Day 1: Meet at our office inside the Balboa Marina at 9am. The address is 201 E. Coast Hwy, Newport Beach, CA 92660. There is free parking at our office. You’ll meet a friendly member of our team who will assist you in taking your belongings to your sailing yacht. We will give you an orientation of the boat and the marina, as well as the surrounding area, including locations of stores where you can buy food for your three-day trip to Catalina. There are also stores and a fun selection of restaurants in Avalon, the main town in Catalina. At 9:30am, your sailing instructor will arrive at your boat. You’ll spend the next hour or so discussing the cruising plan, doing safety checks, and going over all the features and functionalities of the vessel. At approximately 10:30am, you’ll depart for Avalon, Catalina. It is about a 4 to 5 hour journey to Avalon, during which you’ll have plenty of time to work through 1/3 of the topics under the Knowledge and Skills section. You also might get a chance to spot some marine wildlife like sea lions, dolphins, whales or maybe even the elusive sunfish. Don’t forget to bring your camera.
When you arrive in Catalina, you’ll pick up a mooring and set the outboard motor on the dinghy. You can cook aboard or go ashore for dinner and a leisurely walk (there are quaint shops and bars to explore in the town.) Spend a peaceful evening on the boat or hit one of the local bars in Avalon. Don’t forget to listen to Southern Cross by Crosby, Stills & Nash. “In a noisy bar in Avalon, I tried to call you.”
Day 2: Wake up to the birds chirping and the sun shining on the quaint town of Avalon and its surrounding hillside. Go for a walk past the famous old Casino where Hollywood’s elite used to party. Enjoy a leisurely breakfast aboard or eat ashore. Later that morning you’ll drop your mooring lines and begin your journey North West toward Two Harbors, Catalina. While you are underway, you’ll work through another 1/3 of the topics under the Knowledge and Skills section. During this part of the trip, you will sail past many beautiful private coves along the front side of Catalina. Take this opportunity to practice anchoring in at least one of them. Perhaps you’ll even be adventuresome enough to swim through Blue Cavern Point. In the afternoon, you will arrive in Isthmus Cove and pick up a mooring for the evening. Enjoy a second evening on your yacht. Maybe sip some wine at sunset. Make a reservation for dinner at the Harbor Reef restaurant, play a game of pool at the local bar, or BBQ, or cook on board. The choice is yours. You can also take this last chance to study.
Day 3: If you are ready, this morning might be a good time to take the test. If not, you can always take the test back at our office on a later day. There are some great hiking trails in Two Harbors. Bring your camera and good shoes. This is a great chance to take some scenic pictures of the beautiful coves of Catalina. Oh, and watch out for bison–they’re big and they have horns! Be respectful of their space and distance, but enjoy this wonderfully unique experience to see them in nature. After breakfast, prepare your vessel for the 5 to 6 hour journey back to Newport Beach. Generally you’ll be sailing downwind and maybe you’ll get the opportunity to fly the gennaker or Code 0. During this passage, you’ll have plenty of time to work on your navigational skills, motor the boat under power, and work through 1/3 of the topics under the Knowledge and Skills section. You’ll return to the dock about 3 or 4pm. The captain will then help you remove your belongings for disembarkation. Don’t worry about cleaning the boat! Our crew will be down early the following morning to clean it after your stay with us.