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Discussion Starter #1
100% new to the idea of sailing. When I was looking for a vacation to BVI, I stumbled across YouTube videos of bareboat sailing. I fell in love at first sight...this looked like everything I ever wanted a vacation to be. My limited knowledge has led me to understand that I need to be bareboat certified. Other than that I don't know anything else. Here are my questions:

1. Galveston sailing lessons...any experience with any schools there?
2. Once certified I will want to gain some experience before my trip. What is the best way to gain experience without spending a lot of $$?
3. What are the hidden costs of a bareboat charter?
4. Once I get there...where are the best spots...probably a stupid question...I'm sure it's all paradise! Really just looking for any personal experience advice.

I have so many other questions...I am very excited to start this adventure. I can't wait to take my first ASA certification. Thanks for all of the advice and if there are things I didnt ask but with your experience know I would need to know please add to the forum.
 

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I have heard of a few good schools in Galveston, but will have to look for the name.

If you can find a few like minded friends or family you could accomplish both at one time. There are schools in the BVI's and other resort areas. Combine a weeks vacation with a few days with instructor for the group. You then have a captain with you to teach, get certified, and spend the last few days by yourself if they feel you are ready. Cheap.....no. However, you do get both.
 

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There should be lots of threads about the gaining experience part. It more or less divides into some big groups of skills, some of which lend themselves better than others to being learned and practiced on the cheap.
(1) sailboat handling and basics of sailing the boat... can be done on a small boat after reading/watching some basics; either buy a cheapie or join a sailing club/school/coop; can also be learned and improved by volunteering to crew on cruising or racing boats. Try to be careful about checking out the weather and starting out on milder days.
(2) boat systems... needs a big enough boat to have all the mechanical stuff that you need to operate and take care of at some level.
(3) safety, navigation, piloting, charts, buoys and marks, radio use... much of this can be learned from books, videos, classroom classes offered by groups such as the US Coast Guard Auxiliary, US Power Squadrons, state and local government groups, etc.

Much of practical stuff can be learned in theory and then practiced on small boats or via learning the fine art of crewing and bumming rides.

Sometimes sailing clubs or schools might have open houses or short intro sails that are a much more modest commitment than the regular series of lessons for certification. Certification isn't exactly a requirement, but the charter companies (and maybe your insurance company, too), want to have something that gives them a warm and fuzzy feeling that they'll get their boat back in more or less one piece. Many charter companies will have you fill out a boating/sailing resume to describe your and your crew's experience; depending on your experience that may place you somewhere in the spectrum of crewed charters, a day or two with a skipper, a flotilla charter, or regular bareboating, possibly with a size limit on the boat.
 

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Thanks for the input...one of the Galveston sailing schools leads a flotilla every year...that would be a good first trip.

What about the costs involved with chartering? Say about a 30-36 foot monohull. Depending on the time of year looks like the avg cost would be around 3k for 10 days...what other expenses should I know about.
 

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Sign up for the Fast Track to Cruising liveaboard course at Offshore Sailing School's Tortola (BVI) location. They use Moorings vessels and you'll be both certified and sufficiently experienced to charter from the Moorings the following week. In fact, your final exam will be to take the boat without an instructor to a other island, stay the night and return in the morning. Bareboating immediately will also allow you to set in your new skills.

The cost beyond the bareboat are food and alcohol. They can add up, especially if you dine out. If you choose to tie to a mooring, rather than anchor, that's about $40 per night. Some charter companies charge for fuel, for others it's included. Those that change seem to have less expensive rates, so I think it's all pretty even.

Otherwise, you just need a flight to get there, small customs fees and usually a ferry ticket, if you take the less expensive flights into St Thomas. Enjoy.
 
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...what other expenses should I know about.
Airfare to and from. Food (provisioning and/or restaurants).

If you can't go with one or two experienced sailors, or take your sailing classes in the BVI, you should really concentrate on 1 and 2 on your list for the time being. Use the others as a goal to get you through the first.
 
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Discussion Starter #8
Love the YouTube video Mr. F. I couldn't help but notice that there were a lot of boats near one another. Is that the norm when at BVI?
 

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Love the YouTube video Mr. F. I couldn't help but notice that there were a lot of boats near one another. Is that the norm when at BVI?
This time of year there are not nearly that many boats around. Then again it is hurricane season! There are crowded places and there are empty places. It all depends on what you are after. Enjoy your trip
 

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Thanks FarCry...I am looking to find good snorkeling and some personal space. Don't mind a few spots with crowds but definitely will want to sail somewhere with less chaos.
 

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That video, which has been around a while, is not at all common. There are plenty of. Bonehead moves, but that is truly extreme and shouldn't scare any in word the BVI.

Mooring fields are always somewhat close together, but generally offer enough privacy. It's very different when your neighbor can't just walk into your driveway. However, if you truly want to be private eniught that no one will see you, there aren't going to be many of those in the BVI. I can name a couple, but there is no where to go to shore.

As for being prepared to bareboat right away, it will depend on your apititiude. If you feel,you need a skipper, they aren't that expensive. (Remember to tip them). On the other hand, the BVI is probably one of the simplest places on the planet to sail.
 

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Either listen to Night Sailor, or get cracking on classes and building experience. Bare boating in BVI is pretty easy, someone here called it cruising on training wheels, yet you could be tested on any given day and the test results won't be a paper grade.
There are almost no "hidden" costs and all of the charterers provide full disclosure on what costs you should plan on. I used Conch and they very accurately listed costs from permits to mooring fees to everything about the boat.
Also, get a cruising guide like "The Cruising Guide to the Virgin Islands" by Nancy and Simon Scott which includes a planning chart.
Finally, consider training in Corpus Christi. There are ASA certified operations, small classes and great sailing, much better than Galveston Bay.
Good luck,
John
 

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...Also, get a cruising guide like "The Cruising Guide to the Virgin Islands" by Nancy and Simon Scott which includes a planning chart.
If you book your charter through Ed Hamilton Company, they will send you the Scotts' guide for free.
 

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Chillin,

I am in the same boat :), have been lurking these forums for years and registered right now just to post a reply and thank you for starting this thread.


I took a US sailing 101 2y back but nothing after that. Sailing in BVI is exactly what's on my bucket list. We have been to BVI 2x and its our favorite place on the planet. We want secluded beaches away from the crowd.

Anyways we live in Houston now and I was looking for recommendation on schools, I am about to sign up for the ASA101 followed by 103/104 @ a school near the "bay".

Dont want to hijack your thread...

TakeFive, any recommendation for schools in Corpus Christie?
 

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I'm in the same boat (pun intended). I live about 2 hours north of Houston. I took the ASA 101 course in May from Sackett Sailing in Kema (on Clearlake). It was a pretty good experience. Very nice people. After the class you can charter from them to gain experience and improve your knowledge and skills.

Google
bayareasailing
 

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I hope this is not hijacking op's thread.

Assume the novice goes thru ASA101/103/104 and spend couple of days on water chartering a boat from the school. S/he is now confident about handling a Hunter 31. Will charter companies consider this person eligible for a bareboat in BVI?

Most of the websites say that certification is neither necessary nor sufficient for bareboat charter.

Is it better for beginners to get the introductory 101 and gradually move up to a bigger boat as confidence permits? I am sure ASA 103/104 are useful, but is it better to invest the same resources to rake up time on the water?

Just trying to find the path of least resistance to sail in the paradise.
 

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I hope this is not hijacking op's thread.

Assume the novice goes thru ASA101/103/104 and spend couple of days on water chartering a boat from the school. S/he is now confident about handling a Hunter 31. Will charter companies consider this person eligible for a bareboat in BVI?
More experience is always better than less. It's especially important for that experience to be under a variety of locales and weather conditions.

Whether the ASA certs are sufficient depends. If you took them a year or more ago and have done nothing since, then they're probably not sufficient. If you took them the week before your charter, and in the same place you're chartering, then they may be sufficient - until a storm blows through with conditions that you've never experienced before.
...Just trying to find the path of least resistance to sail in the paradise.
That's a powerboater's mentality. Sailing is about the journey, not the destination. That applies to the practice of sailing on any given day, and also the way you go about getting the needed experience over a period of months.

The path of least resistance would be to charter a powerboat. Moorings has catamarans without the mast which you might want to consider.
 
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