What to Expect
Our trips are about Passion.
And without question, our clients want to be active participants in the sailing and operation of the boat.
People choose us for the blue water sailing experience.
And Blue Water Sailing has two components to it--
Island Exploring and Ocean Passages—(We’ll call them sailing passages, because only some are across oceans, and others while in the ocean, may be shorter hops, or are more coastal in nature).
But even when we’re island exploring within a chain or group, we’ll be making the short sails from island to island.
When we’re Island Exploring:
It’s pretty casual.
Some people like to get up early, and enjoy the peace of the new day, before the rest of the world awakens.
Whether that’s enjoying the beauty of the sun coming over the island, or jumping on a paddleboard for a paddle over to the beach.
That’s totally cool. Just let someone else know where you’re going before you head out.
And remember--the first one up, makes the coffee.
(We’re on the early side. We don’t like to miss much of the days, as they’re so beautiful here.)
We typically start cooking breakfast around 7-8:00am, and everybody is up by 8.
We do rotations on meals, so everyone gets a turn preparing meals and helping cleanup with their team members.
People have fun and take pride in their turns cooking meals, and there is always a little bit of competition, (even if unspoken), about which team made the best breakfast, or created that killer dessert. (And sometimes, provide some comic relief, as things may not go quite as planned). But it’s all good.
If it’s really good, we save the recipe as a “keeper”, and enter it into the ship’s cookbook, along with a photo and names of the inspired chefs.
Depending on where we are, and the weather, we’ll have generally mapped out the plan for the next day, the day before, so everyone knows what to expect.
This could be:
A group breaking out the kiteboards and going for a ride.
Heading off to the island for a hike up the mountain.
Provisioning at the local market for fresh meats and produce.
Something really fun, like clearing customs
Or pulling up the anchor, catching an early tide out of the harbor, and setting sail for our next island.
On certain days, we may have Projects on the boat, and we usually try to knock those out in the morning. These could be things like:
Filling the fresh water tanks
Getting diesel fuel
Fixing something that we broke on the last sailing passage
Getting air in the scuba tanks
Washing the deck
Scrubbing out the dinghy
Going up the mast to check the rigging
changing the oil on engine or generators
flushing out the water maker
These trips provide a great platform for Sail Training
And that might be a lesson in navigation, weather routing, or a chance to learn about celestial navigation.
On the sailing days, we have a great opportunity for hands-on lessons on different topics, from sail handling, helmsmanship, navigation, anchoring, and reef navigation, to boat mechanical systems.
Just depends on the day.
Lunch is usually pretty casual.
Are more of the same--
We’re either heavy into the best of what the islands have to offer, or we’re on our way to our next stop.
At some point though, you may want to just relax and read a book. And that’s cool too.
Dinners are usually served on the boat.
Some evenings, we may go ashore to take in a local restaurant.
After dinner, time is usually spent:
Planning and discussing the next day or passage
Onshore, engaging with the local scene.
Visiting with other boats, (on the World ARC trips)
Enjoying the company of the other crew, and lively conversation about the days adventure, life, and all things sailing.
Or just relaxing on your own.
On Apache, there are plenty of places to find a quiet spot, if you want to take some down time.
When we’re doing Ocean Passages:
For short sailing trips – say around one to five hours--
We’ll all be up on deck enjoying the sail.
Helping to raise & trim the sails.
On the bow, being a look-out for coral heads, as we navigate inside the barrier reefs.
Taking the helm, and steering the yacht as we power through the Pacific swells.
Shadowing the officer of the watch, as he or she guides the boat to its next waypoint, and keeps a keen eye on the sails and the weather and the operation of the crew on deck.
Exercising the machinery, and checking and recording the electrical and mechanical vital statistics.
See our Life at Sea section for more information about the different types of sail training, drills, and topics on yacht engineering.
On longer sails and passages, we set up a rotating watch system.
Apache carries enough crew that we can have three teams (or watches), with the skipper floating between teams.
That means in typical conditions, it would be four hours on and eight hours off, giving everyone plenty of time to relax and get rest in their off-watch.
We have a lot of experienced sailors that join our expeditions, but we are happy to have novice sailors on-board that want to learn how to sail, and we divide up the teams to balance out the sailing experience on the different watches. Along with the skipper, and watch captains from the permanent crew, this ensures that there’s always plenty of experience on-deck at all times.
Setting watches is as much art as science, and the skipper may change the watches based on conditions.
The on-watch crew is responsible for getting up the next watch, and will typically wake them about a half hour before they are to go on, to give them time to wake up, get a cup of coffee or snack, and listen to a weather update, before they go on-deck.
Courtesy dictates that unless they have their hands full, that the on-watch makes the coffee or heats up some hot water for tea for the next watch.
Then there is usually a half hour overlap, where the two watches are on-deck together, known as the hand-off period. During the hand-off, the watch captain coming off-watch will brief the new watch coming on, regarding current sailing status, weather and navigation updates, wave conditions, sail trim, helm action, nearby vessels, any hazards, radio contacts, etc.., before they go off-watch.
During the on-watch, key activities are much the same as during the day sails, except that each watch (or team) member will be assigned specific primary responsibilities during their watch, which they must diligently execute.
Some of these primary responsibilities include:
It’s very cool stuff actually. And after completing a passage as a member of a watch, you develop a real sense of comradery and accomplishment.