2010 Caribbean Cruises

Course Descriptions
School Yachts
Schedule of Courses
Ocean Training Cruises
ASA Certification
Registration Info
Our Location
Our People
Contact Us
Course ASA103-104 Virgin Islands Intermediate Coastal Cruise
Date March 6-13, 2010
Students: Linda & Sam Goodwin; Linda Hanson
Captain: Keith Jackson

March 5, 2010:  
The students arrived from the airport late afternoon.  Unfortunately, the checked in luggage for two of them did not.  After a quick tour of the boat, the students were invited to walk around and check out the area until 6:30 when we would meet at Tickles, the local water front restaurant for a group dinner.  Dinner allowed us a chance to get to introduce ourselves and discuss the plans for the upcoming week.  We returned to the boat to go over in more detail the boat systems, however they all turned in to their berths early due to their long day of travel. 

March 6, 2010:  
After breakfast at Tickles, we met at the boat to go over Rules of the Water or which boat gets to go first.  We also went over navigation aids that help keep us out of trouble.  The trip was planned out along with what provisions would be desired and required.  As Sam went to the airport to try and locate the stray bags (one of the two did show up) the rest of us went up to the local store to pick up our provisions for the trip.  This is always an experience for the students because of the difference in this store versus the ones back home.  It's also interesting to see the difference in taste and food selections amongst the students. 

After stowing the food, more class work in preparation for the week.  We are aware of a less than desirable weather forecast.  Once more the students turn in early. 

March 7, 2010: 
After breakfast we listen to the weather together.  Strong winds, rain, high seas along with a crew with no sailing experience and still missing a bag it was decided to spend another day at the dock.  Several shorter discussion sessions during the day were held.  The students also had a chance to explore Charlotte Amalie, something that many classes never get to do. By the end of the day, the missing bag was found and returned to the boat by 1630.  The forecast was looking better for Monday and we were ready to go. 

March 8, 2010: 
Everyone feeling well and ready to leave.  The day delay permitted the seas to calm down a little.  After checking the boat, we stowed all gear and at 0900 called the marina for clearance to leave.  On the way out past Water Island we had our first test of the rules of the road.  A seaplane must give way to all other vessels.  It always looks like they are closer than they are but what color were the pilot’s eyes?   

We had a great close beam reach all the way to the end of St. Thomas were we had to do more tacking to work our way up the Windward Passage along St. John.  Our intent was to clear BVI Customs at West End, Tortola.  However when we got there, there were not any mooring balls available.  As the forecast was calling for strong winds again, we decided to run over to Jost Van Dyke and see what was there.  Upon arriving we were able to pick up a mooring ball and all went to customs to clear our boat and ourselves into the BVI’s.  After time on shore, the class returned to the boat for their first cooking on board, a dinner of beans and rice. 

March 9, 2010:  
Up and ready to go.  After breakfast and boat check, we headed south to Norman Island.  A great sail across to Great Thatch Island.  The turn up to head east put our nose right into the wind, a great time to practice our tacking.  The east wind and changing wind speed made for an interesting trip.  We entered the Bight at Norman Island and picked up a mooring ball.  The students went on their first solo dingy ride exploring the area.  This allowed the captain time to take care of some minor boat issues.  The captain also felt he needed some meat.  Captains treat tonight as he prepared a meal of Chicken, spaghetti, and salad.  He even did the dishes as the students took their first written exam.  All passed.  No one complained about the food.

March10, 2010:
Today our objective is the Bitter End on the north end of Virgin Gorda.  The boat was checked and the route planned.  We left the mooring ball at 0820.  The first leg was no problem with the NE wind. However just past Peter Island we found that it was a lot of trips back and forth across the Sir Francis Drake Channel to make any distance to our destination.  Still it was a lot of great close reach sailing.  We made the turn around the east of Tortola but when it was again time to head back to an easterly course we elected to start the engine and make the run the rest of the way to Gorda Sound.  This also gave us a chance to put a charge back into our house batteries.  We picked up our mooring ball and all went to shore for showers and to check things out ashore.  Dinner ashore was even better then what the captain had made the night before.   

March 11, 2010:
We made a quick trip to shore to get rid of trash and pick up some more provisions.  Conducted the boat check and found that the one dingy line was starting to come apart.  The bad section was cut out and the line was retied.  Today our course turned around and the wind was behind us all the way to Cain Garden.  Winds up over 20 knots and seas made the jibing practice interesting.  Still we were able to enter Cain Garden with no problem.  The students still would rather sail then to stop and go swimming.  A trip to shore for the students enabled them to find a good restaurant.  No place in the states do you have dogs come right up to you at your table to let you get your “dog fix”.  The entertainment included a great band and a waitress dancing with a wine bottle on her head.  We still do not know how it stayed on.   

March 12, 2010:
After a quite night sleep we were up with the chickens (really).   The students took another one of their exams and we checked the boat for our trip back to Crown Bay.  Today was the first good day for the new students to practice MOB which we did out between Cain Garden and Jost Van Dyke.  I always wonder what other boats are thinking as they see this crazy sailboat twisting and turning and going in circles.  After we repeatedly rescued “Bob” (because he was bobbing), we turned the boat for home.  It was a great sail reaching up over 8 knots many times.  As we entered the area of Water Island, we could not help but to keep an eye to the sky for landing seaplanes.  The sails were rolled in and the dock lines and fenders were prepared.  Crown Bay Marina was called for clearance to enter.  After docking and securing the boat, we all went up and cleared into customs. 

March 13, 2010:
We still had two more exams to take that were both passed.  The students packed and cleaned up getting ready for their return trip home.  Two of the students still had more shopping to do before they headed back home.  It was a great week of sailing, seeing new locations and learning what it is like to operate a large cruse sailing boat around the islands.  A distance of 126 miles was covered.   

Captain Keith Jackson
St Thomas, VI
14 March 2010

Return to Home

© Copyright The Maryland School of Sailing & Seamanship, Inc., All rights reserved.
Web site design by F. Hayden Designs, Inc.