Matching crew with boats
Helping sailors gain valuable experience
Helping skippers find qualified crew
The #1 crew networking service in North America
Creating quality offshore passage opportunities for our members

Offshore Passage Opportunities is the #1 Crew Networking Service in North America. OPO has helped thousands of sailors meet and make successful passages since 1993.

Our mission is to seek, gather and create quality offshore passage opportunities for our members.

Offshore Passage Opportunities offers three services all focused around matching experienced crew with qualified skippers -- and helping those who seek more sailing experience to safely acquire it.

  • Experienced Crew Seeking Quality Passage Opportunities


    Your membership connects you with trusted owners and skippers looking for experienced crew. You sail for free since you're helping to move a boat. Some voyages require sea miles with solo, night watch capabilities while others simply need bodies to stand watch.

    New Cruises

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    If you're interested or qualified for some of the posted opportunities, then that is a good indication you should join now.


    Join Now

  • Sailors Seeking Additional Offshore Experience


    Our Swan Program was designed to help knowledgeable sailors gain the blue water, offshore miles required to crew on any boat.

    You pay to crew for a very experienced skipper on a proven boat who will push your comfort zone. You'll learn:

    • Offshore Sailing Strategy
    • Route Planning
    • Important Safety Tips
    • How to Stand Watch
    • How Systems Work
    • What it Takes to Crew

    After one or two Swan voyages, you'll be ready to crew on virtually any offshore passage.


    Learn More

  • Skippers Seeking Experienced Offshore Crew


    We help boat owners and delivery skippers find qualified, experienced crew. Some skippers look for crew in advance while others need crew on short notice. Once you "Request Crew" you'll know within 24 to 48 hours if we can help. Some skippers accept friendly, less experienced crew who are able and willing.

    This service is free to boat owners and delivery skippers. All you need to do is:

    • Complete our "Request Crew"
    • Answer any OPO questions
    • Thoughtfully vet crew inquiries
    • Select your crew
    • Have a great trip

    We welcome inquiries from owners and skippers we know--and those we have yet to meet.


    Request Crew

Delivery skippers and private boat owners quickly realize their friends and family have jobs and cannot always sail with them. So they call us looking for crew. We collect their information and pass it on to our members to help them get aboard. Since you are helping to deliver a boat, you get to go sailing for free. Many are repeat skippers or members so we pre-qualify a majority of the opportunities for you.

Your first offshore sailing experience

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.

2024 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 deposit is required for any option.

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
OPO

2024 Swan Offshore Program Schedule

We are happy to share our fall schedule with the public. OPO members received this schedule on July 1. The ARC Passage on a Swan 68 from Las Palmas to St. Lucia booked and filled up right away! We have three berths left to sail with Tanai Aebi from Barcelona to Las Palmas to have the boat in Las Palmas a week before crew arrive for the ARC start. Tania Aebi sailed around the world by herself starting at age 18 on a 26-foot boat in 1986. She wrote “Maiden Voyage” about that epic adventure which has become a classic. This is a rare opportunity to sail with a celebrity skipper who is also a very nice person.

In years past, we had as many as 10 Swans departing from Newport in the fall and sailing to St. Maarten in the Caribbean. We are no longer organizing our annual NARC Rally after 24 years, but have two Swans still sailing south this fall. If you are interested in taking the next step to become a seasoned offshore sailor, the classic passage from Newport to the Caribbean in the fall will help you achieve your goal. We have a Swan 48 and a Swan 65 grandfathered into our Swan Program. If you would like to know if you qualify and want to sign aboard, please e-mail me at hank@sailopo.com or call us at 631-423-4988.


Swan 48, Piper Lance

October 24 to November 13 (21 days)
Newport RI to Bermuda to St. Maarten Caribbean
Crew arrives Thursday, October 24, for a planned departure on Saturday, October 26. Depending on weather, there will be a delayed departure from Bermuda for the second leg departing on Wednesday, November 6, to watch the U.S. election results. Crew flies home on November 13 after one or two days in SXM.
Price: $5,500

Swan 65, Aurora

October 24 to November 13 (21 days)
Newport RI to Bermuda to St. Maarten Caribbean
Sail with Captain Johnthan Ishmael and repeat First Mate Courney from St. Lucia. Crew arrives Thursday, October 24, for planned departure on Saturday, October 26. Depending on weather, there will be a delayed departure from Bermuda for the second leg departing on Wednesday, November 6, to watch the U.S. election results. Crew flies home on November 13 after one or two days in SXM.
Price: $5,500

Swan 68, Aphrodite

First Leg: October 21 to November 10 (21 days)
Barcelona to Las Palmas Canary Islands Spain
Sail with Captain Tania Aebi and First Mate Maurizio
Crew arrives in Barcelona, Spain on Monday, October 21. The plan is to depart on October 23 and make possible stops in Gibraltar and Madeira, Portugal on the way to Las Palmas arriving about November 8 or 9, having several days in las Palmas before flying home on November 10. This is a 3-week adventure. The skipper is Tania Aebi and the mate is Maurizio from Southern Italy. They have an excellent cook who will make dinner each night.
Price: $4,500 with 3 only berths left

Second Leg: November 17 to December 15 (29 days)
ARC Rally, Las Palmas to St. Lucia
Price: $$6,500 (Currently full, but ask to join the Wait List)
Affordable Trans-Atlantic Passage Opportunities on big Catamarans

Paid Passage Opportunities

OPO is all about going sailing for free. However some people prefer or need to plan well in advance to take three or four weeks off from work or commitments. They find it more affordable to sail offshore with a pro skipper on a strong offshore boat (Swans) compared to buying their own boat.

One phenomenon rocking the sailing world is the transition to catamarans. While catamarans in the US have not caught on, if you have sailed in the Caribbean or been to the Mediterranean, you'll see catamarans everywhere. If you are thinking of including a catamaran as part of your future, why not spend some money and make sure by signing up for an offshore passage and give it a go? Then you can see how they perform offshore before making a huge investment.

This past May we had a trial run with three OPO members sailing aboard a Bali 5.4, 56-foot catamaran named Two Oceans from St. Maarten to Europe with our four Swans. Both the Swan 68 Aphrodite and Bali 5.4 catamaran Two Oceans will be in Barcelona for the Americas Cup this summer and fall. After they are over, Tania Aebi will skipper Aphrodite to Las Palmas in the Canary Islands. The same skipper and mate will be skippering Two Oceans to Lanzarote, Canary Islands and then on to St. Maarten. While Tania is making a three-week first leg cruise to Las Palmas, the catamaran will welcome crew on November 9 and make a more direct one-week passage to get to Lanzarote. During a four-day layover more crew will join the boat in Lanzarote for the Trans-Atlantic second Leg to St. Maarten. The sail from Mediterranean to the Canary Islands and then across to the Caribbean is a mostly a downwind passage - perfect for catamaran sailing. Almost half of the boats in the ARC Rally are catamarans now. If you want to test sail a catamaran in true ocean conditions before committing to buying a catamaran for long-term cruising, why not sail across (take your spouse) to see if it is a good plan before buying a catamaran? This is also a very affordable opportunity to do a bucket list crossing without having to purchase and outfit a boat.

There will be six or seven crew plus a captain and mate, depending if one or two couples join. There will be only three or four crew for the first leg. Then other crew will join in Lanzarote for the second leg of the passage. The second, longer Trans-Atlantic leg will depart two or three days before the ARC. Crew can join for the entire one-month crossing starting in Barcelona or you can fly into Lanzarote, Canary Islands, Spain and join the boat there for the 16 to 18-day passage to St. Maarten. Enjoy a couple of days in St. Maarten after you arrive and fly home. The plan is to have half the crew join in Barcelona. Crew, with less time, will fly in for the shorter three-week commitment.

  • Two Oceans
  • Two Oceans
  • Two Oceans
  • Two Oceans
  • Two Oceans
  • Two Oceans

For more information, visit: https://twooceanscatamaran.com/

New Bali 5.4* Catamaran Program, Trans-Atlantic

November 9 to December 9, 2024 (4 weeks)
Barcelona, Spain to Lanzarote, Canary Islands to St. Maarten
The price includes everything accept your travel to and from the boat and any meals and drinks ashore.
  • Shared Cabin: $6,000 (2 Twin bunks)
  • Private Cabin: $7,000 (Queen bunk)
  • Couple Shared Cabin: $9,000 ($4,500 per person)
  • Master Owners Cabin: $10,000 ($5,000 per person)
November 18 to December 9 (3 weeks)
Lanzarote, Canary Islands to St. Maarten
The price includes everything accept your travel to and from the boat and any meals and drinks ashore.
  • Shared Cabin: $5,000
  • Private Cabin: $6,000
  • Couple Shared Cabin: $7,500 ($3,750 per person)
  • Master Owners Cabin: $8,500 ($4,250 per person)

* Two Oceans is only the first of four Bali 5.4 (56 feet) charter boats that will be making a regular run from Spain to the Caribbean and then back each season. Last year Two Oceans and MIM Ocean were the first two MedCat Charter boats offering fully crewed luxury charters to primarily European and South American charter guests.

We met the American owners of Two Oceans and the Catalonian skipper and 1st mate this past winter. Two very nice young sailors in their 30s. We had three paid crew join them for the sail from St. Maarten to Barcelona. The same skipper and first mate will be sailing back this November. If we fill the Two Oceans with six crew we will then offer to help fill from one to three other Bali 5.4 catamarans starting with MIM Ocean. We include a picture of MIM Ocean for you to try and guess the boat's owner.

In the Industry we see a lot of people who like to retire and invest money in their favorite hobby. The owners of Two Oceans, is one example. The other is a 37-year-old Argentinian (GOAT) futball player who is at the top of his game and near retirement. He just happens to be 37 year old. Please let us know if you are interested in sailing one of # 10s boats.

What's new with Offshore Passage Opportunities

Tips from the Pros: Watch Hank in Action

Hank Schmitt is profiled in the several episodes of a new series entitled "Tips from the Pros." Regardless how long you have been sailing, you will learn something new by watching Hank share some of his techniques based upon decades of sailing.

  • Pro Tips #1
    Crew on an Offshore Sailboat Before you Sail Away!
    (with Patrick Childress)

  • Pro Tips #2
    Peeing Off a Boat ... How to Use a Sailboat Toilet / Head
    (with Patrick Childress)

  • Pro Tips #3
    What if you Hit a Whale and the Whale Strikes Back!
    (with Patrick Childress)

  • Pro Tips #4
    How to Clean the Bottom of a Sailboat Underwater!
    (with Patrick Childress)

  • Pro Tips #5
    Offshore Passage Preparation: Nothing Should Fall Over or Run Out!
    (with Patrick Childress Sailing)

Please contact Hank with any comments and feedback!


Blue Water Sailing Club

Hank Schmitt provides an overview of Offshore Passage Opportunities to the Blue Water Sailing Club, complete with Q & A.

The discussion shares how you can learn to sail offshore, how OPO has helped countless sailors gain blue water experience, and the benefits of crewing on a boat delivery. Importantly, Hank also discusses the Swan Program, the annual NARC Rally (North American Rally to Caribbean) and other rallies. Enjoy!

Blue Water Sailing Club

Click to view
Recent Boat Owner and Crew testimonials

Boat Owner

The OPO announcement we put out earlier this year produced several very well qualified crew for my voyage from Annapolis to New Zealand. I’ve filled my crew needs from Annapolis to Galapagos and have one crew for the remainder of the passage to New Zealand, but I would like one or two more for Galapagos to New Zealand.

 

Thanks a ton for your help. I received a lot of responses from very capable seamen and have filled out my crew. You run a very good organization and I have given your contact info to a couple of broker friends of mine. Great job!

 

The response for crew has been fa-nominal !!! I just wanted to say "thank you" and I am sure we will have crew thanks to you. Keep in touch.

 

Hank, thanks again for connecting me with crew and running an excellent rally.  I needed the support and appreciated all the hard work you put in to make the rest of us safe and confident. Thank you, Ruth, for crewing on Lady Slipper (this feels so inadequate for the gratitude I have for your support on the passage, thanks).

-- Doug, SV Lady Slipper, Owner/Skipper

 

Almost immediately after your sending out my crew request, I received 6 qualified responses. Through Christmas Eve and day, I have received an additional 4 responses. In a word: Wow.... This is a terrific service that you are providing.    

 

Crew

Hank - Just a note to say I had a great experience with skipper Chris. I know he has used OPO before and I would expect him to say I was a well qualified crew member. Nice boat, great guy and an excellent sailor. I only wish I had more time to spend offshore. I am sure I will be looking for another berth. I think the OPO service has been worth every penny for me already just a few months in!
-- Chad

 

Hi Hank, First of all, I would really like to thank you for your kindness. I have been emailing and calling every contact I could find since November, and no one has come close to being so genuine and helpful as you have been in just this one email. It really means a lot to me that you would be willing to put in your own time, energy, and offerings into helping me pursue this journey. I think it is so cool that you were able to participate in such an intense level of competitive sailing at the age of just 18 - that must have been such a great experience.

 

Hi Hank! Just saying "Ahoy". Your OPO has changed my life, I showed off my sailing passage list to a friend the other day and he was impressed, I was too!

 

Joining OPO has been great for me. I have had great trips and each has taught me a lot. Most recently I joined Jon on his Swan 40 trip from Southport, NC to Fort Pierce. This was the perfect trip for me in this stage of getting prepared to get our own boat. It was just the two of us and I really enjoyed getting to know him. All of these people became friends and we stay in touch. One day I will get a chance to meet you but in the meantime I want to say Thanks for doing what you do.

-- Ken

 

Thank you for all you do to create sailing opportunities for others and to create such a creative community. When I first called you I could have never imagined what OPO would mean to me. I have lifelong friends and lifelong memories. You make everyone feel welcome and valuable. Thank you! I appreciate you!!

 

So nice to get to see you again — and to get a look at Avocation — in Newport and in Bermuda. You and OPO are responsible for me racing with Marcus, and I’m grateful. In the last 8 years or so I’ve gone from a pretty novice cruiser to steering a race boat at night through 30 knot squalls and big seas!

 

Skipper

I received a good response for a very short notice transatlantic passage crew spot and was quite pleased with the whole process. I confirmed a very experienced fellow after reference checking him with one of the Captain with whom he regularly sails. Thank you. I am sold on OPO! Of the 8-10 hits, at least 4 filled the bill for this particular spot (needed watch captain level experience) but all of them would have been fine to fill a berth and be able bodied crew.
-- John Youngblood, S/V High Cotton

 

Swan Program

One of my new crew mates asked, "Are you always this happy? Is there ever a time when you don't have a smile on your face?" The freedom that sailing a Swan on the Atlantic Ocean gave me to be my own person, and to be happy. To test my limits. I'd been putting off making a life changing decision for some time. I realized that I wanted to remain being this person who was at peace and happy. So, when I returned to the mainland, that's what I chose.

-- Jim

 

Your Swan Program made my goal/dream of experiencing a multi-day offshore passage a reality! From the first time I contacted you, your communication, follow up, and detailed logistics planning for the trips has been fantastic. The captains were eager to share their extensive knowledge, focused on safety, and made the trips fun with their stories of cursing the world. My fellow crew members were from widely diverse backgrounds and ages, and we all had an awesome time getting to know each other, and coming together as a crew. I'm already looking for my next OPO trip!

-- Steve

 

Thanks for letting me be a part of Aurora's crew in last month's St. Maarten to Newport run. It was a great adventure. I think that Jonathan Ishmael is a very good captain and the crew you put together was a fun, congenial mix of men. I have been working toward this trip for four years and it exceeded my high expectations.

-- Charlie

 

As this was my first true deep offshore experience, I really did not know what to expect and I came prepared for "anything". Capt. Woody and the first mate were amazing and very knowledgeable and patient.  The 5 other crew members on the first leg and the 3 replacement crew on the second leg were all pleasures to get to know and sail with.  Nothing like a challenge like this to develop a common bond and camaraderie.  The entire rally and organization was well done and the activities in Bermuda especially were a blast.  So many great people there. Your organization and the folks that participated in and help organize the rally were amazing and my Captain and crew were first rate and for all of that, I am thankful.

-- Doug

 

More Testimonials

To view additional testimonials, please click here.