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In early January, I did ASA 103, 104, and 114 with Virgin Island Sailing School out of Red Hook on St. Thomas. The website is at sailusvis.com . I wanted to get more experience on a big catamaran. My wife -- who was not taking instruction -- came along.

We had a blast. It was a working vacation in that I wanted to sail as much as possible and so we did not do much snorkeling. We did swim as much as we wanted. And we drank and partied as much as we wanted.

We sailed from St. Thomas, to St. John, cleared into the BVI's at Soper's Hole, and then spent most of the next week in the BVIs. The company is flexible about where you go, so if you want to do a trip in the Spanish VIs, they will work with you.

I really wanted to sail to Anegada, which I got to do. I was there during the Christmas winds, so we got higher than average wind speed and one really good instructive short squall that was not dangerous but a lot of fun to work through.

Our boat was a 12-year-old 48-foot Leopard, (I think), so when we had a few problems, I was able to learn how to troubleshoot some things. Larry Bouffard was our instructor, and he has his own website that you can look up.

When my son is ready for more advanced training, I would not hesitate to use them again.

Good luck -- wish I was down there now!
 
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