I know we’ve mentioned more than once our love of the water and my particular love of sailing. I am mainly self taught and have never had any proper schooling. You don’t need a license to sail or own a boat in most jurisdictions. But if you want to rent or charter a boat you’ll often need to demonstrate competency or have some certifications before they’ll let you take the helm.
I’ve wanted to get my “bareboat” certificate from the American Sailing Association (ASA) for years. The ASA cert would allow me to charter a boat by myself almost anywhere. The dream of going somewhere and just sailing off into the sunset for a week would be easier to obtain. Yes, we have our own boat, but that boat may not be in the destination we’d like to explore. I’d also like to raise my competency levels, too. And, as a bonus, the ASA certification could help in insurance rates for our boat.
I want the training and Amanda wants a vacation. We began doing research and found several programs out there that take you from ASA 101 to ASA 104 (Bareboat Charter Certification) in a week. We both want the adventure but only one of us wants to take the classes. The problem with that is most of the concentrated courses that do the training in a week are liveaboard schools. We did find one or two that run day aboard, shore at night, but most of those were very expensive. If we were interested in spending up to $7,000 or more that would be an option, but it would also mean that Amanda and I would spend our days apart. We don’t really like that (but if it was affordable we’d do it).
We have our eyes focused on a school in the USVI out of Saint Thomas. It is a leisurely paced, liveaboard sail that allows spouses to accompany you at a discounted rate. The schedule is balanced so there is plenty of time for instruction and fun in the water and on land. The itinerary takes you to St. Thomas, St. John, Jost Van Dyke, Tortola, Anegada, Virgin Gorda and Norman Island. The best part is we get to explore the islands, learn to sail (and get a paper to prove), it and spend our vacation together.
We haven’t committed to it (yet), but we will be certain to keep you updated as we move along in this process.