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.

Atlantic Circle Swan Program

Swan Program – Atlantic Circle

We are happy to announce a full itinerary for the Swan 68 Aphrodite. The owner wishes to have the boat in Cork Ireland for 300 Anniversary celebrations in July. Then have the boat in the Mediterranean for the Swan Worlds in Sardinia and CCA Cruise in August and September. The boat will then sail from the Mediterranean to Las Palmas for the ARC 2020. This allows us four passage opportunities to offer our members first dibs.

The Atlantic Circle program will have a similar, but larger, Swan.

And a super, giant-sized thanks to Susan Raisbeck for sharing her beautiful photographs.
  • Sailing on a Swan
  • Sailing on a Swan
  • Sailing on a Swan
  • Sailing on a Swan
  • Sailing on a Swan
  • Sailing on a Swan
  • Sailing on a Swan
  • Sailing on a Swan

Of course our Offshore Swan Program does not work without getting the best skippers to sail aboard. Captain Murray Jacob has agreed to skipper the boat from 1) Newport to Ireland, 2) Ireland to the Med and in the 4) ARC 2020.  The boats caretaker, Maurizio (who is sailing with Tania Aebi from St. Maarten to Newport this May 2020), will skipper from the 3) Med to Las Palmas and then sail as 1st mate with Murray in the ARC 2020. This itinerary gives OPO members the first opportunity to sign up for any one or more of the four legs.

Below are the dates and prices for each leg. The later dates and final destination will be set in stone in the next few weeks so do not book any flights until we 100% confirm with us first. The dates for the first leg to Ireland are set as well as the dates for the ARC Rally start. We will let you know soon if the boat will stay in St. Lucia or finish in St. Maarten after the ARC.

The boat will leave Newport RI right after the start of the Newport/Bermuda Race. The reason being that Aphrodite will be the starting committee boat for the race. Crew will arrive two or three days before departure to be familiar and ready and then get off the boat for the start of the race.  I would suggest going to "The Inn at Castle Hill" to watch the start from shore. Then the crew and Murray will depart the next day bound for Cork, Ireland.

Below are the proposed dates and costs. More details to follow.

2020 Swan Program Transatlantic Aphrodite Swan 68

Leg 1: Three Week Option

Newport to Cork, Ireland: June 20th to July 11th.
Skipper: Murray
Crew arrive June 17th or 18th. Crew leave boat no later than Saturday July 11th (or Sunday the 12th). (Should arrive about July 7th or 8th)
Price: $4,000*

Leg 2: Two and One-Half Week Option

Cork, Ireland to Western Mediterranean
Skipper: Murray
Crew arrive weekend of July 25th for departure the 26th or 27th. Two weeks trip arriving Mediterranean Weekend August 8th 9th. Final destination and departure date TBD in the next couple of weeks.
Price: $2,250*

Leg 3: Two to Three Week Option

Mediterranean to Gibraltar to Madeira to Canary Islands
Skipper: Maurizio
Travel to the boat October 10 for two weeks cruise from the Med to Gibraltar to Madeira and then to Las Palmas arriving by Oct 24th. You are welcome to stay aboard for a few days in Las Palmas after arrival to see this island chain or look for another ride in the ARC, but ends by Oct 31st when you have to move ashore or fly home. Final destination and departure dates TBD in the next couple of weeks.
Price: $2,250*

Leg 4: Four Weeks

ARC Las Palmas Canary Islands to St. Lucia
Skipper: Murray Jacob with Maurizio 1st Mate
Arc departs Sunday Nov 22nd. Crew arrive up to one week before so would arrive as early as 15th November. Ends Weekend of December 12th or 13th or you can stay a few more days and make the final trip to St. Maarten and fly home from there.
Price: $5,000*

*Price icludes all onboard food and dockage at the beginning and end of each trip. It includes the skipper and fuel for the boat as well as all boat costs and maintenance. The price does not include dockage or mooring fees in between the start and finish of the trip as well as additional customs and immigration fees and money for alcohol or exotic foods. So expect to kick in a small amount for extras, but most provisioning for the offshore legs and boat expenses are included. For Leg 1 and 4 the price includes docking at both ends and the price for the ARC Rally Fee.


Caribbean Swan Program

2020 Swan Program – Caribbean

May Swan Passage from St. Maarten to Newport April 30 to May 17

We recommend that the spring is the better time for people that have not spent a lot of time at the helm or want to take a less experienced spouse along. The fall departure may be frightening to less experienced sailors.

The trip is two week rather than 2.5 since we do not have a weather delay departing St. Maarten. We still do have the two leg trip with a nice three days in Bermuda to absorb the first leg and get ready for the 2nd usually more challenging leg across the Gulf Stream. The price for the May trip is $3,250.

Unfortunately, availability for this trip is full but we are accepting Wait List requests.

June One Week Passage to or from New York and Bermuda

This one week option works well for first timers and those with less vacation time. While technically after the start of the Hurricane season, June is the month they hold the Newport Bermuda Race and the Marion Bermuda Race, so it is still very safe and the spring storm season has mostly ended.

The crew sailing outbound get to sail through New York City and past the Statue of Liberty before heading southeast to Bermuda. Last year we made the trip in record time and had three full days in Bermuda. This year in 2020 we depart Friday, June 12, and return on Saturday, June 27. The last few years Tania Aebi has skippered this trip back to New York. The price all-inclusive except travel to and from the boat is $1,800 per person.

Unfortunately, availability for this trip is also full but we are accepting Wait List requests.