I had always had an interest in sailing, but growing up in northeastern Alabama on a shallow lake didn’t afford many opportunities. I did spend time on the water, and have owned three ski boats and still have a 19′ Arriva ski boat with a 150 HP outboard. A little over a year ago, Christine and I went on a cruise to the Bahamas where we spent a few days in one of the many resorts. While there, we took the opportunity to get a quick lesson on a Hobie Cat and we were hooked.
Upon returning to work, my boss was also returning from vacation. He and his brother and their families had charted a 54′ sailboat in the British Virgin Islands. Tom and his brother had grown up sailing with their father, and are both accomplished sailors. I immediately started researching to learn all I could about acquiring the sailing credentials needed to charter a bare boat.
Before we made the significant financial investment in a sailing course, we thought we should hire a boat to take us sailing in a real sailboat. Christine signed us up for a 2-hour sailing orientation on Lake Monroe, in Sanford, Florida, through U-Sail of Central Florida. We wanted more, and since we knew we wanted to sail offshore we needed to find someone to take us offshore.
We stated looking for charters online. After research, we contacted Captain Hendricks of Sailing Winsome Sailboat Charters in Daytona Beach, Florida. It was a beautiful, but blustery day, with winds gusting 20-25 knots. We left the Intracoastal waterway through Ponce Inlet with gusting winds out of the east as the tide was going out. Seas were 5-8 feet, but Captain Hendricks and his Pearson 365 was up for the task. Again, we knew this would not be our last sailing experience.