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Open-Boat Cruising

The skills for adventuring.

Tuition: $850

Note: You should come to the course with at least intermediate sailing skills. We’d also like you to realize that while this is not a survival course, it will be an active one. We’ll be planning and making daily passages, rowing and sailing as it happens, come sun, rain, fog, or calm. We’ll be in and out of boats repeatedly, with wet feet and no docks. It might be hot, it might be cold, it might be wet … it will be fun.

Sailing in Eggemoggin reach

Beach cruising is an exciting step beyond daysailing. Maybe you’d like to cruise the Maine Island Trail, participate in the annual Small Reach Regatta, or do some extended cruising. With simple skills, basic equipment, and modest boats, one can spend an overnight or an extended expedition voyaging in reasonable comfort, relative safety, and engaging adventure. Doing so in a trailerable, beachable boat opens up dazzling parts of the world to exploration and enjoyment. This course is designed to introduce you to beach cruising with hands-on experience using time-tested boats, gear, and techniques.

Sailing photo

This course will be based onboard NED LUDD and SWIFTY, two of Iain Oughtred’s versatile Caledonia Yawls. Instructor Geoff Kerr will share his knowledge gleaned from many years of sailing and camp-cruising with NED in Penobscot Bay and beyond. You will learn and practice a wide variety of real-world cruising skills and tactics. Days will be filled with trip planning, keeping an eye toward weather, tides, and currents; practical navigation using a chart and compass; rowing, sailing, reefing, and beyond; anchoring, beaching, and getting ashore; communications; and safety.

Each day will start with a planning session for that day’s adventure, choosing a destination and routes to maximize adventure and your opportunities to stretch your experience. You’ll land frequently, with a major stop midday for lunch, island exploration, and the chance to try to keep your boat where it belongs. These island sessions will also allow for demonstrations and discussions of provisioning, camping gear and strategies, and access to and stewardship of beach cruising grounds. Afternoon return passages will be by different routes, taking full advantage of the wonders of Penobscot Bay and the ever-changing conditions. Students will return to campus in time for dinner and to recharge for the next day. All you’ll need to bring with you are your enthusiasm for small-boat sailing, your sense of adventure, and your foulweather gear (just in case). A list of personal gear and clothing will be provided upon registration.