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Old 17-05-2017, 19:02   #1
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Choosing a Sailing School! Help!

I am at a crossroads. My friend and I both have our ASA 101 and would like to do either ASA 103/104 or the US sailing equivalent. We'd like to do this "live aboard" style down in the Caribbean (thinking BVI).

I'm looking at two schools: 1.) Steve & Doris Colgate's Offshore Sailing School (US Sailing); and 2.) Horizon Yacht Charters (ASA). Both programs are 7 nights/8 days and would allow us to Bareboat Charter.

Offshore is recognized as a leader in the industry and seems to put a lot of attention into their program including a final day of solo sailing. 1 instructor per 4 students on a 55 foot monohull. ~$5,300.

Horizon would be me chartering the yacht (likely a 33-40 foot Bavaria Monohull - my choice) and hiring the instructor. Therefore, it's 1 instructor dedicated to the 2 of us. ~$3,300.

Originally I was leaning towards offshore given their reputation and longevity but that's a big enough price difference to make me think twice.

Anyone have any experience with either school? Thoughts?
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Old 17-05-2017, 19:18   #2
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Re: Choosing a Sailing School! Help!

Also check out LTD Sailing in Grenada.

Caribbean Sailing School and Skippered Yacht Charters | LTD Sailing
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Old 17-05-2017, 19:22   #3
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Re: Choosing a Sailing School! Help!

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Thanks Steady Hand! I'll check it out.
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Old 17-05-2017, 19:28   #4
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Re: Choosing a Sailing School! Help!

Also, depending upon the time of year you plan to take your course, I would look at the weather for that area and time of year. Grenada is possibly a better location during Hurricane Season, given that is is further South. Check with the schools, look at the dates of hurricanes and hurricane paths etc. That is what I would do.

Good luck and have a wonderful time!
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Old 18-05-2017, 08:50   #5
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Re: Choosing a Sailing School! Help!

We used BVI Yacht Charters when we did the classes. We preferred that it was only the 2 of us with the captain/instructor for the entire time living on the boat.
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Old 18-05-2017, 09:13   #6
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Re: Choosing a Sailing School! Help!

Consider Miramar Sailing School in Antigua.

Not only they are a great outfit, but the cruising grounds are great.

You could probably do something like RYA Day Skipper or even RYA Coastal Skipper.

I do hold in much higher esteem the RYA tickets, but that's my personal bias from some doubtful ASA curriculums.

Im sure every instructor in Miramar is good. But if you get Pippa, you will get THE BEST instructor Ive seen in a long time. For sure.
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Old 18-05-2017, 09:28   #7
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Re: Choosing a Sailing School! Help!

It's not so much the school as the individual instructor that you may get.
To the extent possible, try to, at least, speak to the instructor to see if you are comfortable/compatible with "style". Everyone learns differently regardless of the "curriculum" and some instructors are better at adjusting than others. Remember that once you get on the boat, you are "stuck" with what you get and a week is a long time on a small boat.
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Old 18-05-2017, 10:03   #8
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Re: Choosing a Sailing School! Help!

I am sorry that I can't offer specific help, but I do know the Colgates well, and I have the utmost confidence in their "product". Very hands-on, very concerned about their students. They have been instrumental in the development of course materials taught by many schools in the U.S. Nice to work with a couple that truly gives back to the sport.

Chuck
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Old 18-05-2017, 10:23   #9
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Re: Choosing a Sailing School! Help!

This will be my first post after about a year of just reading and absorbing.

My wife and I did the 101,103,and 104 in Granada with LTD just about 3 weeks ago. I had limited sailing experience and my wife had none. I can't recommend LTD or their instructors highly enough. They were patient , professional, and VERY experienced when it came to teaching. That combo made for a real positive learning experience for both of us. They are not the biggest outfit, but through all my research into schools the were by far the best choice.

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Old 18-05-2017, 10:35   #10
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Re: Choosing a Sailing School! Help!

Give Affordable Sailing School a shout...they have a great program.
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Old 18-05-2017, 15:01   #11
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Re: Choosing a Sailing School! Help!

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plus one on LTD Chris and Chrystal are very responsive
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Old 18-05-2017, 15:36   #12
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Re: Choosing a Sailing School! Help!

+1 on trying to speak with instructor...the most important part. However, my experience with lessons is learn on the boats you will sail. Will you and your partner charter a 55'? You can learn a better feel for sailing on a smaller boat. You will experience hoisting and bending in the mainsail, dropping the main and flaking the sails, pulling anchors, versus power winches and in mast furling. Colgate undoubtably a great school, but learning on the type of boat you will sail is very helpful.
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Old 18-05-2017, 15:50   #13
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Re: Choosing a Sailing School! Help!

You might check prices on Sunsail. We have bareboated with them several times in the last 10 years. We always have a good experience. We have not had lessons through them.

We tried BVI Yacht Charters one time and did not have a good bareboat experience and do not reccomend them.

Good luck and have fun!
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Old 18-05-2017, 16:00   #14
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Re: Choosing a Sailing School! Help!

Check these guys out. Great people, really talented instructors.

There course this year are not where you wanted but worth just reading some of her thoughts on what to look for in sail training expereince.

Sail Training Expeditions - Sailing School Coastal & Offshore
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Old 18-05-2017, 18:11   #15
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Re: Choosing a Sailing School! Help!

Horizon Yacht Charters at Nanny Cay are extremely good with respect to maintenance and care of there fleet. The people involved are very professional. The boats are awesome. Get some referrals of people who have used teaching service. There is great sailing in the BVI all year round. Enjoy.
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