Summer Departures Special
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Learn to Sail

Learning to Sail: An Offshore Sailing School Story

We say it all the time: “learning to sail opens up a world of possibilities”. The confidence you gain, the places you can visit, and the people you meet all make learning to sail a worthwhile endeavor. One Moorings guest, Mr. Thomas Rankin, took this advice to heart and recently completed every sailing certification with our partners at Offshore Sailing School, before diving headlong into a new life of yacht chartering. Read about his incredible journey below, and his advice for those on the fence about gaining this valuable life skill:

Q: What first enticed you about learning to sail?

Mr. Rankin: I grew up on rivers and lakes in Missouri, but had never been on a sailboat. One day I was at a Sandals resort in Jamaica and rented a Hobie cat for the day. After confidently assuring the locals I was a competent sailor (despite never having sailed in my life), I took the Hobie cat out, and off we went. I had a nice breeze coming over the beam and thought “Hey, this is easy”. Not understanding that I wasn’t supposed to take the cat far from shore, I ventured into deeper water and caught the real breeze – it was awesome. I had the port hull about a foot above the water at one point, scared the be-Jesus out of my wife, and it was at that moment I knew I was hooked for life.


Q: What drew you to Offshore Sailing School specifically over other sailing school options?

Mr. Rankin: One of my customers had done a captained charter with The Moorings in the British Virgin Islands and encouraged me to check it out. I booked a similar trip with a captain in the fall of 2017. Shortly after, Hurricane Irma struck, so I was unable to return for some time. Meanwhile, I did some research on what was necessary to do a true bareboat charter and discovered that The Moorings recognized Offshore Sailing School as their official partner, so I decided to give it a try. This was the main reason I chose Offshore Sailing, because I knew I could charter with The Moorings and they came highly recommended by my customer back home.

Learning to Sail: An Offshore Sailing School Story

Q: You have an impressive resume of sailing courses now completed with Offshore Sailing School. Can you outline which courses you’ve completed, and approximately how long this process has taken?

Mr. Rankin: After I took my first Moorings charter, I scheduled my Fast Track to Sailing course with Offshore. Unfortunately, COVID came along and it was moved to the fall of 2020. At this point, between Irma and COVID, I began thinking “Wow maybe sailing just isn’t meant for me”. However, I stuck with it and managed to complete my Basic Keelboat, Basic Cruising, Bareboat Cruising, and Catamaran Endorsement all in October 2020 over 7 days. Then in January 2021, I completed Coastal Navigation and Coastal Passage over 7 days. Then finally in March 2022, I completed Celestial Navigation and Offshore Passage over 11 days… 5 days in the classroom and 6 days offshore on a 43’ monohull, sailing day and night on a watch schedule. Without any doubt one of the most challenging things I’ve done in my life but also, one of the most rewarding.

Learning to Sail: An Offshore Sailing School Story

Q: Now that you’ve completed this series of certifications, what do you hope to experience and accomplish with this newfound knowledge and confidence?

Mr. Rankin: My main idea from the outset was to be able to bring my friends and family down to the Virgin Islands to experience this amazing place. Through my training with Offshore, I have gained the confidence to do this. I would highly recommend Offshore to start your journey to becoming a confident sailor if being your own captain and chartering is what you’re looking for. It is definitely worth the investment. My current plan these days is to continue chartering with The Moorings, between 6-8 times per year. I am now 58 years old and have chartered 15 times since 2022. Thank you to Offshore Sailing and The Moorings for making this dream become reality.

Learn more about chartering with Offshore Sailing School here, or book your own Virgin Islands sailing adventure today.


Dominique Wright

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