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.

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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.

Join Us for NARC 2023!

Learn About NARC 2023

Each year hundreds of boats sail south in the fall from North America to the Caribbean or east from Europe via the Canary Island to the same West Indies. While many make the passages on their own, a growing number of boat owners sign up in organized rallies. What is a rally? Like the caravans of old where travelers were tethered by strings of camels traveling between oases, offshore rallies today tether their boats by AIS, e-mail and satellite trackers.

Many people buy boats to be free to do what they want when they want. Very often weather patterns dictate the best times to depart to popular cruising grounds. How do you convince a bunch of free-spirited people to follow a schedule? Offer discounts and socials to entice registration and then deliver on what you promise.

2021 NARC Rally

The NARC Rally was started in 2000 when Hank Schmitt, who runs the "Offshore Passage Opportunities" (OPO) crew network, started moving a fleet of Swan Charter yachts that needed to be moved twice a year between the French St. Martin and Newport. Since there were ten Swans departing together Hank decided to invite other boats to join their departure at the end of Hurricane Season. The charter company went out of business a long time ago but Hank kept the Swan Program and NARC Rally going. What once was mostly a group of professionals moving boats from one sailing center to another has morphed into a rally. The goal was to help the amateur sailor sail south in company with a core group of professional skippers who have completed the passage hundreds of times between them. Since the purpose of the rally was never to make money, the rally remains free with a per head fee for socials and meals ashore.

Sign Up!


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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.

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
OPO

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

 

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

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 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.

 

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 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

 

Crew

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!!

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

More Testimonials

To view additional testimonials, please click here.