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Old 10-11-2011, 05:16   #1
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Sailing with Sunsail Offshore

Hi all, first question to post - exciting. I recently completed a RYA Day Skipper certificate and am looking for ways to increase my offshore experience. Am considering joining Sunsail for an extended offshore delivery trip as paid crew. It works out to roughly 1000 for three weeks and 2000 nm. My question is if anyone has any previous experience with Sunsail in this context - good or bad? Would be interesting to hear and also if this sounds like a dumb approach to gaining experience. Note I have a busy job with a not very flexible schedule and one advantage of this option is that it is confirmable and fairly tightly scheduled.

Thanks for any advice!

Cheers,
Patrick
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Old 10-11-2011, 05:27   #2
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Re: Sailing with Sunsail offshore

if they are paying you 50 pounds a day go for it..........

if you are paying them more than 15 a a day you are being ripped off!!!!!

they need you, not the other way around!!!!!!
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Old 17-11-2011, 07:25   #3
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Re: Sailing with Sunsail Offshore

When you say paid.....do you mean you paying them? They normally sell those trips as mile builders to people such as yourself. Not sure where you're based, but if it's using the boats from the UK, then you're in for a bit of a trip, the F40's are certainly not well equipped for that sort of voyage.

If they are paying you, then you've got a reasonable deal at 0.50/mile as a Day Skipper, where is the trip to/from?

I'm also surprised they would 'pay' a day skipper, no disrespect, but they normally only employ commercial sailors...

Basically, more information please!

Cheers
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Old 17-11-2011, 09:15   #4
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Re: Sailing with Sunsail Offshore

Off-shore miles are hard to come by...I do not see anything wrong with what you propose doing.

I did that 25 yrs ago and went on to become a full time blue water sailor.

Good luck
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Old 17-11-2011, 09:59   #5
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Re: Sailing with Sunsail Offshore

Thanks for the input guys - very much appreciated with your advice! I've now signed on for this and it is indeed me paying them. I know that might sound crazy from the perspective of long-term cruising. But this really just comes down to mile-building. I would like to get my RYA Yachmaster and need 2500 nm to qualify. This puts me over the line and it happens to coincide exactly with my work schedule in a way that fits perfectly. With a busy job right now I just don't have time to fly to the Canaries and walk the pontoons for days on the hope of finding a skipper who is a) willing to take me on a cruise that's this long and b) deposit me back on the beach in time for work. It will also be fun - compared with lots of other types of vacations where I would be learning much less it's a pretty good deal. Hopefully with a Yachmaster ticket and some ocean sea miles I will be more "marketable" next time around and won't have to pay to work I also saw one of these very boats in the Solent earlier this fall and while they might not be heavily equipped for long-term cruising they looked like pretty much fun. Will be sure to report back how it went when I'm back in March!
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Old 17-11-2011, 10:30   #6
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Re: Sailing with Sunsail Offshore

I think you made the right decision (for you) for the reasons stated.

Big plus is that Sunsail won't (knowingly) send out a boat that is in dangerous condition - it just probably won't have everything that would be nice to have on a long distance voyager. Not to say that they don't sink on these delivery runs - but not usually

Be good to know the Skipper's resume and whether has worked for Sunsail before.

Fair play to going down the RYA route - but I would suggest that the next big learning step is being Skipper of your own vessel (of any size). Being the bloke in the hot seat (and the one who gets to swim home ) does alter perceptions - and IMO helps with understanding when simply crew.
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Old 17-11-2011, 10:55   #7
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Re: Sailing with Sunsail Offshore

Thanks David_Old_Jersey, and a big thumbs up on that last comment. Totally agree that there's no substitute for being skipper. I actually have my own boat now: an Etap 21, which, although it is only 6.5m long has been sailed around the world by at least one crazy German family. She's modeled (loosely) on the mini-Transat 6.5, with twin rudders and a planing hull - a real pocket rocket when the wind gets up. And although she has "kneeling headroom" our family (two adults and two kids, 8 and 9) spent 22 days and 12 nights aboard this summer.

She's my fourth sailboat in 12 years, so I've had fairly many days and miles on the water skippering - and feel very comfortable with boats up to 30 ft or so. But all of that time has been spent sailing around the Stockholm archipelago - which is non-tidal and which in the end is like lake sailing (although sometimes it can get pretty exciting weather-wise, even in the summer). But in the longer run I'm interested in blue-water cruising on larger boats - somewhere in the back of my mind I always have been, since I was a kid. And this year I realized that if I didn't step up and start to get a more serious level of skills and knowledge, I would always be stuck in this more relaxed coastal pilotage pattern that is common among sailors in these parts. Thus the RYA route and going for some offshore miles. So far I've done a Day Skipper course with Flying Fish in Cowes (awesome - and man were we lucky with the weather - the Solent is really spectacular) and a Day Skipper distance theory course with Ocean Training. The distance course has taught me so much more than I likely would have gotten from a book.

Anyway, it's been a ball. Now I'm looking forward to getting offshore. Then I'll see after that if I feel ready to try for the Yachmaster or will take some more time in between. Thanks again for the advice!

Cheers,
Patrick
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Old 17-11-2011, 11:19   #8
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Re: Sailing with Sunsail Offshore

Quote:
Originally Posted by PatrickG View Post
I actually have my own boat now: an Etap 21, which...........She's my fourth sailboat in 12 years
I did wonder if that was the case - given that the initial post didn't include the phrase "what's the best........"

Anyway, have fun and do report back on the experiance - it all goes into the CF pot
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Old 17-11-2011, 12:26   #9
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Re: Sailing with Sunsail Offshore

Have a good trip - are you bringing the F40's back?
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Old 17-11-2011, 12:31   #10
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Re: Sailing with Sunsail Offshore

That's the one - it's set up as a race back from the Canaries
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Old 17-11-2011, 12:37   #11
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Re: Sailing with Sunsail Offshore

And thanks FPVMan!
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Old 01-02-2012, 14:26   #12
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Re: Sailing with Sunsail Offshore

So I thought I would report back on this to follow up. How did my trip go? In two words: it didn't!

The trip - or "Chase the Sun Regatta" as it was impressively styled by Sunsail - was set to start from Lanzarote February 11. But the other day a Sunsail rep called to say it was canceled.

Sunsail had held on to full payment of 1070 for over 2 months but left me high and dry, on a trip that was really a puzzle to plan into a busy schedule, with just a few weeks to go.

I've been lucky and found a pretty reasonable alternative with an RYA training company out of Gibraltar (although only half as long in terms of miles and days, but it still looks like a lot of fun). And Sunsail have since refunded the full amount. But given that I was originally concerned about this possibility and asked about the likelihood of a cancelation from their side, and was assured before booking that the regatta would "definitely go ahead as we have other bookings already taken and also we have to get the boats back to the UK for our summer season," the whole thing just feels shabby.

I tried to work with Sunsail to find reasonable alternatives through them, and offered to crew on the F40 delivery back to the UK, even if the regatta element of the trip was canceled (the boats should have to get back from the Canaries to the Solent, right?) But their rep was generally unhelpful and in the end could only manage a bare "sorry that we couldn't help you out."

Bottom-line: I wish I had better to report back - I was really looking forward to this trip - and I'm sure there are those out there who will wag their heads and say "I told you so" for jumping on a paid alternative like this in the first place. But if you're considering a milebuilder trip or especially a "Chase the Sun Regatta" through Sunsail, I would think twice - you might just end up being their credit line for a while without so much as a thank you.

One more lesson learned.
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Old 02-02-2012, 08:01   #13
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Re: Sailing with Sunsail Offshore

Patrick
Once again our sincere apologies for cancelation of the chase the sun regatta, unfortunately as previously mentioned we have had to cancel this trip due to only a small number of people taking part, which in turn has made this event unsafe. It is a requirement for this particular event to have a minimum number of participants taking part in order to run a safe and fun event. Safety as always is our primary responsibility in offshore sailing events and this must come first.

Obviously we would have liked to let you know earlier about this, but were realistically unable to make a decision on this any earlier in the hope that we would have more participants sign up to this event during the London Boat Show, alas that was not the case. It was certainly never our intention to cancel this event and we are extremely sorry to have had to do this, but in the interest of safety and the lack of participants we unfortunately did not have any other alternative.

We are also sorry that you could not participate in any of our other mile building or racing events, but of course understand your flexibility is limited. Again apologies for any inconvenience and wish you well in your in your mile building trip in the Gibralter. In addition to your full refund I would also like to offer you a 10% discount on our RYA sailing schools courses in order to help you get to your yacht master qualification

Kind Regards

Simon Conder
UK & Ireland Head of Marketing
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Old 02-02-2012, 10:40   #14
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Re: Sailing with Sunsail Offshore

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Originally Posted by PatrickG View Post
So I thought I would report back on this to follow up. How did my trip go? In two words: it didn't!
Cheers for the follow up .

Bit of a bummer - especially on the freeing up time for the trip side of things .

But just seen the Sunsail response, and IMO that seems fair enuf (albeit I suspect the lack of punters was more to do with lack of being commercially viable rather than simply "safety" - but I am a sceptical git ).....and that decison will have been taken well above the pay grade of the Rep you were dealing with - who would have been "empowered" only with warm words - and a bar on agreeing with the dissapointed punters .

Not ideal, but IMO just one of those things.

Hopefully plan B goes well .
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Old 02-02-2012, 10:42   #15
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Re: Sailing with Sunsail Offshore

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Originally Posted by Sunsail View Post
Obviously we would have liked to let you know earlier about this, but were realistically unable to make a decision on this any earlier in the hope that we would have more participants sign up to this event during the London Boat Show, alas that was not the case. It was certainly never our intention to cancel this event and we are extremely sorry to have had to do this, but in the interest of safety and the lack of participants we unfortunately did not have any other alternative.
Should have advertised on CF.com - would have been beating the punters off with sticks .
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