Terms & Conditions


Updated July 2023

1.PAYMENTS  Courses, items and gift vouchers purchased online must be paid for at the time of purchase.  It will be deemed that at the time of on-line payment that the purchaser agrees to Start Point Sail West Limited terms and conditions (a copy of which can be downloaded on the website or requested) and is bound by them.


  1. BOOKING PROCEDURE – Before booking, please satisfy yourself that the course is right for you If in any doubt please ask. Please also check that there is a space available.

Telephone, email bookings must be paid for in full online or via bank transfer. It will be deemed that at the time of on-line payment that the purchaser agrees to Start Point Sail West Limited terms and conditions.  A booking form or online account must be completed and signed with our terms and conditions agreed to herein.

You are booking a specific date.  If you are not taking up this date (including moving the date) then you are cancelling your booking and taking up a fresh booking.  No refunds whatsoever will be given for bookings cancelled by the student and we recommend that students take out cancellation and personal insurance with TopSail (details can be found on our website).  If the customer no longer wants or cannot attend the date booked then this will be considered to be a cancellation and the terms herein apply.


  1. CONFIRMATION: Start Point Sail West Limited will confirm the booking via email, within 5 days of receiving the Booking Forms.
  2. COURSE DURATION: RYA Shorebased courses include exam time and follow RYA guidelines.

All Practical RYA courses and practical activities with duration spanning more than one day will  include staying overnight on board unless there is no provision to do so under government restrictions.  We will do our best to ensure that practical activities take part every day however this is dependent upon the weather conditions and the Instructor’s Skipper’s decisions and the sea-worthiness of the vessel at the time.  30% of the course can be deemed to be theory and such sessions can take place as part of the practical course activity. The theory part of the practical course may be adjusted to manage the time effectively especially if a force 9/10+ is expected.

On-line courses are valid for 6 or 12 months (or as stipulated in any offer) from the time of registration, subject to the RYA and our partners providing this service.  Students have the stipulated time to complete their course as above or as advertised, unless agreed with the school at the time of booking due to special circumstances.  No refund whatsoever will be offered to RYA interactive course students not finishing course.  No liability will attach itself to the school if the RYA change or cancel the interactive service.



Attendees arrive at their yacht or shorebased course venue at 0930 on the day of the course.

  1. a) There will be no refund whatsoever, if a student wishes to cancel their course place or cannot attend their course under any circumstance including commitments elsewhere and it is recommended that students take out insurance to cover all eventualities. On cancelling, students will automatically forfeit the total monies paid and no liability by doing so shall attach to Start Point Sail West Limited whatsoever.
  2. b) By attending any activity on a private yacht, shorebased and school yacht, attendees are confirming that they have carried out due diligence and that they have been clear of COVID 19 symptoms for 5 days and have not been in contact with parties who may have contracted the disease, prior to joining including abiding by government guideline rules in place. Attendees attend at their own risk and Start Point Sail West Limited is not responsible/liable for any health issues whatsoever that the attendee or extended contacts suffer during the duration of or after attending the course or day sail.  If the attendee becomes ill with COVID symptoms during the activity then they must inform the instructor, isolate, and disembark at the earliest opportunity.  They agree to book and attend a COVID test and inform Start Point Sail West Limited of the results so that duty of care responsibilities in line with government guidelines.
  3. LATE RETURN OF A CHARTERED SAILING VESSEL: Charterers are subject to the terms of the Yacht Charter Agreement.
  4. UNDER 18’S: 12 – 16-year olds accepted when sailing with parent for guardian. Unaccompanied children accepted at 16-18 but all Booking Forms for children under 18 to be signed by parent or guardian, stating this fact after the signature. Children younger than 12 are accepted by us at our discretion.
  5. SKIPPER’S/PRINCIPAL’S DECISIONS: The Principal’s decision is final at all times, on any of the Start Point Sail West’s property and the Start Point Sail West’s vessels until the Skipper takes over.

DRUGS Start Point Sail West has a zero tolerance on illegal drugs. The police will be informed at the earliest opportunity and the student disembarked under the terms of Clause 11.

ABUSE Physical or Verbal abuse including racial or sexual harassment – In the event that the skipper or principal observes or received any complaint will act in accordance to English law and will act under the terms of Clause 11 where deemed necessary.

SMOKING Smoking is not permitted on board.

ALCOHOL Mild consumption of alcohol is permitted whilst in Port at the discretion of the skipper.  Drinking of alcohol is not permitted whilst underway.  Alcohol must not be consumed less than 10 hours prior to leaving port.  If a student is considered to be intoxicated when the yacht is required to go to sea, or still mildly under the influence then delay in departure may occur.  If repeated intoxication on board is affecting the running of the course, then the student will be required to disembark under terms 8a) b) and c).

  1. a) Skipper’s Decisions: From the moment the Skipper steps on board the instruction vessel in accordance with marine practice, the Skipper’s decisions are final always.
  2. b) All crew/students will accept all orders and decisions given to them by the Skipper at all times whilst on board Start Point Sail West’s vessel or ashore, for the duration of the course/charter until the course/charter is complete and the Skipper is no longer onboard the vessel. The Skipper’s authority is total, day and night in accordance with Marine Law.
  3. c) If for any reason whatsoever a Student/Charterer does not accept an order from the Skipper or his designated substitute, whether the Student/Charterer considers it to be reasonable or not, the Student/Charterer shall be considered to be in breach of his Articles of sailing. The Skipper shall take any action or decision he considers fit for the well being of the vessel and crew. If the Student/charterer is placed ashore at the nearest port no liability whatsoever shall attach itself to Start Point Sail West Limited and neither shall the Student/Charterer have redress for any expenses or unused portion of the fee. Neither any redress against the Skipper or Start PointSail West Limited as a result of action’s taken by the Skipper. In the event of non-compliance of a student under the age of 18 the the student’s parent or guardian will also be disembarked and the same rules within 11. Also apply to that person.
  4. Every attempt will be made to give pupils maximum sea time. However, if in the Skipper’s opinion weather conditions, safety or any other consideration renders it imprudent, the Skipper’s decision is final.
  5. VESSEL CHANGE: If Start Point Sail West changes vessels, due to any vessel becoming unsuitable, for any reason whatsoever, or delay in this, in no way affects the validity of the booking of the Terms and Conditions stated herein they remain good.
  6. SCHOOL CANCELLATION: If, for any reason, Start Point Sail West Limited is unable to fulfil a booking or a vessel becomes unseaworthy for any reason whatsoever, Start Point Sail West Limited will inform the Student immediately the knowledge is available. No liability shall attach itself to the Start Point Sail West Limited beyond the refund of the full fee paid by the student(s)/charterer or unused portions thereof.
  7. SCHOOL INSURANCE: Start Point Sail West Limited is insured for Instruction however Student’s needs vary. Start Point Sail West Limited strongly advises that the student obtain their own insurance for cancellation or curtailment by the student, loss of personal items, Start Point Sail West Limited’s fees, sickness, illness, accident, injury, bereavement, or any other reason the Student considers prudent for his personal life style or well being.
  8. DISCLAIMER: No liability is accepted for any Student’s vehicles parked in the Marina grounds, public or marine carpark, on road parking, or Student’s/Charters Possessions in the vehicles, on the pontoons or in Start Point Sail West’s vessels or accommodation.
  9. a) No liability is accepted for Students whilst on School Grounds, in any of the School/Company properties, hired venues, on ladders, pontoons or vessels and all Students/Charterers participate in any aspect of any course, assessment or charter do so at their own risk.
  10. INSTRUCTION and ASSISTANCE ON YOUR OWN YACHT The company provides an instructor who will hold Yachtmaster Offshore (Commercially Endorced) qualification as a minimum. All conditions herein apply plus the Customer will be expected to pay a daily fee of £250 for services, plus food, accommodation on board (or ashore) and reimburse any travelling or out of pocket expenses for the Instructor from the Plymouth base to wherever the vessel is lying, and the return journey plus salary on a pro-rata fee rate, if applicable.
  11. a) The customer must ensure that the boat is seaworthy and has suitable safety equipment for the planned exercises. The vessel will be expected to be equipped with the minimum RYA standards including in date flares, liferaft and other lifesaving equipment, DSC radio and other equipment as required by law. If on arrival at the vessel the instructor considers the vessel unsafe to operate, he or she is at liberty to refuse to undertake the course. In this case the customer remains liable to pay the cost of a minimum of one day’s instruction plus travelling expenses where relevant. If the Student’s vessel is over 50 miles from Plymouth and it is not possible for the Instructor to get to the Student’s vessel within 2 hours, please allow pro-rata fees.
  12. b) Insurances: The customer must ensure that a policy of insurance for the boat is in force covering legal liability for damage or injury to third parties. The sum insured must be at least £1,000,000. Insurance must include our Instructor instructing and/or assisting with a passage for the duration agreed and that the Customer’s Insurance is Fully Comprehensive and covers all aspects of normal marine insurance for the area in which yacht is expected to sail with additional time period leeway to allow for adverse weather. Start Point Sail West Limited provides tuition/assistance aboard the customer’s boat on the understanding that the customer remains fully responsible for the safety and operation of the boat at all times, the instructor is there purely in an advisory capacity and will not be held liable for any damage or injury resulting from the operation of the vessel and that our instructor does not become skipper of the vessel in his capacity as instructor at any time and all decisions remain with the customer.

Start Point Sail West Limited, its servants, agents and employees are not under any liability whatsoever in respect of loss or damage to personal effects or belongings howsoever caused, whilst attending a course or service. Consequently, irrespective of the legal basis on which any claim against us is made (except for claims for death or personal injury arising from our negligence) our total aggregate liability shall be limited to the sum of all payments received by us at the date of the incident or event giving rise to liability.

  1. We shall not be liable to you in any circumstances for any consequential, special, exemplary or indirect losses costs or damages whether or not they might have been foreseeable, or for any damages costs or losses attributable to lost profits or opportunities.
  2. You agree that if, as a matter of law, any of our directors, employees, consultants or agents would otherwise owe you a duty of care that duty is excluded from our Contract with you. You agree that you will not bring any claim against any of Start Point Sail West’ director, employee, consultant or agent for any matter arising in any way out of us or the consultant providing the services to you.
  3. Accordingly any claim you wish to make can only be made against Start Point Sail West Limited and not against any director, officer, employee, servant, agent or consultant.
  4. BREAKAGES OR DAMAGES: Howsoever caused must be immediately notified to the Skipper or Principal for safety. Students shall be liable for any loss or damage to Start Point Sail West’s equipment, vessel’s equipment, up to and including the first £1000 per item.  Lifejacket gas cylinders accidently deployed by the student will be charged for at £14.00 each.
  5. RYA standards of instruction are high and certificates will only be issued at the end of a course if, in the opinion of the School’s  Instructors and Principal, the Student has reached the necessary standard.  The School’s Principal and Instructor’s decision shall be final and accepted by all Students.
  6. DUTIES ONBOARD: All Students will be expected to participate in cooking, cleaning vessel and routine maintenance as required by the instructor. At the end of the Course all Students/Charterers will be expected to clean the vessel from stem to stern.
  7. DISPUTE: In the event of a dispute not being settled by mutual agreement, it is agreed that the President of the British Law Society shall elect an Arbitrator whose decision shall be final. It is further agreed all agreements between customers, clients, Students, Charterers and staff of Start Point Sail West Limited shall be governed by British Law, even when the dispute occurs outside British territorial waters.
  8. By purchasing this product the purchaser/student/charterer confirms to have read Start Point Sail West Limited’s terms and conditions and fully understand and accept them. If the course/charter is unavailable or is cancelled by Start Point Sail West Limited then I accept that my course fee will be returned to me and that no liability shall attach itself to Start Point Sail West Limited whatsoever, beyond a refund. By purchasing on line, telephone or email the student agrees to be bound by these terms, contract bound by their consideration. If the purchaser does not give permission for the company to send me emails relating to my booking/and the regular newsletter/special offers/use my image in promotional material please email enquiries@sail-west.co.uk to unsubscribe.
  9. On line RYA interactive data protection: To enable access to your online course we need to share some of your personal data with the RYA via your user profile in www.ryainteractive.org.and our online provider Skipper on line. This learning management website is hosted and maintained by a third party called Learning Pool, who will not use your personal information for any reason other than enabling your course.

Your name and email address will be entered on www.ryainteractive.org in order to create your user account. On your first access to the site, you will be asked to enter your address and date of birth. You will have access to the site for one year in order to complete your online course. During this period, your personal information will be held on the website by Learning Pool and be available to this training centre and the RYA for the purpose of managing your course.Instructional support will be provided by this training centre for a period of 1 year from the date of your course booking.  On completion of your course, your name, email, date of birth and address will be transferred to the RYA’s central database for the purpose of recording details of the course and any certification you gain as a result of it. This information allows the RYA to record your certification, to update any records they may already hold about you or your qualifications and to verify your certificate if required. After one year from the date of your enrolment on the course, your user account will be removed from www.ryainteractive.org. Full details of how the RYA will deal with your personal information will be displayed when you first access www.ryainteractive.org.

  1. As an RYA School we are fully inclusive in line with the RYA’s Equality and Diversity policy. Our staff ensure that students from all sectors of our community are welcome and supported and that courses embrace equality, diversity and Inclusion. By working together, we can ensure that the sport we love is representative of the diverse communities that we serve.