Captain Randy Aboard Libra having a bit of fun playing along to some sailing myths!
How much experience do I need?
None. Come with a desire for adventure and a personality to match. We will provide as much sailing and cruising lessons and training as you would like, you'll get one on one time with the Captain and Mate throughout your trip. You can be hands-on and help with sail trim, boat maintenance, etc. at all times, or you can sit on the deck devouring your favorite novel during your off-watch hours. What type of experience you would like is up to you.
How do I prepare?
You fill one Duffel style bag with the essentials and your passport, then you board, listen to the Captain and fill your lungs with salt air. Bring some cash but also call your financial institution in advance to let them know where you will be traveling if you would like to use a credit or debit card while in a foreign port. Most of our destinations are tropical, so pack light: a few warm weather outfits, a few fleeces and jackets for cold weather, some books, toiletries and a good pair of deck shoes. These voyages are about breaking free from your normal routine and immersing yourself in the beauty and tranquility of your surroundings. You should only worry about being warm or cool and comfortable, not fashionable. Trade your heels and slacks for hats and shades and save the blow dryer for shore.
What amenities are on-board?
Libra is an incredibly well-stocked and wisely-rigged boat for offshore charters, but it is still a boat. Water, power and propane are limited but, when used in moderation, there is plenty. Each bunk is supplied with a separate USB port for charging electronics and reading lights. There are two heads (sink, toilet and shower) on the boat. The Captain and crew will stock the boat with plenty of snacks as well as provisions for meals each day on passage (breakfast, lunch and dinner of some sort) and drinks from the on-board bar once the boat is docked. Please feel free to bring along your favorite snacks for your night watches. Plan to spend your days and nights sailing, fishing, cooking, reading and looking at the stars. If you have any questions about certain amenities on board, please contact us.
What do I need to bring?
Whatever you can fit in your Duffel-style bag that will make the trip comfortable for you. A good pair of deck shoes or nonmarking tennis shoes (barefoot) is a must as well as a form of identification, currency and your passport. If you will be bringing medications, please bring a copy of your prescription as well (the bottle it came in*). We have plenty of sunscreen onboard as we know your liquids capacity, if you are flying home, will be limited to 3.4 oz. We supply PFDs (life-jackets) for use while on the trip. If you have unique food requests, please email those to us, or if you can fit it in your bag (a secret cookie stash to munch in your berth during movie night perhaps), feel free to bring it. We have seasickness medication on-board for those who are prone to it, but if you feel Scopolamine patches will benefit you, purchase some, read the directions and apply before we leave the dock. The boat is fully-stocked with a first-aid kit capable of treating cuts, wounds, rashes, fevers and infections.
Layered cold weather gear (fleeces, flannels, long sleeves, light wind breakers, etc.) ONLY FOR COLD WEATHER PASSAGES!
Deck shoes (sneakers will work) OR NO SHOES... get a pedicure before you come...
Hat (cap and visor)
Sunscreen (if you have a preferred type, be mindful of airline regulations, and always buy reef safe)
Books, magazines, entertainment (anything you like to peruse at your leisure)
Camera (capture and share your awesome voyage!)
a mug / cup like a stainless Yeti type, so we don't have random cups everywhere
Waterproof bags/cases for phones, iPads and other electronic devices, extra charging cables
What Not to Bring:
Do I need my own ditch bag?
No. Captain Ryan maintains a fully-stocked boat ditch bag on s/v Libra with flares, water, emergency food and survival gear, available for all passengers. All passengers and crew will participate in a complete safety debriefing before the boat leaves the dock covering all safety gear available on the vessel, how and when to use it, and how to respond in an emergency. The boat is also stocked with an EPIRB, Delorme satellite tracker and communication device, as well as a satellite phone, allowing communication to emergency responders at all times. Libra is also equipped with an Offshore Commander 2.0 inflatable life raft equipped with additional flares, water, environmental protection, safety lines, anchor and rescue ring.
Is it crowded? Will I get my own bunk?
Yes, it is because you all sleep together in the bilge! Just teasing. Compared to many boats, Libra is a palace. She sleeps 13 at full capacity, but we typically only have 9 or less, including crew, on most trips. There are 2 full-size bunks in the aft cabin for the crew, four twin-size bunks in the main saloon as well as four twin-size bunks in the forward cabin (the two bottom bunks can also be converted into a queen). We can guarantee your own separate bunk with a place to store your bag. In certain conditions (lack of wind or rough conditions) we may reconfigure sleeping arrangements to allow crew members who are off-shift to rest in optimal bunks to ensure they get adequate sleep for the voyage.
What are the duties on board?
We share all tasks on-board (mostly): standing watch and navigating, keeping our logs up to date, adjusting sails. With the typical 9-person crew, this will be a fairly light schedule and will offer you plenty of solitary down-time to read and watch the horizon during your off-shift or you can be as involved at all times in sail trim, passage planning, boat maintenance, etc. as you would like in order to gain more sailing/cruising knowledge from the experience. Captain Ryan is happy to share the entirety of the experience (the work and the play) or let you relax during your off time. Being a part of the crew is rewarding and insightful. If you are aiming to make an offshore passage in order to find out what the cruising experience is like, this is the absolute best way to get that experience with a capable crew on-board while you are also embarking on a fun-filled, enlightening adventure to a beautiful destination. While physical fitness and agility are always an asset, many of Libra's clients are 70 years and up and handle the passages just fine. The duties on board require moderate physical capabilities. The ability to move freely around the boat, up on the deck as well as up and down the companionway stairs is the primary physical requirement.
Trust us when we say this is not a weight loss camp, unless you get a little seasick ;). Libra is well stocked with all the comforts of a home kitchen, our galley (as its called onboard) is just smaller. Most of the time there will be a galley mate aboard that cooks most of our meals, along with some help from other crew Libra's galley has dished out some amazing food, even when heeled over at 30 degrees. We do cook food with animals in it, sometimes we don't, we always have a veterinarian option. If you have specific food requirements, just let us know at signup, we have never had a problem accommodating clients with their dietary needs.
Do I have to hold watch?
Everyone on-board will be assigned a watch watch partner. If for some reason you don't feel comfortable at the helm tell the Captain. Assuming division among six guest crew members, that would mean 3 hours on, followed by 6 hours off. You can hand-steer and learn the feeling of the wind or just be lazy and let the autopilot do all the work, you are not here to be exhausted. Consider the voyage an adventure with free sailing lessons. Holding watch is a very rewarding experience, especially at night when the moon lights the chop on the water and the sounds of the water on the hull, dolphins breath and the wind in the sails is amplified. For many passengers, night watches are the most memorable moments of the trip. On passages over 4 days you will probably have the opportunity to do watches alone.
Will I be able to communicate with friends or family during the trip?
Of course! We want you to share the experience with them. We have a satellite messenger on-board you can use to text back and forth with friends and family along the way. They will also be able to follow along via our tracker link and watch our progress.. We will provide you with the tracker link to share with friends, family or even on social media so they can follow along vicariously from shore.
Warning: Friends and Family may become extremely jealous and beg you to make another trip when they can come too.
*Footnote: when sailing internationally the vessel is subject to search by foreign officials. Please be sure to read up on your destination and package your medication in original pharmacy bottles or packs with label attached.