We were lucky enough to spend some time with Nigel Turnbull, of Sailing School Croatia, recently. Nigel is founder and owner/manager of Croatia's very first RYA sailing school. Royal Yachting Association approval is not an easy thing to get, but being an RYA training centre confers a number of benefits, not least that clients can be asssured of the highest possible all round standards - teaching, equipment, safety knowledge, etc.
Nigel offers a wide range of courses - everything from complete beginners to those wishing to get their skipper's tickets. And if you don't want a certificate at all, that's fine too: you can just enjoy the scenery, an early morning swim in the crystal clear waters and delicious fresh fish from one of the great restaurants, in a deserted bay on one of Croatia's beautiful islands.
Sailing School Croatia takes groups, families, couples or individuals and spends a lot of time trying to get the right mix on one of their four yachts. Nigel maintains that it's a good instructor/skipper's job to keep everyone happy so he's no time for tales of adolescent teenagers getting bored - it's down to the instructor to make sure they don't, so the parents can concentrate on the sailing if that's what they want.
We asked Nigel what made Croatia particularly good for beginners, as well as inexperienced sailors. Here's what he told us:
"There are so many different places and islands to explore, close to the mainland, so it's easy to get to somewhere new in a morning or an afternoon. You arrive at a bay that looks like a Steven Spielberg set for an old style Mediterranean fishing harbour and can just bask in the sun in a time warp. You are in the open sea, but it's protected, and shelter and calm seas are never very far away in occasional temperamental weather. No matter which direction you head in, you can shape a route for flat seas and it's a great place for building fast early confidence."We were also delighted to hear that Nigel has a copy of the Croatia Cruising Companion on board each yacht in his fleet, for the further enlightenment of his clients!