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Beginner’s Luck?

The Basics

The boat: Stela, a 2021 Lagoon 42 

Crew: Captain JT (instructor)  

ASA Students: Robert, Stella, and Jared

Courses Completed:  ASA 101 (Basic KeelBoat), ASA 103 (Basic Coastal Cruising), ASA 104  (Bareboat Cruising), ASA 114 (Cruising Catamaran)


diagramDay 1: Meeting Stela

Getting acquainted before setting sail doesn’t mean just getting to know your fellow crew members. You also need to get to know your boat! Robert, Stella, and Jared hopped aboard Stela, a 2021 Lagoon 42, and Captain JT gave them a proper introduction. He went over using the heads, water usage, power usage, and how to use the stove. Of course, Captain JT also got to know each sailor as well and asked them about their prior sailing experiences, time in the VI, and sailing goals for the week! 

Day 2: Lost and Found

The crew spent a bit more time in the morning getting acquainted with Stela before departing the marina. They went over systems, equipment, sailing terms, parts of the boat, and equipment on the boat. However, after setting off they realized they must not have gone over shackles— as they raised the main, they realized the tack wasn’t shackled to the gooseneck! The crew continued to sail with the first reef in the main while looking for a shackle on the boat they may be able to use. By the end of the day the crew found one and were able to unfurl the jib, trim both sails, and tack their way to Hawksnest Bay! 

Day 3: Non-Sailing Drills

Not all the skills learned in ASA courses are specific to sailing. Steering the boat, anchoring, mooring, and man overboard procedures are all important to know, regardless of the vessel a crew member finds themselves on! Each crew member practiced these skills while another took their turn at the helm. The crew also had time to practice with the chart plotter, safety equipment, and VHF radio before jumping in the water at Maho Bay to swim with the turtles!

Day 4: Flawless Jibes 

After a day of non-sailing drills, Captain JT decided to test the crew in sailing specific skills on day 4! They started by putting in first reef, then second, then back to full mainsail. Captain JT was impressed with the crew’s ability to efficiently complete the task while communicating effectively with each other. So he upped the ante! He asked the crew to bear away on a beam reach and round the east end of St. John. After completing numerous tacks, he then asked the crew to practice jibing downwind into Coral Bay. Three flawless jibes later, Captain JT was more than impressed! They celebrated with tacos and a snorkel session filled with colorful fish. The crew even spotted a seahorse!

Day 5: A Very Special Thanksgiving

The skills the crew demonstrated to Captain JT on day 4 weren’t beginners luck but the weather that greeted them on Thanksgiving Day? There might have been some luck involved in that! The crew sailed between 8-9 knots the entire day, the sun shined consistently, and the crew became so immersed in enjoying the beautiful sailing conditions— they sailed beyond their stopping point. This also turned out to be a blessing though! They changed plans, sailed into Honeymoon Beach and found themselves on a completely deserted and stunningly peaceful beach! What more could you ask for to round out a fantastic holiday sail?

Day 6: A Truly Lucky Crew

What could make this crew’s final day of sailing better than the last? How about sailing with dolphins and snorkeling with starfish and stingrays? This crew combined competence and luck on their last day out on the water! They not only saw a variety of unique sea life, they also continued to impress Captain JT with their skills. They sailed north towards Jost Van Dyke in the BVI— tacking, jibing, reefing, and heaving-to along the way. They sailed hard and their hard work paid off with the amount of amazing sea life they were able to enjoy that afternoon!