The week of May 2nd, I was in Pensacola, FL in a 6 day/5 night class to obtain my Coastal Cruising and Bareboat Charter certifications, through American Sailing Association. The class was held on a Beneteau 39' sailboat named "Splendid Adventures." My class consisted of 4 students and 1 instructor. Besides myself, the other students were a couple, Bob and Biana, from Warner Robins, GA and a guy named Gary from Alpharetta, GA. The instructor was Kathy Struchen.
Success! I completed both certifications with above 90% competency.
The class started on a Sunday afternoon, with a review of the boat and boat systems as well as duty roster sign-up. The duties were helmsman/safety officer, running rigging (1), running rigging (2)/dinghy captain/anchor, and galley officer/communications/navigator. Duties rotated so that everyone had a full day at each of the positions. The first day also included obtaining provisions for the week. The first night was spent on the boat at the marina. :)
Monday saw a low pressure system move into the area accompanied with rain, high winds, thunder, and lighting (this was the same system that flood Nashville.) We spent the day learning about weather, navigation, reviewing Basic Keelboat knowledge, and we took the written portion of the Coastal Cruising certification exam. That night we had a great seafood dinner, made by Kathy.
On Tuesday, the sky was beginning to clear. We departed from the marina, taking turns at the helm to get a feel for the boat's handling and maneuverability. Afterwards, we practiced mooring ball pickup, docking, man-overboard maneuvers, and points-of-sail. The busy morning was followed by playing catch up on the Monday activities that were rained out. We sailed to our anchorage at Redfish anchorage in Big Lagoon. This was my first experience with a windlass. I see the advantages of having a windlass, but I also see the draw backs (too easy to lose little fingers). After anchoring, we took a dinghy ride over to Gulf Island National Seashore where we walked on beaches. There weren't just any beaches .... these were the types only accessible by boat. It was so beautiful. We capped off the day with a gorgeous sunset and wonderful grilled chicken dinner, with caribbean rice. My primary duties for this day were running rigging (2)/dinghy captain/anchor. I was really busy for most of the day.
Come back tomorrow for part 2...