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

    See all

    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.

Rare, Affordable Trans-Atlantic Passage offered this Spring 2024
Act Now as only 6 of 53 Berths Remain Available!

We're providing a unique opportunity to sail across the Atlantic on either a catamaran or a monohull this spring. OPO has been offering quality professionally captained offshore passage opportunities for 25 years. This May we have five boats and twenty-eight crew departing May 1, 2024.

Option 1: Bali Catamaran Sint Maarten to Barcelona Spain

If you are thinking about buying a catamaran, here is a great option to see how they sail offshore.

Option 2: Sail on a Swan 68 to Palma de Mallorca

If interested, please contact hank@sailopo.com.

2024 Caribbean Sailing Events

2024 Caribbean Sailing Events: Join Us

Heineken Regatta: February 26 to March 4, 2024

Our 19th Heineken Regatta Monday, February 26, to Monday, March 4: One week in the sun. One day of practice and four race days. This is the cruising division using white sails. We do not fly a spinnaker. But we do have fun. You can stay aboard the boat (a requirement of the "Island Time" division is to have some crew living aboard) or you can stay ashore in very nice shoreside accommodations with a pool. Up to three members can bring a non-sailing spouse. The crew staying aboard come up to the pool most days for diner and a swim. There is a discounted price for staying aboard and a premium price for staying ashore depending on if you wish the master suite or just a bed. A non-sailing spouse is welcome to join us and stay ashore and enjoy the regatta with us. My wife will be staying ashore and will have a car some days to tour the island. The price includes ground transportation to get between the boat and the villa. We all chip in $200 to start for drinks and meals in the house and on the boat. We take turns cooking in the house and have maid service three times. We often have money left over for the final meal Sunday night after the awards in the Heineken Race Village. Over the years we have perfected a format that works well for all and is priced very well considering you are sailing on a Swan 48 for 5 days and staying in a very nice private villa with a pool overlooking St. Barts. Three of the six bedroom have a private bath while two rooms share bathrooms in a private two-bedroom apartment with kitchen with one bedroom that can sleep three crew. We will all eat in the big dining room up in the main house.


Ocean Pearl (6-bedroom villa): February 26, to March 4 2024

Price to stay on the boat (2 crew in private cabin) $2,250 each (includes car to get to villa to join us for meals and a swim). Stay in the ailla. Shared Bath $2,750 (2 rooms). Private Bath (2 rooms) $3,000 One Master Suite $3,500. Twin Beds in suite $2,500 (2 beds). Rooms with private baths accommodations with king or queen beds and master room can include a spouse for only an extra $500 for the week (plus $200 per person for food). So up to three spouses can join us.


Dominica, PAYS Dominica Yachting Festival: March 20 to April 3, 2024

2nd Annual PAYS Dominica Yachting Festival

Arrive SXM (Sint Maarten) March 20 and fly home from SXM Tuesday afternoon, April 2, or Wednesday, April 3. We sail to Dominica Friday, March 22, and will be in Dominica Saturday, March 23, until we leave Sunday, March 31, or the morning of Monday, April 1. Come join us for two weeks sailing from St. Maarten to Dominica where we will spend a full nine days participating in the PAYS Dominica Yachting Festival. Two crew stay aboard the boat with me (Private Cabin) and three or four crew stay ashore at Mango Cottages for our 9 day stay in Dominica. There is a different price for staying ashore since you pay for your accommodations ashore directly to Eddison and Sylvia. We have been stayjng with them for the past eight years during the week. Google "Mango Cottages Dominica" to see more. Cathy has stayed twice and they are comfortable with full baths and internet. We also rent a car to get to and from the house which the crew staying in the house chip in for even though I make the reservations locally for the car. There is a fun race midweek to Mero and back on Thursday, but most of the time we will be in Portsmouth Dominica touring the island and taking part in the organized events of the week.

Price for two crew who will stay aboard with me $2,500 per person

Price to sail down with us and stay ashore $2,000 plus paying for accommodations. Studio is $92 per night and sharing the house with 2 bedrooms and 2 baths is half of $147 per night. There is a 10% discount since we stay longer than a week and we are repeat guests. There is an option to have a spouse join and stay in the bouse. They can fly down on a direct flight from Miami on American Airlines. I can tell you more if you are interested.

2nd Annual PAYS Dominica Yachting Festival

We only have 5 berths for OPO members to sail aboard Avocation. Three of the 5 stay ashore for the 2nd Annual PAYS Dominica Yachting Festival March 23 to March 31. Others are invited to visit by air and stay ashore nearby. If you are fortunate enough to have a boat or friends with a boat in the Caribbean make sure they know about visiting Dominica and in particular joining us for the event this winter.

I am writing and article for the Caribbean Compass (which is a free monthly newspaper type publication found all over the Caribbean and online). I will include the article in the January 1st "Notice to OPO Mariners" since it will also be in print by then. New this year is the expansion of the PAYS Model with 10 new moorings in Mero. Mero is a small beach community south of Portsmouth. On Thursday, March 28, of the Festival there will be a race to Mero followed by a party on the beach that afternoon and evening. The next day we sail back to Portsmouth and Toucari Bay for the Street Party Friday night. On Saturday the government usually sponsors a dinner at the Cabrits Fort. PAYS finishes with a Sunday BBQ in the Pavilion Sunday, March 31.

 

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

In 2024, we have distinct options!

Two-Week Option on Swan 48 Avocation or Swan 65 Aurora

St. Maarten to Newport RI - Fly into SXM on Monday, April 29, and travel home from Newport RI Wednesday, May 15. Sail aboard the Swan 48 Avocation or Swan 65 Aurora on this 1,500-mile passage with a two or three day stop in Bermuda. Crew arrives in time to settled aboard and spend two nights and a full day in SXM before we depart Wednesday. The odd midweek dates are to depart before the ARC Europe fleet does, so we arrive in Bermuda and depart Bermuda before they do. They also depart from IGY Marina in St. Maarten. This way we do not have to compete with them for attention in Bermuda. The passage gets split into two legs with the Bermuda layover. You get to apply what you learned on the first leg right away on this more challenging 2nd leg where you will cross the Gulf Stream into cooler waters. This is a great way to reinforce what you learned the first leg and improve on it.

If you wish to join the crew of Avocation or Aurora, please send me an e-mail and we can discuss your joining us for the trip. The cost for the passage is $4,500 which includes everything except your travel to and from the boat. It includes all onboard food, fuel, dockage, head tax and even towels and linen. It does not include travel to and from the boat and any meals and drinks ashore. Once we have agreed that you will be okay to join us we ask for a $2,000 deposit now and the balance is due 45 days before the passage. You can pay a deposit online at www.sailopo.com/store or by mailing a check. We prefer checks since it saves us credit card fees. Please make check out to Offshore Passage Opportunities and mail to OPO, PO Box 2600, Halesite NY 11743.

Three-Week Option on Swan 68 Aphrodite with Murray Jacob

Final details by January, 2024.

Fly into SXM on Monday, April 29, and fly home from Spain (we are still working on final details but think the boat will go back to Palma Mallorca). Sail with Murray Jacob sailing the Swan 68 Aphrodite from St. Maarten to Mallorca, Spain departing about the same time as the other two Swans. First stop may also include Bermuda weather dependent. A stop in Horta in the Azores is another usual stop before going through the Straights of Gibraltar and ending the passage in Spain.

If you wish to join Murray, please send me an e-mail and we can make sure you are ready for the Trans-Atlantic Crossing. The cost for the passage is $5,500 which includes everything except your travel to and from the boat. It includes all onboard food, fuel, dockage, head tax and even towels and linen. It does not include travel to and from the boat and any meals and drinks ashore. Once we have agreed that you will be okay to join us we ask for a $2,000 deposit now and the balance is due 45 days before the passage. You can pay a deposit online at www.sailopo.com/store or by mailing a check. We prefer checks since it saves us credit card fees. Please make check out to Offshore Passage Opportunities and mail to OPO, PO Box 2600, Halesite NY 11743.

2023 NARC Recap

2023 was the 24th and Last NARC Rally

For a recap from participant Charlie Doane who is the only NAR Rally boat that ended in Antigua rather than St. Maarten you can go to his blog at https://wavetrain.net/

It was another interesting year as it was the second passing of the torch on to the Salty Dawg Sailing Association. There were ten boats in the NARC Rally this year and fifteen boats in the Salty Dawg Rally contingent departing with the NARC out of Newport, RI. As you can read in Charlie's blog, five boats, including one NARC Rally boat, left one day early for Bermuda. All the other NARC boats left on time Saturday October 28. The bulk of the Salty Dawg Fleet delayed several days and did not stop in Bermuda. The debate about making Bermuda highly recommended stopover to break up the 1,500 miles passage rather than a bail-out option continues. Bypassing less expensive provisioning options and superior repair marine services in SXM is a disservice to education first timers to the Caribbean.

We will continue to promote sailing south in a Rally. The Salty Dawg Rally is the only option for next season. We are happy to help them with our contact in Newport or in Bermuda or in St. Maarten if they wish. No reason to not put 25 years' experience sailing the route to good use. I am happy to help answer any question for anyone who is planning to sail south with a stop in Bermuda and with contact in SXM.

Sincerely,
Hank Schmitt
OPO

 

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 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.    

 

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!

 

Crew

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

 

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!

 

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!!

 

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.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

More Testimonials

To view additional testimonials, please click here.