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Sailing Story: Tom Granese

Tom Granese quote: it wasn't sailing school it was

Tom Granese is no stranger to the Virgin Islands. His in-laws own a home in the USVI and he and wife own property there. However, for the many times they had spent admiring the sailboats passing them by, they had never actually learned to sail one. 

“We have a great view from the property. We watch boats go from St. Croix to Buck Island,” Tom explained. “It’s just mesmerizing for me to watch the boats go by.”

Tom Granese quote: it wasn't sailing school it was "hey, let's have fun learning how to sail"

Tom and his father-in-law had on and off discussed chartering a boat with a captain but they never pulled the trigger. In part, the timing just hadn’t seemed right but they also weren’t sure how much they’d learn from a charter captain. 

Then, Tom’s 50th birthday rolled around and he serendipitously found out chartering a boat with a captain wasn’t his only option. He stumbled upon Go Sail Virgin Islands online and learned about ASA learn to sail courses.

“This is the perfect blend,” he remembered thinking. “I can learn how to sail while taking a vacation. It was a win-win and it was fantastic.”

Tom was also excited at the prospect that his wife, daughter, and mother-in-law could come along for the ride, even if they weren’t learning to sail themselves. Meanwhile, Tom and his father-in-law could really learn the ropes of sailing on the catamaran. It was the perfect mix of vacation and learning. 

“It wasn’t sailing ‘school’ it was ‘hey, let’s have fun learning how to sail’,” Tom said. “Every afternoon once we moored the boat or dropped anchor we opened up the pool, cracked a beer— every day was such a nice event no matter what we did.”

The relaxed learning atmosphere was something Tom credits to their fantastic sailing instructor— Captain JT.

“He was the best. We hit it off right away,” Tom said. “His knowledge of the islands and the surrounding area made us more confident too. He knew where to go for the best experience.”

Tom also loved how Captain JT instilled a sense of confidence in him from day 1. 

“The first time we were out really sailing we were in some pretty serious wind. We were kind of making our way between St Thomas and St John and there was some salt spray splashing and it was kind of intense but it was so much fun even when it was rough like that and I was like… this is it,” Tom explained of the moment he realized he was meant to be a sailor.  “We were having a great time even in those conditions!” 

While Tom began the trip concerned a week out at sea might be too much, by the end of the sailing trip he realized that this was the ideal way to learn to sail. 

“You can go to marinas and yacht clubs and take lessons on a piecemeal basis but the real experience is going out there and staying on a boat,” he said. “We were worried– spending that much time on the boat— but we realized…we are boat people!”

After his weeklong liveaboard sailing course, Tom feels confident he’s found his new passion and this is only the beginning of his sailing story.

“We talked about it as being one of the best vacations we have ever done— if not the best,” he said. “We wish we would have done it sooner— we could have done it sooner!”