Award Winning Charter Business Uses Icom Radio for Training

Award Winning Charter Business Uses Icom Radio for Training

Based in North Fambridge, Premier Sailing is one of the busiest RYA Sailing Schools in the UK. As well as being able to provide a full complement of RYA Sailing courses, including the Short Range Certificate (SRC) where they use Icom radios, the company also provide a range of sailing charter holidays including their award winning ‘Sail Around Britain Cruise’ which has raised a huge amount of money for Macmillan.

Colin Stracey, Principal of Premier Sailing said, ‘As an RYA training school, we do all the cruising scheme from ‘Start Yachting’ through to Yachtmaster and Yachtmaster Ocean. We also do the ancillary courses like ‘Sea survival, First Aid and the VHF/Short Range Certificate…that’s where the Icom radios come in. We also teach ‘World Sailing’ safety, engine maintenance and navigation courses from day skipper and Yachtmaster to coastal skipper. We literally cover all the courses in the cruising scheme.’

He added, ’We teach our courses onsite, but we also go to sailing clubs and travel to venues that are more convenient for our students which means, dependent on the format, we can condense a 22 week course into 8-10 weeks.’

The Charter holiday side is an important part of Premier Sailing’s business. Colin said, ‘We can take single people, couples and families. We run trips over to Europe including Dieppe, Amsterdam, the French coast and to the Channel Islands. Each year we have our annual big trip, the Sail Around Britain Cruise which we operate over a 2-month period to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support . We have done this for many years to offer our thanks to the charity as our son is very ill and on palliative care. So far, we have raised about £23,000 for Macmillan. In 2016 we won the Cruise of the Year award with Sailing Today for this annual event.’

Colin was originally in the merchant Navy as an engineer and his son was a Navigating Officer. Colin said, ‘I have sort of drifted into this business. I have been sailing ever since I was a ten year old and my wife and I have had various cruisers over the years and then a friend said why do not you teach this. So I did my Yachtmaster instructor and then we started teaching theory courses in 2009. So that is when I started teaching and I worked for various training schools as a freelancer. I would do proper work in the Winter and then I would sail in the Summer. Seven years ago, we started under a different name. Four years ago, we changed our name to Premier Sailing, and we have not looked back since.’

He added, ‘There are peaks and troughs with our business. August is the worst month of the year for us. This sounds very strange, but this is when people go on holiday. The Winter months are usually very good with all the students from the theory courses becoming practical customers. We have a large conversion of customers that go from theory to practical and of course become customers for our trips.’

Colin said, ‘what sets us apart from other schools is our relaxed atmosphere on our courses and trips. When we do the charters, we make sure that it is a holiday and not just a training exercise. It needs to be enjoyable and we have an all-inclusive policy when it comes to pricing. Our products are priced so that there is absolutely nothing extra to pay. Our boats (Bavaria 38 & Beneteau 35) are also very comfortable. We use the Beneteau for boat handling training but can also teach people on their own boats.’

‘We use Icom radios for training in our classroom and on our boats. Both boats have Icom fixed and handheld marine VHF radios and we use them for calling up marinas when we want to go into a harbour and we get all the students to have a go at using the radio when they are on the boat. So they use it for real and not just in a classroom.

‘We like Icom product because they are simple to use. It does what it says on the tin. It is reliable, neat and the instructions are straightforward…. that is the key for us, is simple to use. And because every radio is the same it means the instructors know how each radio works.

Colin said, ‘Premier Sailing as a company is now moving more to doing events. We are doing more and more trips and are in the process of buying another boat so then we will have three boats. Boat ownership is diminishing. There is more and more call for people to come and do trips so we will be doing more and more trips as time goes by.’

To find out more about Premier Sailing, their courses and charters, visit their website f these catalogues, please visit our Alternatively, you can contact them on 01621 744902 or email

This article was researched and written before the Covid 19 Pandemic.


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