As the year turns, it seems an apt time to reflect on Sail YSL’s first year of operation.

Years of operation: 1
Premises acquired: 1
Client nationalities: 10 (12 if you count all 3 varieties of Swiss)
Boat shows attended: 3
Expat Expos exhibited at: 3
Curious Courses run: 1
Articles published: 2
Boats imported: 3
Boats sold: 1
Theory courses run: 6
Dinghy sessions run: lots
Open Days/Aperos held: 2
Qualifications obtained: 1
Refresher courses completed: 1
Ship’s dogs gone sailing: 1

RTC cert 20132013 started on a high with the accreditation of Sail YSL as an RYA Recognised Training Centre for RYA theory courses on 4 January. Just 3 weeks later, the first theory client signed up (thanks Stefan!). Now, as of the end of the year, I’ve run 5 Day Skipper courses and 1 Yachtmaster course in 2013.

January also brought a (literally) flying visit to Boot in Düsseldorf, Europe’s largest boat show. The highlight of boat shows (for me) is the opportunity to crawl over all sorts of boats – both realistic and dream variety – and Düsseldorf certainly didn’t disappoint. Every sailor has their “lottery” boat – the one they’d buy if money were no object – and I now know what mine will be. Now I just need that Euromillions ticket to deliver 6 numbers instead of just 2 😉

P1080220 webDüsseldorf also brought an unexpected opportunity that has coloured the year and the future of Sail YSL, I hope. A conversation with Hartley Boats, the manufacturer of the UK’s best-pedigreed training boat, the Wayfarer, and subsequent negotiations led Sail YSL to be appointed Switzerland’s sole distributor for the Mark IV Wayfarer. We subsequently imported 2 Wayfarers for our own use, and sold a 3rd boat.

IMG_4308April and May marked the beginning of the on-water season in yachts and dinghies respectively. April’s invitation to test a Southerly 420 in 5°C and winds gusting to 35 knots meant full thermals and wets, and a fair impression of the Michelin man. May on Lake Zurich was rather warmer at 11°C, but still layers were the order of the day.

Selina dinghy sailing

As summer progressed, the temperature increased to very pleasant heights (yay) but sadly also at the expense of wind on too many occasions (boo). Nevertheless, our morning and evening sailing sessions proved popular and evidently largely made up for all the paddling we had to do. Especially when you’ve had a fantastic sail across the lake to Stäfa – but then had to paddle all the way back!

P1080046 webAnd so to Greece. September is always a fantastic time to sail in the idyllic Ionian and 2013 was no exception. It was the ship’s dog’s first trip and by the end of the first day, it was as if he’d been sailing all his life. When our first week hit 40° temperatures, we holed up at anchor in a bay and took advantage of being able to dive straight off the boat into the water.

h1 webThe ship’s dog, who adores swimming, was in seventh heaven, with the added buoyancy of salt water and his lifejacket. [video?]

In the second week we headed north to Corfu, and when the heavens opened and we were deluged off Anti-Paxos, I had the last laugh over everyone who’d been ribbing me for taking my full wets with me 😉

P1080157 webOur October half-term trip was the latest I’ve yet sailed in the Ionian, but what a superb trip it proved to be! Swimming in the sea in mid-October, variable conditions, and a great crew made for a memorable trip, and potentially a fixed point in future schedules.

On a personal note, 2013 was the year I overcame my mental resistance to having to complete the Swiss D-Schein from scratch, despite holding a commercial Yachtmaster ticket.

D schein web

A perfect sailing day in St Moritz saw me handed a Blu26 match race boat – designed to be sailed 4-handed, we managed with 2 – culminating in the quickest exam I’ve ever taken, in any subject. 2013 also meant my first aid refresher was due. It’s always salutary to be reminded of what can go wrong, but also good to feel that you have some rudimentary skills to tackle situations that might occur.

Of course, none of this could have happened if nobody knew about Sail YSL. My thanks go to everyone who’s helped spread the word, including but not limited to (in strictly alphabetical order) Nick Cansdale at Relaax Home Services, Michael Collins at Live-Switzerland, Erika Frey-Hasegawa, Michael Fontana-Jones at The British Cheese Centre, Ed McGaugh for his fabulous Expat Expos, Selina Man Karlsson at Curious Courses, Jan Pfister, Ashley Ringger at Set Sails Media, David Vogel and many many more (and apologies to anyone I should have mentioned and haven’t).

So what does 2014 hold in store? Well, regular readers already know that the 3 theory courses scheduled between January and March, and our May charters in Greece are all open for booking. Along with consolidating existing activities, there are a few more plans in the pipeline – stay tuned 😉

I’d like to finish by expressing my thanks to everyone who’s supported Sail YSL during 2013 in so many ways, and I look forward to seeing lots of you in the year ahead.

Wishing you all a Happy New Year and a successful 2014, from me and the crew:

the crew web