Thursday, December 27, 2007

Why Maryland School?

Several years ago I began searching for a sailing school to enroll in and, hopefully teach for. What follows are the criteria that ultimately led to my selection of The Maryland School of Sailing and Seamanship.

Several schools that I found on the east coast offered only introductory courses, whereas the Maryland School offered the full ASA (American Sailing Association) curriculum from 101 through 108, including offshore passages, celestial navigation, and instructor certification. For me, a school offering introductory courses and advanced blue water sailing meant credibility. Maryland School also exceeds ASA minimum requirements by including docking classes and additional training not provided by other sailing schools. Maryland School is the only school I found to train exclusively on blue water boats (Island Packets) with an overnight live-a-board experience included as part of the tuition – even for a beginning 101 class. Other classes that I compared required that you either commute to class each day or establish a temporary residence in a nearby hotel. And now Maryland School offers charters to former students of MSSS. Finally, I made note of the Maryland School instructor resumes. The fact that ASA themselves approached the Maryland School owner – Tom Tursi - to incorporate Maryland School’s lesson plans into the ASA curriculum made the choice easy for me. And as if that weren’t enough, add the fact that Lankford Bay Marina – host site for the North America based locaton for Maryland School - is a full service marina voted among Chesapeake Bay Magazine’s 10 Best Marinas – I think other students will be equally pleased with Maryland School as their choice for either introductory or advanced sailing instruction in North America or the B.V.I..

Monday, December 3, 2007

Inflatable Vest Cartidges and Airline Regulations

Students often ask about federal regulations governing inflatable vest cartidges in carry-on and checked luggage. The regulations have changed several times over the last few years. As of today, this is the current regulation:

Federal Regulation 49 CFR 175.10 (11)
(11) A self-inflating life jacket fitted with no more than two small gas cartridges (containing no hazardous material other than a Div. 2.2 gas) for inflation purposes plus no more than two spare cartridges. The lifejacket and spare cartridges may be carried in carry-on or checked baggage, with the approval of the aircraft operator.

The key phrase is “with the approval of the aircraft operator”. It is each airlines choice whether to allow these on their airplanes, and each sets their own policies (currently about 1/2 allow them and 1/2 don't). We recommend checking with your airline (and returning and connecting flights) in advance. You can see the regulation here: [Federal Regulation 49 CFR 175.10 (11)]. Also, look here under "Disabling Chemicals & Other Dangerous Items" for specifics:

Even if your airline permits them, you may be prepared with copies of the Federal Regulation and the regulations for your specific airline, since it's not a common item and airline personnel may not know that they are allowed.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Captain Credentials

"The Maryland School of Sailing & Seamanship boasts an impressive staff of offshore-savvy instructors and is notable for its high level of organization and dedication to real ocean sailing." Quote from Blue Water Sailing magazine, July 2002 issue, page S-10

Halimeda arrives in St Thomas

After a long ocean voyage from Norfolk to the Virgin Islands, Halimeda, the school's 45' Island Packet yacht, arrives in good form at Crown Bay Marina in St. Thomas today, November 15, 2007 with her crew of six -- Captain David Appleton, First Mate Carroll Christiansen, and students Rick Koubek, Peter Schloss, John Kalliongis, and Dan Stephenson. The crew has been at sea non-stop since November 2nd. We'll be posting a cruise report here and on our website on the cruise reports page.

Celestial Sets Sail; Bahamas to Punta Gorda Florida

November 14, 2007: Captain Jochen Hoffmann aboard Celestial reported this afternoon that all crew had arrived safely in Marsh Harbor, Bahamas, and spent the day in preparation for their voyage. They will depart Marsh Harbor Marina at 4:00 PM Wednesday November 14th. Their plan is to anchor in the bay Wednesday night, acclimate themselves to the boat and living aboard, and leave early in the morning for the 70 mile sail to the Berry Islands. They will spend Thursday night anchored near the Berrys, and then will leave early Friday morning for Key West. This is a 120 mile run, which will take them 24-36 hours of non-stop sailing to complete. Their expected ETA in Key West will be sometime Saturday, when they will take a well deserved rest before heading toward their destination in Punta Gorda, Florida. A total of 5 crew members are on board, including the captain and 4 students.