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Old 20-02-2009, 09:53   #1
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Bareboat Charter Certification?

So right now I am in Afghanistan with the army and I have always wanted to turn my desire to cruise the caribbean into a reality and I believe now I will have the funds to actually do it. I wondered if anyone had any suggestions on how the best way or best place to get my bareboat certification. Is it possible to go from novice to certified in one week of a boat charter with a certified instructor? I am not familiar with how all of that works, do I have to take a week to get 101 and then another week for 103 and then 104? Any advice would be much appreciated. I do have sailing fundamentals down as I have a bit of experience with a small dinghy and a hobie cat.

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Old 20-02-2009, 11:17   #2
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Technical answer is yes you can roll the three classes into one week. I've seen a school or two do that, one calls it Fast Track or something. Most schools like to break up 101 and 103/104 combo.

Personally I think it's a neat idea to take the classes in the BVI where you will be sailing anyways. Yea, it's a parking lot for boats but it's that way for a reason.

Be warned though, it's not all fun and games. The week will be a working vacation in every regard. Adding in 101, depending on your level of experience, will really make it a long week. 103/104 were enough to keep myself busy. Most of 101 is the terms and theory (for lack of better words). I said to my girlfriend...ohh we can skip 101 and go straight to 103/104... Really we couldn't. We might have but the amount we learned would not have been the same.

The standard answer on this forum is you can't possible learn everything you need to know in a week. I would say this is very true, but also that most folks learn something new every time they go out. Fact is you probely will only dock the boat a hand full of times, no where near enough to get comfortable- for me at least.

But, your learn enough not to kill yourself. At the end of my week of 103/104 the girlfriend and I took the boat our ourselves across the channel and moored overnight etc. Made it back in one piece. You will learn enough not to kill yourself. Just watch out for me!!!

Welcome to the forum, stay safe over there.

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Old 20-02-2009, 11:19   #3
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I orginally received all three in one week, but I had previous knowledge and cruisng experience going into it.
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Old 20-02-2009, 11:53   #4
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Is it possible to go from novice to certified in one week of a boat charter with a certified instructor?
It's possible to take a one week course that allows certification testing under ASA criteria. US Sail may have that option too. Starting from nothing at all I doubt you could pass it. To even have a chance you would need to spend a month going through all the material that is required to pass the written parts. That is not hard to pass but it's material you flat out have to know to be on the water. The performance part of the testing you might pass because you paid the tuition or not. On a good day with a good week of weather it could be successful.

It does not always mean you will get a boat. Moorings actually is pretty loose but they like to say "maybe we should send the captain out with you the first day just to be sure". They won;t take you money and call you a liar. On the water the captain sizes you up and decides if he can get off the boat. You'll pay for the captain the first day but maybe they feel you have the right stuff and he leaves or he stays and you learn some more. Captained charters I think are also great. At least the planning is done and usually the shopping and boat is set ready for you upon arrival. You sail as much as you want and are sure things will be well tended.

We did 103/104 in a week and it was a full agenda. We had only us on the boat at night and the instructor all day with no other students. The last day we went out alone. It's the very first class you really need to know well. Basic operation of sails its just something you need more time at. In one week you should have the ideas down but proficiency in varied conditions you just can't get there that fast. We had a whole season with a sail club before 103/104. ASA will let you demonstrate out of the beginning courses. 101 is easy to test out of if you have sailing experience. You need to be more than minimal to cruise but not to pass. That's the bad part.

In any case you have to start some place. Doing a course some place nice is a great way to learn to sail. You might as well go some place where you'll know why you wanted to learn. That part is a exceptional idea.

Afghanistan probably does not have much going for it as far as sailing opportunities.
Paul Blais
s/v Bright Eyes Gozzard 36
37 15.7 N 76 28.9 W
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Old 20-02-2009, 15:57   #5
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Hi Scott,

Great way to do it. You didn't mention the BVI, but I think it's a great place to learn and start. The sailings are pretty straighforward and all line of sight. You'd be picking up mooring balls most of the time rather than docking, except for maybe re-fueling or coming back to the charter company dock. Depending on how much you remember from sailing the hobie and small dinghys you should do fine with 101. The other classes cover navigaton, rules, boat systems, safety etc. If you can obtain the books ahead of time you can absorb alot beforehand, and then focus on the boat handling part while there. Taking a captain for a day or two is not a bad idea if you can't find an experienced pal who you can coerce into taking a trip.. to the caribbean...

Sunsail and the Moorings are the biggest, maybe the best... there are plenty of others.

Keep your head down in the meantime!

And have a great time in the Caribbean!
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Old 02-03-2009, 14:32   #6
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The courses are a great starting point but from my own experience it's the time on the water that builds your confidence. I took the basic keel boat course and several power squadron courses before I bought my boat. There were some holy s#^!t moments but I learned from them and my confidence went up every time I went out. I am far from being an accomplished sailor but I am growing with every trip out. It's the desire that keeps you moving forward in spite of the obstacles.
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Old 09-03-2010, 12:44   #7
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Here you have it straight from a BVI sailing instructor... sure. there are sailing schools that do a program that covers learn to sail through bareboat certification in one week. I have had some fabulous couples do it. And sometimes the opposite! The folks who don't do well come with debilitating baggage.

The highest success rate is with people who have basic sailing skills. They go to the BVI, take ASA 103 and 104 in a week and are perfectly fine to charter. One couple took chartering lessons one week and a charter boat out the next. No problem.

Sailing is the same (pretty much) for all the boats you will charter. The difference is systems. A course can address things such as docking, mooring, fueling, dinghy, basic navigation, etc. pretty well.

Keep in mind that this forum is used by hundreds of experienced sailors who are checking in on ideas and techniques all the time. Further proof that sailing is a never ending learning experience.

Have fun. I taught out of Nanny Cay Marina. The BVI and USVI are the best places to "test the waters." The area is set up for charterers. Head out to St Maarten, Antigua, and Grenada later.
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Old 02-05-2010, 12:37   #8
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My wife and I have jsut completed the 1 week Blue Water Sailing School course in the Bahamas. It was great. We did the ASA 101, 103, 104, 114 and 114 catamarans all in the week. It was pretty intense, but we had an excellent and knowledgable skipper and instructor in Alex Hill.

We did have a couple of days of winds around 25kts, which was actually good for boat handling and practicing reefing etc in real conditions.

Thoroughly recommended, and has given my wife a lot of confidence. We will likley do tyhe advanced coastal cruising next year before getting our next cruisng boat.

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