OFFSHORE SAIL TRAINING
Captain Ron said it best : “...if anything’s gonna happen, it’s gonna happen out there!”
So kick the tires and light the fires and Join Libra for the offshore training experience of a life time.
Every sailor will , sooner or later, have to make an offshore jump. It could be crossing the Gulf Stream from the Florida Coast to the Bahamas, crossing the Atlantic, or some funky navigational-meteorological voodoo to get out of the way of an impending hurricane. We train sailors to be more confident in decision making for sail plans, weather considerations, sea state, navigation, currents, Gulf Stream crossings…. All those things that happen out there.
We provide an educational environment without tests and papers, a true hands-on learning experience. With us, you will receive your Offshore Passage making education on a true Offshore Passage. Our shortest passage is 640nm covered in 4 days across the Gulf of Mexico, while our longest is the return Atlantic crossing at 2800nm over 20 days. You will learn with a team of professional offshore sailing captains and a novice crew, there are no prerequisites for joining any of our passage. Bring your desire to learn, your motivation to reach the next level, and your spirit to be a part of a team.
Offshore sailing is an endurance sport. Many of the things you learn while aboard a vessel for endless days at a time actually have nothing to do with sailing, although we talk about sailing all the time. Many of the most lasting lessons are lessons about yourself and deeper insights into your place in the universe. You will become part of a team that has discussions, cooks and prepares meals together, jokes and plays games together. You can learn celestial navigation and paper charts if you choose. On calm nights in smooth seas, far offshore with no traffic, we may do ALL lights off when the weather is clear with no haze, you can see stars and other galaxies with the naked eye like nowhere else on earth, a beautiful and humbling experience. Perhaps the most challenging thing you will be forced to do while sailing offshore is growing your sea legs, while sailors are known for staggering and falling down that should only be on shore after drawing a share, it can be unsafe and inconvenient while under way!
You will learn to stand watch aboard Libra. We take watches in pairs, 3hrs. on 6hrs. off. Our night watches run 1800-2100, 2100-0000, 0000-0300, and 0300-0600. These watches cover the hours of darkness which can be intimidating for a novice or first-time offshore passage maker. Waking in the middle of the night to make a sail change or shorten sail can be very exciting but also overwhelming! Our team of professionals guides you through the process to keep it fun, educational and safe.
Night watches maintain a steady radar and heading watch, we teach advanced radar settings, how to pin in on objects with precision and accuracy and adjust to remove the rain and sea clutter if needed. You will also learn how to follow a star. Paper chart plots will be entered every 6 hours when offshore, when closer to land they will be made every hour. You will also have the opportunity to learn offshore AIS (Automatic Identification System) with ship avoidance this modern technology makes passages safer and reduces the risk of collision and other less dramatic forms of interference.
Libra is a ketch and can sail like a sloop. As such, she is capable of a wide range of sail plans. We always work as a team and discuss sail changes, weather conditions, routing, sail trim and sea state, and when to furl or reduce sail. You will learn point of sails and why choose them, on a sailing vessel the shortest distance between two points isn’t always a straight line, we may actually take a heading not directly toward our destination based on weather forecasts or currents, to keep the crew comfortable and eliminate fatigue.
You will be learning the basics from knot tying to setting preventers and flying spinnakers, reefing the main sail and mizzen, and sailing jib and jigger. We will teach you to give commands and names of items on the boat, the correct terminology for Sail Trim and parts of the sail system, and all the numerous details that go into taking a sailing vessel safely from point A to Point B across blue water. We practice line splicing and other nautical skill to pass the time, but if you prefer to curl up in your bunk off shift and read a book while enjoying the sounds of the water passing the hull that is a very good use of time too!
As you voyage with us, you will grow as a sailor and as a human being. We will take you to new places, introduce you to new cultures, and show you an amazing array of natural wonders. You will get to experience the conditions of sleeping, walking, working and living in a space underway. You will learn the design features that make an offshore vessel comfortable and safe, like the differences between centerboard vessels and full keel vessels. We will expose you to the many pros and cons that will eventually help you make educated decisions for sailing your own boat and even what to look for when purchasing an offshore vessel. Do you really want to go offshore on your own boat and learn by raw trial and error? Or would you rather learn with us before you buy your own boat and commit to a life at sea...?
If it’s gonna happen, it’s gonna happen out there! Don’t let it happen without you.