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Old 06-07-2017, 15:00   #1
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Where to begin?

Good day! I live in the British Virgin Islands and have seriously caught the sailing bug. I have a few hundred hours at sea so far, between living aboard a moored sailboat for about a month, cleaning sailboats and going on pleasure sails but I'm very interested in getting licensed to be a captain. I plan on taking the STCW soon so I can safely crew vessels but I know there is a lot more to learn/get certified for. I have access to ASA, IYT and RYA courses, but am not sure where to start. Do you need to get ASA certifications if you're also planning on doing IYT/RYA? I also wonder if anyone has recommendations for sailing schools in Tortola or St Thomas. Thank you!
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Old 06-07-2017, 15:10   #2
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Re: Where to begin?

Begin by sailing, and expanding your envelope gradually. I'll never earn a captain's license because I'm 71, cruise part time, and won't accumulate 365 8 hour days until I'm too old to bother. Focus on knowledge, not certification. It's great if you can do it, but if your goal is recreational cruising, your license in your head. It tells you when to go and when to hunker down, independent of any paper on the bulkhead. That piece of paper won't keep you from doing something stupid.
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Old 06-07-2017, 15:21   #3
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Where to begin?

My goal right now is to get on a crew to start building those hours so I can eventually work as a captain, myself. Just curious if any particular courses are necessary to start doing that.
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Old 08-07-2017, 05:29   #4
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Re: Where to begin?

Nope. Recreational sailing/boating is not regulated as to crew in most of the world - only things like safety equipment, taxes paid, and sobriety. That's good and bad. Get on a crew by asking and offering. Find good skippers you can learn from (actually, I learned a good bit from a bad one, until my father bribed me not to sail with him anymore).
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Old 08-07-2017, 05:47   #5
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Re: Where to begin?

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Ghost.
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Old 08-07-2017, 14:30   #6
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Re: Where to begin?

For sailing school you should probably come down to Grenada and sail with us - but if you can't make it down... I would recommend talking to Matt at Sunsail in Tortolla if you are interested in getting your ASA certifications. Matt is a great guy and runs a good program.

For getting your crew certs, check with Rob Alport at "The Captain's School" in St. Thomas. They do STCW Basic Safety Training and US Captains Licensing. That should allow you to run trips originating in the USVI. For the BVI - I think that a RYA yachtmaster certification would be what you would need. There are a lot of tricky regulations between the USVI and BVI. I'm not sure of all the ins and outs there.

If you decide to go the RYA route, there is no need to get your ASA certifications other than that it might help you build your knowledge and experience. Unfortunately - I am not familiar with any of the RYA schools up there.

Feel free to contact me if I can help you with any sail training questions.
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Old 09-07-2017, 04:29   #7
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Re: Where to begin?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jostghost View Post
Good day! I live in the British Virgin Islands and have seriously caught the sailing bug. I have a few hundred hours at sea so far, between living aboard a moored sailboat for about a month, cleaning sailboats and going on pleasure sails but I'm very interested in getting licensed to be a captain. I plan on taking the STCW soon so I can safely crew vessels but I know there is a lot more to learn/get certified for. I have access to ASA, IYT and RYA courses, but am not sure where to start. Do you need to get ASA certifications if you're also planning on doing IYT/RYA? I also wonder if anyone has recommendations for sailing schools in Tortola or St Thomas. Thank you!
Hi, there are many ways to start. A cheap and effective one is to start with dinghy sailing. Check this article:
Start up - HitTheDekk
However, it depends a lot on your circumstances. For example, Rick Page's (author "Get real, get done") approach is a bit more practical ('go and get into trouble'). I agree with others that focus should be on learning and not certification, but RYA courses (Day Skipper in particular) do cover a lot of useful things.
Hope this helps.
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Old 09-07-2017, 16:30   #8
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Re: Where to begin?

Wow everyone, this is all excellent advice that I haven't been able to get out of anyone so far. I very much appreciate it, and I definitely think I have a solid direction to go in! My bosses at work have given me the go-ahead so my work permit won't be in jeopardy once I find work as crew, so it sounds like it's time for me to get out on the water
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Old 10-07-2017, 15:16   #9
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Re: Where to begin?

Between Road Town and West End there is plenty of opportunity in those local harbors once season comes around.
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