I hope this thread hasn't been started already but me and my wife want to learn to sail and get our bareboat certification on our holidays this year and were wondering if anyone can help us out on the best way to go about it, best school and where to stay away from. We basically have no experience but we have a desire to learn and are willing to do whatever it takes as far home studying prior to our excursion.
There are several schools in British Columbia that offer courses. You can do the theory portions at home and then spend some time usually 5-7 days to get your practical basic level courses. There are two major certifying agencies in BC, International Sail and Power Association and Canadian Yachting Association; both are internationally recognized. One school offers American Sailing Association courses and a couple offer International Yacht Training. There are also recognized.
What matters is the instructor, rather than the school.
I have worked with several schools in BC. I would rather use a personal message to discuss them. I will send you my email address.
The Canadian Yachting Association (sailing.ca) has a list here : CYA Member's Area
If you "basically have no experience," I'd recommend taking the Basic Standard before your Bareboat Certification. It goes through the fundamentals (and safety aspects) of sailing. The Bareboat Certification (as i think you mean it) is also known as the Intermediate Standard, and focusses on systems like plumbing and electrical, as well as improved bigger-boat sailing.
I just got my text book the other day, and am taking the Intermediate in the Virgin Islands in 6 weeks...
Are you going through a Canadian school while in the Virgin islands? I,ve just started looking into this too . The more I look the more options I find ! I'd love to hear how you weeded and waded through it all.
Cruising Keelboat course was on 309 Catalina, good boat. But there were five students on each. It's 20 hours on water. Do the math...
When I did my first overnight passage, the captain handed me the charts, and said, do want to give it a go?
I had to explain to him again, that I was with him on the passage to learn, because the school didn't really teach anything. So he taught me to plot a chart, something the school should have done in my opinion. But in reality the theory part of the course was nothing more than someone going through all the answers to the exam in a slideshow. Seriously. If we memorized the answers, we would pass. So we all did. 30 of us. Not much wiser than when we went in. But $600 poorer.
Sorry for the rant and de-rail.
Oh, I should add that I missed one on water class due to family emergency. So I only got 15 hours on water. And they signed my ticket no problem without even a question or thought to making up the time.
I have a fairly strict regime when we do a night sail.
Plan a route that is safe.
Estimate the time on route after determining the effect of current, then set a departure time (I like to arrive at sunrise.)
Identify all hazards along the route.
Identify all aids to navigation, the light characteristics and determine which side to leave them.
Rig jacklines for the tethers and harnesses.
Determine the tide at the destination.
Ensure all nav lights work.
Review standing orders.
During the trip log entries and positions every 30 minutes.
Afterwards an assessment of what we did.
I do wish that CYA would make navigation a pre-requisite to the Intermediate level course.
Was your Intermediate course a live-aboard?
Interesting. My course is also through a Toronto school starting with an 'H'. And as far as I know, the only one starting with an 'H'...
I asked a few sailing friends for recommendations, and they uninimously named this school. I joined in May for my Basic Standard, got a membership with them, and sailed 3-4 nights per week throughout the summer. I learned a lot, and made a lot of new friends.
If we're talking about the same school, i'm surprised at the negative view. Although they DO now make the first half of Coastal Navigation (chartplotting fundamentals) a prerequisite for the intermediate. The instructor told me that he wanted to make the whole thing a prerequisite, but the CYA refused. So far, i've taken my Basic, VHF Radio, and Coastal Navigation courses through them. And honestly, i would be hard-pressed to come up with any negative criticism...
How long ago did you take your Intermediate? I'm also curious because overnight passages aren't part of this school's Intermediate - it's part of the Advanced Standard...
My BVI Intermediate course is also through this same school, there are a bunch of us flying down and chartering a couple of yachts with our Toronto instructors.
Jackdale's list looks to be a part of what we'll be learning (although 1/2 of it has already been taught in the other courses).
Ninefingers, the more I think, i'm wondering if i'm misunderstanding your post.
There's a 20-water-hour course for around $600, but it's the Basic Standard. And that certainly wouldn't have an overnight...
It also might be a different school than mine, I know they don't have a Catalina at the moment.
My apologies for the confusion! The night passage was unrelated to the school.
Poor sentence structure...
It was my first night passage after becoming a sailor so to speak. I was on a boat owned by a captain who did exactly as you said Jackdale. He was just surprised that the school never even showed us a chart, among other things.
Inky: it's not the same school you went to. And it was the basic keelboat cruising course.
Our on water instructor was actually pretty good. The school, not so much. It could have been worse though. The other half of the class got a different instructor, one day he was teaching Mediterranean mooring for some reason. We could hear him talking about how to dock a 50 foot sailboat in Greece or something .... and our instructor mumbled something to the effect of "Yah like that's exactly what your students need to learn".
Check out www.sailingwithcaptainfrank.com. I took my basic keelboat with him here in NC, but he gos anywhere to teach I think. I recommend him not only on merit of professionalism but also because he's just a good guy you wouldn't mind spending your vacation with. We keep in contact with him and he helped us buy our first boat. Can't say enough good things!
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