Barefoot Webcam

View of the Barefoot docks from our Webcam

View from our Webcam

We have installed a new “webcam” at the Barefoot offices. So, if you want to get a preview of what it looks like around here, or just want a reminder from you time here, you can check out our Webcam. Due to the angle of the sun, the picture usually looks better in the morning. You can probably catch images of the guys bringing boats into the dock starting around 8:30am local time. Click here to follow a link to our webcam page. Check it out and let us know what you think. If I’m on the dock, I’ll be sure to wave!

 

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Spot GPS Tracking

Spot GPS Tracking Device

Here is a cool feature on our website – Spot GPS tracking. We have a couple of Spot GPS tracking devices. These things are cool! I used them on several West Coast deliveries I did and always thought it was fun to have friends, family and boat owners follow along on our adventures from home. We have one on each of our school boats to allow our student’s friends and family to follow along on with our sailing adventures. You can find the link to this page in the bottom right corner of our home page (www.barefootoffshore.com) or you can just follow this link. This feature is also accessible from our Facebook page. When you are looking at the map, click on the “Satellite” button for a more interesting view of the islands. Just be sure to tell everyone following along from home not to get too excited if we forget to press the button that sends out our position!

 Just give your friends and family the link to our Facebook page and tell them who your instructor will be (Scott or Chris) so they know which track to follow. Ok – everyone enjoy following along for now and come on down soon to make your own tracks!
Caribbean Sailing

Making Tracks!

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We Just Had To Get Back To The Islands!

Scott and I just got back down to our home base in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. We both had quite a summer back up in the States and I’ll be sure to put up a blog entry soon detailing our summer adventures.

The party before the party

Parrot Head Party!

I decided a long time ago that Jimmy Buffett was going to be my career counselor and have been doing my best to follow his advice on life for some time now. It’s been awhile since I have checked in with him though – so Scott and I decided to catch Jimmy playing in Las Vegas before we came back down to the islands. We met up with a good friend of ours, David Kilmer and his wife Rebecca in Las Vegas and took in as much of the Parrot Head Party scene as we could manage.

David is a former Barefoot sailing instructor and a big part of why Scott and I are down here. Our career counseling session was well attended! David once told me, “Be careful what you wish for – if your not careful it will come true.” Well I guess he was right – because here I am living in the Caribbean and making my living sailing boats!

Margarittas from Margarittaville!!!

Can you believe the size of that Margaritta?

Well, come Monday (ha ha) – we flew out from Sin City and landed in St. Vincent that night. We are getting settled back in and planning out our trips for the season. My first trip takes off on Saturday and Scott will be doing a class for some local students here all next week.

We have some exciting things planned for this season down in the islands – so stay tuned for more Caribbean sailing adventures!

 

Sailing in the Grenadines

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What a Long Strange Trip it’s Been

Representing Barefoot Offshore Sailing School in the PNW!

Representing Barefoot Offshore Sailing School in the PNW!

I made it back to the Pacific Northwest! Liat (one of our local Caribbean airlines) lived up to their reputation and caused me to miss all my connections from Puerto Rico. My flight from Antigua was delayed by almost three hours, which messed up the rest of my flights. Big tip – make sure that if you book any flights with Liat, try for the fewest number of plane changes possible (none would be best!). I had three which was a disaster waiting to happen.

So, instead of making it to Seattle Thursday evening, I spent a tortured, sleepless night in the Miami airport and got in to Seattle Friday afternoon. I was planning to make my way up to Friday Harbor for the Latitudes and Attitudes annual Northwest Cruisers Party on Friday – so when I got picked up at the airport – we drove straight up to Anacortes and jumped on the ferry to Friday Harbor!

A boat crashed into our Cabin!We were staying at the Wayfarer’s Rest in Friday Harbor which is a very cool little Hostel right there in town. We figured that if we couldn’t stay on a boat, we would stay in a cabin that was made out of a boat!Sailboat in our Cabin

Pirates at the Lattitudes and Attitudes NW Cruisers Party!The party was great! Lots of pirates, cannon fire and rum! We saw The Eric Stone Band play Saturday night which was lots of fun – though freezing cold for this Vincentian! For any of my former students – you might remember me playing Eric Stone’s song “Bequia Kind of Day” which is a nice tribute to one of my favorite anchorages in the Grenadines…

Monday morning, we sailed back from Friday Harbor to Bellingham on my friend Dan’s Erickson 29. The wind was light and we ended up motor sailing the entire way, but it was a nice trip all the same. It was a good re-familiarization to the islands of the San Juan’s as I will be heading out for a week long Learn-N-Cruise in the San Juan’s this Saturday for San Juan Sailing (my home in the Northwest).

Stay Tuned for some pictures from my San Juan’s adventure!

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Skippered Charter Gig

Chris Under Sail on AndatoThis week I’m out on a skippered charter gig with two families from the states. I’ll give you all a report when I get back in. As I am writing this on Sunday, we seem to have some “weather” developing here. If you are interested in seeing what’s going on, check out this link to the Crownweather.com Atlantic Tropical page. It looks like we have a large Tropical Depression forming to the west. It should mostly track to the north of us – by the time you are reading this, it should be out of our area. This is part of the fun of sailing the Caribbean this time of year!

After this trip, I will be heading back to the Pacific Northwest of the US for a couple months to do some sailing and catch up with friends and family back home. I will do my best to keep the updates coming on any news from the Grenadines and on what’s keeping me busy back home. It looks like it will be a great couple of months – probably just enough Seattle cold and rain to get me ready for some more time sailing in the Caribbean!

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Caribbean Sailing

Sails set on the Caribbean SeaI spent this last week out with a group of four students sailing in the beautiful Grenadines! This week was an all guys trip. I’m not going to lie – I missed having the ladies from the week before on board. Not to be too chauvinistic, but the boat seemed tidier and the meals seemed tastier when we had Emily and Kasia on the crew… All the same – no one starved and for the most part, we kept things ship shape.

 

Caribbean Sailing Class Our crew this week included Julian who you will recognize from my previous post featuring Julian as our Vincentian student learning to sail with Barefoot. We had an opening for this trip so I invited Julian to join us on this weeks Learn and Cruise to finish up his ASA Bareboat Charter Certification. Hunter and Elijah were our father and son duo from Northern California. They had both always wanted to sail and took this opportunity to lean about sailing while cruising in the Caribbean. After spending the week out Caribbean sailing, Ian and Julian on MayreauHunter says he is moving back to the Grenadines to live! Our crew was rounded out with the last minute addition of Ian. Ian lives to travel! He says that after visiting the Grenadines he has now been to 109 countries. Ian’s job allows him to work from anywhere he can get an internet connection, which works out great with his passion for traveling. Next, Ian said that he just needs to get a boat with an internet link so that he can start traveling the world under sail!

At anchor in Salt Whistle Bay, MayreauOur weeks cruise included visits to Bequia, Tobago Cays, Petite St. Vincent and Mayreau. This was everyone’s first time sailing from island to island and exploring new places. It was really great to be able to introduce Julian to parts of his homeland he had never visited. He really enjoyed seeing Curve of the Baythe Tobago Cays and Mayreau both of which he had not previously visited. Of the Tobago Cays Julian said “Real nice mon – I’m going to come back next time with my girl – real romantic”. 

 

Julian taking a cross bearing fixEveryone shared in the boat duties while working together to complete the course. From cooking to navigation, everyone pulled together to make things happen and by the end of the week – we had a great crew all ready to work together and jump in when problems needed solving. It was great to see Ian plotting our courseeveryone come together as a crew working to help each other figure it all out. Best of all was Julian’s positive attitude and words of encouragement. My favorite compliment of the week was Julian complimenting one of the other students on their sail trim saying “Ya mon – dem tell tails flyin’ real sweet now!”Dem Telltails Streamin' Real Nice

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Class Video

Charting our courseHey everyone! I am out sailing again this week with another group of students. I recently was sent this YouTube Link from some students who were down here this last year between Christmas and New Years. They set some of their pictures and video clips to music and put them up on YouTube! Check it out and let us know what you think – Enjoy!

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Learn – N – Cruise Class, 16 July to 23 July

We had a Learn – N – Cruise (LNC) Class scheduled from 16 July to 23 July. The Learn – N – Cruise class is a great way to get a feel for what it is like to charter in the Grenadines, living aboard the school boat for a week, sailing among the beautiful islands of the Grenadines and learning along the way. It’s a great ‘learning vacation’.

Ryan in for a swim!This class was scheduled to be one day longer than our normal LNC classes, which is a great way to fit in a little extra time on the water to explore the islands along the way. Unfortunately, as it turned out only one of our students was able to make it to St. Vincent on time… One student had a scheduling conflict (Ryan), and the other two Ben and Emily enjoying the sail(Ben & Emily) ended up missing their connecting flight in Puerto Rico. So – Kasia (the one who made it here on time) and I took advantage of the extra day to go out and do a little day sailing while we waited for the others to arrive that evening.Captain Kasia

The next day (17 July) we spent the morning taking the first of three written exams, getting familiar with the boat, loading gear and provisions. We had lunch at Driftwood and sailed out in the afternoon for Bequia. In Bequia, we met up with another couple (Ian & Ellen on La Mouette) who were enjoying a bareboat charter in the Grenadines for their honeymoon on a charter boat from Barefoot Yacht Charters. We all had a great time on shore visiting the Frangipani for a sundowner and then on to one of the other local restaurants for dinner.

Nicely Making Way!The next day we got up early for a morning ‘cockpit learning session’ followed by an afternoon of sailing drills out in Admiralty Bay.  Everyone did great and had some good fun learning to steer and trim sails through the different points of sail as well as tacking and jibing the boat. Nice Crew WorkWe came back and anchored next to our friends again just off of Princess Margaret Beach. 

Kasia working hard!The next day we decided to visit shore for breakfast at the Gingerbread Restaurant, then hit town to pick up a few supplies before we headed down into the southern islands. After a short lesson on basic charting and navigation, we headed out and sailed down to the Tobago Cays where we found our friends on La Mouette again. We set our anchor just before sunset – Beautiful!

Kasia and WalterWednesday morning just as the coffee was about ready, my friend Walter (one of the original “Boat Boys” in the Tobago Cays) stopped by with fresh chocolate croissants for our breakfast – great timing Walter! After breakfast we spent the morning in the cockpit learning about the ‘Rules of the Road’ – the regulations that govern who has the right of way between two boats and other fun things like that. Being as how we were in the Tobago Cays, we had to take some time out of class to go do some snorkeling with the turtles and explore around a little bit! After lunch we headed out of the Cays to go practice our Man Overboard drills and then sailed around Union Island to Chatham Bay to anchor for the evening.

Ryan and Emily ChartingThursday morning we had our “classroom” learning session in the cockpit of our yacht, Andato, surrounded by the beauty of Chatham Bay. We talked about the practices and equipment required for boating safety. After our route for the day was charted, we motor sailed out from Union Island on our way to the lee of Mayreau where we could practice our Man Overboard procedures.

Ben and Kasia checking the oilOn the way we had a wonderful opportunity to practice our troubleshooting skills with the engine! As we were motor sailing along the engine alarm went off. My first thought was that it might have been an issue with the oil pressure because we had needed to add some oil that morning so we shut the engine down immediately and continued to sail. Emily and I went below to take a look at things and add some oil if needed – however when we checked the oil level, it was fine. We noticed was that the engine seemed hotter than normal and had that hot engine smell so we started looking at the cooling system and noticed that there was no water in the raw water strainer. This made me think that we might have a blockage in the raw water intake, or a failed impeller. Impeller ComparisonWell the easiest thing to check was the impeller, so off came the impeller cover revealing an impeller without any fins on it – that’s a problem! So we replaced the impeller. Then just to be sure, we pulled the raw water intake hose off and checked for a blockage. It was clear, so we buttoned everything back up and fired up the engine – sure enough water started flowing through the raw water strainer and out the exhaust. Success!

View from the church on MayreauWhen we reached Mayreau we found that the other boats in Salt Whistle Bay had left us a nice spot right up front with plenty of room to swing. That’s one of the nice things about visiting the Grenadines this time of year, it is way less crowded than in the high season. Robert Rightious playing drumsWe organized a shore party with our friends from La Mouette, who had been there waiting for us, and hiked up the hill from Salt Whistle to the village on Mayreau. We checked out the great view of Mayreau Gardens and Tobago Cays then went to visit Robert Righteous at his restaurant for ice cold beverages and some good conversation. 

Late night examThat evening the students took their second written examination – it’s never a good idea to do exams in the evening – but that’s just how it all worked out. To spite two of the students and the instructor falling asleep during the exam – everyone passed that hurdle!

Ben's Big SCUBA AdventureFriday we had a big day – we sailed from Mayreau up to Bequia as fast as we could so that we would have time to go for a dive with the crew from Dive Bequia. Ben, Ryan and I went for the dive while Emily accompanied us from above snorkeling and getting some pictures – we will be looking forward to seeing those pictures when they come around! This was Ben’s first dive and from all reports – he’s hooked!

Crew enjoying diner at Mac's PizzaFriday evening found us at Mac’s Pizza for dinner. Mac’s Pizza is a Bequia icon – best pizza in the West Indies!!! We enjoyed our pizza and then headed back to Andato. The next morning Ryan made us all breakfast and then the students had a go at their final exam. Ryan cooking breakfastThey all passed with flying colors – great job everyone! After the exam, we dinghied in to town for some last minute souvenir shopping and then weighed anchor for the sail back to the Barefoot base.

Ryan rinsing dishesWe had a great week out with some really fun people. I’m glad I had the chance to sail with you all and hope that our readers enjoy the trip report! Hope to see you all back down in the Grenadines soon!

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A Tour of Barefoot Marine Center, the home of Barefoot Offshore Sailing School

For those of you who have not had the chance to visit us down here in the Grenadines, I thought it might be nice to take you on a tour of Barefoot Marine Center. For those of you who have been here before, it might be a trip down memory lane.

Barefoot Marine Center sign from the roadFlag pole at Barefoot Marine Center

First stop, here is the Barefoot sign from along the road welcoming you to the Barefoot Marine Service Center. Check out the flag pole – cooler than your average flag pole hu? This started out life as the mast on a Hylas 47 named Wave Dancer. Wave Dancer lost her rig off of Canouan in a severe squall. Years later, a cruiser who was passing through the islands did the metal work transforming it into the unique flag pole we have today.

Barefoot Marine Center from the streetHere is the front of the main building, home to our reception desk, management offices, chandlery, sailing school office, Driftwood Restaurant & Bar, guest rooms and boutique. Notice in the picture the main entrance, with the boutique to the left and the guest rooms upstairs. The little dog in the picture is Lilly. Lilly is Phillip’s shadow. She won’t let him go anywhere without her in tow (Phillip is the Managing Director of Barefoot and the son of Mary Barnard who founded Barefoot Yacht Charters, the parent company of Barefoot Offshore Sailing School).

This is a shot of our parking lot featuring our J24 Salt Fish. Salt Fish is the boat we have been campaigning on the Caribbean J24 circuit between Barbados, Bequia (for the Bequia Easter Regatta), and St. Lucia. If you would like to learn more about the Salt Fish – Team Sail Caribbean racing campaign, check us out on Facebook.

 

Side View of Barefoot Marine Center

 

View of the back half of the main building. You can see part of the back porch and the Driftwood Restaurant & Bar

Jasmine is usually here during business hours to greet you and help you with any last minute details. She has been with Barefoot for 12 years and is an integral part of the Barefoot Marine Center Team. She definitely helps hold the place together and is a great asset to the company.Jasmine receptionist at Barefoot Marine Center

Front stairs Barefoot Marine Center

Guest room at the Barefoot charter base

View from the balcony of one of our guest rooms

 

 

 

 

Here is the front stairway which leads up to our guest rooms. The guest rooms are a great way to spend your first night if you arrive early for your class or charter. With nice beds, AC and hot water showers, not to mention a beautiful view, they make for a very nice way to ease in to your Caribbean sailing vacation.

Our Boutique has a nice selection of Barefoot logo gear and all of the things you might have forgotten to pack. We carry a good selection of Gill sailing gear including sailing gloves, shorts, shirts and lite weight tropical foul weather gear. You will be glad you picked up a pair of

Inside the Barefoot Boutiquesailing gloves after spending a day of tacking, jibing and trimming sails! We also have all the little things you might have forgotten like sun screen, sun glasses keepers, bikinis and swim trunks.

 

 

Side entry to the back porch of BarefootYacht brokerage at Barefoot Marine Center

This is the way to the back porch, offices and apartment #1. Note that the yacht brokerage office has actually moved and we are planning to open an insurance office in that space in the near future.


Phillip Barnard in his office at Barefoot Marine Center

Here is a shot of Phillip Barnard in his office. Phillip is usually the guy doing chart briefings for our bareboat charter guests. He does his best to share his knowledge of sailing in the Caribbean. Phillip grew up sailing in these waters and went on to sail as a part of many professional race teams including Skandia, Nicorette and the Virgin Islands and Team Caribbean Americas Cup Campaigns. Charter guests are often seen leaving his briefings with their heads spinning from the amount of information they were just given during one of his briefings!

This is where you can often find Barefoot staff relaxing during their breaks. This is also where Phillip does his famous chart briefings and where I occasionally might be found teaching some principals of coastal navigation. The door at the end was our fins and snorkel room when this picture was taken, but has since been converted into the Barefoot Offshore Sailing School office. An odd collection of things found in the windowI have no explanation for some of the strange things that used to live in my office… After Phillip explained that the fish represented how he felt almost every day when he left his house to come to work, I knew we couldn’t get rid of it. The fish now resides in a place of honor on one of the shelves of my new office.

Trini the parrot who lives at Barefoot Marine CenterJust outside the door of my new office lives ‘Trini’ the parrot. She is usually a good neighbor – but when it starts raining she gets wound up! Screaming “HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU….” Nice! One of these days, I’d like to have a few words with whomever taught that bird to sing ‘Happy Birthday’. Also notice the convenient hammocks hanging on the porch. It’s a great place to chill out and read a book for awhile or just take a little nap.

Barefoot Offshore Sailing School training boat, Andato

Barefoot Offshore Sailing School training boat, Andato

Here is a nice view of our main Sailing School boat Andato, a Gib Sea 44, resting at her mooring in Blue Lagoon. Notice the boom is down on her deck. This shot was taken right at the beginning of the season last year and she wasn’t quite ready to head out yet after her annual haul out.

Sign for the Driftwood Restaurant and Bar

Driftwood Restaurant and Lounge

This is the view on the way down the hill on your way to the Driftwood Restaurant and Bar.

Entrance to the Driftwood restaurant and barCustomers at the Driftwood Restaurant and BarA view inside the Wine Bar at Driftwood

 

 

 

 

Here is our beautiful open air restaurant, Driftwood. It’s a great place to grab a bite to eat or to stop in for a drink. The pizza is really good thin crust pizza – try the Parma Ham, Artichoke, Olive, Tomato and Basil Pizza or the Caesar Salad with Jerked Chicken and Basil. At the bar, you have to try Randy’s Rum Punch or Randy’s Mango-Colada made with Randy’s own Mango Puree! If you visit the restaurant in the evening, you are sure to meet Randy – he will be the big guy behind the bar. The Wine Bar is just behind the Driftwood bar. With its AC usually cranked, it’s great place to relax if you need a little escape from the heat.

Through the window of the Barefoot Sail LoftBarefoot Sail Loft manager Anthony Atkins

We have our own sail loft on-site. The Barefoot Sail Loft is run by Anthony Alkins who is also our foredeck crew on Salt Fish. Anthony has been racing since he was 14 years old starting with racing Opti’s back in his home of Trinidad. He is a great guy to have on our race crew and a great guy to have working in our Sail Loft.

Barefoot Water Sports Center

Barefoot Marine Center Weather Conch

 

 

 

 

 

Working our way down the hill, we have the Weather Conch off to the right and the Water Sports Center down on the left. The Weather Conch may be the most accurate weather tool we have at our disposal down here in the Caribbean!  Our new Water Sports Center is now the home of all those fins & snorkels we had to clear out to make room for my new office. We also have kayaks, stand up paddle boards and fishing gear for rent there.

Barefoot Marine Center WorkshopBarefoot Marine Center DocksDown at the bottom of the hill we find our workshops and the dock. This is where most of our trips start and finish.

Well – there it is a whirl–wind tour of our Barefoot Marine Center facilities! Hopefully you have enjoyed the pictures and now maybe have a little bit better image of who we are and where we work. I hope you enjoyed it. Feel free to leave a response if you have any questions or comments.

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Vincentian Student Sailing with Barefoot Offshore Sailing School

Barefoot Offshore Sailing School student Julian PayneI have had the pleasure of sailing with Julian Payne over the past few weeks here at Barefoot. Julian is a native of St. Vincent and the Grenadines living on the island of St. Vincent. He has been taking American Sailing Association courses with us on weekends and evenings. We have made it out for some great sailing the last two weekends and Julian’s sailing skills have been steadily improving. We have been working on a lot of the basics of seamanship including sail trim, terminology, rules of the road, safety and navigation. Julian is working to complete his ASA Basic Keelboat, Basic Coastal Cruising and Bareboat Charter Certifications.

Julian says that he really enjoys the courses and looks forward to having the skills he needs to be able to sail from island to island exploring his Caribbean home under sail. Julian has a lot of enthusiasm for sailing and has been working hard studying for the courses. It has been a lot of fun having him as a student and being able to see his excitement as the material he has learned from the text books has clicked for him out on the water.

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