Learning to sail in the Caribbean

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
Best of the Adventure Adviser
Week of December 25-31, 1997

Adventurous trips around Scandinavia
Top picks in Vermont, New Hampshire
Heading south of the border in winter
Learning to sail in the Caribbean
January getaways around the globe

Learning to sail in the Caribbean
Question: I am interested in finding a sailing school and a bit more — navigation, diving, windsurfing — located in Central America or the Caribbean. I know there are a lot of schools in the Caribbean, but do you know of any in particular that offer a broader experience?

Washington, DC

Adventure Adviser: If you're looking for serious sailing instruction, like how to bareboat from Miami to Venezuela, then I'm afraid you'll have to forgo the diving and windsurfing and submerse yourself in an intensive weekend at Annapolis Sailing School (800-638-9192). Based in Chrisiansted, St. Croix, this highly respected school offers plenty of hands-on sailing instruction as well as an advanced course in coastal navigation and piloting.

On the other hand, if you truly want to dabble, the Bitter End Yacht Club (800-872-2392) in Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands, provides sailboats, windsurfers, kayaks, rowing shells, and power boats on demand for its guests — get this — free of charge. And better yet, it offers the Nick Trotter Sailing and Boardsailing School on site for landlubbers and expert sailors alike. And, oh yeah, there are daily diving pilgrimages to the local shipwreck. Prices range, depending on the season.

Two other resorts to try are Swept Away Resort in Jamaica (800-545-7937) and Club Med Turkoise in Turks and Caicos (800-258-2633). Though they may not have the level of instruction you're looking for, they have enough activities to keep you so busy that you'll need another vacation to recuperate from your vacation.

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