OPO News for Captains and Crew

Keep up to date with Offshore Passage Opportunities by viewing recent news. Please visit regularly to see what's new.


Crew Networking Powerhouse Offshore Passage Opportunities Announces Expansion into Europe

9/4/2019

Crew Networking Powerhouse 'Offshore Passage Opportunities' Announces Expansion into Europe

Huntington N.Y./Portsmouth, UK (September 4, 2019) – Offshore Passage Opportunities (OPO), the #1 Crew Networking Service in North America, has partnered with experienced sailor and yacht charter operator Christian Reynolds in Portsmouth, UK to bring to Europe OPO's win-win formula for matching experienced crew with qualified skippers and offering those seeking to increase their offshore experience with safe options for acquiring it. The new venture, named e-OPO, will operate in coordination with OPO for maximizing passage opportunities throughout the world; however, it will maintain its own website for its European-based members while the OPO website continues to service its existing North American clientele.

"E for England, e for Europe and e for e-commerce," said Hank Schmitt, the owner of OPO who has helped thousands of sailors meet and make successful passages for over two and a half decades. "This is a free internet-based service for delivery skippers and crews as well as for boat owners. OPO/e-OPO members get to log sea time, perhaps toward a license or for gaining experience before buying their own boat, or even so they can feel more comfortable taking their own boat on an offshore adventure."

e-OPO Launches
Hank Schmitt (top right) is teaming with Christian Reynolds (bottom right) to expand the top-ranked crew networking service Offshore Passage Opportunities overseas. The new venture, named e-OPO, will work with members in Europe while OPO will continue to serve North America. (Photos courtesy Offshore Passage Opportunities) Click photo to download in high resolution

Reynolds, a Commercially Endorsed Ocean Yachtmaster and national sailing champion, has been running yacht charter businesses for over ten years; he has logged over 250,000 nautical miles over 35 years of sailing that includes both dinghy and yacht racing. He ran the celebrated Swan 51 Northern Child for eight years and in 2013 co-founded Performance Yacht Racing, which utilizes the company's fleet of four yachts for racing programs around the world and additionally offers a comprehensive Yachtmaster Training program for individuals keen on getting real-world yachting experience that is about "learning more than just enough to pass the exam."

Schmitt, well known for years of running successful racing programs in the Caribbean and establishing/managing the "NARC" (North American Rally to the Caribbean, which is celebrating its 20th year), founded OPO in 1993 after finishing a ten-month voyage that took him from New York to Spain (solo) and then from Spain to the New World following Christopher Columbus's route. While in the Canary Islands, he met people asking to crew in the established "ARC" and "America 500" rallies, or on any boat that was planning a crossing. He thought a crew networking service might help, and when the internet caught up to his idea, he launched the first OPO web site in 1996. With the announcement of the e-OPO partnership, the fourth overhaul of that original web site was launched on August 1, 2019.

"I think e-OPO could grow larger than OPO in a few years," said Schmitt. "Europeans have more vacation time; they have more stringent accounting requirements for sea time and regulations for getting licensed; and sailing is simply much bigger in Europe than in North America. By expanding into Europe, OPO will also be able to offer more European and Mediterranean passage opportunities to Americans and vice-versa for e-OPO."

As for the efficiency of the OPO/e-OPO system, Schmitt said: "It has been many years in the making and is much more refined than any other system. Members do not have to spend a lot of time looking at posts and wading through a lot of questionable opportunities. After all, this is offshore sailing, not Match.com."

How it Works:

For those familiar with other crew networks, OPO/e-OPO offers some refreshing differences:

For more information on OPO, contact Hank Schmitt, offshorepassage@sprintmail.com, 1-800-4-PASSAGe, +1 631-423-4988 or visit www.sailopo.com. For more information on e-OPO, contact Christian Reynolds, christian.john.reynolds@gmail.com, +44 7795 955702, or visit www.e-opo.com.


NARC Rally Celebrates 20th Anniversary, Departs from Two Locations in October

6/10/2019

HUNTINGTON, N.Y. (June 10, 2019) -- The “North American Rally to the Caribbean” (NARC)<https://www.sailopo.com/NARC_Rally_NARC_Rally_Overview.aspx>, which is free for participants to join, will celebrate its 20th Anniversary in 2019 when it once again brings together boats on their annual pilgrimage south to the Caribbean from the U.S. East Coast, organizing socials, discounts and shared weather routing. Scheduled for October 26 (or the best weather window near that date), the 20th Anniversary NARC Rally will offer departures from the longstanding participating port of Newport, R.I. and – for a second year – Cobb’s Marina in Little Creek, Virginia. The NARC Rally then hosts a stop in Bermuda before ending in St. Maarten.

“We are the only rally that offers an official stop in Bermuda,” said NARC organizer Hank Schmitt who also is CEO of Offshore Passage Opportunities (OPO), a crew network service. He explained that the route to Bermuda encourages participants to sail there rather than motor sail into the Southeast Trades without stopping. “You have to go east until you get near Bermuda anyway, so why not stop in for a visit?,” said Schmitt.

Schmitt plans to make each port visit special, especially the final stop in St. Maarten where five big sponsors have been invited “to lavish our new arrivals with ‘The Friendly Islands’ treatment.”

The sponsors are IGY Marina, which will offer two free days of dockage for each Rally boat and a 10% discount for as long as the boat stays; Budget Marine, which will offer Rally entrants a 15% discount on purchases for three months and free sign-up for the company’s new WhatsApp service; Heineken Regatta, which will reduce the entry fee for early sign-up in the Island Time Division of the 40th Annual Heineken Regatta; FKG, which will offer free rigging inspection upon arrival and a 10% discount on any repairs determined as needed during that inspection; and Bobby’s Mega Marina, which will offer a 10% discount on hauling/launching, pressure washing and chocking of Rally boats from November to the end of January.

“St. Maarten is very much recovered from Irma,” said Schmitt. “All the marine services are open; it is a duty-free island, which means it is great for provisioning, and it has the biggest airport and best airline services in the Caribbean. All this, plus the efforts of our five sponsors, will make St. Maarten a far better island than any other to call home for the winter. Or at the very least, participants can make St. Maarten their first landfall to get their boats checked and repaired if needed, leave for the holidays and then return and re-provision to explore the rest of the Caribbean.”

The rally is free with no per-boat fee to sign up. There is a $100 per-person fee for the socials, which include a dinner at Benjamin’s in Newport; a Bermuda fish fry at the Dinghy Club in Bermuda; and a wrap party at the Fat Turtle at IGY Marina in St. Maarten. Shared weather routing comes from WRI in upstate New York and discounts on dockage apply in Newport and St. Maarten. The head tax in Bermuda will be waived, saving participants $35 pp, and new this year will be a one-week option to stay longer in Bermuda and enjoy all that the island has to offer.

Sailors who do not have a ride and wish to participate can contact Schmitt and sign aboard a Swan in the OPO Offshore Swan Program to become a full working crew in the rally, sailing with a professional captain.

The NARC Rally started in 2000 when Schmitt organized 10 OPO skippers and crew to move a fleet of Swans from Newport, R.I. to the French side of St. Maarten in the Caribbean. With a departure date set for Newport in the Fall, he decided to invite other boats to join in an organized rally and has organized the annual passage ever since.

For more information on the 20th Anniversary NARC Rally or opportunities through Offshore Passage Opportunities, contact Hank Schmitt, 1-800-4-PASSAGe, +1 631-423-4988 or visit www.sailopo.com

More About Offshore Passage Opportunities OPO’s mission is to seek, gather and create quality offshore passage opportunities for its members. The company’s North American Rally to the Caribbean (NARC), a 1500-mile “delivery south” from Newport, R.I., has taken place each year since 2000.

2019 NARC

Learn about the 2019 NARC Rally

Sign Up for NARC 2019

Media Pro Int’l
41 Memorial Blvd.
Newport, R.I. 02840
401-849-0220<tel:401-849-0220

Offshore Passage Opportunities
PO Box 2600
Halesite N.Y. 11743
1-800-4-PASSAGE

 


Recent 2018 and Upcoming 2019 Events

12/21/2018

Recent events in 2018 and a look forward to 2019

2018 NARC Rally Recap

The 19th Annual NARC Rally (North American Rally to the Caribbean) bounced back to pre-hurricane numbers with seventeen boats. New this year was a five boat contingent from Little Creek Virginia. Yes, there are now three Rallies departing from the USA Chesapeake Bay. Read More
 

Revitalizing Dominica with New Deliveries

See how Hank recently helped Dive Master and dive shop owner, Fabien Honore, acquire a new Aiken Dive Compressor from Newark, New Jersey. Hank also helped PAYS acquire new bottom paint and new mooring lines. Read more.
 

Join Us for the 2019 Heineken Regatta

Come join us for the biggest Caribbean Regatta of the season and the only one in which we still sail. The 2019 dates are from Monday, February 25th to Monday, March 4th. Half the crew can stay on the boat and the other half can stay in accommodations ashore. Review the dates and see if you want to join us for four days or racing with time to have some "serious fun" in the sun at the right time of year. Read More
 

2019 Annual Yachtie Appreciation Week

PAYS, the Portsmouth Association of Yacht Services, listened to Yachties from the SDR (Salty Dawg Rally) and others who had trouble getting to Portsmouth Dominica in time for YAW last year. Therefore new dates for 2019 are from March 10th to March 17th 2019. Read More

 


Time to Rally: Free-to-Join NARC Departs Newport in November

8/4/2015

Time to Rally:
Free-to-Join NARC Departs Newport in November

HUNTINGTON, N.Y. (Aug. 4, 2015) -- The 16th annual "North American Rally to the Caribbean" (NARC), which is free for participants to join, departs November 1, 2015 (or best weather window near that date) from Newport R.I. The NARC's primary purpose is to encourage boats that are heading south from the U.S. East Coast to join together for socials, discounts, and shared weather routing.


"The NARC started in 2000 as a way to move the Swan charter fleet to the islands, and over the years it has morphed into a much anticipated event for boats making the annual pilgrimage south," said Hank Schmitt, organizer of the NARC and CEO of Offshore Passage Opportunities (OPO), a crew network service. "We make a stop in Bermuda and end up down-island, where two exciting new NARC developments will come into play."

New Features

New for the Rally this year is the addition of sponsor St. Maarten Yacht Club, organizer of the annual St. Maarten Heineken Regatta – the first major regatta of the Caribbean racing season. The sponsorship puts new emphasis on the NARC's finish in St. Maarten where the yacht club will host the final party and offer an early sign-up discount for this year's St. Maarten Heineken Regatta, scheduled for March 3-6.


The St. Maarten Heineken Regatta famously combines lively entertainment with the sport of yacht racing (photo credits from left: Carib Web Services, Tim Wright)

Also new is an opportunity to participate in the first annual Dominica P.A.Y.S. (Portsmouth Association of Yacht Services) "Yachtie Appreciation Week" on the island of Dominica. P.A.Y.S. is a non-profit organization aimed at providing yacht services and security to visiting yachts, thereby assuring future development of the yachting industry in Dominica. Scheduled for February 14 to 21, the Yachtie Appreciation Week has been organized to celebrate the installation of a new mooring field that Schmitt – working with P.A.Y.S., the Tourism Board of Dominica and generous OPO members and other sailors – has been orchestrating in Prince Rupert's Bay over the last few years.


A new mooring field in Prince Rupert's Bay will be celebrated at the P.A.Y.S. "Yachtie Appreciation Week" (photo courtesy of P.A.Y.S.)

"All the major rallies go to popular and large islands that can accommodate their numbers," said Schmitt, explaining that in addition to the NARC finishing in St. Maarten, the ARC finishing in St. Lucia and the Caribbean 1500 and the Salty Dawg finishing in the BVIs. "Sometimes, as cruisers, when we explore the smaller, less populated islands and get to know the people, we start thinking not ‘what can you do for us?,' but ‘what can we do to help you?"

Schmitt, who has been stopping in Dominica for several years and two years ago shipped materials there for local "Boat Boy" Albert Lawrence to build a boat, said that the island has no marina of any kind and almost no marine services, so it felt right to make the philanthropic move of buying and shipping materials needed for the mooring field. The materials includes 50 new anchors, mooring balls and all the appropriate tackle. During Yachtie Appreciation Week, all visiting yachts will receive free moorings, discounted island tours, and nightly socials. As a bonus, St. Maarten Yacht Club will help organize a Rally/Race to get boats from the island of Dominica to St. Maarten in time for the St. Maarten Heineken regatta.


(from left) Champagne Reef, one of Dominica's "signature" dive sites; beautiful Emerald Pool (photos courtesy of Discover Dominica Authority)

"With the mooring field, it will be much easier for cruising yachts to enjoy Dominica," said Schmitt. "The island is 70% undeveloped and so lush compared to the rest of the Caribbean that they export produce to other islands." Dominica also has a fascinating, if fledgling, eco-tourism trade that capitalizes on its natural beauty. Some of the island's assets are a nearly 5,000 foot mountain peak; tours on the Indian River and to the second largest boiling lake in the world; 14 nature trails from one end of the island to the other; and a reservation, the only one in the Caribbean (established in 1919), for the island's native indigenous people. For more information on the NARC or Offshore Passage Opportunities, contact Hank Schmitt, 1-800-4-PASSAGe, +1 631-423-4988 or visit www.sailopo.com

(end)

More About the NARC

All seaworthy boats are welcome to begin gathering the last week in October at the Newport Yachting Center in Newport R.I. The rally is geared toward larger boats that are professionally crewed and have experienced skippers. (Smaller boats and less experienced skippers are encouraged to join the "Salty Dawg Rally," departing from the Chesapeake.)

Weather routing is presented by "WRI" Weather Routing Inc. St. Georges Dinghy & Sports Club hosts the fleet in Bermuda, while IGY Marina Group sponsors the rally finish with two days free dockage and 10% off any longer stay at the Simpson Bay Marina St. Maarten (up to and including all season).

NARC entry for boats is free, with a $100 per person fee covering three socials: dinner in Newport and Bermuda and the final Party in St. Maarten.

Rally Benefits:


Contact

Media Pro Int’l
41 Memorial Blvd.
Newport, R.I. 02840
401-849-0220
  Offshore Passage Opportunities
PO Box 2600
Halesite N.Y. 11743
1-800-4-PASSAGE


Boat Show Sailing Options

7/14/2015

Sail to or from the Newport and Annapolis Boat Shows September or October 2015

October Boat Show Run –  Sail with me aboard our flagship Swan 48 "Avocation" and attend the show while staying aboard. It is a 2 to 2 ½ day sail to and from Annapolis from LI Sound. The trip takes us through NY City, down the Jersey Coast, up Delaware Bay and then through the C & D Canal and then to Annapolis MD. We will try and get dock space for Wednesday through Saturday night, but may have to or opt to anchor out in the mooring field. So besides getting two days of passage making in you will also have a place to stay for the Annapolis Boat Show. Those making the trip south will attend the show on Thursday and Friday and can plan to travel home on Saturday. Crew change Day is Saturday with crew arriving Saturday October 10th. You can see the show on Saturday and Sunday and we will depart Sunday late afternoon or Monday morning depending on weather and then make the 2 to 3 day passage back. On the way back we like to make one overnight stop so we will be back in NY by Wednesday or Thursday Oct 15th.

You will not need accommodations in Annapolis as you will be staying on the boat. The price is $1000 per person for the first leg and $800 per person for the return leg. Couples in their own cabin are $1800 for the first leg and $1500 for the 2nd leg. If you want a private cabin you can pay $1400. This includes the boat, skipper, line and diesel fuel, but does not include provisioning or dockage. Two days dockage in Annapolis foe the show might be as high as $500, but is probably worth it for ease of access for all. If you are interested in joining me for this trip south for the show please let me know and we will reserve a bunk for you and plan to attend the Annapolis Boat Show by boat this year.

Newport Boat Show – We will not be sailing Avocation to the Newport Boat Show but “Jojo Maria” will make the 18 to 24 hour passage up to the show and back. “Jojo Maria” is our 4 cabin/4 head Benetaeu 50. The show this year is from September 17th to 20th. This is another chance to get some sailing in and see the boat show. You stay aboard the boat two nights, so you do not need to get a hotel. The price is $500 for the passage up and $400 per person for the trip back. Arrive in Huntington NY Tuesday September 15th and depart that afternoon. Arrive in Newport Wednesday afternoon and spend two days/nights aboard departing Friday after seeing the show on Thursday and Friday. New Crew arrive Friday/Saturday and stow their gear aboard the boat while they see the show on Friday/Saturday. Depart Sunday and arrive back in Huntington NY Monday morning September 20th


Previous Entries

Press Release: Crew Berths During May's ARC USA Rally on 2/11/2015

Press Release: 2014 NARC on 11/6/2014

August "Notice to OPO Mariners" on 8/11/2014

Press Release on 8/4/2014