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Captain’s Log: Starting From Scratch

St Thomas and St John islands

The BasicsSt Thomas and St John islands

The boat: Good Times & Tan Lines, a 2022 Lagoon 42 

Crew: Captain JT (instructor)  

ASA Students: Lee, Lisa, and Peter

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


Day 1: Sails Goals

Captain JT introduced the crew to “Good Times & Tan Lines” and everyone jumped aboard to choose cabins and unpack. Once everyone had settled in, it was time to go over sailing goals! Lisa and Peter explained their previous power boating experience and their interest in buying a catamaran after learning to sail. Lee hoped to learn the skills necessary to become competent crew and help sail boats for fun. 

Day 2: Starting From Scratch

Most sailing courses with Go Sail Virgin Islands begin with maneuvers under power before setting sail. This crew practiced their maneuvers out of the marina and up to the north side of St. John before Captain JT let them know it was time to hoist the sails! The crew practiced points of sail and holding a course until they were comfortable with both. Then, they tried out tacking and heaving-to. By the afternoon, the students had made their way to Maho Bay and ended their sail by mooring in the bay. 

Day 3: Off to the Races

No need to start off with maneuvers under power now! The crew was ready to hoist the sails right away and tack up the Narrows. The students worked on keeping the sails trimmed and using the traveler to make windward progress more efficient. They made it all the way to West End Tortola before heading downwind to a broad reach and then jibbing back down the Narrows. They picked up mooring just off Honeymoon Beach and enjoyed a snorkel to end the day. 

Day 4: No Wind? No Problem!

The crew woke up to a rather bleak forecast for sailors— no wind! However, there is plenty to learn in a learn to sail course, even when the wind isn’t blowing. The crew practiced anchoring by taking turns at the helm and at the bow, controlling the anchor windlass. Next, they got out the chart and practiced their navigation skills using dividers and parallel rule. This also gave them time to plan the next day’s adventures. The crew then finished off their day of learning with a knot tying session. They tied figure 8s, cleat hitches, clove hitches, round turn and two half hitches, bowlines, reef knots, and sheet bends!

Day 5: Recovering Bob

The winds made up for their lackluster appearance the day before by providing perfect sailing conditions on day 5 of this learn to sail adventure! The crew made the long sail from Magens Bay to Coral Bay in no time, practicing three point fixes along the way. The crew then practiced man overboard procedures. They successfully recovered Bob from the water four times! Luckily, Bob is just the name JT gives for Buoy Overboard and no crew members actually needed saving. 

Day 6: Last Day Shenanigans

While the crew got in some important sailing lessons on their last day at sea, they also had plenty of time for fun. The students found themselves moored on Christmas Cove on Great St. James Island in the afternoon. Christmas Cove is a popular snorkeling spot for many in the VI and they couldn’t have picked a better day to snorkel the area either. The underwater visibility was about 50-100 feet and the students easily spotted  turtles, colorful fish, eagle rays, and a dolphin. A perfect way to end a perfect week!