25 Mar

Coronavirus pandemic update 25th March 2020

Coronavirus pandemic update – 25th March 2020

We are all living in very difficult circumstances at the moment.

We are following government advice and we have closed our premises and chandlery for the foreseeable future.

We have worked tirelessly over the winter taking bookings for this year and we were proud to have a very healthy booking chart.

We are now faced with a serious quandary which is made even more difficult by not knowing when this burden will ease.

We want to be as fair as possible with all our clients but at the same time we must keep our ‘head above the water’ or, to be blunt – we will not be here to welcome you in 2021. We are a small family business and we do not have the huge reserves of big businesses. At the time of writing there has been no help available for us from the government – in an ideal world we would have support from the government which would allow us to write the 2020 season off all together.

Our plan is to offer everyone who has booked a charter between now and the 10th May 2020 (arrival date) first option on moving their booking to a date later in the season.

If you have a charter booked with a start date between now and the 10th May then please contact us urgently – preferably by email to discuss alternative dates. We are working from home as best we can and the phone lines are all on divert to my mobile so please be patient if the line is engaged.

We will waive the admin charge that we normally apply to bookings that are moved. If you are moving up a season eg from low season to mid season, we will not apply the extra charge. If you are moving down a season eg from high season to mid season we will refund the difference.

As time moves on and more is known about dates when restrictions may be eased or extended then we will take a view on bookings after the 10th May on a rolling basis – we are reviewing the situation closely and daily.

Some clients have already cancelled their bookings and if you wish to do so we will assist you in any way that we can to claim from your holiday/travel cancellation insurance. We are invoicing as normal ie 6 – 8 weeks in advance as you will need this as evidence for your claim.

This is not a situation that we have ever imagined or planned for and it is a dynamic and fast moving scenario. The above information may change at any time but rather than bury our heads in the sand we are being proactive and doing our very best to provide an enjoyable holiday for you.

All the best and stay well.

David and Julie Banks

23 Mar

Chandlery closed until further notice

Following the Government’s advice this evening the Chandlery is now closed until further notice as we are a ‘non-essential’ business.  If you have pre-ordered goods awaiting collection then please email us and we will arrange delivery. If you are a supplier then please cancel all outstanding orders.  If you are a regular customer then we are really sorry for the inconvenience. 

22 Mar


As you might imagine, over the last few days we have experienced very high volumes of phone calls and emails regarding peoples bookings. The result is that the cancellation list became confusing and somewhat meaningless. We have therefore removed the details from this page and reverted to our normal system – if you would like to book a boat for later this year please telephone 01631 565630 or email charter@alba-sailing.co.uk 

06 Mar

Coronavirus update

Coronavirus Update 18th March 2020

Due to the significant number of phone calls and emails we are receiving about the Coronavirus pandemic we have decided to write a brief statement to ensure that our message is clear and consistent.

This is a dynamic and fast changing situation but at the time of writing…

  • All the boats will be ready and fully prepared for use on the agreed date.
  • All possible steps will be taken to minimise any risk of cross contamination.
  • We have put in place plans to ensure that every yacht is cleaned to our normal high standard and then in addition every hard object/surface will be cleaned again with a product proven to kill Coronavirus. This will happen to every yacht every time it returns to base.  We are recruiting extra staff to achieve this and it will also give us extra resilience should a member of staff become ill and therefore unable to attend work.
  • Every yacht will be equipped with the same product referred to above and a supply of cloths (to be used only for that purpose) to enable charterers to maintain impeccable hygiene standards whilst at sea. This is in addition to the normal range of cleaning products that we supply. The cloths will be hot washed (>60º) immediately upon return. A full explanation on best practise will be given during the handover of the yacht.
  • We will be socially isolating ie not be shaking hands, hugging or kissing our clients on arrival and departure – but you will still get a very warm welcome and goodbye !! We hope you will understand. We are considering telephone/video handovers to minimise cross party exposure.
  • Our hire stock range will be substantially increased and hired items will be put away for 1 week minimum before being hired out again – this will prevent any possible cross contamination. Towels, pillowcases, sleeping bags and liners etc will be hot washed ie >60º but we ask that you book these items well in advance as we will buy more if required.
  • If you decide not to go ahead with your booking then we would draw your attention to point 1.10 and 3.2 of our Charter Agreement.
  • We have always strongly advised clients to take out holiday cancellation insurance (see point 7 of the Charter Agreement) and if we can assist in any way with your claim such as proof of booking etc. we will do our very best to assist you.
  • It is not possible to transfer bookings to a subsequent year.
  • It may be possible (subject to availability) to transfer a booking to later this year. In this case we would not apply the usual admin fee. In this case any outstanding balance must be paid when due as per the original booking. If your existing booking is in high season and your new dates are mid or low season we will refund the difference. If you move your booking from a lower season to a higher season we will only charge 50% of the extra cost. If you choose a larger boat or only a larger boat is available the extra cost will be invoiced to you. This will be applied strictly on a first come first served basis and there is no guarantee that alternative dates or boats will be available.
  • We are prepared to extend the sailing season until the end of October if required (and subject to agreement of our insurers) to help accommodate bookings moved to later in the year.

We apologise in advance if our stance seems a hard one. We are a small family business working to small profit margins and we are facing an existential crisis – not just for ourselves but our long standing loyal staff and a well-loved business that has been operating for well over 30 years.

David Banks – Alba Sailing – 18th March 2020.




22 Jan

Sail Scotland 360º videos

‘Sail Scotland’ has released some stunning 360º videos – showcasing the very best of sailing in Scotland. If you have sailed here before you will enjoy reminiscing. If you haven’t sailed here before you will want to !  The St Kilda one and the Staffa ones are particularly good. If you need a yacht for 2020 don’t hang about – peak season is virtually fully booked.


15 Jan

2020 Tide times

The 2020 tide times for the whole of the year are now on the Download page of our website. The High water times for Dover are also listed along with Bell Graphs for Oban to help with your ‘armchair’ route planning. The only thing you don’t know is the weather forecast ! 😉 

13 Nov

Retirement !

After 12 great years of owning Alba Sailing, Julie and I have decided that it is nearing our time to retire. We are looking forwards to spending more time with our children and grandchildren, escaping more often with our motor home and indulging in our hobbies.

We have instructed Christie and Co to handle the sale of the business in due course.

We know that to our regular and loyal customers, both charterers and chandlery customers alike, that this may be a little unsettling but we would like to reassure you that we are not going anywhere in a hurry and that all payments and bookings made for the future are absolutely safe and secure.

Our highly valued staff are all aware of the situation.

We are under no illusions that it may take some time to sell such a niche and unusual business and we are not in any great rush – just planning for the future. We try hard to communicate in a simple, effective and honest way in our business dealings – hence this announcement to our clients before it is splashed across the media.

David and Julie Banks – owners of Alba Sailing

10 Jul

Lucky catch or great skill ???

A couple who were out on our yacht True Blue last week sent us this great photo when they returned home. Was it a lucky right place – right time photo or incredible skill ??? 😉

You choose – either way its a lovely photo.