Sailing the Caribbean

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      This is an invitation to come on a sailing trip, for a day, a week or for longer.

      I’ve been working on a sailboat almost nonstop for the past 10 months, and I’m about ready to set sail, and that means I’m looking for crew. Anyone who is interested should let me know. You don’t need to know anything about sailing, but you do need common sense and a good attitude. Most of the time, it’s not especially demanding physically, although you need to be comfortable living on something that moves around under you, sometimes pretty vigorously. For the most part, one person can sail the boat, but there are times when an extra pair of hands or eyes is nice — and having company makes it more fun. You would be welcome and useful for a short stint or a longer spell.

      The current plan is to leave Belfast, Maine sometime in October or early November, sail down the east coast, then head offshore somewhere south of North Carolina and arrive in Turks and Caicos (just south and east of the Bahamas) sometime in December. The exact route and dates will depend very much on the weather and state of the Gulf Stream. So you’ll need to be flexible about the itinerary. This is particularly true for the offshore leg, which is also the stage where crew is most necessary. The crossing will take something like a week, and someone should be standing watch at all times. Obviously, one person can’t stay awake for a week. Once we’re in Turks and Caicos, things will get easier. We’ll follow the many islands NW (and downwind) through the Bahamas to Florida, then back up the east coast to Maine, arriving in March(ish).

      The boat is an Islander 37, and is well suited to this kind of trip. I could elaborate on all of the improvements I’ve made to the boat, but the jargon wouldn’t mean much unless you’re a sailor (e.g., new chainplates, seacocks, windlass, furler and mast step). The creature comforts are easier to understand. There’s a new head (toilet), fridge/freezer and stove. It has a new engine and all new instruments too. The marketing people probably sold the boat as “sleeps seven,” but that would be pretty crowded. Three people could sleep comfortably, and four would work too, particularly on a passage when one person is always awake. But you had better get along! Imagine living in a modest sized motor home that’s always moving.

      Costs will be reasonable…your food costs, a bit of diesel (or not, since it is a sailboat), and the occasional overnight mooring or docking fee. I tend to anchor out, which is free, but sometimes that’s not possible. These fees vary, but it’s usually around $50 for the boat for one night. All in, $200 or $250 per week is probably about right. Add to that whatever it will cost to get yourself to and from the start and end of whatever leg of the trip in which you take part.

      If you’re trying to get sea time for a captain’s license, this would be a good opportunity since, as a USCG Master, I could sign your sea service forms
      If you’re interested, let me (Randall Fairman) know by replying to, or call our landline at 207 234 4280.

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