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Cruising Captain's Condo SDSA.com
My wife and I
completed the five day course (101/103/104/105) back in April 2004.
In May of that year we purchased our first boat, a 1972 Tartan 30. It
took about six months to complete the refit but by November of 2004
everything was ready. We splashed the boat in the Mississippi River
in Iowa and headed south. After waiting out the 2005 hurricane season
in Mobile AL (lousy choice of locations) we sailed across the Gulf and
through the Caribbean to Panama. After transiting the canal it was
off across the Pacific.
Anyway we wanted to
write to thank you for helping get us started on this adventure. It
has been a dream come true and we look forward some day to heading
west to continue the trip around.
Livin' the Dream
Cousin Michael and I came to San Diego with the anticipation of learning to sail. We left San Diego well on the way to the beginning of a journey to become a sailor. Much more than teaching us to sail, you taught to a greater goal.
You know the mechanics of sailing are usually fairly well assimilated. From the mechanics of sailing you took Michael and I through the goal of being a safe skipper for our family and friends. You taught us how to charter a boat and plan a safe trip for these loved ones by knowing the systems of a sailboat and how to safely trouble-shoot these systems before and during a sail. Further, you taught us how to work with a charter boat company to safely plan our trip.
You taught us to be skippers, not sailors. I wish to express my gratitude for your professional job well done.
Hope this e-mail finds you and Nick happy & healthy.
Nancy did not want to go & a friend of mine could not get away from work so I ended up going to an ASA school in Florida to pick up the ASA106 Advanced Coastal Cruising course. The training was adequate in most respects but nothing outstanding. There were five students on the boat. We went from Ft. Lauderdale to the Bahamas and back. The boat was fine but when compared to the Swellbound, it was a pig boat. Several pieces of equipment (such as the wind instruments) did not work. The upholstery was very worn & torn in places. The boat was not Bristol in any fashion.
The instructor was a nice enough guy & he knows his business. He worked us hard on coastal navigation, which was fine, but he was a disappointment on the sailing end of the training. On the two occasions that we were coming into a marina dock, he took over and maneuvered the boat. One night we were making an approach through a channel to an anchorage and he again took over the boat. I was somewhat surprised/disappointed as all of us were suppose to be advanced students.
Anyway, to date I have obtained ASA certificates from four ASA schools. The training with you on the Swellbound has been by far the most useful, practical and enjoyable.
One day of glassy sea doldrums and san diego style beater down sun.
One incident of a dragging anchor while seeking shelter from a storm in small crowded anchorage...and once in place leaving no room for 360° pivot except to rocks....decided to head back out into the storm for 2 hours to get to better anchorage. Worked out great.
Heres a gallery of photos i took from the gig:
and also my weblog that I update from time to time just to keep fam and friends updated. http://www.nevadasurveyor.com/weblog
for your tutorage Mike...best thing I have done in a long while.
Hey there Nick!
Well, we promised to send pictures so here are some...from our most recent trip, which was to BVI:
BVI was great, 9 or 10 days around tortola. wonderful.
As for our Mexico trip at christmas time, that was fun too. We were able to moore to a ball in the yelapa bay and enjoy both beach fun and boat adventures for 4 or 5 days. This was my most challenging adventure sailing as I was really the only experienced sailor --------aside from Munce, of course :)-------and we visited some very rocky shallow islands 20 miles out, as well as some whales that....which deserves a short story....imagine that you are cruising at hull speed in 20-25 knots of wind, both sails all reefed in nicely, all four people on board are enjoying beers, hooting, and taking in the view, autohelm is engaged so nobody is in the cockpit (or at least nobody is at the wheel) or paying much attention to that, we're 20 miles off shore----and a mature 50 foot humpback whale, probably 60 tons, rose vertically completely out of the water airborn, slowly crashing back down into the water.........about 400 feet ahead directly in our path!!!..........we have no pictures because we were all basically awestruck and couldn't move for a couple of moments, until munce turned to me and offered "I think we are close enough" at which time I agreed and swiftly diverted.
All is well here in minnesota. I did finally buy a boat---it's a brand new catalina 350. I have your rust/corrosion prevention spray for the bilge. it is for the bilge, right? let me know...
Well, munce says hi, and we're signing off!
Mike and Nick,
Bill and Lisa Nance (Las Vegas)
Please make sure
that you take Jaquie out for a cocktail or two.
I hope that at some point we may meet out on the open ocean or on an Island that at the very least we can buy you dinner.
The staff at Horizon were really great, helpful and courteous. The checkout was nothing more than a walk through the boat.
We left Nanny Cay at about 11:30 Sunday, E wind - 20 knot blowing,
set sailing and averaged about 6.8 - 7.2 knots over to Norman (The
Next day wind about the same, sailed up around Salt to the wreck of the HMS Rhone, caught a day mooring, snorkeled and then motored up to Cooper, moored.
Next day winds still blowing, sailed up by Spanish Town, between the Dogs and Virgin Gorda, kept heading east out to open ocean to get the right angle on Virgin Gorda Sound - 8 to 10 ground swells - lots of fun. Sailing with 5 other boats all doing the same thing - different tacks - really cool timing tacks between passing in front and making the tack before obstructing following boat (gave us a sense of what you must experience when racing) - moored at Bitter End, no spots left at Saba Rock.
Next day sailed down to the Baths - ground swells down to 3 - 4 feet so we could snorkel at the Baths, took the trail around to the other side - then motored up to Spanish Town. Missed getting the last ball, radioed Spanish Town Virgin Gorda Marina and picked up a slip for the night.
Next day went sailing down to baths then up passed the Dogs, about 1 mile out from the Dogs, heaved to and had lunch - really enjoyed that. The powered up and sailed over to Marina Cay - lovely spot.
Next day very little wind, motored between Scrub and Great Camanoe then cut back between Great Camanoe and Guana Island, picked up a day mooring at Monkey Point - snorkeled.
Then motored down the north shore, cut between Great Thatch and West Point of Tortola. Caught some wind once back in the channel and sailed up to Nanny Cay and into the marina.
Really a great time, we had Helen's sister and brother-in-law with
us - they had never sailed before so they couldn't believe how much
fun sailing is.
So a big thanks to you Mike - all of your coaching and instruction made it all possible. When we hit the channel we felt confident that our sailing skills would keep us out of harms way. We were the only ones that flemished and flaked our lines - we were happy to know and use some of the finner points of sailing - it just makes you and the boat look good. There were obviously better sailors than us docked but we at least looked and did know what we were doing.
The navigation really came in handy - everyone says, everything is LOS navigation. Yeah, but when you have never been to the BVI before and you pull out into the channel and see 10 or more different islands and you can't tell one from the other, it's like picking a tree out of the forest. I had pre-plotted a course so I knew what bearing to take off the boat and so forth.
Sorry for the long email - again thanks for everything. We will be back to San Diego some day, likely chartering from you so we will see you again.
Helen and Les
Cruising Captain's Condo SDSA.com
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