Joining Instructions

All event attendees are encouraged to read these Joining Instructions prior to attending a club event. They contain useful — if not essential — information about club events and how they work.

These instructions get updated from time to time and contain important safety information. Please read them before each event, even if you’ve read them before!

Crew Communication & WhatsApp

We encourage the use of WhatsApp for communication between the crew of a boat. It’s extremely convenient, useful and efficient. If you don’t have WhatsApp on your mobile phone, I strongly recommend you download it now… it’s free and very easy to set up, so no excuses!

Information that can be agreed and shared via WhatsApp includes:

  • Acknowledgement of receipt of this Joining Instruction email
  • Coordination of provisioning and dietary requirements
  • Potential ride sharing and meeting places
  • Marina gate codes and boat location
  • Sharing of weekend sailing objectives (training opportunities, crew positions, race tactics)
  • Post-event info, such as lost items and final kitty tally
  • …and lots more!


Please get in touch with the charterer ASAP: confirm the boat is paid for, confirm the dates and handover times and find out what they need from you before the charter (certificates, sailing CV, passport/driving licence, security deposit etc.). You may need to email copies of sailing certificates (yours and the mate’s) and sailing CV to the charterer. See below for further details and important questions you need to ask.

As a small token of appreciation for those who skipper a club event, we will fund your Skipper Third Party Liability Insurance. We use a policy from Pantaenius which covers vessels up to 17m in length with personal injury and property damage cover up to £6 million. More information can be found here. You MUST be covered by a policy BEFORE you skipper a club event. Please make sure your existing policy is valid, or contact me for further information on purchasing a policy.


All: Please contact your Skipper at the earliest opportunity (via WhatsApp, email or phone) to confirm you have received the Joining Instructions email, and deal with any questions:

  • Are your contact details on the email correct? (Please also email DHSC Bookings if not)
  • Can you help with food? (Any special requirements?)
  • What time will you arrive and where to meet?
  • Do you need to hire wet weather suit?
  • Anything else?

Note that the sailing fees do not include food, fuel or mooring fees, race fees (if applicable) or hire of wet weather gear.

What to Bring

Tea towel (for the boat), sleeping bag, pillow, small torch, warm clothing with an extra sweater, complete change of clothes, soft-soled deck shoes (trainers with non-marking soles), warm hat, gloves, neck towel, sun hat, sunglasses, sun cream. Remember, it is generally colder on the water but the sun will be stronger. Bring your own seasickness tablets if you need them, along with any personal first aid supplies. If you’re heading to foreign shores, don’t forget to bring your passport.

You can hire waterproofs (sailing suit) from the charterer. There are sufficient lifejackets and harnesses on the boat. Please bring your kit in a soft holdall or rucksack, no suitcases! Take great care when moving bags with wheels around the boat: they will easily damage the interior woodwork on a yacht, particularly around the companionway and narrow doorways. Preferably, don’t use them, but if you do please take great care.

DHSC Storage Box at Fairview

Note: This only applies to charters from Fairview Sailing, Hamble. Our partnered charter company, Fairview Sailing, hold a storage box for us containing useful — some would say essential! — items for club members to use on charter events, including:

  • A cafetière
  • Electric kettle
  • Electric toaster
  • DHSC business cards – please take some for handing to interested friends and colleagues
  • DHSC posters – please take one or two for advertising the club in your local office or sports centre
  • Tea, coffee and sugar sachets – not guaranteed, please check latest Facebook photo
  • Salt and pepper pots – not guaranteed, please check latest Facebook photo

To help you know in advnace what’s currently in the box, see the latest photo posting on the club’s Facebook page. Please remember to also post a photo at the end of your charter so the next users know what’s in there. Also, please keep the box tidy and avoid too many duplicates (such as bottles of washing up liquid!): excess items can be given to the team at Fairview for use elsewhere.


We all go sailing to have a good time, and it’s very easy to just sit back and ‘enjoy the moment’. However, most people find their enjoyment is increased as they learn more about what’s going on. You don’t have to turn every trip into a training session, but I encourage all of you to get more involved, and go home with just a little more knowledge, even if it’s just a new knot (ask the Mate to show you a Rolling Hitch) or what a particular chart symbol means. The RYA course booklets are excellent learning aids. The Skipper and Mate should have a full set: pick a couple of pages and discuss it.

The club needs a steady supply of new Mates and Skippers so when you are ready for your next (or first!) RYA course, ask me about the financial incentives we can offer you.


Each person on the boat is responsible for their own safety, but the Skipper is responsible for the whole boat and every person on board. The Skipper’s decision is final on all matters.

Please remember that the charter company may charge for any loss, breakages or damage that occurs, and in accordance with club policy the crew are liable for this. The crew liability limit is determined on a ‘per calendar day onboard’ basis, with a higher limit for race events due to the increased risks involved. The limit is £10 per person per calendar day for cruising events and £25 per person per calendar day for race events. For example, the liability limit for a typical weekend cruising event (onboard Friday and leaving Sunday) is £30 per person. Please take care and ensure that you tell the Skipper of any existing damage that you notice and any that occurs while you are on board.

Personal Accident Insurance

All persons who sail on boats chartered by the club do so entirely at their own risk and Dark Horse Sailing Club accepts no responsibility for any personal injury or accident nor for any loss or damage to personal equipment or belongings.

It is strongly recommended that personal accident or travel insurance is taken out for protection. Like all sports, sailing does have some risks. Take care and if you don’t understand, ask.

Skippers / Mates: additional notes

Motivational safety message…

Your primary responsibility is the safety of the yacht and crew. Stretch yourselves and look for fun things to do or you’ll never learn anything new, but you should be constantly assessing the risks of what you are doing and planning to do. Sometimes things go wrong — don’t let “exciting” become “dangerous”. Be bold, but be prepared and vigilant and remember there is always a plan B, but only if you act early enough.

… End of message :-)

Training: You’ve been through it, pass it on! Take your RYA course booklets with you, and make it an objective to spend 20 minutes training with every crew member.

If any crew have not contacted you in a reasonable time, please chase them up (don't forget to ask for their excuses!). Don't forget copies of your certificates.

Remember to ask the charterer about:

  • Where’s the boat?
  • Is there a gate code?
  • What’s on the boat — bed linen, tea towels, cleaning stuff?
  • Fuel / engine hours: is it included / paid for? (if not, to be paid by the crew)
  • Gas: is it included / paid for? (if not, to be paid by the crew)
  • Outboard: do you want one? (cost and all loss/damage to be paid by the crew)
  • Spinnaker / cruising chute: do you want one? (cost and all loss/damage to be paid by the crew)
  • Times of handover
  • Out of hours contact numbers — for use during the charter if problems, large or small, occur and need resolving
  • Car parking

Security deposit: Club policy is that the Skipper pays the security deposit to the charterer, on a credit card, either beforehand or by leaving card details. If this can’t be done for any reason, contact me (in time for me to do something about it, not when you arrive, please!). If a problem occurs during the charter and the solution isn’t obvious (or easy), contact the charter company for advice: they may be able to fix it over the phone straight away.

Small losses (e.g. winch handle, fender etc.) should be paid for and the cost divided among the crew. If anything more serious happens, make copious notes and photos at the time, and let me know as well as the charterer.

You MUST give a safety briefing before every trip. If the crew are all experienced, ask one of them to give it, and someone else to critique! If someone is feeling sea-sick, make it the responsibility of others to get a life-jacket and life-line on them as they may not be in a state to consider their personal safety.

Remember your responsibilities: try something new (GPS waypoints/routes, radar, anchoring/mooring under sail, etc.) and give your crew the opportunity to learn as well. When was the last time you played the ‘fender overboard’ game? And please don’t forget to take your log book and sign your crew’s log books!

Most important of all: have fun!

Simon Jackson
Dark Horse Sailing Club

Event Specific Information

Crew List

The names and contact details of all crew on your event, including your allocated yacht’s name, will be published via email two to three weeks prior to the event.

Charter Company & Location

These details are also published via email. Most events listed in the programme as sailing from ‘Solent’ or ‘Hamble’ will be with Fairview Sailing:

…but please check the event-specific JI email!

Sailing Fees

Any excess fees after the club has paid for the up-front costs of the event will be paid to your Skipper to be added to the boat’s kitty and/or divided amongst the crew. The amount due back, if any, will be stated in the final Joining Instruction email.