Are you considering sailing with your beloved pets?

Feb 24, 2022

Sailing with pets is becoming more and more common these days! If your pets are part of your family, you might feel you can’t leave them behind – and rightly so – but do not fear, it doesn’t have to be a nightmare. Gaining your own sea legs can be tricky so it is even harder for your four-legged friend, but there is lots you can do to help them feel settled. 

So, start by spend some time encouraging your pet to safely board and exit the boat, if they are big enough that you cannot carry them yourself. You could look at a ramp, or steps to help your dog comfortably join you on-board. Then, you should create or locate some safe areas on board the boat for your pet to feel comfortable, when there is rough weather or you need them away safely. 

So, once your pet is happy on board then you can start sailing and having them on board whilst you are underway! The sad news is though, is that seasickness and anxiety can also affect our pets as well as us so if you find your pet is having issues with this, you should contact your vet for help and advice. 

Now you might be wondering, if we are out at sea how will my pet do their ‘business’? Well, this is a good question. Cats can be reasonably easy as you can obtain a litter box, and use biodegradable litter, but dogs can be trickier. Some dog owners mount a square of grass AstroTurf on the deck!

In terms of safety on board, you must have tethers and lifejackets for your pet and you should have spares as well in case of an emergency. Therefore your pet should always be tethered securely whilst you are under sail and keep a pet-friendly first aid box too in case of any cuts and scrapes. 

If your pets are struggling in hotter climes, you can use cooling mats or pads, and wet towels to help to keep them cool, and you can protect your pet from the sun using pet-friendly sunblock too. You must also ensure you have a tag on your pets’ collar with your boat details and contact information! And this is so important when travelling, as your pet will not have any bearings to be able to find you if they are lost. 

Sailing with your pet, whilst wonderful, comes with lots of different things to think about and consider, so this is just the very start! There are all kinds of requirements for identification, medical information and vaccinations which vary from country to country so you should always plan ahead for your pet and check whether they will be able to successfully enter a country. 

If you can iron out all the details and make it work, having a pet on board can be incredibly rewarding and so enjoyable for them too. If you have a pet sailing with you, please send us a photo, we’d love to see! 

Topsail’s 25 Year Competition – The Winners

Feb 14, 2022

You might remember that last year we celebrated Topsail’s 25 Year anniversary!

As part of our 25 Year celebrations, we ran a competition from 1st August until 30th November giving all our customers a chance to win 25% of their premium back. This applied to not only all new policies we sold, but all our existing customers during that period too!

The winners were chosen and contacted and it is safe to say they were all very pleased to be selected! Some even very kindly sent us some beautiful photos of either their sailing boat or holiday. 

See a selection of the great photos submitted below and if you’d like to send us some photos of your vessel, we would love that! Contact us at [email protected] and we’d love to feature you on our social media. 

25 Facts You Didn’t Know about Topsail

Nov 13, 2021

Do you follow us on social media? If so, you will have seen our #Topsail25Facts campaign! 

Topsail is 25 this year so we’ve been gathering all the best highlights and facts about the last 25 years of Topsail. 

Check out the full list below and follow us online to see some more photos of some of these great memories!



1. Director Cathy has been a cruiser for many years, and sailed through South East Asia on yacht Catcha Star for four years until 2014! Catcha Star is shown here, anchored in Langkawi. A proper long-term cruiser, with the washing hanging out and extra awnings!

2. Robert Stevens, Topsail Insurance Pty Ltd CEO, previously worked in Lloyd’s of London. 

3. The Topsail team previously went sailing with the Ocean Youth Trust South on board their Tall Ship Prolific! 

4. Topsail insure all types of craft – from a Superyacht to a Sailing Dinghy, to a narrowboat. We’re happy to take a look at anything and see if we can help. 

5. Topsail made their first acquisition last year, purchasing Y Yacht Insurance. We are loving having the Y Yacht team and customers in the fold! 

6. Meaghan’s lockdown project was a rundown Victorian flat which she and her husband have done up

7. We insure over £260,000,000 worth of boats! 

8. Our specialist Yacht Travel and Tall Ships Travel Insurance can offer insurance for long-term trips, including voyages such as the World ARC! We love hearing all the interesting stories our customers have to tell. 

9. 6 of our staff joined us via an apprenticeship scheme, 5 of whom are still with the company! 

10. Team member Lindsay also works as cabin crew and absolutely loves it! Here is just a few pictures of some trips she’s taken – Lindsay also took part in a test flight for what was at the time the brand new Airbus A340-600. Some may know this is the world’s second longest passenger aircraft!

11. Topsail Insurance Ltd. was originally called GH Insurance Services Ltd, which was originally a general commercial broker! Robert Stevens’ parents-in-law set up GH Insurance Services Ltd. from their loft in their house. Rob was the previous MD of Topsail, and is now CEO of Topsail Insurance Pty Ltd. 

12. Ric and Nigel, Topsail Directors, started their careers at St Margaret’s Insurance. 

13. GH Insurance Services Ltd. moved in to the marine insurance sector when previous owner Peter Hopkinson took part in the 20 month Blue Water Rally, leading to the company setting up a bespoke 20 month insurance policy scheme for the participants.  

14. Starting by landing at the most dangerous airport in the world, Karen conquered her fear of heights by trekking over really, really high, wobbly suspension bridges up to Everest Base Camp in 2015! 

15. Mum and daughter both work for Topsail, with Charlotte Fenn working in Australia and mum Samantha working in our UK office. 

16. Our Operations Manager Laura appeared on TV game show Winning Combination in 2020! Laura’s team was successful in answering all questions correctly and shared their winnings of £1,650.00.

17. Two of our staff now hold professional insurance qualifications with the Chartered Insurance Institute and many of our other team members are well on their way to achieving the same! 

18. Sam has abseiled out of our local attraction the i360 from 450feet – not once but twice! 

19. Our current google review score is 4.7 out of 5, based on 173 reviews 

20. Daniel Groves, who previously worked in our UK office, emigrated to Australia in 2016 and now heads up Topsail PTY Ltd’s Queensland office! 

21. Charlotte Fenn then followed Daniel and emigrated to Australia in 2019! 

22. Laura & Mollie once walked on Glass and Coals for the Blind Veterans charity, raising £286.00! 

23. Due to the pandemic and remote working, there are a few members of the team who are still yet to ever meet each other in person – we are hoping to rectify that this year! 

24. Meaghan backpacked around Nepal in 2017, and even kayaked in crocodile infested waters! She’s braver than the rest of us… 

25. At Topsail we have well over 100 years of combined experience in the industry! 

Topsail turns 25 this year!

Apr 21, 2021

Topsail are pleased to announce that this year we celebrate 25 years in the insurance industry.

Established in 1996 as GH Insurance Services Ltd., we were best known for our involvement in Blue Water cruising. Original shareholder Peter Hopkins (the H of GH!) decided to partake in the Blue Water Rally, which was a 20 month circumnavigation established in 1997. As a result of Peter’s participation in the rally, Topsail set up a 20 month boat insurance policy for participants with Zurich Insurance Plc as security. We additionally offered our specialist Yachtsman’s Travel Insurance product and again put together a 20 month package for BWR customers. The final Blue Water Rally set sail in 2010, coming to an end in 2011.

Since this time we have become specialists in marine insurance as a whole, offering cover for many types of craft including sailing dinghies, small craft, inland craft, narrowboats, yachts, motorboats and most recently jet skis. This is of course in addition to our specialist Tall Ships, Sail Training, Jubilee Sailing Trust and Yachtsman’s travel insurance products. 

Based in the UK, we cover people from all walks of life, including cruising down the Norfolk Broads, pottering round the English Channel, cruising around Europe or indeed those people looking to cruise worldwide. 

Topsail also has a sister company established in 2014. Topsail Insurance Pty Ltd. has offices based in Perth, Sydney and Queensland, Australia. 

We are proud to be able to have access to a number of Insurers, so we will always look to ensure we find the right solution to fit your needs.

Topsail MD Chris McGowan had this to say:

“This is a great milestone for our company and shows that we offer the products and service our clients expect. The last year has been the most exciting in our history having recently purchased the Y Yacht Insurance brand, in addition to bringing in two ex-senior MS Amlin (Haven Knox-Johnston) employees Ric De Cristofano (Director of Underwriting) and Nigel Hawkes (Director of Operations), and we remain focused on continuing to provide excellent service to our clients.

I would like to thank all of our Insurers and producers who have supported us throughout this time and look forward to further enhancing our working relationships.

I would further like to thank all of our clients for your loyalty over this time and we look forward to continuing to meet your insurance needs over the years ahead.

We at Topsail look forward to the next 25 years.”

As part of our 25th anniversary we will be running several competitions, in addition to posting 25 things you may not know about Topsail on our social media channels.

Be sure to keep an eye out for these by following us on our social media platforms. 




What happened at the 2021 RYA virtual Dinghy Show

Mar 8, 2021

Whilst a virtual boat show is not something any of us had envisioned pre-2020, it was brilliant for the sailing world that the event was able to go ahead and give us a good start to the 2021 sailing season. With 8,000 people registering and over 12,000 logins throughout the weekend, it was certainly well received and appreciated. 

Rob Clarke, the director of sport development at the RYA said, ‘It was fantastic to see such great engagement with both the speakers and exhibitors and for the Dinghy Show content to be accessible to so many sailors all over the world. There is definitely a real buzz to get back on the water when we are able to!”

Amongst the events, there were definitely some great highlights, including a chat with Olympic Gold medallist Hannah Mills, who is preparing for Tokyo 2020, a presentation from Kate Fortnam at The Green Blue discussing how we can continue to help protect the environment, and the live final of the eSailing Winter Club Championship. 

Additionally the RYA and Yachts & Yachting Club of the Year winner was announced! A huge congratulations to Port Dinorwic Sailing Club / Clwb Hwylio Y Felinheli!

In summary, it seems that the RYA Dinghy show was a great success! Moving forward it can be a great inspiration to other shows who would like to do something similar, and advertise the show to a worldwide audience. The virtual platform will remain available for a month, so if anyone had signed up but missed some of the talks, they can catch up here: