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Old 07-08-2015, 09:57   #16
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Re: Beginner course, Vancouver or BVI?

Given that you've already got some sailing experience, the BVI wont do much to build your skills. It is dead easy, which is one reason it is so popular. It likely would be a good venue for your wife to have a positive sailing experience, but you will likely learn more doing training in the more challenging conditions of the PNW (I've sailed & taught classes there in the summer months...beautiful venue with lots of factors to keep you on your toes).

Like others, I suggest doing your training more local to you and then take the wife on a nice easy charter vacation in the BVI.
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Old 07-08-2015, 10:00   #17
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Re: Beginner course, Vancouver or BVI?

For me, there are no catamaran courses here in the Vancouver area. The
Companies actually go to Florida or Bahamas for that part. I would rather learn all here. So unless someone knows of a course on catamaran sailing ( large ones over 40 ft.) here in the Vancouver area, I will be going to the tropics!
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Old 07-08-2015, 10:06   #18
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Re: Beginner course, Vancouver or BVI?

My husband and I took a 5-day sailing out of Vancouver a few years back with Bewley Sailing and really enjoyed it - so much so that we now live at the coast and own a 44' Spencer. Colin Campbell, the skipper, was very knowledgeable but also took care to ensure that I was within my comfort level when taking on new tasks. If want the experience of leaving a larger port, starting from Vancouver may be a good choice but it you want to experience the beauty of Desolation Sound, consider Cooper's Boating out of Powell River. September is one of our favorite months for sailing as the "crowds" have thinned by then but the weather is usually still good. The lakes in the area are still warm enough for swimming if you want to go for a hike and a swim after anchoring.
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Old 07-08-2015, 10:10   #19
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Re: Beginner course, Vancouver or BVI?

I think an important question to answer is the time of year.

Weather changes, but averages for time of year can make a difference in which location is more suited or preferable for sailing or learning to sail.
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Old 07-08-2015, 10:14   #20
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Re: Beginner course, Vancouver or BVI?

From strictly a weather point of view:
The PNW will be cooler
The Caribbean will be hotter w more humidity.
I personally found the Carib heat and humidity oppressive at times. You can only get so naked.
While the PNW is cooler it is never Freezing and you can bundle up.

I agree w other comments about beauty and diversity of conditions in the PNW.

Go where you will have the most fun along with learning is my suggestion.
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Old 07-08-2015, 10:16   #21
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Re: Beginner course, Vancouver or BVI?

Quote:
Originally Posted by LNL View Post
For me, there are no catamaran courses here in the Vancouver area. The
Companies actually go to Florida or Bahamas for that part. I would rather learn all here. So unless someone knows of a course on catamaran sailing ( large ones over 40 ft.) here in the Vancouver area, I will be going to the tropics!
I've certified instructors based in the PNW to teach ASA 114 (Cruising Catamaran) so there are likely certified instructors somewhere in the area still. Don't know which schools they are teaching for now but, you can find ASA schools in the area on the ASA web site (WWW.asa.com). There are many in the PNW. I noticed at least one, Puget Sound Sailing Institute, that offers ASA 114.

If you have trouble finding what you want then let me know and I can ask other instructors/schools for recommendations.
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Old 07-08-2015, 10:27   #22
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Re: Beginner course, Vancouver or BVI?

We keep our boat in Campbell River, at the northern end of the Strait of Georgia with Desolation Sound as our main cruising ground. There is no shortage of wind in the North especially in July - regularly west wind from 10-20 knots, although not usually into the Sound itself. Have you considered taking a cruise and learn? I took courses (CSA) through Cooper Boating in Vancouver - big selection of courses - but they now also operate out of Powell River, near Desolation Sound. The best thing for us was taking a cruise and learn, shortly after purchasing our own boat. Have some good cruising and do your learning at the same time. You'll need accommodation anyway. And we saw whales the last time out (last week) !
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Old 07-08-2015, 10:28   #23
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Re: Beginner course, Vancouver or BVI?

My wife and I have completed ASA 101 through 104 on board for a week in the Virgin Islands, much of which was in BVI waters. We chose to engage a private schooling session, thus tailoring the learning experience to our individual particular needs. We are happy with the experience, and I believe our teamwork was greatly facilitated by being together in such a controlled setting.

Some distinguishing features between the PNW and BVI include: (i) tides; (ii) currents; and (iii) wind variation. While there are some currents in BVI, their effect appeared to us to very limited as compared to those in PNW, particularly those currents induced by tide. If you want a more rigorous exposure to handling the boat in strong currents I believe you will benefit more from the PNW. Similarly, there is virtually no tide in BVI, in contrast to the PNW. If you want a more rigorous training in docking with spring lines, anchoring and mooring in a steep-to situation, then the PNW is your best bet. Collecting fresh water on deck from a 200 foot cliff top while showing 500 ft. of water under the boat can be the high point of your day -- as can motoring your way through and around the whirlpools that are so prevalent while tides run in the Channel Islands as they grab your keel.

Both locations are subject to wind shadows, and gusts falling from nearby islands. Depending on your chosen course and position, the BVI is subject to north winds with a lot of fetch, that can create different sea conditions each day as the winds back from Easterly to Northerly. Subject to correction by others more familiar and knowledge than your humble servant, I believe on balance the wind variations are more stable for coastwise PNW cruising.

Another point, without giving the impression that the PNW is without its hazards, is that BVI is full of reefs -- albeit well marked and identifiable if you have local waters pilot on hand. I suggest that you exhaustively study and note the hazards for all planned and contingent courses before you get under way.

On balance, I believe the beginning sailor is best equipped when trained and experienced in the tactics necessitated by the dynamics of significant tides and currents, not least of which is maneuvering to and from dock and harbor. Additionally, you will find the skill required to raft up with multiple other boats will be a necessity in the PNW as the number of moorings and marinas is limited, and the "red docks" are generally crowded. It is a good skill to have as one masters getting along with and accommodating other boaters in a safe and courteous manner.

With best regards
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Old 07-08-2015, 10:31   #24
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Re: Beginner course, Vancouver or BVI?

I suggest that you do your cruise n learn where you are likely to do most of your cruising ...that way you also get an introduction to the area for when you later charter.

Also although the "learn" part is important I think it is more important that your wife learns or experiences how enjoyable cruising can be and the Gulf Islands will do that...beautiful, neat little coves and harbours, funky marinas and restaurants, not overly crowded etc ...all things that appealed to my spouse.

Also strongly recommend that your wife do her initial cruise n learn with an all female crew.....fact of the matter is that if males are on board they will "help" her too much (ie take over). On an all girl cruise they apparently seem to enjoy it more ( maybe it's the getting away from Capt Bligh)

After your wife has gotten her own bearings ( in her own way at her own pace) and has developed self-confidence then you can do a joint cruise n learn together.

Also strongly recommend that you both should FIRST take 'classroom' courses from CPS (Canadian Power n Sail Squadron) starting with Boating Essentials --their courses are excellent and what you learn actually "sticks" with you--- then supplement that with hands on learning on a cruise n learn.

Have taken cruise n learn courses from almost all the schools in BC (from beginner up to including Offshore Skipper & Offshore Navigator) and all were good.

Also FWIW I went for ISPA certifications but CYA is just as good...

And summer cruising in BC is lovely ...warm, beautiful and lightish winds which is what you want to start out with ( you don't want to scare the sh*t out of your crew ...at least not at first...that will come later)

Just my 2 cents worth.

( home in Calgary, CPS 'graduate', cruise n learned in Gulf Islands, chartered in Florida, sailed to Mexico, cruising in Mexico for last 10 winters...if you want to chat then let me know)
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Old 07-08-2015, 10:43   #25
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Re: Beginner course, Vancouver or BVI?

I didn't realise it was such a short drive from Edmonton to Vancouver, I've always flown to BC for work and play. In that case, I agree, the Lakes would be goofy.

One tip, which you might already know, is ASA doesn't have much meaning North of the 49th parallel. For certification you are looking for a "Sail Canada" certified courses. They have a good website, including an option to search for qualified instructors by region. By the same token, you want the boat and skipper certified by Transport Canada, not the USCG.

I only thought of this because if you're googling you may get some confusing search results using ASA as one of your search parameters.

Sent from my XP7700 using Cruisers Sailing Forum mobile app
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Old 07-08-2015, 11:02   #26
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Re: Beginner course, Vancouver or BVI?

Ooops! I wrote Puget Sound earlier. My mistake.
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Old 07-08-2015, 11:40   #27
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Re: Beginner course, Vancouver or BVI?

I agree with cwyckham. You'll learn more 'all round' sailing skills here in the PNW. I did most of my courses with Coppers as well, good training. You might consider a muilti-day cruise and learn, gets it done quicker if your holiday time is limited. Again I agree that September is a great time here for weather, depending upon what courses are available.

Myself and a friend learned to sail one year(basic, intermediate, coastal nav) and the next we chartered in BVI. We were worried that we wouldn't have enough experience, although the charter company was happy to take our money! Considering some of the 'stunts' we saw, we did very well. We had a blast, you will too!
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Old 07-08-2015, 11:44   #28
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Re: Beginner course, Vancouver or BVI?

I too can recommend Capt Macs School of Seamanship in Vancouver. You will get a week aboard exploring the gulf islands and a great teacher, cook, and fun guy to learn from.
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Old 07-08-2015, 11:48   #29
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Re: Beginner course, Vancouver or BVI?

I took a week long liveaboard course from San Juan Sailing School, which is based out of Bellingham WA. I had an excellent instructor, and I recommend them to anyone who is looking for instruction in the PNW.
Welcome to San Juan Sailing

Cheers!
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Old 07-08-2015, 12:01   #30
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Re: Beginner course, Vancouver or BVI?

I have not yet sailed in Vancouver, but I would enjoy doing so in the future.

So, please do not take what follows as a criticism of Vancouver or its weather. I simply take notes and am sharing them here because of the discussion. While I am not looking at these cities as places to take lessons, I am looking at potential places to live and sail. I intend to move to a coastal city within the next year, and sailing is going to be my primary interest there.

When considering a place to sail (and live), I look at the typical sailing conditions and much of that is dependent on the weather (wind). A few months ago I did some research into the weather in various cities I might like to visit (and possibly live) for sailing in the future. For my purposes, I looked at the PNW, Chesapeake, Miami, San Diego, Boston, San Francisco, etc.

When considering the different places, I looked for average wind (most important to me as a sailor), average rain (I prefer sunny weather), and average temperature and humidity, and dew point. Those things make for a more pleasant sail.

Of course there are other considerations too, such as cost of living, activities, quality of life, crime, "atmosphere" etc.

NOTE: Today's wind in Vancouver BC Weather: 66F (19C), Wind E at 3 mph (5 km/h), 68% Humidity
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Weather Vancouver BC

SOURCE: https://weatherspark.com/averages/28...olumbia-Canada
Wind

Over the course of the year typical wind speeds vary from 0 mph to 15 mph (calm to moderate breeze), rarely exceeding 26 mph (strong breeze).

The highest average wind speed of 8 mph (gentle breeze) occurs around March 19, at which time the average daily maximum wind speed is 15 mph (moderate breeze).
The lowest average wind speed of 7 mph (light breeze) occurs around September 27, at which time the average daily maximum wind speed is 12 mph (moderate breeze).

The wind is most often out of the east (34% of the time), west (15% of the time), and south east (12% of the time). The wind is least often out of the north (3% of the time) and north east (4% of the time).

Clouds?
The clearer part of the year begins around June 28. The cloudier part of the year begins around September 24.

Rain?
During the warm season, which lasts from June 17 to September 10, there is a 33% average chance that precipitation will be observed at some point during a given day. When precipitation does occur it is most often in the form of light rain (59% of days with precipitation have at worst light rain), moderate rain (32%), and thunderstorms (7%).
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