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Captains Log: Sailing Under Stormy Skies

The Basics

The boat: 2022 Fountaine Pajot Astrea 42

Crew: Captain JT

ASA Students: Kathe and Matt

Courses Completed:  ASA 103 (Basic Coastal Cruising), ASA 104  (Bareboat Cruising), ASA 106 (Advanced Coastal Cruising), ASA 114 (Cruising Catamaran), 

Day 1: Happy Anniversary!map

Kathe and Matt are celebrating their 40th anniversary by learning to sail together! Matt is eager to learn more about catamarans while Kathe is looking forward to becoming more proficient in sailing so she and Matt can be an effective team on their own boat back home. This couple jumps right into the fun and by evening they have already had a few hours practice maneuvering under power, hoisting the sails, and tacking their way into Maho Bay.

Day 2: A Full Day of Practice

Day two had a perfect start: enjoying a warm cup of coffee on the trampoline as the sun rose over the mountain tops. The crew then made a passage plan for Tortola, hoisted the main, and tacked their way upwind. It was a lovely day to practice jibing, reefing, and going from full main to first reef. By the end of the day, the crew welcomed a snorkel session and a wonderful dinner in Cruz Bay!

Day 3: Stormy Skies

How quickly the weather can change! The crew woke up to winds blowing up to 24 knots and decided sailing upwind would not be in the cards. They changed course, heading downwind to St. Thomas and anchoring in Magens Bay. Matt and Kathe were able to get some practice in jibing along the way. However, once arriving in Magens Bay, the skies began to darken. Instead of sailing on, the crew worked on anchoring procedures, taking turns at the helm and anchor controls. Then, a quick VHF radio discussion before enjoying a tasty grilled Mahi meal! 

Day 4: Plan B?

Learning from yesterday, Kathe decided to craft two passage plans for the day! That way, the crew could follow whichever plan pointed towards more welcoming sea conditions. Even with a plan B, the route was tough! The wind blew 25 knots and the boat bashed into 3-4 foot seas. However, Kathe and Matt did a great job navigating all the way to Caneel Bay. They tucked up in the bay to escape the weather and practiced knot tying before heading into Cruz Bay for dinner– feeling truly accomplished with their day’s efforts!  

Day 5: Alternative Adventures

Another day of stormy skies wasn’t going to stop this crew from having a great time! The group enjoyed breakfast on Cruz Bay, Kathe booked scuba lessons, and then followed them up with shopping. In the afternoon, the skies looked no less gray— making it a perfect opportunity for dinghy driving lessons and even a diesel engine lesson. The sailboat may not have moved but that didn’t stop the crew from having a fully eventful day! 

Day 6: Making The Most Out Of The Last Day

Remember that scrapped plan for Tortola that was made on day two? Well the weather brightened and the crew decided they were up for the challenge of sailing to Tortola and back on the last day of their Go Sail adventure! The crew hoisted the main sail and off they went, tacking their way upwind first to Jost Van Dyke. The crew tacked just before Sandy Spit to sail towards Tortola,  throwing in a heave-to just for fun, and then shaking a reef. They gracefully sailed through Thatch Island Cut then turned downwind, jibing through the Narrows. A full day of adventure before returning to Maho Bay!