Who We Are
We strive to deliver high quality sailing courses and experiences in a professional, modern setting in both instruction and equipment. Our goal is to bring sailors with no prior experience up to a live aboard or bareboat charter level of skills while fostering a sense of community and providing avenues for experience building and continuing education.
We are Paul Sullivan and Forrest Hardy, two lifelong sailors and career sailing instructors. Over our combined two decades of teaching sailing we have found that most sailing schools hire great sailors first and good instructors second. Our goal is to create a sailing school where the staff are excellent instructors and teachers not just excellent sailors.
First Reef Sailing provides sail training at all levels from Basic Keelboat requiring no prior experience at all up to Coastal Passage-Making. All sailing courses will be official certification courses taught under the American Sailing organization. We will also be offering "mile building passages" as well as land based clinics to provide a source of continuing education for experienced sailors. Our goal is to create a community of great sailors and great people!
Paul and Forrest first met in 2019. Forrest was teaching and coaching sailing in Melbourne, Australia and Paul was teaching for Black Rock Sailing School in Boston. Paul was looking for instructors to join the Black Rock team and Forrest had reached out about possibly moving back to Boston. Through the course of several phone calls Paul and Forrest found that they had incredibly similar backgrounds. Both had been EMT's, both had taught skiing and snowboarding, both had been sailing extensively in Boston and the Virgin Islands and most importantly of all they both were pursuing a career of sailing instruction. After several weeks of communication, Forrest decided to join the Black Rock Sailing School team and move back to Boston.
In the following three years Paul and Forrest worked closely, teaching courses in Boston in the summer and leading courses and charters in the Virgin Islands in the winter. In between the teaching seasons they delivered many different sailboats, monohulls and catamarans, up and down the US East Coast from the Bahamas to Boston as well as sailing boats from New England to the Virgin Islands in the Caribbean. Between the two of them, they sailed well over 15,000 nm in just a few years!
By the spring of 2022, both felt like they were ready to take the next step and build their own sailing school, incorporating all of the lessons they learned and skills they had honed over the last ten years of sailing and soon "First Reef Sailing" was born!
First Reef Sailing was to be a sail training organization that not only offered American Sailing certification courses but to also offer clinics and courses that filled in the gaps between formal learning. They felt that there was always more to learn about weather, sail repair, small diesel repair, passage routing and began to develop short land based clinics and courses to address these areas. Paul and Forrest also felt strongly that a successful sail training organization should provide a community where experienced and aspiring sailors could meet and sail together. To facilitate this they decided that an important part of a successful sailing season would include events and flotillas to get as many people together and sailing as possible.