Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why join the IBM sailing club?
A: You can’t buy happiness but going sailing comes pretty close! Sailing is an interesting and often exhilarating pastime and the IBM membership allows access to the sport at low cost, at one of the best inland facilities in the South of England.


Q:  Does my IBM Sailing Section Membership cover my family? 
A:   Yes, your membership covers you, your spouse or partner and your children up to the age of 18, offering substantial savings over normal QMSC membership rates.

Q:  Do I need to be a member of the IBM Club to join the Sailing section?
A:  Yes you do need to be a member of the IBM Club, but not necessarily of the IBM London West Club.  The section is open to all IBM Club members.  Membership costs 5p a week deducted from salary.  You can find the form you need to join here 

Q: What are the main differences between ‘helm’ and ‘crew’ membership?
A: As a ‘crew’ member you are able to act as crew on one of the IBM boats at QMSC or another boat at the club with the owner’s permission. In this situation the boat will be under the control of a helm who will instruct you on what you need to do. As a ‘helm’ you are authorised, once signed off for the IBM boat type, to be in control of the IBM boat and the crew onboard.

Q:  May I bring guests to sail with me?
A:  You may bring one guest in lieu of partner or spouse to sail with you.

Q:  You say IBM Sailing Section membership is good value, but how good value is it?
A:  Very good value!  By having corporate membership and shared boats and boards, we can offer you access to one of the best sailing locations in the South East for a fraction of the price of being a member directly with the Club.  You are saving hundreds of pounds a year.

Q: When does the IBM Sailing Section membership year run between?
A: The membership year runs from 1st April to 31st March.  Anyone joining in January, February or March will have their membership extended through till the end of the following March.


Q:  How do I get signed off as a helm to sail the IBM boats and boards?
A:  Contact the committee member for the type of boat or board you want to be signed off to use and they will take you through the process.  The Committee members and the areas they cover are on the Sailing Section homepage.

Q;  What do I need to know and be able to do to be signed off?
A:  To be an approved helm you need to be qualified to RYA Level 1 & 2 and then you need to demonstrate your handling of the IBM dinghies - this is more about rigging, de-rigging, launching and berthing, and the rules and regulations of QMSC (it's not as onerous as it may sound). You will need to have completed RYA Level 1 for Windsurfing training and taken several group coaching sessions before signoff for the boards.

Q:  How long might it take to get signed off from being a complete beginner?
A:  This will depend on how quickly you take the required RYA courses and then how much time you spend on the water with an experienced helm to develop your skills to the point that you are self sufficient.  For single handers and windsurfers there are group coaching sessions you can join to become self sufficient.  Three to six months is fast, more usually it is in your second season with us.

Q:  Must I helm the IBM boat or can my family or guest also helm?
A:  There must always be an IBM Sailing Section signed off helm member in charge of the boat to meet our insurance conditions.  However the signed off helm member can allow others in the boat to helm at their discretion, based on the prevailing conditions.

Q: What training, experience or signoff do I need to have ‘crew’ membership?
A: None is needed and you will quickly pick up what is required under the guidance of your helm.  

Q: Can you tell me more about the IBM boats and how many people they can carry?

Boat type

# of crew

# of boats




Topper Xenon

2 to 4


Q: Can you tell me more about the IBM boards that are available?
A: We have a BIC 273 Techno (125 litres volume), Starboard Carve (145 litres) and a Starboard Rio (over 200) which are low, medium and high volume boards suitable for improvers who have completed RYA Level 1 training.  There is also a range of sail sizes to suit most wind conditions and abilities.

Q: Is there a booking system for reserving boats and boards?
A: There is no booking system - simply turn up and sail. We've never found the need for a booking system. We do have a WhatsApp group so you can find who is free and interested in sailing with you.  To join the group, install WhatsApp and send your mobile number to Brendan Blake or Andrew Craig

Q: As a dinghy section member what other options are available for me to sail at QMSC?
A: Once you are an IBM Sailing Section member a great way to get to sail, increase your skill and meet other IBM and QMSC members is via the QMSC Saturday Club which runs every other Saturday morning from April through November. Those attending pair up as helm and crew to sail together in IBM or QMSC boats and then take to the water for a bit of fun sailing or racing.

Q:  I have my own boat / board, can I sail that at Queen Mary Sailing Club?
A:  Yes you can pay a day sailing fee direct to the club, there is no club discount offered on this.  If you want to keep your boat / board at Queen Mary Sailing Club on the IBM membership, we will pass on to you any corporate discount received by IBM.  Contact the IBM Sailing Club Treasurer to discuss further.  In both cases you must have the third party liability insurance cover specified in the IBM Sailing Section membership form.


Q: I don’t have any special clothing, is that a problem?
A: As a member you can use the wetsuits and buoyancy aids that are provided by QMSC for use by members at no additional charge. You should bring suitable footwear such as dinghy/board shoes or trainers that you do not mind getting wet. Showering facilities are available at the club. 

Q: Are there lockers at QMSC for storing valuables whilst out on the water?
A: Some lockers are available, on a first come first served basis, suitable for taking small items such as a wallet, phone and keys.  Access is via a £1 coin that is returned when the key is returned to the locker.  If the lockers are full, you can leave valuables at the office.


Q:  What courses can I book at the IBM Sailing Section members discount? 
A:  You can book all adult and children sailing and windsurfing courses offered by Queen Mary Sailing Club .  The discount does not apply to powerboat courses or instructor courses including the first aid course. 

Q: Are there any special activities available for children especially over school holidays?
A: QMSC runs activities for children at various times throughout the year. These courses are particularly suitable for working parents with children looking for healthy outdoor group activities that they will enjoy.

Q:  I am not sure which course might suit me or my family.  Who should I ask? 
A:  Contact the Queen Mary Sailing Club office, they are the experts and will give you the best advice.  However you are welcome to talk to any of the committee first.

Q:  I am not yet sure that I want to commit to the RYA level 1 and 2 courses to become a helm.  Can I do a taster session first?
A:  Yes Queen Mary Sailing Club offer 2 hour taster sessions for both dinghy sailing and windsurfing on a regular basis.  Contact one of the committee to find out available dates and how to book.

Q: None of the Queen Mary Sailing Club taster dates suit me.  Is there any other way I can get an idea of what the IBM Sailing Section has to offer and get afloat?
A:  Yes contact any of the signed off helms and ask one of them to take you out.

Q:  How do I book and then pay for a course I have decided to take?
A:  Contact the IBM Sailing Section Treasurer initially who will confirm the amount due including any available IBM discount (typically up to 30%). They will also provide you with BACS details to pay IBM. Next contact the Queen Mary Sailing Club office and check there is availability on the course you want; ask them to book you on and tell them that you are with IBM.  Then notify the IBM Sailing Section Treasurer to confirm the course booked and date details and that you have paid IBM.  

Q:  Can I use the Queen Mary Sailing Club online booking system?
A:  No, you will not get the IBM discount if you do – no exceptions!

Q:  If I need to cancel a course, what should I do?
A:  Contact the Queen Mary Sailing Club office and tell them immediately.  Any cancellation charges they make to IBM will be passed to you to pay.


Q: Where do I find a list of signed off helms and their contact details?
A:  When you join the IBM Sailing Section, you will be sent this list.  In the meantime, contact a member of the committee.

Q:  Where do I find contact details for the committee?
A:  On the IBM Sailing Section home page. Click => HERE  Select the person who you think can help you best and click on their name to send them an email.

Q:  Where do I find more information about Queen Mary Sailing Club?
A:  Click on this link=>  QMS CLUB

Q:  Where do I find out more about Queen Mary Sailing Club courses? 
A:  Click on this link=> QMS COURSES