re: Chapman school
Hi, I took the recreational course in 2005. I had both positive and negative experiences.
First the good:
1) All the instructors were experienced boat captains and easy to get along
2) I learned a lot in the navigation, weather, rules, marlinspike and powerboat handling.
3) I was able get some private sailing class time with a very capable
sailing instructor to get some good single-handed tips. (extra cost)
The not so good:
1) Some instructors would rather tell their stories than cover the material.
2) While they up front about being geared to mostly powerboating, the
sailing classes were too short and were held inside Manatee Pocket most
of the time. This meant running very short courses and constantly tacking
with little opportunity to work on sail trim. (some were held outside the pocket
but took 1 hour RT motoring.
3) My biggest gripe was the lack of discipline with the younger students who
thought they were still in high school.(disruptive in the classroom, fighting on
the boats and a lot of interaction with the local police.) This was finally
addressed but not until the seventh week.
The boat and engine maintenance are very basic.(Not good or bad, just is.)
While I only signed up for the recreational course I always had the option of continuing. The last three weeks of the PMT are primarily preparation for the OUPV. I didn't have much sea time then and opted not to take it.
Overall glad I did it.