March 27, 2005

Bareboat Chartering

Filed under: Sailing,Travel — pohodo @ 8:23 pm
I spent much of my youth on a barrier island in Florida pretty much immersed in anything revolving around the ocean. I knew several people with various sailboats, so I was fortunate enough to put in a lot of time under sail. I mostly just sailed in Hobbie Cats and Sunfish boats, but had the occasional sail on a smaller cruising boat.Last year a friend and I were sitting in a tiki bar at a marina. There happened to be a sailing school right next door, and that got us talking about sailing. We were talking about how great it’d be to go anywhere in the world and be able to charter a boat without a captain. It had been a while since either of us sailed, and we figured having some certification of sailing skill would improve our chances of chartering boats. For once, rather than just talking about something, we signed up for the first basic sailing class offered by the American Sailing Association.

We took Basic Keelboat on Lake Lanier just north of Atlanta through the school next to the tiki bar. We could have had a bit more wind, but overall the course was great.
A few months later, we signed up for Basic Coastal Cruising through Chapman School of Seamanship located in my home town of Stuart, Florida. The second hurricane that made landfall directly at Stuart came ashore the same day our class was supposed to start. We rescheduled for a week or two later and everything went fine. It was an interesting experience because many of the channels had become more like sandbars due to the two hurricanes. We had to rely heavily on reading the surface waters. Grounding a 45′ boat didn’t sound too appealing, and fortunately we avoided that for the most part.
We just signed up for Bareboat Chartering through an instructor/captain living in the Abacos, Bahamas. We’ll spend a whole week living aboard the boat sailing, fishing, diving, etc. Assuming all goes well, we’ll have our Bareboat Chartering certification, which was a primary goal when we started the sailing classes.

I spent a week on a boat in the Abacos during my senior year of high school and had a great time. It will be interesting (and perhaps disappointing) to see how much has changed in the *cough* 19 years since.

I started the ASA program primarily to get the credentials to charter – basically have somebody say I know what’s going on. After a couple of classes, it was a lot more work than I expected and I now realize how much I underestimated my abilities. It’s been a great experience so far. And I’m looking forward to learning even more in the Bareboat Charter class. I also plan on taking Coastal Navigation and Celestial Navigation before taking any longer trips. Something about not relying on technology (gps, etc.) in a water environment seems rather comforting.

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