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Old 14-06-2016, 12:58   #1
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Private Catamaran sailing instructions

Our plan is to purchase a catamaran in Florida next year and as sailing newbies want to take sailing courses but would prefer to do this on our own catamaran.

Anyone here followed this approach, recommendations/comments appreciated.

I believe that if we hired an instructor thru a sailing school we would receive accreditations which would most likely assist with insurance rates but can private instructors do the same?
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Old 14-06-2016, 13:08   #2
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Re: Private Catamaran sailing instructions

Properly accredited instructors can give group lessons or private lessons.

All it takes for the private lessons is more money.
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Old 14-06-2016, 13:21   #3
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Re: Private Catamaran sailing instructions

Thanks for the response, we looked at sailing lessons for 1 week aboard a catamaran thru a sailing school and at $8-10K for the two of us plus travel from Canada i thought we could do better with one week of private instruction on our own cat.
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Old 14-06-2016, 14:19   #4
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Re: Private Catamaran sailing instructions

Reef Runner Sailing out of Panama City/Key Largo might can help you. Pete Wodraska, the owner, used to teach ASA courses at water sailing">Blue Water Sailing School aboard his private catamaran. I think Pete has sold the cat, and now has the Reef Runner school of his own, but maybe they can direct you to private lessons

Reef Runner Sailing | ASA Sailing School | Panama City, FL & Key Largo
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Old 14-06-2016, 16:40   #5
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Re: Private Catamaran sailing instructions

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Originally Posted by mrioux View Post
Thanks for the response, we looked at sailing lessons for 1 week aboard a catamaran thru a sailing school and at $8-10K for the two of us plus travel from Canada i thought we could do better with one week of private instruction on our own cat.

That is private lessons, plus renting the boat, plus whatever else they included in the package....

Yep, it would be cheaper to hire the instructor a few hrs a day and use your own boat.
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Old 15-06-2016, 05:50   #6
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Re: Private Catamaran sailing instructions

Hi MRioux,

We did a similar thing- you can definitely do this. We had zero sailing experience but wanted to go cruising full time. We took a 6 day class with BWSS and did get the certifications, but we knew that if we tried to gain experience through chartering, like many, the impact on our kitty would be too much. We saved our money instead (4 years), were subsequently able to buy a better boat and then brought a Capitan on board to assist us in learning the boat and getting us comfortable for as long as we needed. We ended up doing several overnighters right away and really tore into the boat to understand how all the systems worked. After about 3 weeks of sailing the East Coast and with strong guidance from our Capitain we found ourselves in the Bahamas, comfortable enough to continue on our own. We subsequently traveled for 2+ years visiting 23 countries with maybe 30 overnight sails.

I would not recommend this approach for everyone, but I can tell you we met many other full time cruisers who didn't have much more experience, or, they had sailed for years but it was almost all weekend stuff, out of their home waters. This doesn't help you much given that cruising is probably 15% sailing ability, 20% anchoring with the other 65% being system maintenance and how to liveaboard. When the weather is dicey, don't go out. You'll inadvertently find challenging weather scenarios anyway. One of the reasons it worked was that I was a veracious reader of everything sailing for the 4 years prior to us leaving. We also bought what I believe was a sizeable, tough boat and put on a good ground tackle system (consider the whole system, not just the anchor). In time you will either have absolute unwavering confidence in your boat (we did) or will have doubts- there's no gray area. In addition thinking through scenarios ahead of time and using common sense goes a long way. A lot of common sense keeps you out of trouble. Lack of will get you onto trouble regardless of experience.

PM me if you would like the name of a few people who could work with you.
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Old 15-06-2016, 09:30   #7
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Re: Private Catamaran sailing instructions

To give you an idea, the running rate to hire Randy Smyth (multiple Olympian tornado sailer, and master catamaran sailmaker) for private classes runs around $400/day for his time plus travel costs. So if you are doing the classes on your boat I would consider any more than this to be a bit excessive.

If that price included the cost of chartering the boat as well, then it's not much more than I would expect to spend just to charter a large cat, so makes more sense.
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Old 15-06-2016, 16:45   #8
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Re: Private Catamaran sailing instructions

Most sailing schools will be able to provide you with a private instructor on your boat. I would just research the school and instructor before choosing which one to go with. Here in Grenada we charge $225 per day for private instruction. It makes a lot of sense to learn on your own boat rather than traveling to a school and learning on their boats.

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions and when you make it to Grenada, stop in for a rum punch!
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Old 15-06-2016, 19:58   #9
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Re: Private Catamaran sailing instructions

One of the best places to buy a catamaran is the Caribbean. Captains charge $150 / day in the Caribbean. You learn on your own boat - seems a no brainer. BTW, I don't know that lower insurance rates will be a factor, my company didn't care too much about my experience level except that I did have some.
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Old 21-06-2016, 08:43   #10
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Re: Private Catamaran sailing instructions

I looked into this for my wife and I this year and it came out to roughly $4200/person in BVI (slightly less - $4000/person if I went to Tampa/St.Pete area).

For that $4200/person for 7 days, it includes your accommodations (on the boat) -- the charter -- food for all but I think 2-3 dinners and the day you arrive and leave.

The main reason we opt'd not to choose this route beyond the high price, was that the lessons weren't even private (4 person lesson groups), so the allure of having a nice quiet vacation mixed in with some sailing lessons was lost.
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Old 21-06-2016, 09:11   #11
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Re: Private Catamaran sailing instructions

Drew - check out our website and drop me an email. We can definitely offer you a more affordable option AND you would be sailing in Grenada!
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Old 21-06-2016, 10:01   #12
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Re: Private Catamaran sailing instructions

I dont teach very actively anymore, but have done a LOT of private instruction. When I ran my own school, we called these "instructional deliveries". Taught aboard the new owner's boat as we delivered it to its new home.. The objective was that by the end of the delivery the owner was running the boat and the instructor was just there as training wheels.

It is a great way to learn aboard your own boat, but if you plan to start from zero then you also need time aboard a smallish (25-30') mono or two for the introductory level classes because a larger cruising boat (be it cat or mono) is really not the ideal learning platform. ASA standards also specify the boat type for each class.

Also note that an individual ASA instructor can teach the classes, but only an affiliated school can submit certification requests. So, if you want the certifications (and most do) then a school will have to be involved.

A word of caution: not all sailors, not matter how experienced, make good instructors (in fact, not all certified instructors are good instructors). So choose carefully. Spending a week on your boat with Captain Blight would not be a good learning experience. Hire a good instructor, not just some yahoo off the dock because he's cheap. Personal recommendations are usually best, plus spend a little time with the specific instructor (dont let a school just asign the next available) before you comit (at least have dinner/drinks with him so you can evaluate and set expectations).

I just recently completed an instructional delivery from Martinique to Grenada. Done at a cruising pace over several weeks for a new to cats owner and his new to sailing GF. Good trip. At the end I sat ashore at a bar in the Grenadines and watched the new owners embark on their first solo sail to Grenada...which they completed without mishap including heaving-to in a squall and docking to top up fuel in Grenada. Its gratifying to see students do well.

You can just see them raising sail in the background over my beer in the attached pic.
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Old 22-06-2016, 10:40   #13
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Re: Private Catamaran sailing instructions

Quote:
Originally Posted by mrioux View Post
Our plan is to purchase a catamaran in Florida next year and as sailing newbies want to take sailing courses but would prefer to do this on our own catamaran.

Anyone here followed this approach, recommendations/comments appreciated.

I believe that if we hired an instructor thru a sailing school we would receive accreditations which would most likely assist with insurance rates but can private instructors do the same?
Well I did purchase a catamaran in Florida. But I first sailed on my Dad's boat in Miami in 1954 and have been sailing since then.

The state of Florida offers a free online course for boat operators and it is well worth taking, if only because it may help with insurance. When looking/buying a boat most folks have a survey done that includes sea trials. The sea trials usually have the previous owner aboard and they often can offer good tips on handling the boat. It is also normal for a potential buyer to spend some time prior to the sea trial on the boat with the owner and again there is potential here for good tips about the boat.

I am guessing you will not buy the first boat you look at so simply looking at boat at a dock or on a ball should you give some feel for what is required to skipper a boat. By this I mean where the lines are and how easy it will be to deal with them from the cockpit as opposed to having to go to the foredeck to deal with the head sails. This is just one example of something to take into account when selecting your boat.

Does the boat have a hank on jib or roller furling, because what ever system it has is the one you need to learn. While I like the idea of getting training on the boat you buy the point I am trying to make is selecting an easy to sail boat to buy will mean a different type of training than for a boat that is harder to sail.

My boat has a big square top main and I have to climb a few steps on the mast to attach the main halyard. I knew this going in, and since the PO was 6'5" and I am 5'9" I had to add a couple of steps to the mast before I could sail. A more conventional pin head or fat head sail would eliminate this issue. On the other hand I do love the extra speed and the fact that a big square top acts as a first reef. This is another example of how selecting a boat to buy can change what type of training you will need.

While I had sailed on multihulls before most of my experience had been on monohulls. One of the biggest shocks I got with the cat was how much easier it was to control a cat with two screws fairly close to amidships compared to a monohull with a single screw. On the other hand I have a friend with a single sail drive on his cat which is only a couple of feet from the sterns, and I would be afraid to dock his boat under any conditions.

Bottom line is if you spend enough time before hand studying just what features will make a cat easy to sail and cruise on it will greatly reduce the amount of training necessary.
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Old 22-06-2016, 11:53   #14
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Re: Private Catamaran sailing instructions

Check out Affordable Sailing School. For the sake of full transparency, I teach ASA courses for them in the BVI, including ASA 114 (cruising catamaran). These sessions are strictly private, and are tailored to the specific students, with an eye to providing some vacation time, as well. Michael is very attentive and sensitive to different situations and requests and is great to work with; he would also be a wonderful source of info for you, regardless of what you decide to do. Check out Affordable's website for their programs and reviews, recommendations and such. You can also PM me.
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Old 22-06-2016, 12:02   #15
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Re: Private Catamaran sailing instructions

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Originally Posted by Stumble View Post
To give you an idea, the running rate to hire Randy Smyth (multiple Olympian tornado sailer, and master catamaran sailmaker) for private classes runs around $400/day for his time plus travel costs. So if you are doing the classes on your boat I would consider any more than this to be a bit excessive.

If that price included the cost of chartering the boat as well, then it's not much more than I would expect to spend just to charter a large cat, so makes more sense.
In the past, it was cheaper just to buy your own beach cat and race against Randy S. and the other excellent sailors on the Gulf Coast to learn

I never beat him, but stayed with him for 50 miles on a Round The Island (RTI) Race out of Ft Walton in 1997. He lost us when the race turned back downwind after entering Pensacola Pass as we didn't have a spinnaker and he did

He on a Corsair F25C, and my son and I on our Nacra 6.0
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