Sailing with St. Bart's:
You Can't Beat the Experience

St. Bart's Sailing Members' Handbook 2003


St. Bart's Sailing's training program is arguably its most important function. It allows us to be self perpetuating. The constant influx of new sailors keeps us alive and enthusiastic. The foundation of the program--experienced sailors teaching novices--helps build a sense of community. In addition, the training program provides a revenue stream upon which we depend to stay financially solvent.

All training is coordinated by the Vice Commodore--Education. Training includes courses in the classroom, on-the-water clinics, and testing of potential First Mates and Skippers.


Beginning and intermediate clinics are offered as one-day sessions aboard Bright Star at various times throughout the sailing season. Beginning clinics introduce the parts of the boat, how wind makes it go, and safety considerations. Intermediate clinics focus on the requirements for becoming a First Mate, including procedures specific to our program. All clinics are advertised in The Compass and open to all.

Continuing Education
A Note About Boat Fluff

This non-derogatory term refers to anyone who's on the boat just to have fun. With all this talk about sailing experience, a word of encouragement for those who are more concerned with the angle of the sun than of the wind seems necessary. St. Bart's Sailing's informal boat fluff training program is administered throughout the summer by various members. Ask your Skipper who on board is the best Fluff instructor (if you get a blank look, you can be assured it isn't the Skipper). Also, watch for master classes offered by our best Fluff.

Requirements for boat fluff include:

  • Bright nail polish
  • New white Keds
  • Bikini
  • Several levels of expensive sun screen

Being boat fluff is easier when you specialize, so we offer several types of fluff for you to work on. You can be a Bow Babe, a Deck-Adonis, or a Stern Siren. Successful sailing as each of these earns you the rank of Master Boat Fluff.

If you are a novice, but interested in learning more and advancing to First Mate or Skipper level you should contact the Vice Commodore--Education. The VC will add your name to the education contact list and make the other Skippers aware of your interest. When you go sailing, you should tell the Skipper and First Mate that you want to learn. Each time you sail with a different crew you'll get a slightly different perspective and set of priorities. While this may seem confusing at first, it will help you to broaden your skills and experience. In turn, the various Skippers and the First Mates will report to the Vice Commodore--Education on your progress. When courses are offered, take them. Some technical aspects of sailing are best learned in the classroom. With regular sailing practice you can and will advance. In no time you'll be ready to study for the First Mate's test.

Experienced New Members

If you come to St. Bart's with some sailing experience we try to help you gauge your strengths and weaknesses with regard to our program and to help you advance quickly. Discuss your experience with, and even prepare a sailing resume for, the Vice Commodore--Education. Sail several times with various Skippers to get to know our boat and waters. When you're read, ask the VC--Education to arrange an on-the-water First Mate checkout and ask for a copy of the written test. Depending on your experience you may even take both the First Mate and Skipper written tests at one time.

When Experience is Needed

While we stress to all members and guests that no experience is needed to enjoy sailing, we do need experienced sailors to function safely. The only way to advance in St. Bart's Sailing is by sailing.