Ocean Sailing and Advanced Navigation with a Night Sail (Introduction to Offshore Passage Making)

Offshore Passage Making
Spectacular sunset during the night sail

Guiding us on rader
Guiding us on radar

Verify our position on the chart

Verify our position on the chart

Checking the sails before dark
Introduction to Offshore Passage Making

Proud crew - We did it!
Proud crew – We did it!

This course is able to accommodate beginners learning to sail a large ocean sailing vessel to students interested in advanced ocean navigation. The course is designed for students that plan to expand their horizons to include bareboat chartering and coastal or offshore passage making and cruising. A Sea-Service certificate is awarded upon completion of this course.

We designed the combined sailing course to fill the needs expressed by our students. Many students came to us wanting a night sail but were lacking sailing experience and background. Consequently, we designed and constructed a course in which we focus on sailing, seamanship, navigation and safety for several days and follow this up by a night passage.

The night sail transiting the Caribbean Sea can be demanding and may be rigorous. The course provides a controlled introduction to night sailing. We are underway at night remaining at sea with an anticipated morning landfall entering Charlotte Amalie Harbor in the dark. The Night Passage will offer the participant a clear picture of the rigors and demands of offshore sailing and offshore passage making during the night.

As with all programs of this type, weather is an important factor in the safe execution of a night passage. The night passage will be conducted when weather conditions are favorable for both the departure and the return. Students will actively participate in the weather gathering and decision making process for the night passage. The final decision for departure rests with the captain.

We take great care in planning the night trip. The safety of the vessel, participants, and crew are our first priority and the instruction of safety is high on the list of learning objectives. Participants will operate in two or three person watch teams and will stand 3 hour watches.

Course Outline: Ocean Sailing & Advanced Navigation with a night sail. (Introduction to offshore passage making)

I. The Sailing Vessel

  • Anchoring, Docking, or Mooring
  • Sail Handling including all manoeuvres
  • Heavy Weather Procedures
  • Night Lights and Sound Signal
  • Safety Procedures at Night
  • Rules of the Road
  • Emergency Procedures

II. Navigation

  • Nautical Charts
  • Navigation Tools
  • Offshore Plotting
  • Dead Reckoning
  • Piloting
  • Current Sailing
  • Radar Relative Motion, DRM, RTM plots
  • Navigation in the Fog
  • Log Book Maintenance
  • Rules of the Road
  • Weather – VHF, Ocens, Nobeltec Iridium Sat Phone
  • GPS and Electronic Chart Plotting
  • Computer Applications: Nobeltec, Weather, Ocens, iPad Navigation App.
  • Tide & Currents
  • AIS

III. Offshore Safety at Sea

  • Thru Hulls
  • Storm Ports
  • Emergency Pumps and Edson Emergency Bilge Pump
  • Emergency Tiller
  • Sea Anchor Deployment Discussions
  • Monitoring Electrics
  • Heavy Weather Sail Changes
  • Safety Harnesses
  • Watch and Look-Out Procedures
  • Bunk Boards
  • Steel Water Tight Doors
  • Stuffing Box
  • Offshore Navigation
  • Log Book Maintenance
  • Daily Weather Reporting

IV. The Daily Schedule

  • Days 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5: formal instruction on safety, seamanship, sailing and navigation, while sailing Virgin Islands surrounding the USVI and BVI
  • Day 6 and 7: Preperation for the night sail and the night sail

We provide all instructional materials for the Ocean Sailing and Advanced Navigation with night sail course (Introduction to Offshore Passage Making) including marine charts, navigational tools, books and other materials related to the course.

All persons must wear flotation while underway. We provide deck-jackets, but bring your own “crewsaver”, etc. if you wish.

  • Deciding which school to enroll in should be based on the school’s attributes, its instructors, and its course offerings rather than what affiliate program it’s certified through. As I had previous sailing experience, I decided to take the Night sail course (Introduction to Offshore Passage Making) and have not regretted it for a moment. Sailing into Charlotte Amalie at night, avoiding cruise ships, and small tankers was more than exciting. Thank you for offering this great real time, hands on experience. I highly recommend the night sail course to anyone that has the dream of doing more than day sails and want to include offshore passage making and lacks the confidence to do so.–Joseph Michaels, Albany, NY


By reserving any course you agree to our Terms and Conditions and or Cancellation policy. Course cost is $2,025.00 per student. The School of Ocean Sailing’s secure on-line registration form will charge the supplied credit card a non-refundable deposit of $500.00 per student per course. The balance of $1,525.00 is due 35 days prior to the start of the sailing course.

After receipt of the deposit, you will receive a confirmation e-mail with instructions on where to meet, what to bring and places to stay before or after course.

We are pleased to announce we are able to offer trip/cancellation insurance. Cover yourself – Comparative Travel Insurance Quotes. Spirit Airlines is now flying to Saint Thomas, USVI (airport code STT). They have some really good deals.

Click here to view our complete 2015/2016 course schedule


Our Mission

The instructional mission of the School of Ocean Sailing is to teach offshore ocean sailing and ocean navigation in a live-aboard setting.

  • Personalized instruction from professional teachers
  • Teach sailing aboard a large, beautiful and well equipped offshore heavy displacement ketch
  • Teach navigation using modern electronic navigation equipment
  • Teach navigation using non electronic navigation procedures
  • Offer an ocean sailing experience under real ocean conditions
  • Instil confidence
  • Use high quality sextants and celestial navigation materials
  • Offer a balanced blend of formal instruction, practical experience and relaxation
  • Serve excellent food
  • Anchor or Moor in quiet anchorages


What they say about us / Magazine articles and reviews

USA Today Article School of Ocean Sailing

A mention about our sailing school in USA Today Travel Tips. Sailing Courses and Training in the Caribbean.


An in-depth article written by one of our students and published in Good Old Boat Magazine
Issue 21.

Blue Water Sailing Magazine

A reference about the School of Ocean Sailing
in Blue Water Sailing magazine:
July 2007 page 71.