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Captain’s Log: Up for the Challenge

072024Week 2_UpfortheChallenge

The Basics

The boat: Good Times & Tan Lines, a Lagoon 42 catamaran

Crew: Captain JT (instructor)  

ASA Students: Bobby and Jon

Courses Completed:  ASA 106  (Advanced Coastal Cruising), ASA 114 (Cruising Catamaran), ASA 116 (Dinghy and Outboard Endorsement)

Day 1: Up for the challenge

Bobby and Jon both have quite a bit of sailing experience but on this trip, they hope to get out of their comfort zones. Over dinner and drinks, they explained to Captain JT their interest in understanding more sailing theory and gaining new skills so they feel comfortable chartering boats in other destinations. 

Day 2: Back it up

Captain JT put the crew’s knowledge to the test on the first day out on the sailboat. Jon and Bobby practiced approaching mooring balls and backing up to them without hitting them in Secret Harbor. After successfully showing their competency with maneuvers under power, it was time to hoist the sails and tack their way to Little Lameshur Bay. Along the way, the crew practiced sailing trim using the traveler and reefing. 

Day 3: Sailing in sporty conditions

The crew woke up bright and early to make a passage plan to St. Croix— the USVI island 35 miles to their south. Captain JT told Bobby and Jon to prep the boat for “sporty” conditions before having them sail south. Once out on the open water the students practiced dead reckoning, course-to-steer, and steering by compass. By late afternoon they had reached Christiansted. They headed to shore in the dinghy for dinner at a local brewery. 

Day 4: Just in the nick of time

This crew had no time for a look around Christiansted— they came to sail! Before they left the harbor Captain JT had the students practice anchoring, man overboard procedures and heave-to. Then, they hoisted the sails and began the trip back to St. Thomas. Along the way the crew practiced regular dead reckonings, running fixes, two bearing fixes, and calculated a course to steer. It was a long day and the crew made it back just as the sun set behind the horizon— back to St. Thomas just in the nick of time!  

Day 5: Knot a problem

What skills could this crew possibly have left to master? Knots! The morning was spent tying knots and practicing docking in Charlotte Amalie. Once the students proved their abilities, it was time for a celebratory snorkeling session near Buck Island! They then practiced jibing their way to Water Island before picking up a mooring ball at Honeymoon Beach and calling it a day.   

Day 6: The last long sail

No way was this crew going to make their last day on “Good Times & Tan Lines” an easy one! After a bit more practice docking at the Crowne Bay Marina, Bobby and Jon planned out a long sail for the day. They tacked their way along the south side of St. Thomas, up through Pillsbury Sound, north of St. John, and then turning around at Jost Van Dyke and sailing downwind back through the Sound. These students truly made the most out of their weeklong sailing trip!