How much experience do I need?
None. Come with a desire for adventure and a personality to match. We will provide as much or as little sailing and cruising lessons and training as you would like. You can be hands-on and help with sail trim, boat maintenance, etc. at all times, or, outside of your share of cleaning and cooking, you can sit on the sun deck devouring your favorite novel during your off-shift. 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. USD are accepted or can easily be converted upon arrival. Bring 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 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 blowdryer 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 for every passenger to cook, clean, write, read and watch movies every day. 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 for light showering underway. The Captain and crew will stock the boat with plenty of snacks and drinks as well as provisions for three hot meals each day on passage (breakfast, lunch and dinner) and drinks from the on-board bar once the boat is docked. Please feel free to send along a few of your favorite food items as a request when you book your voyage. 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 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. 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.
Foul weather jacket (bibs as well if you have them)
Layered cold weather gear (fleeces, flannels, long sleeves, light wind breakers, etc.)
Deck shoes (sneakers will work)
Hat (toboggan and visor)
Sunscreen (if you have a preferred type, be mindful of airline regulations)
Books, magazines, entertainment (anything you like to peruse at your leisure)
Camera (capture and share your awesome voyage!)
Leatherman tool (but check your airline regulations for the flight home)
Waterproof bags/cases for phones, iPads and other electronic devices
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 secluded aft cabin, 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 personal USB port and 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: cleaning, cooking, standing watch and navigating. 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 capable crew on-board while you are also embarking on a fun-filled, enlightening adventure to a beautiful destination. While physical fitness and agility is always an asset, many of our passengers are 50 years and up and handle the passage 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.
Do I have to hold watch?
Everyone on-board will be assigned a watch schedule and watch partner. Assuming division among eight crew members, that would mean 3 hours on watch with a partner, followed by 9 hours off. The auto-pilot will be steering the boat the majority of the time but, as time permits, the Captain and crew will allow you to hand-steer and learn the feeling of the wind on the helm and teach you points of sail and sail tactics. Consider the voyage an adventure with free sailing lessons. Holding watch is also a very rewardable expirence, 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.
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 phone on-board that you are free to use anytime and we also have a two-way satellite text messing 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 across the Gulf of Mexico. 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: They may become extremely jealous and beg you to make another trip when they can come too.