We recently caught up with a former sailing school student who left the Great Lakes to live-aboard and cruise the Caribbean. Karen and her husband are currently in the Eastern Caribbean (Windward Islands) and heading south to Grenada as it is hurricane season and Carnival is coming up soon. As weather permits, they will be stopping at some of their favorite spots like Bequia, the Tobago Cays and Carriacou.
Karen took her ASA 101/103 with Capt Dan in September of 2013.
With limited phone and internet service while cruising, we limited the number of questions we had for Karen…
What was your sailing experience before your 101/103?
I’ve been around boats and marinas since I was about 13. My father owned power boats on Lake Erie and I worked at a chandlery during high school and college, but I had never sailed until I met my husband in 2005 or thereabouts. He owned a 31’ Pearson and we would sail Lake Erie every weekend we could during the season and occasionally took a week off to sail to some of our favorite ports along the Ohio and Canadian shore.
When did you take off to live aboard and sail in the Caribbean?
We found our blue water boat in St. Thomas USVI in November 2013 and moved onboard on Christmas Day!
Was that always part of the plan when you took your 101/103?
It was always part of my husband’s plan! We had been discussing, making plans and boat shopping for a couple of years by the time I took this class. My husband had taken the same liveaboard instruction many years prior. Although I had some significant sailing experience by then, I wanted to do the formal instruction to round out my knowledge and increase my confidence. My friends were new to sailing so we decided to do the class together.
What was one of your biggest take-aways from your 101/103 that you still use today?
The teamwork and communication that Dan taught us to use as we worked together to trim the sails, anchor, MOB drills and docking. I still chuckle at our attempts to lasso the pilon with the stern line but I’ve used the technique a few times since then. I also fondly remember discussing the best features of blue water boats with Dan and that really helped me make solid decisions about our next boat purchase.