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“Safe on hands learning sailing experience”

Great Escape Yacht Charters and Sailing School
La Condamine, Monaco
Level Contributor
29 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Safe on hands learning sailing experience”
Reviewed 5 March 2014

Very safe and professional learning experience with this school. They have a choice of small yachts for the school; e.g. Noelex 25 and Rowen 31. Tuition is usually shared between 2 (sometimes more on the larger yachts), therefore to a large extent bespoke. Tremendous opportunity to brush up or get on top of any learning sailing blocs. For example, which way to pass another yacht, how to best turn a winch engaging your whole body, what to do when the sail "luffs" up, and experience on the "main" that will finally help it all make sense (at least it did for me). Another plus is their professional and friendly manner, easy to book, very fair prices, and lastly such a great venue. You sail from OPUA, and always have the shore or an Island in view, agreeable winds and scenery, not a lot not to like!

Visited February 2014
Helpful?
1 Thank Tourmaline42
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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62 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Level Contributor
55 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Darren and Darrell are a great team.”
Reviewed 18 February 2014

We chartered Esprit, a Bruce Farr designed 29 ft Noelex for 5 days, 4 nights. Nothing was too much trouble and the boat was a treat to sail, even with a dodgy house battery. No problem, just go to sleep when it gets dark.
The Bay of Islands is a stunning area to sail in, plenty of safe anchorages, beautiful beaches, interesting passages and attractive islands. Water great for swimming and even unskilled fishing. Wish it was close enough to UK for us to return.

Visited February 2014
Helpful?
Thank AncientMariner24
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GreatEscapeNorthland, Manager at Great Escape Yacht Charters and Sailing School, responded to this review, 24 March 2014
Thanks for taking the time to talk about your experience.. we hope to see you again. Daryl and I enjoy what we do! so it's easy.
Glad you appreciated this great area
Regards
Darren
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
278 reviews
103 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 123 helpful votes
“Learn to Sail in a Day”
Reviewed 10 February 2014

We Chartered the Kokoka over five days with 4 people and had a terrific time. I had minimal previous experience sailing along with the other guests so we hired Daryl for a day training. This is highly recommended and he is terrific. He taught us all the basics on how to run the boat, basic care for the motor, how to Navigate and read marine chart and most importantly how to sail. He then made us practice "man over board" scenarios and then let us go. We managed extremely well and had no major issues. The Bay of Islands are beautiful to sail around - we particularly enjoyed Oke Bay, Paradise Point and Pipi bays. We enjoyed collecting pipis for bait and dinner, eating oysters and mussels off the rocks and fishing - we caught heaps of fish and snorkelling. We also saw dolphins and penguins- a definite highlight! There are many walks to do on the islands also. We only had one rough day sailing (high winds so we motored instead) when we wished we had a plan B, however Terry and Darren were terrific and we got the impression we were a bit of a novice and should have sailed for the excitement. Definitely recommend as it was an experience we will remember. Only downside is we now want to buy a yacht! You need to take all your own food and you can leave a car parked at Opua.

Visited February 2014
Helpful?
Thank annetr48
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GreatEscapeNorthland, Manager at Great Escape Yacht Charters and Sailing School, responded to this review, 14 February 2014
Hi Guys

So glad we could help you to enjoy the beauty of this amazing sailing area and very please we helped ignite your passion for sailing..

Oke Bay is stunning and my pick of the bays, the Dolphins seem to like it too.. Well done for organising your trip at such short notice..

Take care
Darren
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Oslo, Norway
1 review
“Good location, and pleasant charter”
Reviewed 7 January 2014

We had five great days with nice sailing in the Bay of Islands.

Darren, the man who helped us, was always in good mood and he was solution-oriented when problems occured. My friend, who booked the whole thing, didn't give Darren an easy task when he booked sailing for 9 people over five days (coming and leaving at different times). But inspite of many unresolved variables he came out with a good solution and it worked great.

Two of my friends attended a sailing course for two days and were very pleased with the result. I was impressed when I saw how their sailing skills improved. You learn how to sail. Enough said.

I've given them 4/5 points (= Very Good), but would have given them 4,5 /5 if that was possible (I might add that 5/5 points would be nearly impossible to get from me). Why? Well, there is few things that is perfect here in life and there was some small drawbacks here as well (*small* drawbakcs, NOT big at all). The boats are quite old (that alone is not negative) and are marked by wear and tear. Everything works, but not always as good as one could wish (for example: toilet pump with some minor problems, rail for jib sheet jammed, the winches might be on the small side for the intended use). These things happens when boats are used and didn't cause us any problems.
Darren is beside a sailor and happy man, also a great fixer and fixed the few problems as they accured - always cheerful. That goes for the rest of the crew as well.

When that is said: the boats are clean, well equipped and really easy to sail. We had many good sailing hours out between the islands that names the area. Nice islands with beautiful beaches, dolphins and penguins in the water.

Thanks, Darren!
Great Escape Yacht Charters and Sailing School are hereby recommended!

+ Good value for money
+ Good sailing instructors
+ Easily sailed boats
+ Well equipped and clean boats
+ Helpful and cheerful staff

"Work less, sail more!"

- Lars

Visited January 2014
Helpful?
Thank Lars M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GreatEscapeNorthland, Manager at Great Escape Yacht Charters and Sailing School, responded to this review, 14 February 2014
Hello Lars

Thank you for your comments..

Yes it was a tricky one with so many people with different levels of sailing experience but we were delighted that we could accommodate everyone to enjoy sailing in the area.

I hope the rest of your trip around NZ was just as special.

Lovely to meet you and hope we see you again Lars

Regards

Darren
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Auckland
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Fantastic way to start the New Year”
Reviewed 4 January 2014

A huge thank you to Darren the owner and Darryl our instructor who both went out of their way to provide us learners with a wonderful 3 day sailing experience over New Year. The Nolex 25 was perfect for what we required and with the help of Darren and Darryl we progressed to the point of sailing ourselves.
The weather was also on our side and the Bay of Islands has to be one of the best sailing destinations in the world. We enjoyed the dolphins, the beaches, the sunsets and meeting some lovely people.
I would highly recommend Great Escape to anyone who is keen to sail and doesn't want top end prices.

Visited January 2014
Helpful?
Thank Hol001
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GreatEscapeNorthland, Manager at Great Escape Yacht Charters and Sailing School, responded to this review, 14 February 2014
Hi There

So glad you enjoyed your sailing experience with us and thank you for taking the time to respond.. I hope you keep up with your sailing. Daryl sure is great, he is a very accomplished outdoors trainer..
Hope we see you sail again with us

Fair winds
Darren
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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