"My first offshore sailing trip and Hurricane Sandy is bearing down on the Northeast. I showed up at Newport anyway and helped John, the owner of 47-ft 2 If By Sea, and instructor Tom Farbanish, prep for Sandy’s arrival. No problem for these two experienced hands, and the boat safely rode out 50 – 60 kts and a storm surge that put 2 ft of water over the dock. We left three days later and immediately were sailing through 15 – 20 ft seas and 30 kts, plus numerous squalls that took pleasure in hunting us down at night. Tom put us on watches, showed us how to handle the squalls, and kept up our spirits with hot food. While the sailing was pretty lively, we were control the whole time. Nevertheless, I’m glad to have encountering these conditions with skilled offshore sailors onboard. When the storm broke and the skies cleared, we were treated to stunning starry nights with Jupiter and Venus to keep us company. And I had my first chance to steer by a star over the bow – incredible. Bermuda came and went, and before long we made beautiful Tortola. The trip was a delight. Thanks"
- RSSS, Jim
"When I signed up for my offshore passagemaking course I was hoping my experience would include a range of weather conditions so my learning would not be too one dimensional. I also had concerns about how I would fit in with guys I had never met. From the moment I stepped on board, Instructors Rob and John were welcoming and laid back in their approach. Rob is able to handle students with varying degrees of experience without making anyone feel judged and letting everyone contribute to whatever degree they are comfortable. He is very easy to learn from and has endless patience for whatever sailing questions you might have. The watch routine was explained and established and I was amazed at how quickly we formed bonds between crew and captain and how we functioned as a team throughout the passage. The provisioning by Gina was great. We had a variety and quantity of food and were comfortably fed.
On our passage from Newport to Bermuda we experienced fantastic sailing in the beginning averaging 8 knots non-stop over the first 36 hours. We went from winter clothes in the beginning then quickly switching to bare feet and shorts after crossing the Gulf Stream. We broke out the sunscreen and studied navigation 350 miles out as we motored when the winds dropped to 5 knots. Amazed to be that far out with wave heights under a foot. A sunset visit by a pod of dolphins capped one perfect day. But it wasn't all to be sunlight and sweetness. Our satellite weather forecasts were confirming the pre-departure predictions for some weather challenges heading into Bermuda. Rob led the preparations by plotting an optimal course that afforded us options in the event of various contingencies for wind, seas and boat performance (or potential problems which thankfully didn't materialize). We used some of the 50 extra gallons of diesel fuel Rob and John brought in at the start and reefed our sails as we headed into the weather. We experienced some challenging seas and winds over the final 36 hours, but never in doubt was the solid boat we were on and the experienced instructors to lead us safely to our destination."
- Regards and fair weather, H. Nixon
"Gina! I enjoyed the voyage very much! Taking on this ocean passage was a years long goal, and I wasn't disappointed. I had high expectations going into the courses (US Sailing Coastal Navigation and Passage Making), and Rob's very patient teaching style was conducive to a positive learning experience. We experienced some challenging sea and wind conditions that only enhanced what we learned, and Rob's competence and confidence as a sailor put the crew at ease. I learned a heck of a lot, had lots of fun, and my confidence as a sailor is elevated above what I had expected. Thanks to you and Rob for a great experience!"
- Regards, R. Erickson
"Thanks again for the sailing it was unforgettable and for the teaching which was outstanding."
- D. Bartholomae
"I had a hard time landing back in normal life after those 5 days. I could only think of one thing...I loved the experience, it was truly awesome and fulfilling, the group was a pleasure to be with. The night sailing was magnificent. And the last day at the end, I certainly couldn't let go of the wheel."
- Best, A. Wallace
"Rob did a great job. Always cool and calm. Even congratulating the watch crew for the nice hard jibe during one particular squall, whilst calmly walking us through the correction."
- Best, S. Burns
"I had a great time on the CPM course, learned a ton and met some great people. Rob is a wealth of knowledge and a fun guy to sail with."
- Thanks Again, J. Riggs
"Hi G & R. It's funny how when you least expect it, you actually learn a whole bunch of new stuff. Rob taught me a whole new aspect of night approaches without just looking at a radar/chart plotter and instead looking at all the (very many) buoys in your path to safety and the inner harbor -alot harder than you would think at 2 in the morning."
- R. Wolf
"Rob, Just a quick note of thanks for a great trip.. You certainly did a great job coordinating the group and overseeing a safe and fun passage. Despite having lighter winds, it was an excellent experience for me not having done a bigger blue water passage before. The guys and Karen were all great. It's really a positive that you can bring a diverse background of people together in a small place for a week and have such a good experience. I think a lot of that has to do with the captain of the boat- so thank you again."
- Best regards, C. Norton