We run our Intra-caribbean offshore courses several times per year. Since celestial navigation is a prerequisite for Offshore Cruising, we offer guidance on self-study resources for acquiring ASA 107 or 117, or Sail Canada Celestial Navigation. We can administer the ASA 107 or 117 exam at the beginning of, or during, the offshore course.
The courses are 7 days/6 nights, and cover 500 NM in and around the Caribbean in a continuous passage.
A typical itinerary:
Day 1, Sunday – Orientation sail from Blue Lagoon to Bequia. Anchor for the night, complete celestial exam
Day 2, Monday – Sail north along lee side of SVG, St. Lucia and Martinique (~125 NM)
Day 3-4, Tuesday / Wednesday – Pass between Martinique and Dominca, tack until 100 NM east of Martinique (~150 NM)
Day 5, Thursday – Reach south around east side of Barbados (~125 NM)
- Day 6, Friday: Sail downwind to SVG (~100 NM)
Day 7, Saturday- return to Blue Lagoon
Your Offshore Instructor is Rob McLean, who has taught at BOSS since 2018. Rob recently concluded a 7,000 mile passage from Lake Ontario to St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) that began in the summer of 2019. Interrupted by Covid for 15 months, the final 1,500 mile leg from Exuma in the Bahamas to SVG was a continuous passage, apart from a brief fuel stop in the Dominican Republic. On top of his prior 14,000 miles of cruising experience, this passage helped qualify Rob as a certified Offshore and Celestial Instructor.
NOTE: Base Participation Fee in USD above is per person based on a single berth upon a shared yacht. Given the nature of an offshore course, which involves maintaining a continuous watch schedule, accommodations may include sharing a cabin, sleeping in a converted berth in the saloon, and hot-bunking. Additional certification fees apply.
For additional detail and eligibility, contact Rob McLean
Offshore Cruising Standards
Please review the relevant standards as linked below:
For Sail Canada Offshore Cruising: https://www.sailing.ca/uploads/2021/03/Advanced-Cruise-1-March-2021.pdf
Offshore Course Components
In accordance with these standards, BOSS Offshore Cruising Courses have four main components:
- The standards specify a significant take-home “Ashore Knowledge” assignment that involves carrying out all of the planning required for an offshore passage. To complete this assignment, a candidate will need to carry out a significant amount of guided and independent research.
- Prior to the passage, candidates will draw on this research to carry out specific assignments such as passage planning, provisioning, watch assignments, etc., related to the specific upcoming passage.
- Also prior to the passage, a candidate must acquire the skills needed to reduce celestial sights, by completing ASA 107 or 117, or for Sail Canada candidates, SC Celestial Navigation. These skills are put into practice during the offshore passage.
- The on-water portion of Offshore Cruising involves candidates playing a significant role as helmsperson and crew for an offshore passage that meets the requirements of the relevant ASA or Sail Canada standard.
Offshore Course Preparations
• Once you sign up for an Offshore Cruising course, we will be in touch to get you started on the Ashore Knowledge assignment. We have compiled a list of resources relevant to the Passage Planning assignment, as well as other texts you might refer to for research purposes.
• We have also compiled a guidance document to help you meet the Celestial Navigation prerequisites: see BOSS Celestial Guidance
• Leading up to the passage, your instructor will organize a conference call including all participants to discuss course logistics, provisioning, watch schedules, what to bring, and other relevant details.
BOSS is recruiting 3-6 participants for each Offshore Course. A minimum of three participants is required to maintain a continuous watch schedule. Preferably, participants will be seeking Offshore Cruising certification according to ASA or Sail Canada standards, and will participate in self-study and online training prior to the passage, and practical on-water training during the passage.
Participants seeking certification should have ASA or Sail Canada Advanced Cruising as a prerequisite, and must already have a prior celestial certification or be prepared to write a celestial exam prior to departure. For otherwise experienced sailors, it may be possible to obtain an Advanced Cruising certification while on the Offshore Passage.
If space permits, BOSS will consider participation by experienced sailors who wish to join one or more legs for the offshore experience and are not seeking ASA or Sail Canada certification.
Each participant must provide official documentation indicating that he or she is fully-vaccinated against Covid.
Further details on pre-requisite qualifications, required personal safety equipment, and the BOSS Crew Agreement and BOSS Course Contract will be provided to those expressing interest. Regardless of qualifications, all prospective participants will be interviewed by Rob McLean and are subject to approval by BOSS and Rob McLean.
Because some people wish to participate in our offshore courses for the experience without necessarily wishing to obtain official ASA or Sail Canada certification, our pricing structure for Offshore Cruising has two main components.
1. Base Participation Fee: for our week-long Intra-Caribbean Offshore experience, the introductory Base Participation Eee is $2,995.
The Base Participation Fee includes:
- Shared accommodation on the yacht for six nights. Given the nature of an offshore passage, this may include sharing a berth, hot-bunking, sleeping in the salon, etc.
- Provisioning: six breakfasts, six lunches, six dinners, non-alcoholic beverages, some basic snacks
- Yacht running costs: diesel, water, etc.
- Access to instruction throughout the passage
The participation fee does not include:
- Pre-course coaching, marking assignment or exams, processing ASA or Sail Canada certifications, ASA or Sail Canada Membership
- Travel to or from SVG
- Personal snacks (since only you know your snacking preferences!)
- Provisions or dining ashore while in port
- Cleaning / disinfection fee of $250 per person
- Alcoholic beverages while in port (consuming alcohol will not be permitted while at sea. Recreational drugs are not permitted on board)
The participation fee can be paid in installments: 50% on booking, and the balance 45 days in advance of the start date of the course.
2. Certification Fees
Since multiple certifications may be offered in conjunction with offshore courses, certification fees are specified separatly. Details are here.