Archive for the Sailing Category

Learning to Sail in Thailand

Ever thought about Learning to Sail?

Bangkok’s nearest yacht sailing base is Ocean Marina Yacht Club, located some 15km down Sukhumvit Road from Pattaya, towards Sattahip. At Ocean Marina you’ll find a number of companies that offer an exhilarating and fun day out visiting the beautiful and untouched islands off the coast of Pattaya.

But if you’re the kind of person who longs to be a participant instead of a spectator, why not actually learn what it takes to move and drive a boat?

A word of warning: once you undertake the challenge of learning to sail, it may very well become an all-consuming passion that takes over your life.

So, where does one start? Usually there are two options:

1.You can learn to sail experimentally by simply going out to crew with the racing teams at the monthly racing events held at Ocean Marina.

2.You can enroll for a course or courses at a sailing school.

The sailing school option is the most popular, so let’s focus on this approach. It raises a number of questions and hopefully we’ll be able to answer a few of them.

How Do You Choose a Sailing School?

Whether you are starting from scratch or continuing your sail training, it is very important that you choose a school that meets your requirements. This choice is difficult for the new sailor as you will have little or no direct experience to base your decision on. Therefore, you should evaluate all of your options and ask questions of the schools you contact to ensure they can meet your needs.

Your prospective schools should be accredited by the International Sailing Federation, which has guidelines on setting up schools and the facilities they should have.

The Basics

Yachts – You should make sure that the yachts the school uses are appropriate and in good condition. Ensure that there are not too many people in the class, so that you will always have things to do rather than watching and waiting for your turn.

Instructors – You need to be sure that the instructors are qualified, having completed approved international training programs.

Courses – You must ensure that the courses are appropriate to your level and to the sailing level you wish to attain.

Certification – The certifications issued must be recognized in the geographical areas where you intend to use them. Ask about international accreditation – once you’ve passed will your certificates be accepted internationally?

Code of Ethics – Does the school have an ethical approach that will deal with you as an individual and help you attain your goals?

As far as training schemes go, there are two basic types of syllabuses used internationally now.

The first starts your teaching to sail on live-aboard type boats progressing from crewing to acquiring skipper skills.

The second, which I favor, teaches you how to sail on smaller yachts and covers all the basic elements of sailing including decision making. As your certification levels increase, so do the size of the yachts and the distances sailed.

This scheme was initiated in the USA & UK and is replacing the former in a number of areas.

The student-to-instructor ratio has of been concern to many of the sailing authorities, due to the rapid growth of commercial sail training. Obviously a yacht carrying six students makes more money than a yacht carrying three at the same or similar price.

Unfortunately, however, the students on the crowded yacht get only half as much instructor time as the others. In these days of furling headsails and other labor-saving devices, there is an optimum student capacity; exceeding this is not in the student’s interest.

Another concern of the sailing authorities is the very question of what certification actually achieves. Simply handing out certificates that denote course completion is in no one’s interest. Every student should NOT automatically be entitled to a certificate.

Only students who satisfy the examination components and are in the opinion of their instructor, competent and confident at their certified level, should be certified.

Sailing takes practice. For the training benefits to be maximized, all the skills you learn should be practiced over and over again. At all advanced levels of qualification, time with hands-on experience is required.

Sailing Away with Northern Europe Cruises

If it is coming to the time of year when you take a relaxing break, you may be interested in trying one of the northern Europe cruises this time round. If you love sailing on the water and would like to visit the northern parts of the world, then finding European cruise deals will aid you in taking this kind of trip.

Northern Europe cruises are designed to take passengers to some of the furthermost northern points on the planet. You can visit countries such as Norway, Sweden and Finland. You may well find that countries including Ireland and Scotland are included in the northern hemisphere bracket. One of the biggest attractions of these types of cruises is the opportunity to witness what is known as the “Midnight Sun”. This phenomenon can be seen from a number of Scandinavian locations and is truly a spectacular sight. Imagine there being no darkness for a full 24 hours, only bright sunshine.

No matter what your purpose is for travelling or your group dynamic, there is a northern Europe cruise deal to suit your needs. The cruises could be a way of tying the knot with your loved one or the opportunity to take your children on a new adventure. It will be extremely unlikely that there will be no cruises that appeal to you. There are many European cruise deals to choose from.

If you like to place your feet on Terra Firma once in a while, then you may think that a cruise is not ideal for you. In fact, many of the ships dock in each country on the itinerary which gives its passengers the chance to wander around some beautiful and famous cities.

If you think that it may be impossible to fit it all in, it is worth noting that northern Europe cruises vary in length. You can book a short break, usually three or four days, but it is also possible to find European cruise deals that last up the three months! Whatever you are looking for, you will find a cruise to suit the amount of time you have to relax.

Most cruises will allow you to travel from any of the major ports in your home country. It is even possible to find European cruise deals that include flights. This means that you can fly to one of the stops in the ship’s itinerary and join the cruise for the remainder of the journey.

Hunting for northern Europe cruises is a simple task and many operators can be found quickly online. It will only be a matter of hours before you locate the perfect cruise deal for you and your group.

Once you have found the perfect cruise deal for you, you can book the trip online and reserve your space on the ship. You will be asked for important details such as the names of the people in your group and your insurance company details, so it is best to have these to hand. Make sure you mention any special requests such as dietary needs or medical requirements. You can also phone and book your trip directly if you prefer.

Once all the details of your trip have been done and dusted, you can relax knowing that you are going to enjoy your trip on one of the best northern Europe cruises available.

Hawaii Dinner Cruises – Romantic Sunset Sailing

Hawaii dinner cruises are offered on a wide variety of sailing vessels, from state-of-the-art, multi-deck cruisers and large, engine-powered catamarans, to more intimate sailboats and sail-powered catamarans. Some offer a view of the ocean floor, coral reefs, colorful tropical fish and other underwater creatures through glass bottom viewing areas—equally spectacular during the day and when lighted during nighttime hours. Each vessel offers its own unique perspective to cater to every type of sea-going sightseer.

A Hawaii dinner cruise normally ranges from 2 to 4 hours, with check-in at the harbor scheduled slightly before sail time; however, all-day cruises including opportunities to snorkel, swim and explore island beaches, culminating in an evening meal and glorious sunset finale are also a possibility. Flexible timetables and convenient length of tour times allow many dinner cruises to be offered as part of a package, with other activities scheduled before or after departure. Be sure to check out this option with your travel reservationists. Some dinner cruises may have minimum age restrictions, while others are designed with keiki (children) in mind, including special rates per child.


If a unique wedding experience is on your agenda, a Hawaiian dinner cruise can be the perfect setting for an intimate and romantic wedding at sea and a perfect lead-in for the Hawaiian honeymoon of a lifetime. An on-board ceremony, dinner, sensational sunset and complete maritime experience will be remembered forever by all involved—whether you choose to limit the participants to the bride and groom or include a complete wedding party, family and guests. Be sure to contact your cruise operator for this option–most will make every effort to accommodate you.

Special anniversary celebrations are also encouraged and provide an unparalleled romantic backdrop for sentimental memories of the past and the opportunity to create new ones for the future. Of course, the sunset dinner cruise sets the offers romance to all—no special event required.


Most Hawaiian dinner cruises call for informal attire, although if you have booked a cruise on a large liner with fine dining and dancing offered, you will want to dress accordingly. No matter which type of cruise is chosen, remember that evening hours can become quite cool quickly, so a light wrap or jacket is always a good idea. Smaller craft may also be subject to sea spray from waves or mist in the air if weather conditions are right. You may also be required to remove your shoes when boarding, and it is a good idea to wear shoes that have a good grip on the pier and deck when boarding and leaving the area.


The spectacular Hawaiian shoreline scenery is always enjoyed as dinner cruises set sail from the harbor and enter the peaceful ocean, away from all land-based hustle and bustle. You are entering another world. Relax with your dinner companion to enjoy a varied offering of menus, depending upon the type of Hawaiian dinner cruise you select. Menus range from a lavish experience with gourmet food and fine wine to a complete Polynesian spread or a very casual Mai Tai Cruise with pupus (appetizers) served buffet style, accompanied by delicious tropical Mai Tai drinks prepared by the crew. Dancing and entertainment may also be offered on board during the cruise, although the ocean, the sky and the coastline scenery are always the prime attractions for any Hawaiian dinner cruise.

Spinner dolphins, flying fish, sea turtles and humpback whales (in season) may be visible in the water as you sail along–silent companions for the complete Hawaiian dinner cruise experience. The sight of a whale breaching out of the water or a mother and calf swimming alongside the boat may add the crowning touch to an unforgettable sunset. The always sociable dolphins are frequent companions to the cruises, performing water acrobatics alongside the boats for all to see and enjoy.

As the afternoon slips away, enjoy the spectacular sunset over the water–nothing can compare with the brilliant colors nature has to offer over the ocean as the sun plays her curtain call over the clouds in the sky. Sunsets over the ocean always have a special glow never seen over land. Then, as daylight fades into darkness, the stars emerge and the glittering lights of shoreline cities and towns sparkle their welcome back into the harbor at the end of another perfect Hawaiian dinner cruise.


MAUI: Many Maui dinner cruises depart from Ka`anapali at Maalea harbor, directly adjacent to the popular resort area many tourists choose for a Maui vacation experience. Access is convenient to many hotels and other Maui tourist attractions, allowing you to make the most of every precious minute on the Valley Isle. Many Maui dinner cruises originating from the Maalaea harbor sail along the south shores,

Many Maui dinner cruises sail from the historic whaling town of Lahaina in West Maui. As Lahaina dinner cruises slip out to sea, voyagers enjoy a view of the West Maui Mountains in the background. The trade winds die down as the afternoon progresses and the ocean is normally calm in the inter-island channel for a totally relaxing sunset experience.

OAHU: Oahu dinner cruises are based out of Honolulu harbor and pass world-famous landmarks including Waikiki Beach, the Kahala Gold Coast, Diamond Head and other lesser-known and beautiful beaches along the Kahala Coast in the background.

BIG ISLAND: Big Island dinner cruises generally set sail from Kailua/Kona and travel along the Kona coastline, with the slopes of 13,679-foot Mauna Loa providing a majestic backdrop on the coastline. Kona means “leeward” in Hawaiian, so the waters here are warm and calm and provide a good base for a relaxing and romantic cruise. The area enjoys nearly 300 days of sunshine a year, so inclement weather is rarely a problem. Count on sunny days on the water and beautiful sunsets when Kona is your launching site.

KAUAI: Many Kauai dinner cruises depart from the harbor at Port Allen. The rugged Na Pili coastline on the west side of Kauai offers a unique tapestry of unexpected vistas and colors as the brilliant red slopes pass by on shore. Na Pili actually means “the cliffs” in the native Hawaiian language, and the view from the ocean is of steep bluffs and a shoreline accessible only from the sea.

Other Kauai dinner cruises set sail from Poipu and travel toward Maha`ulepu and Kipu Kai landmarks. Sit back, relax and take it all in.

Since Kauai is the only Hawaiian island with a river that travels through what is the wettest region in all the islands, you might choose a riverboat cruise in addition to an ocean dinner cruise during your stay here. Both offer a diverse and unique perspective of completely opposite Kaui landscapes—from dry and barren vistas to lush, green tropical rain forest. Few locations are able to offer such contrasts—each beautiful in its own way.??

The ocean is such an integral part of the Hawaiian lifestyle—come prepared to enjoy it on the water as well as on the beach. No matter which Hawaiian ocean dinner cruise you decide to try, you will enjoy the special Hawaiian Island “aloha spirit” that sets Hawaii and her people above and apart from other vacation locations. There is a deeply felt commitment from Hawaiians of all backgrounds to gracious hospitality and sharing—come to Hawaii ready to experience all the islands have to offer. You will not go away disappointed.




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