Kathy & Brandon's Next Adventure

The Learning Process


When Kathy and I met, she said that she liked sailing and I said that I liked sailing - what could be better? Unfortunately, we both misunderstood what the other one meant.

Kathy had been a member of both the TASS (Texas Association of Single Sailors) and the Sail La Vie sailing clubs. She had taken crew training classes with them, gone on day and weekend sails and gone on a bare boat charter to the Spanish Virgin Islands where a Sail La Vie skipper sailed the boat. So she was more of a crew member than a full fledged sailor.

I was less of a sailor than Kathy. I had been on crewed charters where there was a paid captain and cook. They did all of the sailing and I merely observed. So if we were really going to do some sailing, we both needed to learn more, and I needed to learn more than Kathy. To get started and to see if we would like it, we went on a club bare boat charter to Belize on a catamaran.

To start learning, I took the crew training from Sail La Vie. The course teaches all of the special terminology of sailing plus the parts of a sail boat and how the parts work together. You learn the basics of handling a 30 to 40 foot sail boat. But you don't learn enough to do it on your own.

After going on some day and weekend sails with Sail La Vie, we began to discuss the possibility of going cruising and we realized that we needed to learn a lot more. In 2001 we took the two day American Sailing Association's "Basic Keelboat" first level class. We took the class from Windward Sea Ventures in Clear Lake.

ASA logo

In May of 2002 (when Alex was being born), we took the three day combined "Coastal Cruising" and "Bareboat Chartering" course. So now according to the ASA we were qualified. But we knew that we needed more training and more practise. So the week of July 4th, we took the six day Live Aboard Cruising course at Steve Colgate's Offshore Sailing School in the Florida keys. This is a US Sailing sanctioned course. We sailed and lived on a Hunter 46 foot sail boat (pictures below) for the week. For the final 24 hours, we sailed it without the instructor. For information about the course check out the page for the Live Aboard Cruising course.

Hunter cockpit Hunter above

Now Steve Colgate and U. S. Sailing said that we were qualified, but we knew that we still needed a lot of practise.

USSailing Logo

In late June 2003 I will be taking an offshore passage making course from the Maryland School of Sailing. We will be sailing an Island Packet 45 from Bermuda to Norfolk, Virginia.

I have also taken some classes in navigation, boat electrical systems and diesel engine maintenance.
updated May 29, 2003