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“Womanship Off Course”
Review of Womanship

Ranked #85 of 93 things to do in Annapolis
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Owner description: A Transforming Experience. Womanship, the renowned sailing school for and by women is celebrating its 25th year. More than 67,000 women, around the world, have joined us to become the sailors they want to be - the Womanship Way - enjoying hands-on, student centered and interactive learning on board an actual sailing cruise. Teaching in 16 locations in the US and off foreign shores, Womanship customizes courses for individual couples, families, mothers and daughters, teens, social and corporate groups.
Reviewed July 6, 2009

This winter my husband and I decided to take a long awaited sailing sabbatical in the Caribbean. To bolster my confidence in my sailing abilities, I decided to take a 5 day sailing course with Womanship. Although there was no financial benefit for inviting guests, I asked a friend to join me on a course that was scheduled in Tortola BVI. My husband and I arranged our sailing itinerary to arrive in Tortola several days before the course was to begin.

I had paid for the course in full, fulfilled all their requirements, and received written confirmation from Womanship. They had only to send me the time and location for the start of the course.

Three days before the course was to begin, we had heard nothing, so we emailed Womanship. On Friday morning, in the last business day before the course, we received an email that Womanship had decided to cancel the course.

We were informed that they would not refund our money but we were free to schedule another course with them up to 18 months hence. The next scheduled course was in a month’s time. This was not satisfactory. We did not intend to wait in Tortola for a month nor did we feel it reasonable that we should have to sail back there or pay for air transportation for a future course when we had already traveled to attend this one. No other options were presented to us whatsoever. They were not in the least concerned or helpful. They quickly made themselves impossible to reach.

Womanship categorically refused to refund any of our money. In fact, at exactly that point we discovered that they had CHARGED MY CREDIT CARD A SECOND TIME OBVIOUSLY WITHOUT ANY AUTHORIZATION.

The Cancellation
So far Womanship has given 4 different stories:
- the course was running but my friend would be denied boarding if she arrived
- the boat was pulled from the water for maintenance
- the boat would be used for another course
- the course was cancelled only because they did not feel it in the student’s best interest to take the course alone.

Whichever is the truth, IF one of these excuses IS the truth, each of these reasons was well within the control of Womanship, so their 18 month replacement clause “cancellation for reasons out of our control” was certainly not applicable.

Contact Options
They had 4 different methods to reach us prior to the course but did not even try.

Attempts to resolve
Since this incident we have sent the owner of Womanship, Suzanne Pogel, several emails requesting that she contact us so that we can discuss and resolve this situation. On more than one occasion, her staff has assured us that she would be contacting us. To date we have received nothing… not a phone call, an email or a letter. She did however report us to the FBI accusing us of “extortion” for trying to contact her and get our money refunded. The FBI agent who contacted us was most pleasant and helpful. Suffice it to say that once he understood the situation, he dropped the case.

The entire experience was most distasteful. We were relatively fortunate however. Despite vehement arguments from Womanship, the credit card companies refunded 100% of our money. We feel very badly for others, including several on this forum, who were not as fortunate.

21  Thank SacreBlue
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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12 - 16 of 23 reviews

Reviewed June 25, 2009

On May 14, 2009, the District Court of Maryland for Anne Arundel County entered a judgment in my favor against Womanship, Inc. for the $3,490 I paid in 2007 to take the February 4-13, 2008 Sail and Sea Adventure New Zealand course, which the company cancelled due to low enrollment on January 24, 2008. Womanship had refused to refund my $3,490, and so I filed a Small Claim in the District Court on March 14, 2008 in an attempt to get my money back. Please see my review of March 25, 2008 for the details of my complaint. It has been 6 weeks since the judge ruled in my favor, and as yet I have not received a refund from Womanship, Inc., despite my personally delivered written request to Womanship's President, Suzanne Pogell, two weeks after we met in the courtroom.

Beware, Women! Think twice before taking a course with Womanship, Inc. What kind of company does not abide by a court ruling?

22  Thank Ms_Bligh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 17, 2009

Last month, a 3-day daytime course with Womanship on the Chesapeake Bay was my birthday gift from my mother and aunt. They travel a lot together and are pretty adventurous women. In fact, I would have said they were far more adventurous than I, until the first time I stood at the helm of the boat, put my hand on the wheel, and felt it respond and glide out on the water, driven only by me and the wind. What a rush!

It was smart of them to choose Womanship, the sailing school for women, as my birthday present. The whole learning experience, although brand new to me, was fun, felt natural and was personally very satisfying. The instructor didn’t hesitate to put me or any of the others at the helm right away. But she also didn’t leave my side until she had explained what I needed to understand, answered my questions and demonstrated the necessary skills to me and the other students; she also gave us plenty of time to practice--exactly what each of us needed in order to turn the boat, catch the wind in our sails, and propel us in the direction that we had plotted. “Prepare is our operative word,” she assured us, and she carried this motto through with every skill and technique she taught, each time making that we understood what we were doing. The greatest fun about hands-on learning is that we always got to put what we learned into practice.

It added to my confidence too to be able to reinforce what I was being taught by working with my mother and aunt and the two other women in our student crew, who quickly became my friends. We all took turns as skipper and crew, handling the lines that we used to tie the boat to a dock or a piling, plotting our navigational course, anchoring, and checking the boat’s systems--all the time enjoying how together we could make the boat go. As a brand new sailor, I can’t yet say whether I’m more turned on by the physical pleasure I felt in handling the boat and the sails or by the fact that I’m able to perform these skills now because I know how to read and respond to the wind.

I would have loved to have lived on the boat, cruised the Bay and anchored out in its creeks. Next time, that’s what I plan to do. I’m still glad that my birthday gift included spending our evenings in a charming old Annapolis inn, though, right in the heart of the historic district. Before and after each day’s sail, we traveled back in history, walking to breakfast and dinner, visiting the State House and other landmarks, and shopping in colonial Annapolis.

I’m looking forward to returning to Womanship soon for another great sailing adventure.

3  Thank Ilove2sail
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 29, 2009

Carol and friends, February, 2009

Primarily small boat, lake sailors, and ready to leave the Vermont winter
far behind, my friends and I jumped at the chance to take the week long
LiveAboard Cruising Course being offered in the BVI, at 25th year
Celebration Savings by Womanship, the sailing school for women. By signing
up the end of October, the four of us sailed in February at 2008 prices, and
at the rate usually charged when six students book together as a group. Once we
got ourselves to the Caribbean, with more than a bit of help from the
Womanship office, the amount of sailing and island hopping we accomplished
was incredible. Food and beverages were included, and the boat was big
enough that two of us to share a V-berth; the other two were in two cabins
aft, in the rear of the boat. The instructor positioned herself on a cabin
berth close to the steps of the companionway, to be ready to deal with a
dragging anchor, she said. Thought this rarely happens, it did one night, and we had an amazing time learning to re-anchor a boat under a very starry sky.

Jane, our instructor, was very skilled at helping each of us work both on
the skills that were our weakest and on advancing those that we already had
some mastery of. I advanced my chart reading, plotting, and piloting
skills and increased my abilities to tie and apply knots to cleat lines on a bigger
boat and to attach lines to pilings. We also worked as a team and helped each
other progress to taking turns as skipper and crew.

Would we advise you to come aboard a Womanship course? You bet we would!

3  Thank SailorGalVermont
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 18, 2009

If I could blow a horn, I would! You know, you hear from so many women how great the Womanship experience is, but until you try it, it doesn't mean very much. The course exceeded my expectations. There was so much hands on experience sailing the boat, anchoring, practicing all the skills and putting them together in a way I never thought I could. And they were taught with a huge amount of knowledge and encouragment by a phenomenal Captain/Instructor by our Maryanne -- a real example of how great a female leader can be -- a true inspiration.

For me, the whole week was a wonderful adventure. How soon I will return, say for a Florida to Annapolis passagemaking course, depends on my pocketbook, but I've got a little itch to get to the point where I can return to Womanship as an instructor in training.

3  Thank Sailingbuddy037
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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