Solent Sail Ltd – Terms & Conditions

1. Contract

1.1 Your contract is with Solent Sail Ltd (registered in England, company no. 02798092 at 5 Hilltop Road, Kings Langley, Herts, WD4 8NS), ‘the company’.

2. Booking and deposits

2.1 Bookings can be made by telephone, post, email or by other electronic means. A contract is made when we accept your booking and send you our written confirmation and invoice. The company or its agents reserve the right to decline any booking at their discretion. All contracts and matters arising from them are subject to English Law and the exclusive jurisdiction of the English Courts. Bookings are provisional until the deposit is received by the company and may be released without notice if not confirmed within 7 working days.

2.2 A non-refundable deposit of 25% of the charter fee is payable on acceptance of the booking, with the balance to be paid 6 weeks prior to the charter commencing or at the time of booking if later.

3. Security Deposit (bareboat charters only)

3.1 A security deposit of at least £1,500 per vessel must be paid not less than 3 days prior to any bareboat charter commencing. No bareboat charter will commence without a security deposit being held as cleared funds by the company. At the Company’s discretion, a cheque may be held by the company and cancelled without being cashed on satisfactory conclusion of the charter.

3.2 The company may retain and apply the security deposit in full or part, in reduction or extinction of:

• Any liability of the charter client to the company whatsoever.

• The cost of repairs, losses or expenditure to the vessel or any of its equipment.

• The cost of cleaning to a reasonable standard.

• Any liability arising from causing damage or injury resulting in a third party claim.

• The vessel’s insurance policy excess.

3.3 If none of the above apply, the security deposit will be returned to the charter client or the cheque destroyed within 14 days of completion of the charter.

4. Balance of payment

4.1 The deposit is held towards the full cost of the charter/voyage/course. An invoice will be issued with written confirmation stating the outstanding balance, plus a hire charge for oilskins or other extras if required. The due date for payment will be shown on the invoice.

4.2 Payments by credit or charge card are also accepted in place of a cheque but are subject to a 2% surcharge. If you have a Paypal account, payment should be made to

4.3 If you do not pay the full cost within the specified time, the company reserves the right to cancel the booking and charge the cancellation charges set out below.

5. Prices & surcharges

5.1 The company reserves the right to notify you of any increase in advertised prices before accepting a booking.

5.2 The price paid may be subject to surcharges in respect of taxes imposed by government or harbour authorities. If the price increase amounts to 10% or more of the total, you will be entitled to cancel within 14 days of notification of the surcharge and to receive a full refund.

5.3 A bareboat charter client will return the yacht to the point of departure or, in the case of one-way charters, the agreed final destination. Should inclement weather make sailing impracticable or dangerous, there will be no surcharge for not returning the yacht unless, in the company’s opinion, the client is careless in not heeding weather forecasts or has ventured too far away from base. In these circumstances a surcharge will be made to cover the cost of berthing, fuel and a skipper to return the boat to base.

6. Damage to the yacht or equipment

6.1 During a course or skippered charter, if the yacht or its equipment suffer loss or damage caused by your irresponsible actions or whilst you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or through your disobeying the instructions of the company’s staff, the cost of repair or reinstatement must be borne by you.

6.2 During a bareboat charter, any fatal or serious injury to any persons onboard the yacht, damage to the yacht, failure of its equipment or any incident involving a third party, must be reported to the company at the earliest opportunity.

6.3 If the damages or loss of any said equipment of the yacht is considered significant then at the company’s discretion the security deposit may not be returned in whole or in part.

6.4 At the end of a charter an inspection for damage or loss of any equipment from the vessel will be made within 7 days. Any damage or loss must be reported by the client on returning the vessel and in advance of the inspection by preparing a defects log to be left on board. In particular the client must include a report of any grounding that may have occurred. Although not necessarily a problem if the circumstances involved soft mud at low speed for example, a more serious grounding may require repair work at a cost to the client. Please be aware however, that if a grounding is not reported, a subsequent charter client may suffer serious injury or death as a result of what would be a deliberate concealment.

7. What is included

7.1 Hire of the boat or a berth therein for the duration of the charter, voyage or course, yacht insurance covering major damage to the yacht and loss of equipment, use of a life jacket & safety harness, use of life-raft if required.

7.2 Bareboat charter clients will be given a handover briefing on the yacht at the start of the charter, involving all aspects of the yacht’s safety equipment and a full inventory list for the charter client to check thoroughly.

7.3 In addition, courses and book-a-berth cruises include fuel and port dues, guidance and instruction from a professionally qualified skipper and food & drink provided on board (subject to a supplementary charge).

8. What is not included

8.1 Travel to & from the marina, parking at the marina, meals consumed away from the boat, any alcoholic drinks, personal insurance for cancellation & personal injury, incidental charges.

8.2 In addition, a bareboat charter does not include the cost of fuel used, cooking gas, marina fees other than at the base, harbour dues and any fines incurred.

8.3 You are liable for the cost of consumables that have not been replenished to the level at which they were at the handover. This includes diesel fuel charged on the basis of engine hours and cooking gas charged at £5 per weekend or £10 per week.

9. Age limit (skippered charters)

9.1 The minimum age for sailing is normally 18 years or, at the discretion of the company 8, where accompanied by an adult over 21.

9.2 There is no maximum age, subject to health and fitness. This is confirmed in the on-line booking form.

10. Alterations by you

10.1 If you wish to alter a booking at any point prior to departure, we will endeavour to make the necessary changes. We would aim to re-charter the yacht and if we were able to, would normally return your fee or part thereof covered by the new charter fee, less a nominal administration charge.

10.2 You may transfer your booking to another person by providing written instructions at least 28 days prior to departure and subject to payment of a £25 administration fee. The new charter client must be acceptable to the company and fulfil any conditions imposed by the company.

10.3 Cancellation of a booking must be notified to the company in writing or by email, the effective date being the date that this notification is received by the company. Cancellation charges are dependent on how far in advance of departure that notification is received calculated as follows:
more than 6 weeks (42 days) – deposit
30 to 42 days – 50%
22 to 30 days – 75%
less than 21 days – 100%.

11. Alterations by us

11.1 The company reserves the right to change or cancel a charter/voyage/course at any time and for any reason save that no change or cancellation will be made within 30 days of departure except for force majeure, insufficient guests booked to provide an effective crew or circumstances beyond the company’s control.

11.2 If it is necessary for the company to cancel or change your booking, you would be given the choice of an alternative booking to a similar value or a full refund.

11.3 In circumstances where the point of departure has to be changed, the company will use its discretion to decide whether any compensation is offered for additional travel costs.

11.4 If there is a delay in handover due to the late return of a yacht by a previous charter client, you would be offered a partial refund, proportional to the delay incurred.

12. Insurance

12.1 Vessels are covered by comprehensive insurance policies with a minimum of £1,000,000 third party liability. Rigging and sails are only insured in the case of the loss of the mast. The insurance does not include cover for racing unless specifically requested and prior authority is obtained from the company.

12.2 The geographical limit of insurance cover and therefore the maximum permitted cruising area extends from Brest (48ºN 4ºW) to Elbe (54ºN 8ºE) and within 60Nm of a safe haven.

12.3 The charter client will indemnify the company in respect of any loss or damage to the yacht or her equipment any other expenses or liability arising out of any act or omission of the charter client, his agent or servant or any member of the party which is not for any reason covered by the yacht’s insurance.

12.4 The company will have no liability for death or personal injury suffered by the charter client or any member of his/her party save in the event that it is caused by the company’s wilful default.

13. Force Majeure

13.1 The company cannot accept any liability for matters outside its control which includes outbreaks of hostilities or war, civil commotion, riot or riotous assembly, strikes, hurricanes, storms, gales, lack of wind, fog, tempest and any ‘acts of God’. If any such event of force majeure occurs, the company will not be liable to pay any refund or compensation to you.

14. Limitation of liability

14.1 The company will accept liability for the negligence of its staff causing you injury or death only to the extent that it is obliged under English law. The company will not (subject to any statutory requirement to the contrary) be liable for any injury, death, loss or damage caused by other passengers or crew, nor will it be liable for any uninsured losses of your property or for any illness or death sustained during a charter/voyage/course.

14.2 The company accepts no responsibility for delays or costs that you might incur in travelling to the embarkation point. Should you arrive too late to join a voyage/course, the company will not be liable to make any refund to you or to pay costs associated with your joining the yacht at its next port of call.

15. Authority & participation

15.1 During a voyage or course you are a member of the yacht’s crew and you therefore agree to accept the authority, decisions and instructions of the company’s employees, skippers and agents. In particular, the decisions of a yacht’s skipper will be final on all matters and at all times whilst on board. You must adhere to all reasonable instructions issued to you by the skipper or included in the yacht’s instruction manual (the former having precedence over the latter in the event of a conflict).

15.2 Your duties may include being on watch at any time of the day or night, sail handling & trimming, basic and routine maintenance, helming, galley duties and cleaning both during the voyage/course and at the end.

15.3 If you commit an illegal act or disregard the customs of a country visited, you may at the skipper’s discretion be excluded from the yacht and the company will have no responsibility to you for the cost of repatriation.

15.4 If you interfere with the well being of the crew through disruptive or difficult behaviour, the skipper has authority to dismiss you from the yacht and in such circumstances you will have no recourse to any refund.

15.5 If the skipper considers that the yacht should not sail at any time or should return to port or amend its sailing itinerary after departure due to adverse weather conditions, a defect in the yacht or its equipment or the indisposition of a crew member, the skipper’s decision will be final. In such circumstances you will have no recourse to any refund except at the company’s discretion.

16. Health & Travel

16.1 The nature of sailing is such that it can be dangerous and it requires an average level of fitness and good health. You are responsible for obtaining any medical advice as to your suitability to take part in any voyage or course and cancellation due to ill health is not the responsibility of the company. You should therefore take out your own travel & medical insurance.

16.2 If travel to a foreign country is likely, you are responsible to ensure that you have the necessary passport, visas and vaccination certificates.

16.3 The company will not be liable for any costs incurred due to the late return of a voyage or course.

17. Competency

17.1 For skippered charter and courses, no previous sailing experience is required or assumed unless otherwise stated.

17.2 For bareboat charter the nominated skipper must have the RYA (or equivalent) sailing qualifications at the following level:
for yachts up to 11m – Day Skipper practical
for yachts 11m to 15m – Coastal Skipper Practical
for larger yachts – Yachtmaster offshore.

17.3 In making a charter booking, you warrant that you and your crew have the experience necessary to safely handle the vessel.

18. The yachts

18.1 The specification of any yacht made available for charter may vary from that specified in the company’s promotional material except that the company will use its best endeavours to describe the yacht and its equipment accurately. If any particular equipment is specifically required, you should confirm its inclusion at the time of booking.

18.2 The company will provide a yacht in a good and seaworthy condition that complies with the provisions of the relevant code for commercially chartered yachts.

18.3 The company will endeavour to deliver the vessel to the client at an agreed time and place. If for any reason the yacht is not so delivered, a pro-rata refund will be made to the charter client.

19. Complaints & feedback

19.1 If you have a complaint against the company, you must first inform the skipper or any other representative of the company present or contactable during your charter/voyage/courses so that action can be taken to correct the problem if possible.

19.2 We welcome your feedback both positive and critical. If you would like to comment in confidence on any aspect of our service, yachts or staff, please send an email to: or write to: The directors, Solent Sail Ltd, 5 Hilltop Road, Kings Langley, Herts, WD4 8NS as soon as possible after disembarking.

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