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Thanks very much indeed. I thought the course was fantastic and your
feedback was excellent.
As I mentioned in an earlier email, my wife Jane will do the day skipper
course, so we will definitely get back to you about that in due course
(realistically, she’ll probably do it over autumn/winter). The plan then
would be for us both do the practical courses next year.
I hope you have a great summer.
Jim, Firstly thank you for your support
and having the patience of a saint. I have enjoyed it immensely and
hopefully its a start of our retirement goal and
our objective. I'm taking my Day Skipper practical with a long standing
friend - Annie O'Sullivan from Girls for Sail in late Feb 2014, but am keen
to understand the next stage after that. However we would love to book a
trip with yourself. Your dates are only to July 2014, so as soon as you
release the dates for September this is a good month for me. My wife would
look to come with me and she is at competent crew level(however 3 years
ago). Lastly..... Testimonial Distance learning has its own special issues,
fitting in the course work, working inconvenient hours and not wanting to
phone to ask a question at strange times of the night, however Jim has the
ability at whatever time or predicament he's in to answer his phone and
explain and without frustration in his voice, and always gives you the
answers to your question. Course work is returned with comments and humour,
it does makes the difference. I have found him to be a great principal and
am keen to further my training in the future. Regards Dave Clayton I have
really enjoyed the 'Day Skipper' correspondence course. As a shift worker,
the conventional classroom course was not an option for myself. Your course
materials, teaching methods and course structure were excellent, however
your prompt return of corrected exercises, ongoing support and constructive
critiques really made the difference.
Having now completed the online course ,
I would have no hesitation in recommending 'Seanavigate'
correspondence courses to anyone who is considering studying for a RYA
that is great news - Thanks for being so patient!
think I will be taking up your offer of more experience sailing, as I need
to get some sea miles under my belt - my wife is vastly more experienced
than me, and when the children are old enough to walk around a boat and
swim (they are 4, 3 and 0.5 at the moment) we want to take a year off, buy
a boat and cruise down the canals, around the med, to the canaries, across
the Atlantic and potter around the Caribbean for a few months.
the plan anyway!
enjoyed the course and your help - I can see that doing it in class is
always going to be easier as you focus on that alone, and having three
little uns and a commute doesn’t help, which is
why it was great that you were so patient.
Here are my corrections... I found the course well written and easy to
follow! I also found all the feedback to be given quickly and clearly...It
has been a pleasure studying with you! I will of course keep you in mind
when i get some time to do the practical courses.
Jim!!! Another brilliant course... I loved it! the only thing I
need to do now is keep practicing. What I may do is just every so
often do some of the questions again - especially the chartwork!
I can refer myself to the answers afterward!
We're saving up for Greece in the summer
at the moment - 2 weeks in the Ionion - with the
parents/in-law's the first week on a lovely big 45, and then the second
week just Liz and I on a 36.... so I need to save the pennies for now - I
think the practical may have to wait a bit - but I'll let you know!
Thanks very much again! I loved
the course - and the comments help tremendously! Cheers!!
Thanks very much for
your help and support through the written stage Jim,
I will say now (as I didnt want to make excuses
earlier) that I am dyxlexic and have had a long
term fear of written work and exams. This is the first modular / exam work
I have dared to do in over 30 years!!! and only did this as I love the sea
I feel that you have helped me through to a real achievement and am now
looking forward to some practical fun on the water!!!
Unfortunately work is very demanding, so no chance of getting away in the
near future but thanks for the offer.
very best wishes
I got the certificate! THANK YOU.
About the course for me the main
difficulty was the language and even with that problem I finally understand
so it means it is well built!
Thanks for your explanations and
Thanks for seeing me through the theory course of which I have
I have been able to learn more on a particular question through getting
the questions wrong rather than correct the first time.
After a little experience over the next few months should I decide to
take on a practical course I will be in touch with you.
Thanks again and all the best,
Thanks for the course... it was really useful.
I did the Practical a bit closer to home (Poole) last August as I
thought I could learn some nice day sails in my own cruising waters;
that was a good course too but I have to say, if I were to do one or
the other (the theory or the practical) I feel that I go tmuch more
out of the theory - I certainly wouldn't have felt safe at sea on my
own without it.
Your feedback was always prompt and extremely useful. Some people (on
my practical course and at the yard where I keep my little boat) have
asked with genuine incredulity how I could learn the day skipper
theory by distance learning, but your course notes and support have
made it all very accessible and enjoyable.
All the best and fair winds for 2012,
Thanks for marking
the exam so promptly (as always). I am really pleased to have passed.
I have looked at the
corrections and note your comments. The wind was my aberration and I know
As for feedback, all
positive from me. I couldn’t commit to a class a week at my work school and
had to look for an online one. Yours was the one which attracted me most
and it worked. You were available when needed and although I didn’t have to
call re the content of the course, you were there when the computer blew me
off course and helped to get it fixed.
Your feedback on the modules
was honest and made me focus and the course content was useful. I also
thought that the way you put the modules together worked well in terms of
It also seemed that you went
into more detail than the exam needed which is why I asked if there were
more questions. I think I was expecting a passage plan or something.
Thanks again for all your
support and help. I will recommend your school to others.
Simon (two weeks till Greece
! ) P
That is great news, I am half way to being
a Day Skipper! I will certainly go through my mistakes and get back to you.
I must say I have thoroughly enjoyed
doing my theory with you, you have been so prompt in getting back to me
which is so important whilst a subject is still fresh in the mind. I
will certainly reccomend you to any friends.
I will be in touch shortly.
Many thanks again for the additional
information - you are certainly thorough !
I have no hesitation in recommending
you to others - this method of learning is so easy to fit in with busy
We are booked in to complete day
skipper practical in Portugal in May - Mrs B likes her sun!
I will keep your contact details so
if we come down your way we may fit something in - I think we have caught
the sailing bug.
Have a good Xmas and New Year
a quick note to thank you for a fantastic time on the Day Skipper Course
think your approach to teaching / training is just right and would not
hesitate to recommend Top Cat to anyone. Kind regards, Max
Thanks for your help - the CD was clear,
and you guys were very quick and helpful by email. Very happy to recommend.
My only suggestion for improvement is that the CD was sometimes hard to run
- under google chrome for instance the weather module keeps playing the
radio forecast and you can't navigate it.( I'm working on it) Since my new laptop
doesn't let me open it with Internet Explorer, I had to use a different
But I'm very satisfied overall. I would
have been happy to do the practical course with you, but had to move fast
and close by so I've gone with a different school. However, I will do more
courses in future and will be interesting to do catamaran as well at some
point. DO you also do monohull?
( jim here. I sail anything but we only have a cat
here. I do own boat tuition anywhere on anything)
Just a brief note to
accompany my exam papers.
Many thanks for the
course – I think it was really well put together, and I appreciated your
prompt and careful response to my coursework. I’ve also enjoyed ding it, and feel I’ve learnt a lot – I hope my exam
papers will prove this to be the case!
As we discussed, I’ll
have a think about the 5-day course, and will contact you again if I decide
to go for the February course (but confess that I’m also tempted by the
prospect of some warmth in the middle of winter!)
Thanks again, and
best wishes Michael Reynolds
I recently undertook
some tuition both practical and shore based at one of the approved R.Y.A.
sailing schools “Top Cat Cruising School” in Millbrook Plymouth.
I write to commend
the high standard of this establishment, and commitment of the instructor
and principal Mr Jim Duerden. Although an intensive course, Mr Duerden’s attitude made my period of learning an
On a recent delivery
trip from Portsmouth to Bangor (N.I) the knowledge acquired at “Top Cat”
was put to the test in a life-threatening situation. In conclusion I can
only say that R.Y.A. approved schools like “Top Cat” and instructors of the
calibre of Mr Duerden are invaluable.
Yours sincerely Mr
Thanks for the
fabulous weekend on my Day Skipper Course!
weather we had a great time learnt loads got merry on a few bottles of wine
(sorry abut the quality of the Pinotage) and
enjoyed the company of you and Greg and Steve. I do hope Greg eventually
gets his YM ticket but I do not think his failure was anything to do with
your tuition, rather that in no way was he
properly prepared in that he had not done any pre-course revision or
practice of communication skills that would have underlined his obvious
abilities sufficient to convince a Naval Officer/Examiner operating in the
Navy’s’ backyard. I did tell him that on Friday night in the bar and he
I think your course
was brilliant and your teaching approach superb. No matter how frustrating
our stupid mistakes in very difficult conditions you always were in
complete control and never showed any annoyance or anger – a true Pro!
Thanks very much. I look forward to my coastal skipper course! In the
meantime our bareboat in the BVI awaits and I can’t!
With the best wishes
of a successful year, Neil Burman
I felt I must write
if for no other reason to wish you all the best with your new venture. I
would like you to know that when I came on my first sailing course with you
as a complete novice I did not know quite what to expect. I can only say
that the week was the most enjoyable and instructive I could have possibly
I would not hesitate
to return to you personally for any future courses/cruises I am lucky
enough to undertake.
I am present trying
to persuade my wife, Judy, that she would enjoy a week/weekend ‘on board’.
If successful I will phone you soon. Please feel free to use my
recommendation/comments in any way that you feel will help.
Once again all the
best wishes for the future
Richard J Ward.
Just a line to let
you know that I really enjoyed the Day Skipper Course. Your instructor was
very experienced and a damn fine cook.
advertised was provided. The superb scenery of the Cornish coast, the
challenge of entering picturesque harbours by day and night and of course a
full range of weather and tides made your location ideal for serious
I would recommend the
Top Cat Cruising School to anyone who was serious about learning to sail
Difficult to put our
experience last week into words. Suffice to say we loved and respected
Pete, my kids – very hesitant at first and “do we really want to do it” –
were completely won over and hooked on sailing (they were also much quicker
on the uptake than Rosie and I were – fresh intelligence versus crumbling
brains!), and it was FUN (if a bit scary when the wind blew 6/7). Top Cat
Cruising School will be endorsed/ recommended by us to all and sundry as
worth every half penny.
Back to reality:
attached is the last part of Module 5 from a crumbling brain.
Best regards and thanks
Comments on the
I’ve enjoyed it
enormously though I don’t know whether my family feel the same sentiment
given the time I’ve been shut in my study.
Firstly the pack and
the service. It was incredibly efficient; the pack itself was comprehensive
and arrived as promised. The marking was astonishing given that I presented
you with the most marking over a weekend. Your comments were also rewarding
for me to receive as a learner. The CD was easy to read with good diagrams
and illustrations. I read outside of the CD and if you were to add anything
that would have been useful to me it would have been a reading list. I used
The RYA Book of Navigation a lot and practised on the RYA book of
navigation exercises before attempting the module questions.
I will also attach a
good American website download which I enjoyed playing with for collision regs, the buoys are of course the wrong way round. I
will do the Coastal Skipper course after I have some sailing experience –
though I’ll continue to read and dream in the meantime. I also hope to find
the time to get down to Cornwall for some sailing – after all of this
theory I feel I want to see the place in the flesh from the sea! Thank you
so much Jim – I cannot comment on the promised telephone backup because I
never used it – I’ll put the exam question in the post.
Further to our
telephone conversation, please find enclosed a couple of prints from photos
taken on our recent course.
I would like to take
this opportunity to thank you for an excellent course from both the skills
learnt and the pure enjoyment of sailing on Southway Twins under your
control. As you may recall, I was slightly apprehensive when I first made
contact with you due to problems with a form of rheumatic arthritis.
However I can confirm that the car journey from Bristol to Plymouth gave me
more problems than anything I have undertaken onboard.
I look forward to
receiving the Day Skipper Practical Completion certificate and hopefully
gaining more experience in the near future.
Again, many thanks
and best wishes Paul Thompson.
This is to send you a
quick thanks for a fantastic 5 days last week. I learnt a tremendous amount
not least respect for the elements. I hope this will keep me from making
mistakes with serious consequences.
You were asking for
feedback and there is a little I can say other than please keep up the good
work. Maybe, in retrospect, you, Susan and Andy might have benefited from
the sail trim session at the beginning rather than at the end of the week.
But then again we needed to make way west and other skills were on the
All in all, this was
some of the most enjoyable sailing I have done and if you need to move the
boat or want to take part in a race and need crew – let me know.
Best wishes, Stefan
Ps: maybe you can
make instructing a little easier for you with enclosed throat pastilles.
Dear Jim, Many thanks
for your excellent course. We both learnt a great deal and enjoyed
ourselves. You were an excellent host and tutor. I have sent you my logbook
for you to complete.
Once again many
thanks Chris and Hannah
Just a line to say
how much we all enjoyed our recent holiday aboard Southway Twins. It was a
shame we had so little wind, but how could we complain with all the warmth
and sunshine! We thoroughly appreciated having Dave with us – he taught
each of us at our own level of experience, was particularly good with the
children and fitted easily into the family situation. We would recommend
him to any other family wishing to broaden their experience of sailing.
Thank you for a great
Best wishes, Mike and
Just a note to say
thanks for such an enjoyable three days on “Blue Moon”. We had a great time
and learned a lot. We appreciated the time you spend talking to us about
the pros and cons of the different makes and models. My mother has not been
well since we got back so I’ve been caring for her Gloucester. Andrew
crewed on a monohull to Steepholm
and back yesterday – he’d wished it had been a cat!
With all good wishes
Elizabeth and Andrew Smith.
Many thanks Reg and Sheila Chapman
Ps – Reg says great porridge also!!
Thank you for sending
our certificates and the booklet. We thoroughly enjoyed our trip and are
definitely hooked on catamarans.
Mark worked very
hard; he is a very good instructor with plenty of patience and good humour.
We wish him good luck on his next trip.
Our only regret is we
did not take up sailing 30/40 years ago. Our very best wishes Mary and Reg.