Sailing Schooled Ep. 1 – Miami, The Crew & Scarface

Sailing Schooled Ep. 1 – Miami, The Crew & Scarface

Conventionally, the majority of people would learn how to sail and then eventually buy a sailboat.  But we’re not much on convention, despite our deceivingly conventional appearance.  It may sound crazy but why not put the cart before the horse?

wing on wing

Truthfully we don’t know a lot about sailing and we have little sailing experience.  So, when we put every penny plus a few borrowed ones into purchasing a sailboat and moved onto it without really knowing how to sail, we received a “boat-load” of mixed reactions.

A lot of people are terrified of the ocean. Some think if you didn’t grow up sailing or already have years of experience on the water, you can’t just decide to go buy a sailboat and go sailing.  Ah, but you can and we are doing it.

Much like riding a bike or driving a car, we’re not born knowing how to do it.  We hop up on that seat, or get behind the wheel, and learn by doing. In the beginning we’re not the best drivers, or maybe we need training wheels, but it’s the real-world experience that makes us more confident and pushes us to refine our skills.

Learning to sail and sailing across oceans isn’t an unachievable goal.  We want to explore the world and as much of our oceans as we possibly can.  We think the best way for us to accomplish this goal is by sailboat.  What better way to get started than to buy a boat, be 100% invested in learning how to use it?  Our passion for exploration is deep and when you’re passionate about a goal (or a dream), anything is possible.

Is it the easiest way to go about it?  Probably not.  But I can also think of easier ways to get to the top of a glacier than hiking up…but where’s the fun in that?  If we wanted easy, we would’ve never hit the road six years ago in the first place.  Our adventures have been life changing and sailing is simply the next iteration of our crazy way of life.

Now here we are, settled into our new home on water, fully invested and ready to learn how to move it about the globe!

Why Sailing School?

You don’t have to go to sailing school to learn how to sail.  We’ve talked with a lot of fellow sailing cruisers that taught themselves how to sail or learned from friends (lots of great sailing books and websites out there).  We could have easily gone this route (and we heavily considered it) but it would take a lot longer to grow our skills and confidence.  Not to mention, we really want that need to have an experienced sailor on-board limitation removed from our insurance, and our insurance broker said an ASA certification might do the trick.

When we announced we were sailboat shopping, there were a lot of you out there that recommended different sailing instructors and schools (thank you!).  One school that was recommended numerous times was Blue Water Sailing School.   After reading some reviews, chatting with those of you about your experiences and realizing we could knock out four ASA certifications in one week, on our own boat, we were sold on the idea!

learning to sail a catamaran

What We learned On Day One

This first day was all about getting in the grove, getting to know each other, the boat, the lingo and making the journey to our first anchorage.

We went over daily cruising checklists, weather logs, navigation log, used paper maps to plan our route, water depths and any possible obstructions along the way.  It was a nice introduction and not too intense on the information.  However, we know the next few days will be non-stop learning.

learning to sail
anchoring out key Biscayne
anchoring out key Biscayne

Captain Jennifer Wirth

I was sure with our luck we’d get stuck with some uptight, super strict instructor that was reminiscent of a military drill sergeant.  Luckily, that was just my nerves and imagination getting the best of me.  Captn’ Jen is great so far.  She’s a laid back sailor with heaps of great stories and experiences to share. She doesn’t get flustered and isn’t an old grumpy salt.  She knows her fish and can fillet up a mean mackerel.

learning from captain jen

Our Camera Man

Terry works at Just Cats and we somehow convinced him to take off a week of work and come along with us for this sail.  We were concerned if we spent all our energy filming we might not be able to do much learning or vice versa.  As we mentioned in the video he’s spent a lot of time on cats in the past (his dad is currently sailing around the world) but he’s never filmed anything before.  We figured it’s better to have a boat smart person on board with no camera experience than a camera person with no sailing experience…although an impromptu camera-man overboard drill would have made for great footage.

luckily Terry was happy to be compensated in food, beer and quality conversation, for that we will be forever grateful to him.  I don’t think this is the last time we’ll see Terry…I mean we’ve already broke him in on being camera man so maybe we can convince him to come along to the Bahamas for our first crossing.

terry from catamaran impi

The Sailing Course and Certifications

We’re taking the A+ Cat Course: Bareboat Catamaran Skipper through Blue Water Sailing School.  (Side note, we just got an email from Bluewater Sailing School saying they would offer any of our readers a 10% discount!  Just use the code word Curiosity when booking to get the discount. I guess they liked our video!)

If we pass all the tests, at the end of the week we will be certified for bareboat chartering and big boat sailing. It’s a short, intensive, live-aboard cruising course that combines the Basic Sailing (ASA 101), Basic Coastal Cruising (ASA 103), Bareboat Chartering (ASA 104), and Cruising Catamaran (ASA 114) curriculum.

We picked up our books (4 total, one for each course) up a few weeks ago after signing up for the course and because we have very little experience (which is totally ok, you don’t have to have any experience to sign up) we’ve been warned to “study and prepare before the first day of class”.  I wish I could say we fully heeded that warning.  We’ve been so busy with moving in, outfitting and servicing the boat that we’ve only made it through the first 2.5 books.  Yikes!  We’re banking on a little down time to read (cram) each night.  It really does feel just like being in school again.

learning to sail

Equipment used to film this video:

See all of our camera/editing equipment and how we use it here:

Find all of our favorite gear and toys here:

Also, if you want to begin the education you can find our sailing school books here:  and the flashcards we used to study here:

Sailing Report

Date – 6/19/2016
Weather – T-Storms in the PM
Wind – Northeast 10 knots
Seas – 2-3 feet
Route – Sailed from Harbor Towne Marina to Key Biscayne
Anchor Spot – Key Biscayne Bight (you can see the exact spot on our map). West side of Key Biscayne near the site of what used to be President Nixon’s Florida White House and the Scarface house (Al Pacino movie).

anchoring out key Biscayne