Virgin Islands School FAQs

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What is included in the price?
Our pricing is designed to be as inclusive as possible.  Live aboard lessons, like our Instant Bareboater® and Advanced Classes included in the price is: the boat, accomadations aboard the boat during class, the instructor, all running costs of the boat, books, tests, study guides, taxes, on-board meals (6 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 4 dinners) and snacks, nonalcoholic beverages and access to our Knot So Fast instructional video series.  Not included is: your travel to and from the boat, alcoholic beverages, off-boat meals, instructor's gratuity.  Other classes, like our beginning and Instant Cruiser®, are not live-aboard and do not include lodging or meals.

How many students are in the class?
Typically 2-4 students are in the class.   
What time do classes start?
Week-long classes begin at 4 PM.  Weekend and shorter classes begin at 10 AM.

What time do classes end?
Week-long classes usually end mid-afternoon, about 2 PM,; others end around 5.  However this can vary a bit based on weather, class size and a few other factors.
Do I need experience for the Bareboater® class?
You do not need prior experience for this class. The Bareboater® class is designed to begin with the basics, so no prior experience is necessary. We do recommend that you review the text and study guides prior to coming for your class. This helps set a foundation and teach vocabulary so that when you get to the boat you can concentrate on sailing.
I already know how to sail, is the Bareboater® class still for me?
If you have sailing experience, you will have an advantage taking this class, however it can still be very useful. In addition to covering the techniques and procedures used to sail the boat, the Bareboater® class also covers procedures and systems used for living aboard, anchoring, cooking, bathing, and cruising. Many very experienced sailors have primarily day sailed and have spent limited time actually living on board (cooking, cleaning, etc.). In addition, most sailors typically spend little time anchoring overnight or establishing anchor watches – two topics covered in detail in this class. Finally, many safety procedures – reefing, hove-to, lying-a-hull, man overboard drills, etc. – are not drills that most sailors perform on a regular basis. Again, the Bareboater® class covers this in great detail, helping even experienced sailors with their boat handling.
What is the difference in the classes?
The Instant Cruiser® class is designed to teach inexperienced sailors how to sail. The primary focus of this class is on safety procedures and boat handling. The Bareboater® class is designed for everyone from beginners to experienced sailors who want to learn how to live aboard a boat. The majority of students in this class are preparing to bareboat charter, buy a boat, or are just checking to see how well they like the nautical life. In addition to boat handling, this course also includes instruction on boat systems (electrical, plumbing, cooking, engine, fuel, etc.), anchoring and more extensive safety procedures. The Advanced Sailing class adds the dimension of night time sailing to the curriculum. Finally, the Ocean Passage course provides the opportunity and learning that comes with being offshore and out of sight of land for an extended period.
Will the Bareboater® certification qualify me to bareboat charter anywhere?
The certification you receive from Fair Wind is a Bareboat Charter certification that is recognized around the world. However, virtually every charter company has different rules regarding charter qualification. In addition to your certification status, other factors that are typically assessed include: previous boat ownership, overall sailing experience and experience gained between certification and charter.
Can I really do this?
Yes you can!! We have taught people from 9-70+ years of age how to sail and have courses designed for every need – from beginning sailors through cruisers to ocean voyages. Sailing is fun and once you know the basics, its pretty easy. If you want to do this, you can!
Will I have my own bed during the class?
A sailing "Bed" is called a berth and yes you will have your own berth. All of our instructional yachts have single and double berths. Single berths hold one person and double berths two. Couples may share a double berth.
Will I have my own bathroom during class?
Bathrooms aboard are called “heads”. Our boat in the Virgin Islands and Chesapeake has 2 heads (4 for the cat) while our boats in the Great Lakes and Florida have 1 or 2 heads. Typically heads are shared on board.
What will be on board?
  • Hand towels
  • Bath towels
  • Wash clothes
  • Hand soap
  • Sanitizing lotion
  • Pillows
  • Sheets and blankets
  • Some limited snorkeling gear
  • All USCG safety equipment, including life preservers and other required sailing gear
What should I bring?
  • Sun protection – The Caribbean and Florida sun is strong year round making sun protection a must. Wide brimmed hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen are highly recommended
  • Sailing gloves (can be purchased in Red Hook if necessary)
  • Boat friendly shoes (white or light soles, no heels, comfortable)
  • Passport (Caribbean only) -- required for clearance in and out of the BVI
  • Sailing books that we sent you
  • Snorkeling gear (optional, you can use ours if you like) Clothing – Expect daytime temperature in the 80’s and lows around 70. We usually sail in shorts and tee-shirts. Most people bring far too much clothing, we recommend the following clothing:
  • Shorts and tee shirts
  • A pair of jeans
  • Light long sleeve shirt (for sun protection)
  • Bathing suits (we will have time to swim & snorkel each day)
  • Beach towel (optional, for after swimming)
  • Light weight sweatshirt or sweater (can be chilly at night)
  • Light weight rain jacket (just in case)
  • Personal care items (shampoo, prescription medication, etc.)
  • All your questions – we are ready to answer all questions.
  • Your music – Our boats ahve been upgraded and can play iPod or other MP3s.  We have USB connectivity and you will need a cord that connects your device to a USB
Please pack in a duffle, backpack or other collapsible bag (see below)
What should I leave home?
There is limited to no room for large, bulky luggage, so please do NOT bring:
  • Large suitcases
  • Hard shelled suitcases
  • Your worries
  • Dark or hard soled shoes
  • Too many clothes
Where is Fair Wind located and what is the name of the boat?
  • Fair Wind's St Thomas base is located in Red Hook, St. Thomas
  • Our boats are usually anchored out in the harbor.   Please refer to your final confirmation for the name of your boat.  You should contact our main office prior to arriving in St Thomas to get name and contact information of your Captain.  The Captain will determine the specifics of your rendevous point.
  • Upon arrival in St Thomas, you may also contact our main office at 248-563-5413 for any last minute questions.
  • We have multiple boats running in all locations. Please refer to your final confirmation for the name of the boat.
  • If you are sailing in the BVI with our Upper Bay affiliate, we will operate from the Nanny Cay Marina on the island of Tortola, BVI
How do I get to Red Hook from the airport?
You will land at St. Thomas’ Cyril King Airport (STT). From the airport, use the following procedure: The easiest way to reach Red Hook is via taxi cab from the airport. Taxi’s in St. Thomas are little vans that are shared by 6-15 people. Once you have your luggage, proceed to the taxi stand and tell the dispatcher that you are going to Red Hook. The dispatcher will direct you to the appropriate taxi / van. Tell the driver that you are going to the American Yacht Harbor. The taxis may make several stops along the way at various hotels. When in Red Hook, you will be dropped off right at the location in Red Hook to meet your Captain. Cost of the ride should be about $15-20.
How do I find Fair Wind once I get to Red Hook?
Fair Wind operates directly from our boats; we do not have a VI office.  This is why you will need to contact your Captain a week or two prior to your class.   Proceed to the location that was confirmed. If you have any questions, give us a call at 248-563-5413 or call your Captain.
How do I get to Nanny Cay, BVI from the St Thomas airport?
You will land at St. Thomas’ Cyril King Airport (STT). From the airport, use the following procedure: The easiest way to reach Nanny Cay is via taxi cab from the airport to the ferry dock. The ferry from St Thomas to Tortola is about 45 minutes and is a pretty ride. You can take the ferry to either Road Town, Tortola or West End, Tortola. Nanny Cay is centrally located between these stops and is a 10 minute cab ride from either Road Town or West End. The ferry cost is $45 roundtrip, with cab rides on either end ranging between $5-$15.
Are gratuities expected by Captains?
Of course gratuities are at your discretion, however, it is customary to tip your Captain 10-15% for appropriately completing your class. In cases of outstanding efforts, it is not unusual to see tips as high as 15-20%.
What should I do to get ready for the classes before I arrive?
Assure your passport is up to date. Study! Highly recommended to read the text.  Pay particular attention the rules of the road, boat systems, terminology and man over board procedures. 

Get ready to have fun!!!


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