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 "I must go down to the sea again, to the lonely sea and the sky, And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,  .  .  ."
John Masefield - Sea Fever

Bonneville's Off-Shore Passage Making
("OPM") Class is designed for sailors who would like to leave the lakes of Utah behind them (at least for a while) and head out on the open ocean with confidence.  Because offshore sailing is not for novices this course is restricted to people who have either completed Bonneville’s introductory sailing classes or those who can provide a sailing resume showing that they’ve gained equivalent sailing experience by some other means.

The class is taught in two parts:

(1) Classroom sessions are held in May which cover the skills and knowledge that offshore sailors must have in order to safely and comfortably sail across oceans. The classroom training part of the course is taught as a regular face-to-face class for people who live in Utah but it can also be simultaneously broadcast over the internet as a two-way fully interactive “webinar" for people who live outside of Utah.

(2) The sailing portion of the class is held in July. This is where participants take the skills and knowledge that they acquired in the classroom and put them to use in an open ocean sailing trip covering many hundreds of miles, or possibly even thousands of miles. (The destination differs each year.)  During this trip participants rotate through all crew positions from acting skipper to navigator to deck hand to galley slave. Please note that "pampered tourist" is not one of the crew positions available.

The offshore sailing trip can last anywhere between one to three weeks, depending on what the destination is for that particular year. In previous years Offshore Passage Making class trips have been done from Virginia to the Bahamas, from the Bahamas to Puerto Rico, from Puerto Rico to Martinique, from Martinique to Grenada and back, and from Puerto Rico back to the Bahamas.

For 2019 the plan is to sail from the Florida Keys to Virginia’s Chesapeake Bay. The exact dates are still to be determined, depending on the preferences and schedules of the people who sign up for the class, but expect to embark in Florida sometime in early July and disembark in Virginia sometime in late July. Several days… up to one full week… can be set aside at the beginning of the trip in order to leisurely explore the Florida Keys prior to casting off for the big passage up to Virginia if participants have enough free time and are interested in doing that. Participants who can’t take that much time off work may join up after the Florida Keys “play time” is over, right before we cast off for Virginia.                                                  

The class covers the topics of:
  • Comparison of various hull and rigging options for offshore passages
  • Preparing the boat for an offshore voyage
  • Provisioning for long ocean passages
  • Route planning and weather routing
  • Equipment aboard an offshore passage making vessel
  • Safety at sea
  • Watch scheduling and what happens while off watch
  • Meteorology at sea, including SSB radio, WeatherFax reception and interpretation, and satellite-based ways to receive vital weather info while offshore.
  • Heavy weather sailing
  • Handling emergencies offshore
This class does not cover the topic of celestial navigation. That topic is covered in Bonneville’s Celestial Navigation class, which is taught separately.  Participants are encouraged to take the Celestial Navigation class before taking the Offshore Passagemaking class, but they are not required to do so.

Cost:  $2,200.00 per person
This includes both the classroom portion and the sailing portions of the class. This does not include air fare or food. Provisioning the boat is part of what students need to learn and so that will be done together as a group in Florida right before departure. Provisioning costs will be split among the participants.

Deposit:   A 1/2 down deposit is due to reserve your spot.   Full payment will be due by May 1.

To Register: Call 801.636.5204

Main Text: “The Voyager’s Handbook” by Beth Leonard, published by McGraw Hill

Alternate Texts (Highly Recommended):
                   "Heavy Weather Sailing", by Coles and Bruce, published by McGraw Hill 
                   "Storm Tactics" by Lin and Larry Pardey, published by Pardey Books
                   "World Cruising Routes" by Jimmy Cornell, published by McGraw Hill


Math and physics of sailing (A web site intended for my math and physics students, but people interested in the Offshore Passage Making class might find it interesting too since there's lots of sailing information there.)
                                                                                                         The Instructor 

Douglas Hendricks is a USCG-licensed 100-ton Master with more than thirty years of sailing experience. He has sailed across the Atlantic, the Pacific, and the Indian oceans.  He has sailed in the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, Indonesia, Tahiti, Thailand, Hawaii, Africa and the Bahamas in addition to many years of sailing along both the east and west coasts of the US. He has taught both Offshore Passage Making and Celestial Navigation for Bonneville School of Sailing since 2008.

                                                                   The Boat


  • The sailing vessel "Life" is a 1994 Hunter Passage 42,  center cockpit model.
  • The length is 42 feet and the beam is 14 feet.
  • For offshore safety the boat has a life raft, an AIS unit, and a radar system.
  • In case of emergency the boat has an EPRIB and also a separate handheld emergency satellite communications device.
  • The boat has two cabins and additional sleeping space in the salon.
  • Each cabin has its own head and shower.  
  • The master cabin is especially large and has a center-line queen bed with room to get on or off it from both sides. 
  • The galley includes a propane stove and oven, a built-in microwave oven, a fridge and a freezer.
  • An inflatable dingy with an outboard engine is used for getting ashore if we're anchored out. 
  • Some additional creature comforts are: the boat has air conditioning, an HDTV with a DVD player, a stereo with CD/MP3 and USB flash drive reader, and it has a fresh water shower on the rear swim platform for rinsing off after a nice swim in the ocean.
                                                                Photo Gallery of "Life"

Contact Us
    •   (801) 636.5204
    •  Utah Lake State Park
       4440 West Center St.
       Provo, Utah 84601
        •  M-Sat: 8am - 9pm