First Class Sailing Expands Into Yacht Chartering

2,242 views  |   April 15th, 2019 

First Class Sailing Expands Into Yacht CharteringL to R Charlie Tulloch (Principal First Class Sailing) Sally and Eric Whitelaw (Firstaway Yacht Charters)


Southampton sailing school First Class Sailing has purchased the business of Firstaway Yacht Charters to expand its business and provide an additional service for its customers.

This means that Firstaway owners, Sally and Eric Whitelaw, will be able to continue their passion for the water through the canals of France on their way to the Mediterranean.

For FCS principal Charlie Tulloch bringing Firstaway on board is a natural progression for his business.

“Our school’s main aim is to train sailors who want to charter yachts and be their own skipper,” Charlie said. “We’re increasingly being asked to refer charter companies and we’ve always recommended Firstaway. When the opportunity came to purchase we jumped at it.”

Established in 1985

Firstaway was set up in 1985 by Helen and Eddie Hill.  Eddie remained a partner in 2015 when Sally and Eric Whitelaw who had spent many years sailing the Caribbean and Mediterranean, took the reigns.

“It was family reasons that brought us back to the UK,” said Sally Whitelaw, “and we needed to run a business that was close to our passion while also fun.”

“We’re sailors at heart so although we’ve enjoyed helping others have some great experiences, we’re now in the position to spend some quality time on the water.”

Based at Shamrock Quay in Southampton, Firstaway has a variety of yachts ranging from an 8 berth Bavaria 350 up to a Bavaria 47 which sleeps 12. Also included in the fleet is a Jeanneau 12.5 and a Beneteau 411.

All of these yachts can be chartered bareboat or with a skipper and there are a variety of options for how they can be used such as corporate entertainment, team building or a fun day out for the family on the Solent.

Yacht Management

For yacht owners with time constraints, Firstaway’s yacht management is very useful as it covers the maintenance of the yacht and also brings a return on the investment through charters.

With First Class Sailings’ 15+ years of yacht ownership, they bring a wealth of experience to the company and will ensure that Firstaway’s reputation continues to maintain the high levels it has achieved.

First Class Sailing themselves have been steadily expanding over the past five years and recently purchased two new Beneteau 381s, giving their students the latest equipment to train on and even more comfort below decks.

RYA Courses and More

RYA Courses and More


Also based at Shamrock Quay, First Class Sailing is a recognised RYA school and teaches practical courses like Competent Crew, Day Skipper, Coastal Skipper, and Yachtmaster prep.

They also offer a wide variety of adventure sailing holidays ranging from Atlantic crossings, Fastnet or Round the Island races, weekend Channel hops, and most recently adding voyages to Norway and luxury Arctic Circle cruising.

“All the sailing experiences we provide feature a professional skipper on board to teach the students in a fun way and pass on their expert knowledge,” said Charlie Tulloch.

“Having Firstaway as an arm of our business means we can offer a very competitive yacht charter service for students who want to quickly put what they have learned into practice and skipper a yacht for themselves.”

“A week’s sailing could easily see you exploring local South coast harbours or even crossing the Channel Islands or visiting some lovely spots on the French coast.”

For more information about either company visit their websites at and

Posted by: First Class Sailing


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