First week sailing on Kokomo

After months of preparation and hard work, after short sailing trips at the sunset or snorkeling on nearby reefs, we are now set to go on our first sailing week on Kokomo. For the occasion, few friends joined us from Germany and we are now preparing all the things we need to sail for 7 days.
Coming from a person that never really packed for a week sailing, I thought I would share my shopping list to know if we packed too much or too little.
7 days sailing – 5 people
12 sausages – 5 beef steaks – carrots 3kg – potatoes 5kg – onions (lots) – lattice & cabbage – pasta 3kg – 15 eggs – bread 2kg or so – several kind of sauces (hoping in some great fishing days) ham – cheese – jams – muesli 2pkt – quite a variety of soft drinks and beers.

The sailing plan starts in South Ari Atoll – departure at 07:00 – direction Meemu Atoll.

Map of Meemu Atoll

The wind forecast is not as positive as it was in the last few days, there might be some rain during the crossing but we believe we can reach the entry channel of Raabondhihuraa by midday or so and find an anchoring place nearby the little bacardi island that we saw on the map.

just few hours left before departure, at the meantime some are getting digitally-ready to leave.

Preparation

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We found a Sailing School in Greece

after our disaster with the American Sailing Academy in Greece, we kept searching and finally found another option.

Sea-Trek, a UK based sailing school specializing in teaching novices to sail in ONE WEEK! We literally stumbled upon this company as they were not easy to find (their SEO must have been programmed terribly!).

not sure how much they could teach us in one week we contacted them by email and we quickly received very positive and informative responses. it really gave us the impression that they cared and knew what they were doing. best of all, the cost was lower than any of the other options. for only £675 per person, we got the entire course, including our private yacht (306 Feeling). in addition there were a couple of extra fees, but everything was clearly explained in advance. the other benefit, the teaching was done to IYT standards, which is the international certificate we wanted to begin with.

we quickly signed up, paid the deposit and we started our plans for completing the course at the end of June. so we had about one month during which we had to complete the online learning portion of this course. all was done quickly and easily and after paying our $100 fee to access the course we were off to the 13 sections of the course.

so we have about 4 weeks to complete all modules and get our certificate, which is required to be eligible for the ICC (International Certificate of Competency). this is actually the same certificate that we could achieve after 21 days in Thailand (see previous post).

needing a sailing license, who to use?

we have heard of some people that start their sailing experience without any certification whatsoever and it seems it is actually possible. However we felt it might be of some help to get a document that will convince people that we actually know what we are doing.

There are several programs that offer sailing trainings in a short period of time and these are the ones that we thought would be best:

Zero to Hero. The tile alone is so awesome that I was ready to sign up right then an there. They are based in Phuket Thailand and do their syllabus according to the IYT (International Yacht Training).  Cost for the 21 day course is roughly US$ 2800 per person.

The Zero to Hero Courses are fast track courses for complete beginners who want to become either navigators or captain in 12 to 21 days. They say that the Zero to Hero course is designed for new boat owners, aspiring navigators and people who want fast forward teaching. I guess this pretty much hits the nail on the head, but to get the paper that we want you need to complete the 3 week course, which is a long time to be away from work…

what did not fit into our plan is that we had been to Thailand (and Phuket) several times and it was not really on the top of our list to go again. Especially as we would need to use most of our annual holiday time we did want to combine the learning with seeing something new as well.

Another course we heard many good things about is the ‘Fasttrack to Cruising‘, based in Florida or the British Virgin Islands.  what appealed to us is that you can get live aboard experience with the course and it seems that many people were very pleased with the teaching.  You can apply for a US Sailing Certificate upon completion.

Again, there were a few points against this option. Firstly, we live in the Maldives and Florida is on the other side of the planet. Moreover we just spent a 3 week holiday in Florida and the Bahamas last year (back than we had no idea that we would own a boat 12 months later…), so to come back to this place was no ideal either. Lastly a US oriented certification might not be the ideal thing for us due to our current location in Asia.

So we figured we had to approach this from another perspective: where would we like to go on holidays? From there we would then start our search for a school. after short thought we both thought that Greece would be a nice place. neither of us had been there, we know that there are many nice islands and Mykonos and Santorini had been on our to-do list for some time and of course seeing Athens would be nice as well.

so after a quick google search for ‘sailing certification live aboard Greece’ we quickly found the Athens Sailing Acadamy. While the website looked a bit dodgy we figured we would give it a try. we wrote to them and soon after got a quote for a live aboard sail in course for 1700 Euro per person. the teaching was to American Sailing Association (ASA) standards, but we figured that seeing Greece would be worth going for a US certificate.

We confirmed the quoted rate and agreed to send payment, just to find out that all of a sudden the price changed. when inquiring it was due to some new taxes that were introduced, to which I replied that surely these were not introduced within the past 24 hours since receiving the quote. I then had to read a long story about how the Germans ruined Greece by placing restrictions on Greece and not giving enough money. if I did not want to pay the new price I would go elsewhere.  the whole email was written in such an aggressive manner that I did not feel comfortable proceeding, given that I am German myself. So back to the drawing Board.