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A few years ago, I made it my mission to learn how to sail. It started out by volunteering as crew onboard sailing yachts passing through the South Pacific. But I soon found myself working more hours as a cleaner for ships at anchor than as a sailor actually sailing at sea. This, coupled with the fact that crewing can be hit-or-miss with creepy captains aplenty, I decided to learn how to sail properly this year.
I bought myself a Hobie Cat 16 and placed an offer on a 32-foot sailboat (bid pending), and have partnered with Sailing Virgins to join a sailing course.
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Learn How to Sail This Year
Sailing Virgins is an adventure sailing academy with courses in the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, Madeira, and the South Pacific. They run courses for beginners and experienced sailors alike, with a strong emphasis on hands-on learning in a fun way.
Because we’re really learning how to sail for the fun element of it, right?
They took note of the sailing industry’s problem of being a mostly male dominated space and decided to make a course just for women.
This year, from March 25 to April 1, Sailing Virgins is running a girls only course in the British Virgin Islands.
You’ll learn how to sail while making friends in the meantime from a female instructor. Your week includes all meals, meditation and yoga sessions, plus hands-on learning in a fun environment. This isn’t your local yacht club’s stuffy course run by old salties.
The Girls Only sailing course at a glance:
Dates: March 25 – April 1, 2023
Location: British Virgin Islands
Day 1: Arrive in Wichkams Cay Marina and stock up on provisions. Sail to secluded Salt Island, and end the day with a sunset hike. The day ends with a beach campfire.
Day 2: Yoga session and sailing day to Long Day with a snorkel stop along the way.
Day 3: Hike to the top of Virgin Goda in the morning, then sail towards North Sound.
Day 4: Sailing day to Oil Nut Bay with an optional paddleboard tour through mangroves, swimming, snorkeling, and other aquatic adventures.
Day 5: This is a grand day of sailing with a stop at Necker Island for breakfast, followed by a cruise to Anegada for lunch.
Day 6: Swim in ultra-clear waters off Monkey Point, then sail to Jost Van Dyke. Soak in a hot spring. The evening ends in White Bay.
Day 7: After morning yoga, sail back towards Virgin Gorda. Stop for a snorkel and trek around Baths, an area of granite boulders. The evening ends with a farewell dinner.
Day 8: Sail to Hodges Creek Marina and say goodbye.
The itinerary is dependent on weather conditions, but this is a general overview of what you can expect. Think lots of snorkeling, yoga, guided meditations, socializing, swimming, hiking, paddling, and of course, sailing.
The price for this course is $2,995 USD per person. All readers will receive a discount of $100 and a swag bag by signing up for a course using the discount code “SALTSIRENS” or by signing up through this link.
Your course includes academy fees, fuel, accommodation, bedding, and food and drink while onboard. Off-ship meals and activities are not included, and gratuities for your instructor are appreciated.
Open Monohull or Catamaran Sailing Courses
If you’re keen to join a mixed sailing course with all genders welcome, there are plenty of those throughout the year, too.
I’ll be attending the June 11 to June 19 British Virgin Islands Sailing Adventure course. This is the perfect trip for beginner to intermediate sailors, and at the time of publishing, there are still three spaces left. This course island hops throughout British Virgin Islands, and costs $2,900 USD per person. Receive $100 off by using the code “SALTSIRENS” when you book if you’d like to join in on the fun!
What to Expect
Trips with Sailing Virgins are highly active and social, though there’s plenty of down time if you want it, too. You’ll be learning how to sail on a monohull or catamaran, which will be your home base for the full course–with stops on the islands, too.
Days typically include a mix of sailing and adventure activities, like morning yoga or swimming, snorkeling, hiking, and exploring each anchorage. Group meals take place onboard the yacht or at a local restaurant.
You’ll want to pack light as space is limited onboard. Some essentials include sun protection, a rain jacket, swimming suits, shorts, shirts, boating shoes or sandals, and your toiletries. You might be rotating from one swimsuit to the next the entire time.