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Reference
On a side note, my brother Clint (and fellow OPO member) recently completed a St. Thomas to New York (or something like that) delivery through OPO. He is now heading out to do a delivery through the Panama Canal. We are both amazed at the number of deliverys you provide to your members! What a fantastic way to get sailing experience. I've been on something like 4 or 5 trips now and the opportunities you've provided have been an exceptional way to gain offshore experience. Thanks for everything.
Tom Lewis

Reference: sent by OPO member
Owner Hank Schmidt maintains an internet clearing house of owners, skippers, and crew. I have been a member for over ten years and used OPO folks for crew and sailed as OPO crew on several occasions. I have not had a bad experience yet. I will forward my OPO calls to you for a month or two so you can get a feel for what the organization is all about. It is well worth the $125 annual dues for membership. The usual financial arrangement is that crew members pay their own transportation to and from the boat; once aboard the boat feeds and houses you - restaurant meals and expenses ashore are on your dime.

There are variations on this basic theme with owners sometimes offering to pay all or part of transportation expenses for experienced crew and sometimes the owner wants crew to share fuel, docking, and provisioning expenses. The crew call postings are usually pretty clear about what financial arrangements are expected.

Reference: OPO Membership: Don’t leave home without it
While skippers primarily use OPO to locate qualified crew before an offshore passage, OPO is also a valuable service to have even after the passage has begun. I speak from experience. The day before we were to leave the BVI’s this May for our passage north, I developed severe back pains (later diagnosed as a ruptured disc). Nevertheless, we left as planned, heading for Turks and Caicos, then Grand Bahama Island and on to the US East Coast. The back pains persisted and before leaving the Bahamas for Charleston SC, I knew I had to get experienced help to complete the passage as two crew members were due to leave the boat at Charleston. I contacted my wife and asked her to phone Hank to see if he could locate a delivery skipper. This was on the Sunday of the Memorial Day weekend. By the time we arrived in Charleston on Tuesday, Hank had put us in touch with a very qualified skipper (Gareth Hughes) and he arrived the next day. We left Charleston late Wednesday afternoon. The following day we were advised by Herb that TS Barry was due to move up the East Coast and that to avoid it, we should put into port by Saturday morning, at the latest. Consequently we changed course for Beaufort NC and arrived the next morning. I realized then that I could not wait four days for Barry to subside before getting medical treatment. I would have to leave the boat. So, another call to Hank on Friday morning to recruit two more crewmembers to join the boat on Monday to complete the passage. By early Friday afternoon, the delivery skipper had at least half dozen applicants to choose from. The speed with which Hank located the delivery skipper and crew was impressive, as were their qualifications. Had I not been an OPO member, I can only imagine the frustration and expense I would have endured finding a skipper and crew on my own. Things happen offshore that can’t always be anticipated. Having a resource like Hank and OPO to lend a hand when needed is a resource every offshore skipper should have on board.
Norm MacMaster

Reference
Sounds like a plan. Also, thanks for running this great site - I was amazed when I got four people to call an hour after you had posted the opportunity!
Matt F.

Reference:
 Hi Hank, this is ron xxxxxxxxx the owneer of Big Rosie i sailed to the DR this past winter and you assisted with several crew just wanted you to know that last week i met with 2 of my crew from the bahamas and cruised LI Sound you may know them Calvin xxxxxx and Stan xxxxxx had a great time lots of fun and the usual excitement when sailing will be meeting another crew member from the turks and caicos - Pat xxxxxxx in the Chesepeake sometime in September your organization makes friends if nothing else Calvin came up from Georgia to do this and i believe Pat is from Wisconsin pritty neat just thought you should know your organization does more than deliver boats!!! safe and happy sailing ron P

Reference:
Hank...you made my day! Both you and Murray are THE BEST CAPTAINS!!!!!...I can't wait to sail with you'all again on the high seas...still thinking of that Seabattical too!
Noeleen G

Reference:
OPO Membership: Don't leave home without it
While skippers primarily use OPO to locate qualified crew before an offshore passage, OPO is also a valuable service to have even after the passage has begun. I speak from experience. The day before we were to leave the BVI's this May for our passage north, I developed severe back pains (later diagnosed as a ruptured disc). Nevertheless, we left as planned, heading for Turks and Caicos, then Grand Bahama Island and on to the US East Coast. The back pains persisted and before leaving the Bahamas for Charleston SC, I knew I had to get experienced help to complete the passage as two crew members were due to leave the boat at Charleston. I contacted my wife and asked her to phone Hank to see if he could locate a delivery skipper. This was on the Sunday of the Memorial Day weekend. By the time we arrived in Charleston on Tuesday, Hank had put us in touch with a very qualified skipper (Gareth Hughes) and he arrived the next day. We left Charleston late Wednesday afternoon. The following day we were advised by Herb that TS Barry was due to move up the East Coast and that to avoid it, we should put into port by Saturday morning, at the latest. Consequently we changed course for Beaufort NC and arrived the next morning. I realized then that I could not wait four days for Barry to subside before getting medical treatment. I would have to leave the boat. So, another call to Hank on Friday morning to recruit two more crewmembers to join the boat on Monday to complete the passage. By early Friday afternoon, the delivery skipper had at least half dozen applicants to choose from. The speed with which Hank located the delivery skipper and crew was impressive, as were their qualifications. Had I not been an OPO member, I can only imagine the frustration and expense I would have endured finding a skipper and crew on my own. Things happen offshore that can't always be anticipated. Having a resource like Hank and OPO to lend a hand when needed is a resource every offshore skipper should have on board.
Norm MacMaster

Reference:
Just a short note reporting on our trip with Richard Xxxx on the 61' Pedrick design cutter from Portsmouth to St. Thomas, USVI. We left on Saturday Nov 5 and arrived in St. Thomas very early on Nov 14th, after covering approx. 1,377 nm. For the most part we were close hauled, getting some beam and broad reaching after we turned due south. Pretty benign conditions, only one evening of squalls. Seas were generally 3-7' with the occasional 5-9' days. On this boat, however, the squalls didn't make much different. Under 50% main and jenny I don't think we ever heeled over more than 20-25 degrees. Truly a fantastic boat. The boat was nice, but what made the trip was the skipper, Richard xxxx, Richard is a former instructor with the Steve Colgate organization and is truly a professional. He was very patient with all three of us; all of us new to long offshore passages. One other little benefit of sailing with Richard is that his wife, Eden, if a professionally trained chef; she prepared and froze for our dining enjoyment 10 wonderful gourmet meals. I seriously doubt that anyone within a thousand miles of us ate any better. I know I can speak for all of us on board in heartily recommending to any member of OPO that they grab at any sailing opportunity with Richard. Thanks again for your fine service. I have been recommending it to all of my sailing friends. Should you wish you may use all or part of this email in communication with your existing or prospective members. OPO Member # 1622 Mike

Reference: Dear Hank,
The sailing with XXXXXXX and XXXXXXX Clay was wonderful. I'm hoping to help Clay on the return trip next spring. You have put a very good idea into practice that benefits alot of people. I'll recommend it highly to all my sailing friends. I look forward to meeting you in person soon.
Fair winds,
OPO Member # 1636 Dutch

Reference: Hi Hank ,
Just got back from St.Maarten on the 13th Of Dec. from my transat with Johnathan xxxxxx. Had a great trip with Captain John on SV xxxxx and the crew he chose were all excellent . Weather wise we had a quiet trip and the winds were light and usually from the wrong direction but we made St.Maarten in approx. 17 days . John is an excellent guy and has a great sense of humour . Thanks for getting back to me prior to flying out and FYI I flew over to Tenerife , one way ticket , and wasn't asked for a tarvel document or return ticket during the trip . I have had 3 Carribean crewing trips and now a transat on a beautiful sailboat with an excellent Captain and crew all within 20 months.
Thanks again and Season's Greetings ,
OPO # 1413 Brent

Reference: Hi Hank,
Ok OK OK, I do need to tell you what a fantastic, knurly, challenging sail the NARC Rally was for me. Thanks Hank, for another great adventure. Once again, I’ve logged a new set of sea miles, and strengthened my sailing skills. Please feel free to pass this on to anyone thinking of joining OPO. I sure have taken advantage of many OPO sailing opportunities. After years of recreational coastal sailing on the family sloop, my love for being pushed pulled and sucked by the wind without the drone of a motor finally got the best of me. I joined OPO back in 1999 after a pitch from an enthusiastic character with a dream of connecting crew and captains. Hank fulfilled his promise to offer dozens of opportunities to sail and crew. I used to sit in my office and read his emails as they came in, dreaming of having the time to take advantage of them. Unfortunately as a teacher, I had no flextime to use when most of the gigs were happening. Even so, I was always able to find some adventures during my summer vacations. OPO actually influenced my decision to retire early. The lure of blue water and my dreams to challenge my sailing skills before I got too old to climb around and turn a winch all helped to fuel my decision. In the past 6 years, and since my retirement I have managed to log over 3000 sea miles and visited dozens of ports of call. Every trip has been a learning experience. Mostly the learning was related to some aspect of sailing, but sometimes in human relations, and most often learning about myself. I’ve always thought I was a cruiser, but last year when I joined the OPO race team in Antigua it took me over the top. I had so much fun. Racing is really about the sailing. It was my first Caribbean experience and it has captured my fascination since. I can’t wait for the Heineken in March 2006.
OPO Member # 700 Janet

Reference: Offshore Sailing – Maine to Long Island
Brockville Power and Sail Squadron

It was late afternoon and the crew was gathering. Hank, the skipper had driven in from Long Island. He had done dozens of these kinds of trips already this season. Frank, an ex- Navy pilot had flown in from Nashville and was waiting at dockside. John was an attorney from Des Moines and had flown into Providence the day before. Dave was a school teacher from Brockville and had driven to Long Island to make the trip with Hank. For John and Dave this was to be their first such trip. The task was to transport a 36’ Pearson sailboat from Tenants Harbor, Maine to the eastern end of Long Island, a distance of about 240 nautical miles. After provisioning and fueling the vessel, the crew set off about 2 hours before sunset. While negotiating several hundred lobster buoys that stretched for miles, a comfortable course was set to pass Monhegan Island. As the sun was setting, about a dozen dolphins could be seen playing and jumping off the port side. A full moon began to rise as a new course was set for Cape Cod Bay. Since the wind was on the nose, the diesel engine was required to move the vessel along at 7 knots throughout an absolutely gorgeous night.

By first light the vessel was abeam Portsmouth, NH about 25 nautical miles offshore. There was a noticeable swell on the port beam that kept everyone conscious of their footing. The main was set but drawing little due to the angle of the wind. By afternoon the swell had settled as the boat came under the lee of Cape Cod heading for Cape Cod Canal. This course was chosen to avoid the shallows and longer course around the Cape

They reached Cape Cod Canal at dusk, running against a 5 knot tidal current for its 10 mile length. Fog was starting to set in as the vessel approached the end of the canal and the head of Buzzard’s Bay, a narrow, long bay full of shoals and small islands. The night was black and damp in the fog. Marker lights were impossible to see except within 0.1 nautical miles. To complicate the issue, the crew discovered that the chart for Buzzard’s Bay had been ripped out of the book. But by piecing together other charts, a course was plotted for the first buoy. There was great relief when the flashing red light appeared out of the fog on cue. By the next marker, the fog was starting to dissipate and the full moon could be seen above the mist. The wind backed and increased in strength. The vessel was now under full sail as it passed the outskirts of Buzzard’s Bay on its way past Newport and New London. By early afternoon, they had crossed Long Island Sound and found the mooring in Shelter Island, where the owner wanted his Pearson to be placed.

After a quick tidy up, the crew departed the Pearson 36. and moved directly to a 47’ Benneteau that was to be transported from Shelter Island to the other end on Long Island. What a classy vessel this was, quite new with less than 60 hours logged on the engine. As the crew departed Shelter Island, the wind dropped, forcing another diesel run under a clear night sky along the length of Long Island Sound. At dawn there was a quick side trip into Huntington Harbor where an estimated 1500 sailboats lay quietly at their mooring in the breaking light. By noon, the Benneteau was safely nestled into Port Washington.

What a wonderful experience for 3.5 days on two separate vessels with 4 guys that were strangers to each other at the beginning of the trip. Great friendships and stories came about from the adventure. Would we do it again?? In a heartbeat.

This adventure came about from membership in Offshore Passage Opportunities. I joined this organization approximately 3 months ago to gain experience in offshore sailing, not only for myself, but also for my wife, Arlene. An added bonus was to sail on different vessels so that we could make a better judgement of the kind of sailboat we wanted for ourselves. OPO has been in business for 12 years, and its primary focus is the transport of sailing vessels from place to place, where an experienced skipper is looking for crew to make the passage. Some of the passages are under a day in length and some are over a week. I have been particularly impressed that in my 3 months of membership there have been close to 60 different opportunities come across my desk that I would have been able to apply for.

If you are interested in some offshore sailing, under the direction of some experienced, capable hands, I encourage you to check out Offshore Passage Opportunities. Their website says it all.

Dave Steadman
Brockville Power and Sail Squadron

Reference: Dear Hank,
Thank you so much for putting me in touch with Capt. Richard onxxxxxx. I will be flying to St. Thomas Friday morning, April 8, and we'll be weighing anchor Saturday night. I have talked with Richard several times; he seems like a real nice guy, I'm sure we'll all get along great. Thanks again for the opportunity.

FYI: My wife, xxxxxxx, who has no sailing experience, would like to crew on a short delivery (3-4 days), and she will be available on short notice any time after my return home on April 19. Please let us know if there are any opportunities for her.

FYI: I would like some more information on the "Brazil to Long Island, NY" delivery as it becomes available; I used to live in Brazil, and I speak fluent Portuguese. I probably will not be able to budget enough time for such a long delivery, but it is a possibility.
Sincerely,
DT (OPO Member who just joined last week)

Reference: Dear Hank,
My wife and I were on an extended RV trip over the winter. his trip included a side trip of 10 days in the Bahamas with Catherine xxxxx on s/v xxxxxx xxxxx. I crewed for Catherine back in October for a passage (for me) from xxxxxxxx ,NY to Charleston. It was a good first offshore experience for me and Catherine invited my wife and I to join her in the Bahamas.

I learned a lot from her and she said she would be a reference for me any time. I need to thank you for your advice to be patient and the right vessel, captain and passage would present itself which it did, and then some.

I will be teaching sailing on the Hudson and at Greenwood Lake, NJ for the summer but hope to get more off shore experience soon.
Thanks again.
OPO Member XXXX

For more information please call us at 1-800-472-7724

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