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Captain’s Log: In Search of Fair Winds

graphic of st thomas and st john island with boats

The Basics

The boat: Speculation, a 44’ Leopard catamaran 

Crew: Captain Jalil (instructor)  

ASA Students: 

Courses Completed:  ASA 101 (Basic Keelboatgraphic of st thomas and st john island with boats), ASA 103 (Basic Coastal Cruising), ASA 104  (Bareboat Cruising), ASA 114 (Cruising Catamaran)

Day 1: Smoother sailing

Eric, Crystal, and Michael all came into their Go Sail trips with less than stellar sailing experiences in the past. Eric and Crystal had sailed in Galveston a year ago but the weather was bad and their instructor impatient. Michael also had a difficult experience with a sailing instructor. They all looked forward to smoother sailing with Go Sail Virgin Islands! On their first night together, Eric explained his experience on a powerboat as a police officer and Michael shared how he received his Captain’s license during his time in the Navy.   

Day 2: Maneuvers under power

The first full day of sailing with Go Sail Virgin Islands normally involves quite a bit of practice with maneuvers under power in the morning and the light winds made it a perfect day to do so! With their previous powerboat experience, Eric and Michael took right to the exercises. Eric loved the maneuverability of the twin screws. Crystal found the closeness of other boats stressful but nailed every maneuver under power that she tried out! Once making it to Buck Island, the crew stopped for lunch and snorkeling. In the afternoon, the winds had picked up and the group tacked themselves over to Hassel Island and moored for the night.   

Day 3: Enjoying the VI’s beauty

The crew went in search of wind on day three of their trip. Near Buck Island, the crew found a light southerly wind and practiced tacking. By afternoon, the group was ready to explore the beauty of the Virgin Islands— starting with the wreck of the Senora Cartanza! After a snorkeling session, they did some ‘slow-motion jibing’ over to Christmas Cove, ending the day with pizza and beautiful Virgin Islands sunset. 

Day 4: Tackling variable winds

The day’s sailing began with east winds at 8 knots— but that didn’t last for long! The winds kept changing and provided a challenging experience for the students as they tacked and jibbed their way to Pillsbury Sound. By afternoon, everyone was exhausted and happy to proceed under power to Francis Bay. Captain Jalil congratulated the crew for a job well done with his famous Water Island cocktails! 

Day 5: Looking on the bright side 

Sailing in squalls? Well at least there is plenty of wind! That’s how the crew saw things as the winds got up to 7-8 knots and the crew found themselves drenched in the rain. They practiced reefing and sailed into sunnier waters. Just south of Little Tobago, the students found flat, calm conditions and shook out the reef again. They took multiple hand bearings, kept a dead-reckoning log, and then picked up mooring at Hawksnest Bay. Crystal made instapot chicken for dinner and Eric tried leeks for the first time!  

Day 6: A perfect sail day

After low winds, variable winds, and winds with rain— the crew was finally greeted by the champagne sailing conditions the VI is known for on day six of their sailing trip! For the first time on the trip, they clipped along at a consistent 7 knots in sunny conditions, making it all the way past French Cap Cay for lunch. In the afternoon, the crew practiced man-overboard drills, sailed to Water Island, and then made their way under power to Flamingo Cove to practice anchoring. The group ended the day at Honeymoon Beach with another gorgeous sunset. 

Day 7: New kid on the dock

As the crew’s VI sailing trip came to a close, Michael had one last request before the course ended. He wanted to try his hand at docking! Captain Jalil happily walked Michael through the process, explaining a thing or two about passing dock lines ashore, sweating them up, and then refueling and re-watering before heading to a slip. Michael seamlessly pulled the cat up to the fuel dock— a perfect ending to a great trip!