john heeling_sept 2011Although my husband, John, has become a solid as well as charming first mate since he started sailing over five years ago, he has never sailed outside of the Chesapeake Bay or over night, leaving him a bit skittish about coastal sailing as we make our way south, popping out into the ocean for a day now  as we motor down the Inter-coastal Waterway (ICW).  Also, the sail from Florida to the Bahamas and back will take an overnight or two off shore, requiring advanced navigation out of sight of land with us splitting up to cover watches on deck 24 x 7.  Even I am a bit skittish with that trip so we plan to hire captain with experience in those waters.

For John, the remedy for building his skills and confidence is to take a course (without me to interfere) before we venture out.  That is exactly what he is booked to do.  He’ll be attending the Blue Water Sailing School out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida from March 12-18.  In addition to a bit of classroom course work (done ahead of time, of course), he’ll sail with five others and an instructor to the Bahama Island o, Bimini and back in a boat of size similar to ours.

Preparing for the adventure requires preparing ourselves as well as the boat.  John’s commitment makes me proud.  It’s very much our goal that he become co-captain, ready, willing and able to take the helm as well as manage the sails.

This summer, sailing in the Chesapeake Bay will provide us with the time to practice our skills together, to fine tune our sailing relationship on Dolce Vento.  We will test ourselves on all aspects of safety and navigation (e.g., man overboard, night sailing, and sail changes for foul weather sailing) as well as come the know all systems and quirks. If, for some reason, we are not confident, we’ll adapt our plans to ensure we travel safely and keep having fun.