for the people to get ready and sort themselves out you will not be happy.  If the boat is ready, people welcome you with a cuppa, the engine is running and the lines are on slips it shows that the candidates are keen and ready to go.

One final thing, ALWAYS KNOW where you are on the chart,  NEVER spend too much time below and always delegate jobs to your crew. Contact your school and ask to join an exam as a crew so you can see the standard and watch an exam, you will be able to ask the examiner questions you would not be able to ask in the exam.

Enjoy your sailing. As sailing boat has not arrived until all the sails are set.

Regards Paul Bew RYA Yacht Master Examiner Power Sail and Ocean.

Paul at City Sailing meets HRH Princess Anne


City Sailing February Blog

City Sailing Talks at Ocean Leisure

Our talks and drinks at Ocean Leisure went well.  We were in an informal environment with a glass of wine talking about radios and lifejackets. We are putting a date in the diary for the Spring where we will talk about boots,  waterproofs, showing you what to look for and explaining that you do not have to spend fortune.

I will also offer a few words on how to pass your RYA Yachtmaster Practical Exams, as an examiner of over 20 years I will give the view from the other side.  This is what the examiner wants (and does not want) what the pitfalls are and how to avoid them and how to prepare yourself for your exam. I will write about this in my next blog and give you tips in how to pass the RYA Yachtmaster Exam.

City Sailing Talk at Ocean Leisure.

City Sailing Ocean Leisure 3


New City Sailing Course on Weather

We are offering a new course by the world class sailing meterologist Simon Rowell, this will be in Greenwich in October and will explain the dark art of weather.


Leader in the Sound of Mull (Photo Paul Bew)

He will cover the items below and lots more:

The Coriolis Effect
Air Masses
Clouds – What are they and What do they Mean?
The Life Cycle of a Mid-Latitude Depression
General Summary of Conditions as a Low Pressure System Moves Overhead
Changing the Surface Friction as Wind blows over Land and Sea
Being Headed or Lifted as You Sail Offshore
Using Upper Level Information to help with Surface Forecasting
Tropical Waves, Squalls and Diurnal variation
The Madden-Julian Oscillation
Route Planning and Preparation

Weather is one of the subjects that directly affects you, you only like me pay attention when you get it wrong and get caught out like me.  This course will help you not get caught out.

Spring is Coming 

we have some pretty lively jet streams at the moment but a bit of sunshine in-between, but summer is coming!  We have experienced some massive tides with the level going below chart datum at London Bridge yesterday.

Thank you for reading our blog.


Paul Bew