Reviews & Testimonials

You’ll find that we’re pretty transparent (in a good way), but until then, don’t take our word for anything.  Check out our Yelp and Google reviews as well as unsolicited testimonials below.  Be sure to read our filtered Yelp reviews too (more on that below).  You can link to Yelp, Google and social media from any page on this site using the colored icons.

the People love us on Yelp

Spend more time sailing than web surfing?  Good for you.  Here’s more info.

YELP.  If you’re unfamiliar, Yelp is the largest clearing house of reviews for just about anything.  Ordered a pizza? Rented a car?  Tried a wine bar?  Took a sailing course?  Review it.  Powerful shopping tool for the educated consumer.  More on that, and a Yelp story, further down.

Yelp categories reviews as “recommended” or “not currently recommended” based on its internal automated software that attempts to measure the reliability of reviews people post.  All our reviews are genuine, by real clients, but many wind up in the filtered area.  Recently, two reviews that were originally deemed “recommended” wound up migrating to the “not recommended.”  Go figure.  It’s not a perfect system.  Some genuine reviews get filtered; some bogus ones get through.  It’s supposed to average out.  “Preponderance of the evidence,” as our attorney friends would say.

And now for some testimonials…

“Jim & Steve-
Rand and I just wanted to share our enthusiasm and thanks with both of you… Together, you have made our learning experience, by turns, enjoyable, wondrous, exhilarating, challenging, and unbelievably fulfilling.
Thanks again for everything you have done for us.  Your dedication to sailing is both obvious and invigorating…”

-G.D. Peters and Rand Harper, New York, NY.
Graduates of Start Sailing, Start Cruising & Start Navigating.

“Great program!  Far exceeded expectations.  I’ll be back.”  (…and she was!)
-Gale Wenberg, Manhattan.  Gale’s a grad of Start Sailing.

“I just wanted to say that your course was by far the most thorough I have received so far.”
-Pavlos S, Brooklyn.  Graduate of Start Cruising (ASA 103).


Frank and I had a great time this weekend with you taking the bareboat cruising course. Thanks for your flexibility in the scheduling. I definitely feel like we learned and practiced a lot this past weekend. I think Frank and I are in good position for our trip to Croatia.” (And after the trip, they still felt that way!)
-Andrew (and Frank) Wooten, NY, NY.

6/19/2004,  03:11 AM –
“Sag Harbour. Crazy.  Pitch black seas for the past hour.  No moon, no light,
nothing but occasional buoy and the charts.  It was really cool because I got
to use all the things I used in navigation class.  Just dropped anchor and
going sailing again in a few hours.  Have a great weekend.”
Emmanuel Monahogios, Manhattan, graduate of Start Navigating & Start Bareboating

“I was just logging on to reiterate how much I enjoyed the class (I know John did, too).  Enjoyed and learned from it.  You’re a fab teacher…but then you probably knew that already.”
Emily Russell, Manhattan
Graduate of Start Sailing & Start Navigating

Thanks for over-the-top & beyond-the-call teaching, as well as patience with certain barrages of interminable questions.  You have an exceptional talent for making things clear.  Very focused, organized, in command.”
-William Rosvold, Queens, NY
Graduate of Start Sailing and Start Navigating

“If there was something left of ‘excellent’ they’d get it.”

-Mo Kraushar,  New York, NY, in response to our satisfaction survey.  We ask students to rate their instructors thusly:

excellent      good      fair     poor
Mo’s a graduate of Start Sailing.

“I thought the instructors were great – both Jim in the classroom and John on the water.  Very patient, wonderful about answering questions, very enthusiastic, etc.”
-Stephanie Azzarone, Manhattan.  Stephanie is a graduate of Start Sailing.

…and more on that YELP story as promised.

It’s important to look at any mediocre or negative reviews, too, to see if the author has a history of being high maintenance, or if any pattern of negative reviews of a business exists.  I once chose a hotel on Tortola, British Virgin Islands, based on the negative reviews.  Why?  The pattern was that they had ridiculous expectations of the place and just didn’t get the atmosphere of it.  Most of the positive reviews turned the frowns upside down – they liked what the others were complaining about, because they saw and experienced it differently, and I anticipated that I’d see it the way they did too.

The hotel?  The Tamarind Club, East End, Tortola. (update: sadly, they didn’t survive the back-to-back bitches Irma & Maria.)  Excellent food by expat Americans from one of the southern states.  Family owned/operated; basically very hospitable, with a slight unspoken air of “take it or leave it;” unpretentious; remote; locals hangout; very kewl to use some sailor-speak.  They run a trivia contest on Friday nights for free, and people can put together ad hoc teams with whoever they’re sitting next to at the bar or with their own group.  Prize?  Future dinner on the house – and it’s excellent.  Plus, it’s a nice walk down to Josiah’s Bay, where there’s a snack bar, a regular bar, and a surfing school with board rentals!