Ahoy! I am home from a wonderful week spent sailing around Pensacola, Florida! This trip was a course to further my sailing credentials by obtaining my American Sailing Association (ASA) 103 & 104 certifications. Having these now qualifies me to operate up to a 50 foot sailing vessel anywhere in the world! My goal is to charter a boat with some friends in the Caribbean next late winter/early spring. That will also give me enough time to get my ASA 105 certification, which is for coastal navigation. Even though most new boats have GPS, it’s still important to know how to navigate if systems failed 🙂
This trip was not a laid back vacation (sailing never is unless you’re hiring a captain!). There was lots of hard work and long days after nights of little or no sleep. Our first night on the Beneteau 393 was spent at our home dock. A huge storm came through that night and the boat was rocking and rolling all night. None of us got a wink of sleep. This was after I pulled an all-nighter the night before to get school work done before driving down from Atlanta the next morning. Needless to say the first full day of sailing was tough, but when you see the pictures below you might be able to understand how my exhaustion became irrelevant.
There were three students including myself and one instructor (Darrin). Darrin was great. I was impressed with how knowledgeable he was about sailing considering he hadn’t been at it but 10ish years. Most instructors have practically a lifetime of sailing experience, but you definintely couldn’t tell with Darrin.
The other two students were Leah, a 25-yr-old recent Pensacola transplant from Alabama, and Winston, a maybe 40-yr-old guy from New Orleans. It was nice to have another younger female on the boat, as I’m used to being the only female at all when it comes to my sailing experiences! Winston was some definite eye candy for this trip. Mmm!! See photo below that doesn’t do him justice. I was all about trying to get something going with that. He wasn’t wearing a ring, but he did disappear for about 20 minutes each evening to make a phone call. I’m assuming girlfriend. Ugh, bitch. 😉 Oh well! He was nice to look at, intelligent, and fun to talk to. I got his contact info because he expressed serious interest in chartering in the British Virgin Islands as well. Even if he brings a lady to tag along, I’m all about some eye candy who can also help out with the boat! Win-win with Winston!
The night we spent at anchor near Perdido Key was my favorite. The temperature and breeze were amazing, the sky was clear, water was gorgeous, and there were dolphins around us that evening and the following morning. When we were on the water the next day we had the Blue Angels doing practice runs all around us in Pensacola Bay, almost like a private show. With all that PLUS sleeping like a baby I really couldn’t have asked for a better day aside from having a special someone to share it with. Maybe someday I will.
What a great experience overall for my first bareboat charter! I feel a lot more confident on these larger boats than I thought I would after this course. With some more practice on the big boats at my club on Lake Lanier I’m sure I will feel very confident going into my first international charter early next year. Until then, fair winds and following seas!