Captain’s Log: Cruz Bay Carnival
The boat: “Peach Paradise,” a 2018 Fountaine Pajot Helia 44
Crew: Captain JT
ASA Students: Thomas and Lowell
Courses Completed: ASA 103 (Basic Coastal Cruising), ASA 104 (Bareboat Cruising), ASA 114 (Cruising Catamaran),
Day 1: Jumping Right In
Oftentimes, Go Sail Virgin Islands trips start with a night of getting to know each other before setting sail— but not on this trip! This crew is ready to dive right in! The morning started off with the group learning the boat’s systems, going through a safety briefing, learning nautical terms, and then setting sail. The crew departed the marina and motored to the east so Thomas and Lowell could get used to the feel of the helm and the boat’s response. The two sailors then practiced holding a course on all points of sail as well as tacking. By afternoon, the group sailed into Maho Bay and enjoyed floating on noodles off the boat. A busy yet successful first day!
Day 2: Enjoying Time Off the Boat
After a busy first day of sailing, the crew decided to enjoy some time off the boat! They had a swim with turtles in the morning before setting sail to Magens Bay on St. Thomas. Along the way, the crew practiced tacking,
heave-to, jibing, and finally some anchoring. Once successfully anchored the rest of the day was spent in the water— SUPing and swimming!
Day 3: Happy Independence Day!
The 4th of July is a wonderful day to spend in the US Virgin Islands! Cruz Bay offers a fantastic Carnival celebration (along with fireworks) that this crew didn’t want to miss. Although the conditions were a bit blustery, the crew was able to successfully make it to Honeymoon Beach. There, the crew members worked on practice knots and discussed necessary equipment on board, like the VHF radio. Afterwards, it was Carnival time! The group listened to live music, ate a delicious dinner, walked along the beach, and then headed back to the boat for a perfect view of the 9pm fireworks.
Day 4: Putting Sailing Knowledge to the Test
The crew starts by learning about charts and navigation. Once they feel comfortable with these skills, Captain JT puts their knowledge to the test! The crew makes a passage plan to tack through Thatch Island Cut, pass through Jost Van Dyke, and ultimately turn downwind and sail on a broad reach to Caneel Bay. The crew does swimmingly, having picked up all the necessary skills and safely navigating to Caneel Bay by afternoon!
Day 5: Trying Out the Local Fare
Now the crew had a good understanding of basic chart work and navigation, Captain JT upped the difficulty! The crew learned how to do a three point fix and navigate their position accurately. Afterwards, it was tim
e to set sail and get in some more practice jibing, tacking, and reefing the sails. They “even threw in a heave-to just because they like it,” Captain JT noted. However, the real highlight of the day was dinner at Lovango Cay! The crew ordered a variety of food but collectively agreed the sea urchin gnocchi was the highlight of dinner. It was so good the crew ordered a second helping!
Day 6: Mooring Mishaps
At this point in the week, Ca
ptain JT gives full control of the boat over to the students! Lowell and Thomas do their pre-departure checks, plan their route, depart the mooring, and set sail. For 5 hours the two man crew practices all their skills at the helm and successfully sails into Christmas Cove. The crew arrives and finds the only remaining mooring! However, they quickly understand why it hasn’t been scooped up. The float for the pendant is broken so the line can’t be snagged with a boat hook. The crew jumps in, retrieves it about 4 feet underwater, and successfully moors— a great showing of teamwork!
Day 7: Stay In Touch
It’s time to tidy up and head home! The crew shares contact information, photos, and says final goodbyes. Congratulations Thomas and Lowell on your ASA certifications!