Sailing School News Fall 2017

Lagoon 52, The Lead Boat
 of our small group.
Lagoon 52, The Lead Boat of our small group.

December 4, 2017


A Dream Story About Someone You Should Know

by Thom Burns

"I have a dream about sailing. I built my own boat and I am ready to sail the boat down the Mississippi, across the Gulf of Mexico to the Florida Keys before departing for a Caribbean adventure starting in the Bahamas. Looking for female companion to share the dream. No experience necessary." The recent college graduate, read the offer. She thought about her dreams. Could she put her professional life on hold for a year maybe more? She put the offer aside, after what seemed like an interminable amount of procrastination and thought. She read the note for the hundredth time and picked up the phone. A meeting soon followed, he was surprised at her youth. She was surprised at his younger age and sincerity. Two dreamers became sailboat companions while embarking on a common theme enabled by a sailboat. A twenty-four foot trimaran, to be exact, which was built almost professionally from easily obtained plans. The adventure began. Like so many things in life, the initial start is important, the end is not. She continued to live the dream for several years. He came home.

I was lucky to meet this person in a sailing class a number of years later. She shared a lot of stories. The fun of meeting cruisers who were sharing the good life, some while raising children. Local women would often share skills such as cleaning and preparation of conch which has been passed down in the islands for generations. The laughter was spontaneous and the experiences were invaluable. I invited her to do trips with Northern Breezes. The great news is that as part of her young retirement she has been enticed to rejoin us for another trip to the Bahamas this winter! The circle is closing!

There you have one of many possible introductions to Deb Sanders. I'm excited about sailing with her again! I hope you will be, too!

Lagoon 52 Back Deck of Luxury in the Bahamanian Sun!
Lagoon 52 Back Deck of Luxury in the Bahamanian Sun!

Sailing with Hurricanes

It's Tough to Watch Your Memories Destroyed!
By Thom Burns with Allende Crew

When you have been frequenting a winter sailing location for thirty-eight years, the destruction of it feels like losing your home to a fire. The most redeeming and remarkable observations are the resilience and resourcefulness of the people in the wake of such a natural disaster. With a little help, great things happen! There is some good news to share.

The Dutch side of Sint Maarten may be out in front of French St. Martin in the repair process. The big airport, Princess Juliana, is open for daylight flights only due to damage to the approach lights. This is limiting the number of flights coming into and going out of SXM which unfortunately is reflected in flight costs and limited airline selections. The commuter airport, Grand Case on the French side, is fully operational. Air France flights to SXM have been redirected to Guadeloupe. For cruisers, the French grocer, Super U, is open. So are several smaller grocers. Over eighty-five percent of electrical power has been restored. The Simpson Bay lift bridge on the Dutch side is open into the Lagoon and recently the Causeway Bridge was repaired and began operations which opens up most of the lagoon to boats, at least in theory. Ft. Lewis Marina on the French Side is open with water, fuel and check-in/out services.

A Laundry List on the British Virgin Islands

The British Virgin Islands is still difficult at best. The tourism board and major charter companies celebrate every success, sometimes defined as drinks under a lean-to which replaced a bar or the delivery of a new boat which they want to charter. Other restorations seem to be moving along.

Virgin Gorda
Leverick Bay Resort & Marina has made a big effort to reopen the bar, restaurant, Chef’s Pantry supermarket and the spa. Leverick Bay is the only attraction currently open in North Sound. The Sandbox, Bitter End Yacht Club, Saba Rock, Yacht Club Costa Smeralda and the Fat Virgin Café are all currently closed. /Allende Crew

Anegada was spared the worst of Hurricane Irma and is quickly repairing the damage. The channel markers are not on their pre-storm station, but do mark a safe channel into the mooring field.

We’re giving Anegada two thumbs up and recommending that visitors spend two nights here to allow a full day exploring ashore. Almost every bar and restaurant plans to reopen for the Anegada Lobster Festival in late November./Allende Crew

Cooper Island
Cooper Island Beach Club does not plan to reopen until April. As of now, the property and the beach at Machioneel Bay is a construction site. Mooring balls are still available; we would favor the Cistern Point side for snorkeling. You can also anchor and enjoy the natural beauty at Hallovers Bay./Allende Crew

Fat Hogs Bay, Tortola
Bareboaters can reprovision at RiteWay East End—and use their convenient dinghy dock. Many wrecks ashore make this a practical but unattractive anchorage./Allende Crew

Trellis Bay, Beef Island
Hurricane Irma washed Trellis Bay’s long-term liveaboards and abandoned boats ashore. While this renders the beach unusable, Trellis Bay is still a practical spot for airport pick-ups and drop-offs. Trellis Bay Market is serving both lunch and dinner. Their convenience store will reopen in the next few weeks./Allende Crew

Marina Cay / Scrub Island
Marina Cay is currently closed; no fuel, water or ice is available on the dock. The mooring field is untouched, but until the island is cleared and cleaned, there are more attractive anchorages available. Scrub Island’s marina appears in relatively good shape but they are currently closed for assessment and repairs to the resort./Allende Crew

Cane Garden Bay, Tortola
There is a lot of clearing up left to do in Cane Garden Bay. Myett’s is scheduled to reopen by December. Until they do, we are not aware of any services open for cruisers./Allende Crew

Soper’s Hole
Soper’s Hole suffered significant damage to homes and marinas. Mooring balls are present, and BVI Customs and Immigration services are available. Omar’s Cafe and Pusser’s Landing are both open; between the two restaurants, you can get breakfast, lunch and dinner daily./Allende Crew

Jost Van Dyke
Your friend Foxy is ready for your visit, and other establishments on Jost Van Dyke are working hard to do so. Current residents of the BVI are gathering in White Bay each Sunday for a flotilla and beach party—the home of the Painkiller lives on./Allende Crew

Harris' Place Jost Van Dyke
I talked with Cynthia Harris Jones this morning. She lives in Cane Garden Bay and confirmed that nothing is open there. She is also trying to rebuild the family restaurant, Harris' Place. Currently, Sydney's Peace and Love, which is next door to Harris', has an overturned small Ferryboat inside on its side in what used to be Sydney's. This same ferry crashed through all of Harris' Place on the storm surge, completely obliterating the establishment except for the cement docks and a cement pad which once was the floor of the restaurant. The request from Cynthia was pretty basic, "I need a place to sleep while I'm over at the property so that I can work longer!" Since Cynthia has to take a jitney ferry from Cane Garden Bay to Little Harbor, she needed to be able to use the daylight hours much more efficiently which means that she needed to stay for a few days. I acquired a tent which will set-up on the cement pad, a couple of sleeping bags and a couple of pads for a little more comfort. The package was sent to her mother in St. Thomas using the USPS so we could track the delivery. Despite the hurricane damage to both Puerto Rico and St. Thomas, the USPS delivery system worked! /Thom Burns

Trips to the BVI will be in many ways similar to the very earliest charters in the seventies. Beautiful location without a lot of local infrastructure up and running to support your trip.

Allende is a fully crewed yacht out of the BVIs owned and operated by Kristiann and Graham Gips.

Harris' Place on Facebook

Go Fund Me Harris' Place


Memories Maid under main sail and spinnaker with Bayfield in the background.

Memories Maid our Hunter 40.5 sailing with spinnaker. Bayfield, Wisconsin. This is our own slice of New England and is located in the Apostle Islands National Lake Shore. Bayfield is in the background.

Memories Maid finished third in class in the biennial Trans-Superior Yacht Race from the base of Whitefish Bay to just outside the lift bridge in Duluth, MN. "The most exciting miles of the 330 nautical mile race were the last five," noted Thom Burns. "We flew the spinnaker, successfully jibed it several times while holding off a bigger competitor in elusive light wind conditions. The hard working crew deserves the credit."

American Sailing Association's "Go Sailing" Social Media Application
American Sailing Association's "Go Sailing" Social Media Application

Assisting Graduates to Keep Sailing Using Social Technology

Beyond the "Destination Adventures" which we offer on our website, we will be assisting graduates to keep sailing with or without buying a boat using the "Go Sailing" application developed by the American Sailing Association. Not only will we list our opportunities, we will assist you in creating your own. This application works nationally and internationally! Graduates should exercise normal caution in dealing with any "social media" contacts whom you do not know.

Check it out and see where your next adventure takes you!

Go Sailing Information

More Local Sailing News

airborne spinnaker 2017

Exciting Spinnakers on Flying Scots

Pictured in the lead with the red spinnaker is Airborne. One of our Flying Scots. These are the same boats we introduced a few years ago. We use the Flying Scots as an exciting boat for older teens involved in Teen Keelboat. These are the same boats that are used in the adult Basic Keelboat Program and the racing clinics!

Medicine Lake Sailing Club Awards to Northern Breezes Sailing School

Jacob Meldman, long-time camp counselor and Basic Keelboat Instructor pictured on the left. Caroline Urban, long-time counselor and Basic Keelboat Instructor on the right and Thom Burns in the middle holding Assistant Camp Director and Basic Keelboat Instructor Andrew Helm's award. These awards were all earned aboard, Airborne, one of Northern Breezes' Flying Scots at Medicine Lake!

MLSC Awards 2017

jacob-caroline-2017 winning

Winning Celebration

Jacob Meldman on left and Caroline Urban on right celebrate a big win on the race course aboard Airborne. Both Jacob and Caroline are involved in our racing clinics where we train graduates to become racing skippers!


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Safe, Fun, Learning and Sailing.
Captain Thom Burns
Northern Breezes Youth Sailing Foundation

“Best of Minneapolis 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017”
American Sailing Association
(763) 542-9707   phone
(763) 542-8998   fax


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