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Thanksgiving at Sea

The Basics

The boat: Vayu, a 50’ FP Helia 

Crew: Captain Trevon (instructor)  

ASA Students: Dodi, John, Christian, Thibaud

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

diagramDay 1: Swapping Stories

This crew came to Go Sail Virgin Islands with a variety of boating experience! Over dinner, John described his years of sailing experience and his certifications from the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) in Australia. Dodi, on the other hand, had no sailing experience but both her and John were excited to learn the ins and outs of sailing a catamaran! Father/son duo Cristian and Thibaud had the same goal as Dodi and John. While they didn’t have any sailing experience, they did have extensive experience being out at sea on large jet skis. 

Day 2: We’re In This Together

Captain Trevon made sure everyone had a chance to sail on the crew’s first day out on open water! John took the helm first and steered the crew towards Frenchman’s Cap to practice maneuvers under power. From there, Thibaud navigated the boat to Current Cut. Next up was Dodi, who navigated the crew to Caneel Bay. In Caneel Bay, Cristian and Thubaud successfully grabbed a mooring ball but Captain Trevon wanted to make sure everyone had some practice with this skill. He had each crew member practice approaching the ball. Once everyone had successfully attempted mooring, they were off again to Jost Van Dyke! Everyone took turns tacking upwind and John took the helm to navigate the crew through traffic in The Narrows and into Maho Bay. It was a full day of teamwork, learning, and skill building!

Day 3: Anchors Aweigh

Just as the crew was starting to get comfortable sailing Vayu — Captain Trevon threw a surprise their way. An unexpected man overboard (MOB) drill near Roadtown Harbor! The crew did a great job rolling with the surprise and retrieved the MOB in under 5 minutes. Much of the rest of the day was spent learning about and practicing anchoring. While the crew successfully secured the boat on their first try, they determined their positioning could be better. They felt a bit too close to a derelict boat nearby. Anchors aweigh! The crew continued practicing and found another spot to drop anchor before calling it a day and heading to shore for dinner. The crew happened to be ashore just in time to catch open mic night at a local bar and enjoyed entertainment from some great local artists over dinner and drinks! 

Day 4: Chicken Gybes

Next up on the agenda— learning how to sail when you don’t have land as a reference point! The crew headed southeast, with no land in sight, and practiced diving Vayu on a constant course. The crew found this task challenging but ultimately, did a great job. Next up, Captain Trevon suggested a “chick gybe.” While the crew hadn’t a clue what this meant— they were eager to learn! Captain Trevon explained chicken gybes are a maneuver sailors use to avoid damage to the rigging when there are high winds. With this exciting new information, the crew practiced the maneuver on the way to Salt Pond Bay. However, upon arrival, they found all the moorings taken. Not to worry— they unfurled the jib and rode it downwind to Lameshur Bay. Once they found a secluded mooring, guess who showed up behind them? Captain JT and his crew of students!  

Day 5: A 5-Star Thanksgiving Experience

Happy Thanksgiving! The crew woke up to celebrate the holiday with Captain JT and his crew of Go Sail students. They followed Captain JT’s crew out into open waters and then both crews began their own sailing practice. Captain Trevon had the crew practice both traditional gybes and chicken gybes. While everyone took turns learning each position, some students began picking favorite tasks. For example, Thibaud was much more interested in pulling lines and pushing buttons than helming the boat! The crew moored a bit early so they could get ready to celebrate Thanksgiving on Vrux Bay. Captain Trevon reserved a table at a local restaurant where they had the best seats in the house, featuring gorgeous views and great people watching too! It was a true 5 star meal and a memorable holiday for everyone.  

Day 6: Putting It All Together

The crew woke up to beautiful sailing weather— the perfect opportunity to put all their sailing skills to the test! The group practiced tacking, reaching, gybing, sailing through traffic, and more surprise MOB drills before heading through the Durrent Cut and back to Christmas Cove. Once everyone had gotten ample time to practice, it was time for a snorkel session— or for Thibaud, time to drive the dinghy around the Bay! 


The last day of this crew’s sailing adventure seemed to come too soon. However, this was only the beginning of each crew member’s sailing journey. See you on the next adventure!