Having bought a 1935 Venetian Vaporetto water-bus and fully renovated it in 4 years, I accidentally found myself in the boating community, and was finally ready to focus on learning to manoeuvre the big steel lady (22x4m). Steve and Jo’s names floated my way as I searched for options. I had ZERO experience sailing or on any boats at all, so it was all exciting but extremely daunting. I studied a few months at home with a close friend and we both passed the CEVNI online test ahead of time (I recommend learning CEVNI slowly and thoroughly with a study buddy and having as much fun with it as possible so that the information sticks! and like us, taking the exam before the course).
From the moment I connected with Jo on the phone, I felt utterly supported. Her patience, warmth, thorough knowledge and organisation were immediately evident. Once we actually arrived and met Steve, we felt a great sense of privilege at having such an experienced and exceptional man teaching us. He is massively over qualified for the task, and teaches much more than boat handling – you learn respect and mindfulness. We had only been on a very small boat back home a couple of times to experience moving, but from minute one with Steve- even on a 21m barge – we were in charge of decisions and Steve was there quietly giving guidance and encouraging confidence. With great elegance and skill he avoided us ever feeling stressed or in panic, despite the very tricky manoeuvres we had to deal with.
A wonderful team of hosts, a deliciously comfortable boat, good cooking (do request the baileys and oreo pud!), relaxed conversation and more importantly.. total uninterrupted calm.
Simply the best. Thank you both for helping give two utter newbies a firm foundation on which to build. Cannot recommend this course more highly for a peaceful luxurious way to learn new tricks and get a feel for canal life. Do not hesitate to book. [Miranda]
Jo and Steve are wonderful hosts, their barge ‘Somewhere’ is a beautiful ship, accommodation is great, the food is delicious, the course is well spaced and thoroughly interesting. My understanding of driving this beautiful barge has grown immensely, I feel I can be confident in any situation (boating!) from here on!