From learn-t0-voyage experiences to Antarctic adventures, there are lots of ways to fill your sea boots with salt water (published August 2013)
Most of us don’t sail our own boat to the high latitudes or across oceans, but that shouldn’t stop us from having these experiences on other people’s ocean going sail boats or ships. And, for those who aspire to blue water sailing and far horizons, learning the skills you need from more experienced voyagers is a great way to gain confidence and knowledge.
LEARNING TO VOYAGE
The value of sailing offshore with sailors who have hundreds of thousands of sea miles under their keels can’t be overestimated. The knowledge these sailors carry with them, the experience and sea sense, can’t be fully logged in books or videos. You have to be out there to really get it.
Mahina Expeditions: John Neal and Amanda Swan Neal are two of the world’s most experienced voyagers. Aboard their Hallberg-Rassy 46, Mahina Tiara III, they have taken their students to many of the planet’s most exotic and extreme destinations while teaching them essential sailing, navigation, seamanship skills. There are many world cruisers and circumnavigators today who first went seriously to sea with John and Amanda. They also run invaluable on-shore seminars and lecture at many boat shows. For more information log on to www.mahina.com.
John Kretchmer Sailing: Like John and Amanda, John Kretchmer has been voyaging almost all of his life and has crossed the Atlantic so many times he’s lost count. Aboard his Kaufman 47 Quetzal, he carries paying guests on his seagoing adventures and teaches them seamanship, navigation, voyaging skills and the right attitude to make life at sea work for everyone. John is a great shipmate and he can turn you into one, too. For more information log on to www.yayablues.com.
Modern Sailing School: Based in Sausalito, CA, the Modern Sailing School & Club offers an Adventure Sailing program run by the school’s founder John Connelly. Using charter boats from fleets around the world, John invites guests along for cruising programs of one, two or three weeks with many overnight passages along the way. With just four or five guests aboard for any given leg, John can really teach voyaging skills on a personal, one-to-one basis. For more information log on to www.modernsailing.com.
Maryland School of Sailing & Seamanship: Based in the Chesapeake Bay, the MSSS offers a full menu of ASA sailing courses topped off by their unique Ocean Training Cruises. These offshore passages run from Norfolk to St. Thomas and back and Norfolk to Bermuda and back. Students spend two days prior to each offshore passage attending in-depth seminars and then are taught offshore by a certified instructor. For more information log on to www.mdschool.com.
Elcie Expeditions: Relative newcomers to the offshore instruction business, Jessica and Richard Russso invite paying guests to join them aboard their 62-foot aluminum catamaran Elcie as they cruise about the world. This year they are in the South Pacific on their way to New Zealand. Guests sail with them in two, three or four week increments that include island hopping and passagemaking. Along the way, the Russos provide hands-on instruction on the voyaging life and the skills needed for successful world cruising. For those who want to experience voyaging aboard a catamaran, an Elcie cruise would be invaluable. For more information log on to www.elcieexpeditions.com.
If you really want to challenge yourself and sail where few have ever sailed before you, then a high latitude sailing adventure is just the thing for you. These expeditions are less about instruction than about extreme sailing and adventure.
Pelagic Expeditions: Founded by veteran round the world racer Skip Novak, Pelagic expeditions offers custom sailing expeditions in Patagonia, the Antarctic, The Falkland Islands and South Georgia Island aboard their two boats Pelagic and Pelagic Australis. Expeditions in the far Northern Hemisphere are also available. So if you want to meet penguins and walk in Shackleton’s footprints, a Pelagic Expedition is for you. For more information log on to www.pelagic.co.uk.
Natural Habitat Expeditions: Also based in Patagonia, Natural Habitat Expeditions take small parties across the Drake Passage to Antarctica where they will organize camping excursions, penguin watching and much more. Guests sail aboard the steel sloop Australis that has been reinforced to cope with cruising in ice floes. Each expedition can accommodate up to eight guests. For more information log on to www.nathab.com
Sail Antarctica: Similar in many ways to Natural Habitat Expeditions, Sail Antarctica specializes in photo excursions to Antartica. Guests sail to Antarctica from Patagonia aboard a 54-foot steel sloop and spend three weeks sailing along the Antarctic Peninsula and then back to Patagonia. For more information log on to www.sailantarctic.com.