Even in an age of GPS and electronic chartplotters, the material in our Coastal Navigation course is valuable for every sailor. Graduates will be able to plot routes and chart their own courses with confidence. Whether you are a Basic Keelboat grad itching to explore every nook and cranny of the Harbor Islands, or you are a long-time cruiser grown too attached to your GPS and not sure if you'd be ready to plot a quick fix and course to steer should the batteries die and the fog roll in, this is the course for you.
The knowledge you will gain (including dead reckoning, running fixes, set and drift calculations, danger bearings) not only exceeds the standards for the Coast Guard "Six Pack" Captain's license, but is crucial for any real navigator. Your tools (provided for classroom use) will include pencils (and erasers!), paper charts, parallel rulers, dividers, and a hand bearing compass, all of which can be purchased inexpensively for those who would like to take their tools home at the end of the course. Course size will be limited to 12 students to ensure everyone gets as much personal attention as possible.
Note that unlike other Courageous courses, this is primarily a classroom based course. There's a lot to cover and the classroom is the best place for most of it. However, navigation practice cruises to put your new skills to work will be highly encouraged and can be scheduled separately.
Once you start sailing the bigger boats, it’s hard to stop! And there’s always more to learn. Our Bareboat Cruising course is the next step. It picks up where Basic Cruising leaves off and covers topics such as navigation, anchoring, and heavy weather sailing in much greater detail. You’ll learn the things you need to know when chartering a sailboat: the various techniques used around the world for mooring and anchoring (e.g. stern and bow, fork, Mediterranean, Bahamian); controlling the boat under power with confidence; big boat docking techniques; provisioning; visiting the fuel and pump-out dock; VHF communication; and more. We will also take you through a tour of all the important boat systems, peering behind seat covers and into the bilge until you know exactly where everything is, what it does, and what to do (or who to call!) when it doesn’t work. This course typically includes 3 days of sailing, two overnights at anchor or moored, and additional prep and debrief time. Maximum of 4 students.
Many course participants choose to test for their US SAILING Bareboat Cruising certification, which signifies that you have sufficient skills and knowledge to safely and confidently skipper an auxiliary powered cruising sailboat between 30’ and 45’ in length, in winds above 15 knots, within sight of land during daylight hours. This certification is widely respected and accepted by many sailboat charter companies in the US and other parts of the world. Most Bareboat graduates are also qualified for a Courageous cruising membership.
Are you planning on purchasing your own cruising sailboat (or simply sailing ours!) or chartering in the Caribbean someday? Our US Sailing Basic Cruising certification course is the first step for those who dream of going beyond Boston Harbor. In this course, we apply the fundamentals to bigger boats (up to 30’ in length) with outboard gasoline or inboard diesel engines, cover the basics of navigation, and introduce the tools needed to sail longer distances. While big boats sail just like small boats, there are more systems to learn and techniques to master. Although 24 hours isn't enough to prepare you for every challenge a cruising boat can present, you'll have plenty of time to get to know the outer harbor and develop comfort around big boat basics so you can crew competently or take the helm under the supervision of a more experienced captain. Basic Cruising takes place over two consecutive weekends, Saturday/Sunday/Saturday/Sunday from 10-4:30 each day, with a half hour hour lunch break. Maximum of 4 students.
Graduates may test for their US Sailing Basic Cruising certification. This course will also cover what you need to know to pass the theoretical portion of the Green Flag test, which (along with an on-the-water checkout) enables access to the outer harbor.
Here's a brief overview of what you'll learn in Basic Cruising: