About Independent Sailing …
We are the specialist Yacht Charter team of Sailing Holidays Ltd, the largest independent sailing holiday company in the UK.
We love sailing and know exactly what goes into crafting the perfect holiday and providing the best customer experience.
Our holidays are 100% financially protected through Protected Trust Services (PTS). If you have any questions about Independent Sailing and financial protection for your holiday, please drop us a line at YachtCharter@IndependentSailing.com.
Give us a call to make your Independent Sailing experience a reality.
Meet the team
Ivan Fircks – Yacht Charter Manager and Broker
Having grown up in Southern Africa, I was always somewhere near the sea, whether it be Sailing, surfing, or fishing. When I arrived in the Mediterranean for the first-time, the combination of the rich cultures, beautiful scenery, crystal clear waters and great sailing conditions just got me hooked.
I spent around 4 years working as a flotilla skipper in the Ionian and Saronic regions of Greece. Then after completing a degree at university, I started working for the Sailing Holidays London office, where I could specialise in Yacht Charter bookings. I have grown a great understanding for the charter market from bareboat and skippered charters to fully crewed.
I love managing charters because I find it exciting to plan an experience that I’m passionate about for someone and create an experience for them to feel the same. I love to go out and sail the regions we charter as much as possible, because there’s always more to be offered!
Mark Bircher – Charter Broker
I grew up in Manchester, and whilst at university I joined the dinghy sailing team which sparked my passion for sailing. I remain a keen dinghy sailor and have sailed and raced yachts in both the south coast of England and across the Mediterranean. In recent years I have been lucky enough to crew on yacht deliveries in the South of France and Italy. The latter visiting Corsica and Sardinia, before travelling down the Amalfi Coast to Sicily.
For 3 years I worked as a flotilla engineer and skipper in Greece, spending most of my time in the beautiful North and South Ionian islands. I also spent time in the Saronic Islands, which I have since visited on charter trips with friends and family. I truly believe you can’t beat the sea air; and coupled with the food, sun, and rich cultures that the Mediterranean has to offer, believe it is the ideal place for a sailing trip.
As a fellow sailor, I love talking everything yachts and sailing, and hope that I can pass on my local knowledge.
If you have any queries at all or would like to discuss options for your next sailing adventure? then do get in touch! I look forward to hearing from you!
Ellen Ankers – Charter Broker
I’ve always been an outdoorsy person and I love the water. My first passion was for swimming and during my school years I participated in numerous galas across the county. Never winning, but it’s the taking part that counts!
I’d never sailed until I booked a cabin on a flotilla in Croatia in 2015. I’d been working for a pension company for 7 years by then and I returned from Croatia totally inspired to try something new. I immediately hung up my insurance shoes and vowed to get into sailing!
Next minute I was in Corfu building up my first fleet of flotilla yachts, and I enjoyed an unforgettable flotilla season in the South Ionian area of Greece.
Naturally, the only way to follow that was a snowboarding season in France, before making the move to London. I joined the London Office team in May 2017 and haven’t looked back since!
The Ionian islands of Greece is where I know best, but I’m always researching and can’t wait to explore further afield in the Med. Give me a shout for all things Ionian – I might also have a bonus Greek mythology ‘fact’ for you!
Charlie Allport – Charter Broker
Since early childhood, I have loved the sea and all the activities that come with it. I grew up sailing dinghies and at the age of 16 I took the RYA Day Skipper course, from that point on I know this was the path for me.
After completing Yacht Master Offshore in Australia, I worked as a flotilla skipper for Sailing Holidays LTD in the Ionian for two years, after a break from work to sail across the Atlantic with friends I re-joined the Sailing Holidays team in London in 2014 and have been there ever since.
Having sailed in many areas throughout the Mediterranean, I really enjoy passing on local knowledge to my clients at Independent Sailing, to help them find their perfect charter.