Swan Program: A First Experience with Offshore Sailing

If you've ever considering deepwater sailing but were not sure how to jump start your sailing career, our Swan Program is for you.

Our Swan Program was specifically designed to introduce people to the world of offshore sailing by providing hands-on crew experience under the watchful eye of an professional skipper on a proven boat. During your tenure onboard, you’ll learn to keep watch, make log entries, navigate, use the radio, steer the boat  and perform tasks that are essential to safe offshore sailing. The Swan Program offers a fixed price for everything you’ll need aboard—you just pay for your travel to and from the boat. The Swan Program sails south from New England to Bermuda and the Caribbean in the fall, and north from Bermuda and the Caribbean to New England in the spring. Summer trips are also available.

After your first Swan Program experience, you’ll have the skills to sail on other boats. Please view the video below to learn more.

2023 Swan Program

Dear Sailors,

We like to speak with potential Swan Crew before they sign up for any of the following passages. Please let me know if you have any questions before placing a deposit online or by mailing a check.

A $1,000 is required for any two week or longer passage. $500 is enough for any of the one-week options.

I am in or near the office most of December and January at 631-423-4988. E-mail works very well at hank@sailopo.com

Once we have agreed you are ready to join us, you can make a deposit online at www.sailopo.com/store or pay by check made out to Offshore Passage Opportunities and mailed to OPO, PO Box 2600, Halesite NY 11743.

Best Regards,
Hank Schmitt

2023 Fall Swan Program Schedule

As of June 1, 2023 are now taking deposits for the fall Swan Program. We have four near coastal trips to and from the Newport and Annapolis Boat Show. They are a short introduction to overnight sailing on a bigger boat.

We then have a three-week trip from Palma Mallorca to Las Palmas in the Canary Islands for the start of the ARC Rally. Both passages aboard the Swan 68 Aphrodite that is already signed up for the ARC 2023.

We have two Swans sailing from Newport to St. Maarten in the Caribbean this fall in the 23rd annual NARC Rally.

Let me know if you have any questions before you place a deposit. The Boat Show coastal passages are open to anyone. Thye are a nice first introduction to offshore sailing with one overnight. The other, longer offshore passages, I like to speak with potential crew before they place a deposit. Particularly the fall NARC Rally where we start in colder and more boisterous conditions, not the best 1st time offshore experience. The ARC is also a long passage without any stops so we want to make sure you are up for it. Once we all agree the passage is a good fit will we ask for a deposit. The balance for all the trips is not due until 45 days before the passage.

The price includes everything except transportation to and from the boat and any meals and drinks ashore. It does include all onboard food, dockage, fuel, crew wages and boat costs. We ask for a $500 deposit now for the Boat Show trips and a $1000 deposit for the longer passages. You can pay online at OPO web store. Please call 631-423-4988 if you have any questions.

Newport Boat Show (5 Days)

Since we will not be having a booth at the Newport Boat Show this year we will sail up and back like we offer for the Annapolis Boat Show. We will turn it into a two-day sail up and a two-day sail back with two days at the show and seeing Newport and the boat show. You stay aboard the boat which will be docked walking distance to the show so you do not need to get a hotel. Prices include everything except travel to and from the boat and any meals and drinks ashore.

1) Huntington to Newport - Monday, September 11, to Friday, September 15:  $1,500

2) Newport to Huntington – Friday, September 15, to Tuesday, September 19:  $1,500 ($2,500 Round Trip)

Annapolis Boat Show (7 Days)

For the past 10 years we have sailed to and from the Annapolis Boat Show via NY City. We have added a day to each leg so we can stop and or wait on weather which can be a bit tricky this time of year. On the leg south we depart to make the outgoing tide down the East River in NY City, down the New Jersey Coast, up Delaware Bay, through the C & D canal and then down the Bay to Annapolis where we dock right next to the boat show. You do not need to worry about getting a hotel room for the show as you stay aboard two more nights and see the show op opening Red Carpet Thursday and Friday. The return crew arrive Friday am to see the show Friday and Saturday (Staying aboard Friday and Saturday in Annapolis) and we depart on Sunday making the reverse passage back to Long Island Sound via NY City.

3) Huntington to Annapolis – Saturday, October 7, to Friday,October 13:  $2,500

4) Annapolis to Huntington – Friday, October 13, to Thursday, October 19:  $2,250

Newport to St. Maarten (20 Days)

Sail aboard our flagship Swan 48 Avocation with Hank Schmitt or the Swan 65 Aurora making her 5th passage south with us this fall in the NARC Rally. Arrive in Newport two days before we depart. After getting the all clear from our weather router the fleet sails first to Bermuda for a two or three day visit and then sails the 2nd leg to St. Maarten for the final party and flight home.

5) Newport to Bermuda to St. Maarten – Thursday, October 26, to Tuesday, November 14:   $4,500

Palma Mallorca Spain to Las Palmas Canary Islands Spain (22 Days)

Spend a couple of days in Palma Mallorca Spain before departing for sea. Planned stops include Gibraltar and a visit to the island of Madeira Portugal and then on to Las Palmas. This three week passage is skippered by Tania Aebi and co-skipper/cook Maurizio. Maurizio takes care of the boat in the winter in St. Maarten.

6) Sunday, October 8, to Friday, October 27:  $4,000

ARC Rally Las Palmas to St. Lucia (30 Days)

Arrive up to one week early and stay aboard the Swan 68 Aphrodite while taking part of a week of pre-departure events. It is a 2,800 mile 16-18 day crossing. Spend two or three days in St. Lucia before flying home.

7) As early as Sunday, November 12, to Tuesday, December 12:  $6,000