Got questions? Of course you have! The following should help address most of your queries. If not, just get in touch with me at the contact page.
I offer almost everything from one-day refreshers to month-long cruising and passage making voyages. The most popular options are 5-10 day live aboard programs that teach you how to handle (or handle more confidently) a 32-52 foot monohull or catamaran in Caribbean waters.
Can I get a custom package for my training?
Absolutely! I specialize in tailoring programs to exactly match individual needs from beginner to advanced. Because you won’t be ‘joining a group’ of other students I’ll be able to meet your requirements without compromising others. You set the level and I’ll help you achieve it.
How can I offer top notch instruction at affordable rates?
First, I have no shore based classroom, salespeople, advertising budget or boats to maintain. I teach exclusively on boats that I either charter ‘on demand’ or are provided by clients. This way I can coach on the vessel that is exactly right for you without having to pay to keep it running year-round. Aside from this website, I don’t advertise because I don’t need to. Rather, I rely on the 21st century version of the ‘wagging tongue of a satisfied client’ for new and repeat business. Besides, I don’t want to grow at the expense of the quality instruction that I strive for and my clients value.
Isn’t sailing hard to learn as an adult?
It can be–especially if you’re joining a class of strangers with mixed ages and abilities and with an instructor who’s stretched too thin to cater to you’re specific issues. I only practice private tuition — it’s what I specialise in and I enjoy demystifying sailing for people whether they’ re in their 20s or 80s.
When is the best month to sail?
Every month has it’s pros and cons. I coach in the Caribbean all year round and have being doing so for thirteen years. There are a few myths that I can dispel: first, let’s talk about ‘High Season’ which begins around Thanksgiving in late November and continues through to around Easter in the spring. It IS great but it’s also more expensive for boat charter and airfares. High Season is also more crowded — which is great if you like people watching but not so good if you want to find an anchorage all to yourself. ‘Low Season’ is basically summer and fall/autumn which coincides with our annual hurricane season. Prices are lower — and so are the typical wind speeds but it’s still very sailable. Although a little warmer, with humidity levels at around 60%, it’s more comfortable than many places in the summertime US. Tropical storms and hurricanes can be an issue but they are very well forecast these days. Statistically, the greatest risk of weather adversely affecting your time here would be from August to mid-October but with trip insurance, you won’t lose out even in the rare event that a storm prevents us from sailing. Here’s a useful article on chartering in the summer: SAIL Magazine piece on summer chartering in the Caribbean
Tell me more about what wind and sea conditions I can expect?
Our ‘trade’ winds almost always come reliably at 10-15 knots from the east—straight across the Atlantic from Africa. Fresher, 15+ knot northeast breezes arrive from late November through February peaking with the so called “Christmas winds” often arrive around that time of year and can sometimes blow for several days at 20-25+knots. In summertime, the winds are less at around 10-12 knots and shift more toward the southeast. Sea state can be ‘selected’ by choosing where you want to sail: since we have islands big and small, there’s always a lee to sail in if you want smoother conditions and always more exposed waters as you build confidence and increase you skill set.
Do you charge more in the ‘high’ season?
Perhaps I should do but at present don’t. So book early!
Are there additional costs?
One hundred per cent of the daily instructional fee quoted on the pricing page goes to pay your instructor. On top of that, there will be normal costs of chartering the boat (or running it, if your own), provisioning (for everyone on board), fuel consumed, local government cruising and National Parks taxes, mooring and docking fees (if any) plus any books and exam fees that you’ll need to pay if you opt for a certification course. Any required travel expenses from and back to the British Virgin Islands is extra. Note that there is NO sales tax or VAT in the BVI but there is a hotel tax if you’re planning to add an overnight stay and there is government ‘Departure Tax’ payable at the airport or ferry terminal when you leave the BVI.
Should I tip my instructor?
Tipping is not mandatory but if your think that your instructor did a good job, it is customary to leave a gratuity in the region of 10-20% of the instructor’s fee — in line with other service industries.
How many people do you coach?
I teach solo sailors as well as couples, families or colleagues who want to work together as teams. My normal limit is four active participants; I feel that any more divides the instructor’s care and attention too much. You may bring along more family or friends on the boat if you wish – space permitting- but they’ll have to travel as passengers.
Do you charge by the person per day?
No. I charge by the my time whether coaching one person or four.
We have young children – is a teaching cruise safe for them?
Yes and safety is always our foremost concern. I would work with you to set ground rules for the children to keep them safe yet as involved as they are capable of being…or want to be. As an instructor, I learned how to sail when I was a child so I enjoy having other kids get a good feel for my world. Sailing is a marvellous family experience, and a ‘learning’ cruise can make for a fun and memorable experience for the entire family. With young children, I would likely suggest sailing shorter distances to provide for more opportunities for them to go for dinghy rides ashore. And you should definitely bring with you PFDs (life jackets) for any child that doesn’t swim well to ensure a good fit.
Are you a registered company?
Yes, Caribbean Sailing Coach Ltd. is a British Virgin Islands registered company.
If I opt for customised tuition, do I get any piece of paper from you after I’ve completed my training?
Absolutely! You’ll get a personalised letter from your licensed and credentialed coach — on Caribbean Sailing Coach letterhead — attesting to the skills and competence level that you’ve attained. And if you’re going on to take a MCA Yachtmaster or US Coast Guard Merchant Mariner Credential (aka ‘Captain’s License’) we can document your sea miles and time with us in compliance with their respective requirements.
How do I get to the BVI?
The nearest two airports are Beef Island (EIS) which is in the BVI itself and St. Thomas (STT) which is in the nearby USVI, a 45 minute ferry ride away. Next closest are San Juan, Puerto Rico (SJU) if you’re coming in from the Americas or St. Martin/Sint Maarten (SXM) if you’re coming from continental Europe. If you’re visiting the BVI from the UK, British Airways and Virgin fly to Antigua (ANU) where you can connect with LIAT to fly up to EIS.
Do you offer references?
Yes. Just ask us and we’ll be happy to put you in direct touch with some recent clients.
What is the refund policy?
I would offer a complete refund of the my instructor fee if you felt that the quality and dedication of the instructor was anything less than 100%. Separate trip insurance can be taken out at an additional cost to cover the possibility of a tropical storm affecting your learning if you choose to come during hurricane season.
So I’m interested. What’s the procedure?
First get in touch via email from this site to let us know what you’re interested in. I’ll reply — or call you back if you prefer — and, together, we’ll try to discover if we’re right for each other. You’ll be contacted by me, not by a salesperson. Why? Well, the rewards of being a sailing coach are less monetary than some other professions: our greatest compensation is knowing that we’ve helped you achieve your sailing goals. So I really want to make sure that we’ll be able to match your needs and meet — maybe even exceed — your expectations. That sorted out, I’ll continue a written dialog to pre-plan your course or custom program. I’ll definitely talk but may email at first since I’m often on the water and don’t want to interrupt my on-the-water coaching sessions.