A Z T E C  S A I L I N G

About Aztec Sailing

Aztec Sailing was formerly a Sailing School, fully approved and accredited with the RYA, and run by Bill Johnson. We taught all the RYA practical courses (Competent Crew, Day Skipper, Coastal Skipper), several Theory courses, and prepared skippers for their Coastal Skipper and Yachtmaster ® Exams.

Then we went further (literally): we ran long distance Ocean Passages to teach people the practical aspects of long distance passage-making, which prepared skippers for their Yachtmaster ® Ocean qualification.

So over a period of ten years, I have been involved with instructing people from absolute beginner right through to Yachtmaster ® Ocean.

Aztec Sailing no longer exists as a practical sailing school, but this website is an on-line learning resource which is continually being developed.

Bill Johnson

My professional background is a Cambridge degree in Aeronautical Engineering, followed by work as a Flight Test Engineer on the Tornado development project. This was followed by 20 years working for a software company in various capacities: programmer through project management, marketing and business development.

My main hobies were SCUBA diving and, later, sailing.

Towards the end of my career in software I began to get tired of the rat race (and tired, specifically, of the rats who were winning the race) and I had also just bought Aztec, a Nicholson 345. A friend and early yachting mentor made a chance remark: "That's a good boat Bill - she'll sail up-wind in a gale, and that's what you want. You could go anywhere in that yacht." and suddenly I saw my path to freedom.

I stopped worrying about the frustrations and folly of my work environment, and started to prepare for long-distance sailing. Within 18 months I had prepared the yacht, negotiated a 1-year sabatical, and started out on the standard 'first long cruise': the one-year Atlantic Circuit. After a wonderful year - many adventures, lots of fun, loads of friendships - it was back to the office, but I had tasted freedom, and I decided to set up Aztec Sailing.

I operated Aztec Sailing as a practical sailing organisation from 1999 to 2008, initially with Nicholson 345 Aztec and later with Oyster 55 Sula as well. Aztec was ideal for the RYA Practical courses: Competent Crew, Day Skipper, Coastal Skipper and Yachtmaster exams, based mainly round Devon and Cornwall, with the odd trip to France/Spain and Ireland/Scotland.

Sula was superbly suited to long distance sailing, and did the long distance passages: from Devon to France, Spain, Portugal, Gibraltar, Ireland, Scotland, Faeroes, Azores, Canaries, Caribbean, New York etc - and the Tall Ships Race. (She was saddled with the completely excessive requirements of MCA 'Category 0' Coding.)

But life changes, and with the arrival of a young family, and a move to Ireland (and world recession) I put practical sailing tuition on hold. I turned to writing, and have now written 4 books for publication as well as this website.

And for the future - who knows?


If you wish to contact Bill Johnson, Aztec Sailing, please feel free to do so.

Please contact me if you have any questions or difficulties with the Theory or Practical material on this website - or if you want to ask me about (or discuss) any of the books (Essential Boat Radar, Manoeuvring, Reeds Crew Handbook, Reeds Ocean Handbook).

Address: Warmhill, Baurnafea, Castlewarren, County Kilkenny, Rep of Ireland

Telephone: + 353 (0) 59 972 6982

Mobile: + 353 (0) 85 249 3511

E-mail: bill.johnson@aztecsailing.co.uk


About Yachting ... a philosophical viewpoint