Hi all, the wife and I have been traveling to the Caribbean
for many many years mostly on large cruise
ships and land vacations. We have been in small sailboats and catamarans extensively BUT only during day trips as tourists during our Caribbean
vacations (dreaded cruise ship
excursions, day charters, etc). For years, we have talked about learning
to sail, chartering our own boats, and eventually retire early and move to a live-aboard
down south (I know, that's everyone's dream here). So this year we are finally financially able to start to make this happen. However, I want some guidance and opinions about our current
I have read many many posts about sailing school
, the need for experience, etc., and I think I understand the basic issues. So what would be most useful to us is to hear your thoughts on how to improve the plan that we present below.
Our initial overall (zero to charting) plan is to gain as much experience as possible in a combination of formal sailing school
and general experience during the next 12 months so that we can start chartering safely in progressively larger boats during the next 2-5 years.
Our plan is a as follow:
- I will do an ASA
7 day sailing
liveonboard course this coming winter
. The wife can't join me for work
- The wife will do a combined ASA
101-103 2-day school
in Spring in a monohull
- While the wife is doing the 101-103 course, I will be doing the ASA Docking
- The wife will do a 2-day 104 course in the summer. Since this is in a monohull
and my 104 training
would have been in a catamaran
, I thought about doing this 104 course also with her without taking the exam (since I would already have the 104 certification). The goal for me is to gain more sailing time on a different boat
(although this may be an expensive way to gain sailing time!).
- The wife and I will do a ASA 105 and 106 week-long course that involves gulf stream passage
(FL to Bahamas
- We'll charter
our first boat
in the BVIs.
Long term, after we gain more experience we want to take the 107-108 passage
making course. We will also take a 1-year sabbatical to do a test of living in a boat before we commit to do this during retirement
Questions for the group:
1. What are your general thoughts about the training
2. How do we gain more hands on experience between courses? I know some people may think this is too much formal instruction and may be a waste of money
but we enjoy the formal instruction and want to learn everything "by the book". Yet, I do agree 100% that experience is necessary. My question is HOW to get more experience outside the formal courses before we start charting in the BVIs? The "just buy a boat" suggestion is not feasible at this time. We also don't live near the coast but we do live near the great lakes
. I've read people suggest to others to simply get experience "crewing" for others. How do you do this? I have images
of us standing by the marina with a "free crew" sign, but I assume that's not how it is done
. Is there a way to get more crewing
experience without having to simply buy daily charters?
Thank you all for your suggestions and advice
. Best wishes!