“…and we’re back (from the BVI)”

And what a whirlwind it was at the end as some of us dealt with flight issues from the Mid-Atlantic & Northeast snowstorm.  But it was worth it…

We sailed from Tortola as usual and cruised the British Virgin Islands for a week.  This was one of our instructional sailing vacations where one can chillax and/or earn ASA 103 or 104 cruising certification.  We had two couples aboard.  One took a trip with us 10 years before, and the other learned to sail with us more recently and were ready to take it up a notch.

4 out of 5
“four out of five sailors surveyed on this trip recommend another one!” (The fifth just wasn’t there to be surveyed…)

Weather was a little unusual.  Winds were light for this time of year, with only two days of reefing weather (shortening sail, or using less than the full complement).  That was fine as it was never so light that we had to motor to where we were going.  There was also little rain and none at night – very unusual.  (When that happens, it’s a brief light shower and not an issue.)

jost toast
Having a toast at Jost Van Dyke.

The reefs on Anegada are recovering nicely from prior hurricane damage and the fish life was much more abundant.  The Director, Captain Card, snorkeled with a large eagle ray there.  It was elegant.

Our secret snorkeling spot on Anegada.

More on this trip to be added.  If you subscribe to our rants (posts) from any page on our site, you’ll get an email when we get another rant going!


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start date
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Beware the faux full learn-to-sail course!

We’re getting very tired of schools, and daily deal sites, promoting “3-day” learn to sail courses that just aren’t.  It’s misleading marketing at best and does a real disservice to the consumer and the entire industry.

What am I talking about?  How about a course that is two days of sailing instruction, plus a few hours of classroom theory one evening.  In what universe does a few hours add up to a day?  Or, two days of sailing instruction, plus practice sailing on another day that’s counted as a day of instruction – yet with no instructor on board.  It’s not what they’re billing it to be, and it’s not revealed until the consumer digs a little.

Even if the schools and daily deal sites were honest about it, two days is just not enough for the average student to learn to sail.  Period.  Sometimes three days is barely enough, which is just one of the reasons we include free supervised practice sails after our course.  It’s the best balance of pushing students to gain the confidence to sail without an instructor on board and assess how ready they are to go further.  If this reveals that they need more time with an instructor, we give it for free.  (And this almost never happens.)

Neither ASA nor US Sailing mandate that a Basic Keelboat course be a certain length or format (and yes, they both use exactly that name for the learn-to-sail level; don’t get us started…).  But allowing less than three days simply devalues the certification.  The main reason we stopped offering rentals to the outside public is that there are so many students going through 2-day programs that cannot skipper, and it’s a mutually disappointing waste of time for them to come and fail a rental checkout.

One school’s 2-day program ends with the student taking her or his Basic Keelboat certification exam (if he or she chose to pony up the extra $50 for the privliege that is not included in the tuition).  then, whoo-HOO!  They’re certified.  That’s supposed to mean they can skipper a suitable size boat (20 – 27 feet by current ASA standards, and around 20 feet by their historical standard).  But, alas, they cannot.  When they join that school’s sailing club, they cannot skipper BY DEFINITION for the first season!  It’s even on their web site!  Yes, somehow ASA allows this, and a seemingly well-educated and discriminating demographic continues to throw away their $400 to $500 not learning how to sail properly.

So, our advice to you if you’re reading this and have not yet bought a learn to sail/Basic Keelboat course: do your due dil on the number of days and hours you’ll get at the candidate school, and what they really do with those hours.  You’ll probably be surprised at what you find.

We’re STILL sailing!

Or at least on the water itching to play hooky from ‘winterizing’ and take a boat out for a spin.  Here we were today…

mast up

That’s Chip, indicating that all’s good to go for dropping that Beneteau mast.  The smaller mast in front is a gypsy pole that’s temporarily rigged – just like the mast – with a forestay and shrouds.  Lowering the mast is a safe cinch once the prep work is done…


mast downTomorrow?  We’re going to rinse & repeat after hauling the one you see here.

Saturday?  Maybe go for a sail.  And maybe Sunday too…

Care to join?  Drop us a line!  Who knows!