Beginning in 2021, Barefoot Offshore Sailing School (BOSS) added Offshore Cruising to its roster of course offerings. ASA 108 and Sail Canada Offshore Cruising provide a structured way for a sailor to acquire the knowledge, skills, and experience to plan and implement a significant offshore passage. BOSS High-level Offshore Cruising courses take you beyond the ASA and Sail Canada Offshore Cruising standards, learning high-level cruising skills on a performance yacht in the southern Caribbean.
Our offshore courses are taught by Rob McLean, an instructor at BOSS since 2018. In December 2022, Rob completed a 5,400 mile passage from Split Croatia to St. Vincent and the Grenadines, acting as skipper and instructor, delivering a Bali 4.1 to join the Barefoot fleet. In 2021, Rob completed 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 an Offshore and Celestial Instructor. To our knowledge, he is the only offshore instructor that can certify students to both ASA and Sail Canada offshore standards.
Below are our current scheduled offshore Sailing Adventures and Courses.
Types of Offshore Courses
Types of Offshore Cruising Experiences
BOSS offers four main types of Offshore Cruising experiences:
- Sailing Adventures: Extended offshore cruising opportunities typically in conjunction with yacht deliveries to SVG from North America or Europe. The length of these courses depends on the time required to complete the delivery: if longer than 2 weeks, the course will in most cases be sub-divided into two or more legs.
- Week-long Intra-Caribbean offshore courses that begin and end in SVG. For details, see: https://barefootoffshore.com/bosssailing_courses/intra-caribbean-offshore-course/
- BOSS High-level Offshore Cruising: this unique course takes you beyond the ASA and Sail Canada Offshore Cruising standards, learning high-level cruising skills on a performance yacht in the southern Caribbean. For details, see https://barefootoffshore.com/bosssailing_courses/boss-high-level-offshore-cruising/
- Private Offshore Cruising Courses delivered on the owner’s yacht. These itineraries are customized based on the location of the yacht.
ASA and Sail Canada Offshore Cruising Standards
Please review the relevant standards as linked below:
For ASA 108:
For Sail Canada Offshore Cruising: https://www.sailing.ca/uploads/2021/03/Advanced-Cruise-1-March-2021.pdf
ASA and Sail Canada 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 helmsman 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: BOSS Celestial Guidance
• Leading up to the passage, your instructor will be in touch with all participants to discuss course logistics, provisioning, watch schedules, what to bring, and other relevant details.
Pricing and Agreements
Pricing depends on which type of offshore experience you are joining. Details are made available as each offshore opportunity is published. Pricing has two components: the Base Participation Fee, and Certification Fees based on the certifications sought and earned during the passage.
Base Participation Fee
The Base Participation Fee includes:
- Shared accommodation on the yacht for the length of the passage. Given the nature of an offshore passage that requires continuous watches, this may include sharing a berth, hot-bunking, sleeping in the salon, etc.
- Provisioning: breakfasts, lunches and dinners for the length of the passage, 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.
Details on certification fees are here.
Participants in an offshore passage are required to enter into a Crew Agreement that outlines the mutual responsibilities of the crew and instructor (Master) on the passage. Details will be shared with you before you book your participation.