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.

NARC Rally to Sail Again in October

NARC Rally to Sail Again in October

Boats Heading South Can Leave From Newport, R.I. and Chesapeake Bay Area

HUNTINGTON, N.Y. (July 14, 2021) – Want to cruise south for the Winter? Do it with other like-minded sailors by joining the North American Rally to the Caribbean (NARC), which brings together boats on their annual pilgrimage south to the Caribbean from the U.S. East Coast and organizes socials, discounts ashore and shared weather routing. The NARC's 21st edition comes after a hiatus last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and is free for participants to join. Departure is scheduled for October 30 (or the best weather window near that date) from the longstanding participating port of Newport, R.I. For a third year, boats from the Chesapeake Bay area are invited to join the NARC at its first port visit in Bermuda (estimated time of arrival November 5-6) and enjoy a weekend of socials and camaraderie before departing again for St. Maarten.

2021 NARC Rally

Clockwise from upper left: NARC boats leave Newport Harbor for the 650 nm leg to Bermuda, first stop on the annual NARC; sunset offshore; Carribean paradise awaits in St. Maarten; crew of Namaste about to depart Newport; St. George's Harbor in Bermuda; crews from NARC gather for a banquet in Bermuda. (all photos by David Lyman)

The NARC rally is free with no per-boat fee to sign up. There is a $100 per-person fee for the socials, which include a dinner at Benjamin's Restaurant in Newport; a Sunday dinner at the St. George's Dinghy and Sports Club in Bermuda; and a wrap party at the Fat Turtle at IGY Marina in St. Maarten. Shared weather routing comes from WRI in upstate New York and discounts on dockage apply in Newport and St. Maarten.

"We are the only rally that offers an official stop in Bermuda," said NARC organizer Hank Schmitt who also is CEO of Offshore Passage Opportunities, a crew network service. He explained that the route to Bermuda encourages participants to sail there rather than motor sail into the Southeast Trades without stopping. "Boats departing from the Chesapeake Bay have to go east until you get near Bermuda anyway, so why not stop in for a fun visit with new friends from the Rally?" said Schmitt, who added that Bermuda's cruising permit fee is waived for rally participants, and for those who want to enjoy all that the island has to offer, there are four days of special events planned from November 9 through 12. (Nov. 11 is Remembrance Day holiday in Bermuda).

The final stop in St. Maarten is made extra special by a new partnership with the St. Maarten Marine Trades Association and Tourism Board, which is committed to lavishing NARC participants with 'The Friendly Islands' treatment. IGY Marina will offer two free days of dockage for each Rally boat and a 10% discount for as long as the boat stays; Budget Marine will offer Rally entrants extra discounts in a welcome package; FKG will offer free rigging inspection upon arrival and a 10% discount on any repairs determined as needed during that inspection. (More offers will be announced as they are developed).

"St. Maarten is the best place to make landfall after a long fall offshore passage and centrally located for cruising the best grounds in the Caribbean," said Schmitt. "The island is duty-free, and it has some of the best marine facilities and services in the Caribbean. There are American-sized grocery stores and Mega Stores and cheap rental cars in November. Some might want to make it their final base for the season or at the very least consider getting their boats checked, have repairs made, leave for the holidays and then return and re-provision to explore other parts of the Caribbean. (Schmitt highly recommended a stop in Portsmouth, Dominica).

2021 NARC Rally

Clockwise from left: NARC Rally organizer Hank Schmitt (photo by David Lyman), Sas van der Wouden and Max van den Pol, who will greet the boats and help with activities in St. Maarten.

New this year for St. Maarten, the NARC Rally will offer participants a schedule of select offerings, including an informal reception for early arrivals who need to rush off. For others, a second set of extra special days are scheduled from November 19 through 25, kicking off with the "Start of the Caribbean Sailing Season Party" at the IGY Isle Del Sol Marina on Saturday, November 20 and ending with a Thanksgiving gathering on November 25. They will be managed by the local professional promotions team of Sas van der Wouden and Max van den Pol, who will help greet the boats upon arrival and introduce participants to St. Maarten.

Sailors who do not have a ride and wish to participate can contact Schmitt and sign aboard a Swan in the OPO Offshore Swan Program to become a full working crew in the rally, sailing with a professional captain.

The NARC Rally started in 2000 when Schmitt organized 10 OPO skippers and crew to move a fleet of Swans from Newport, R.I. to the French side of St. Maarten in the Caribbean. With a departure date set for Newport in the Fall, he decided to invite other boats to join in an organized rally and has organized the annual passage ever since.

For more information on the 21st NARC Rally or opportunities through Offshore Passage Opportunities, contact Hank Schmitt, 1-800-4-PASSAGe, +1 631-423-4988 or visit www.sailopo.com

 

Read All About NARC 2021    NARC 2021 Sign Up

 

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!


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.

Fall, 2021 Swan Program Schedule

This always fills up quickly with OPO members as it is a short full two days on the water plus two days at the show including accommodations aboard right next to the show.

Huntington NY to the Annapolis Boat Show -  Arrive Sunday evening Oct 10th and depart Oct 11th aboard the Swan 48 Avocation with Hank Schmitt skippering both legs. Spend two nights aboard dockside next to the show and see the show Thursday and Friday (depart Friday am) - $1,200 all included except travel and meals ashore.

Annapolis Boat Show to Huntington NY after seeing the boat show - Arrive Friday Oct 15th and see the show Friday and Saturday and then sail back to Huntington NY aboard Avocation and travel home after 2 day sail Tuesday Oct 19th. $1,200 all included except travel and meals ashore.

Newport to St. Maarten in the NARC Rally

There are only two Swans sailing in the NARC Rally this October 30th to November 17th. But Andrew Burton will also join us with his 4 cabin Baltic 47 "Masquerade."

Crew Arrive in Newport Thursday Oct 28th and fly home from St. Maarten November 17th.

  1. Swan 48 Avocation with Hank Schmitt skippering
  2. Swan 65 with Johnathan Ishmael skippering
  3. Baltic 47 skippered by Andrew Burton*

The cost is $3,500 all-inclusive except travel to and from the boat and meals and drinks ashore outside of the rally socials schedule.

Trans-Atlantic and Feeder Passage Opportunities

We have three big Swans departing from the Canary Islands Nov 21st 2021. Arrive Nov 14th, up to one week early for any of the 3 trans-ats.

  1. Swan 68 Aphrodite with Murray Jacob skippering the boat in the ARC from Las Palmas to St. Lucia. $6,000 and is full (Wait list for cancellations).
  2. Swan 68 sailing from Santa Cruz Tenerife to St. Maarten with owner and friend Fabio Scalza aboard. $4,995 Nov 21st to Dec 10th.
  3. Swan 56 sailing from Santa Cruz Tenerife to Antigua with owner and repeat OPO skipper Andreas Jaunsen. $4,995 Nov 21st to about Dec 9th add a few days for a sail to Barbuda and back by Dec 13th for $500.

Feeder Legs from Las Palmas and Sweden to Canary Islands

  1. We also have feeder legs for both the Swan 68 with Tania Aebi and Maurizio sailing from Palma to the La Palmas Canary Islands 3 weeks from Oct 9th to Oct 30th. (Two berths left) $3,500 for 3 weeks all-inclusive except travel and meals ashore.
  2. Swan 56 from Henan Sweden to Tenerife Canary Islands Oct 16th to Nov 6th $2,000 all-inclusive except ravel and meals ashore. (4 berths left).

 

* Andy grew up sailing in the Pacific Northwest waters around Victoria, British Columbia. An avid dinghy racer, he started teaching at his father’s sailing school when he was 14 and at age 16, sailed aboard a wooden Hilliard-designed ketch from Victoria to San Diego, beginning a life-long appreciation for offshore sailing.

Since then he has logged more than 350,000 miles as a delivery skipper and owner of Adventure Sailing, a company he started to introduce sailors to offshore sailing using the Nautor Swan charter fleet in the 1990s and early 2000s. He is an excellent navigator using traditional and modern methods and is familiar with the waters of the Mediterranean, Caribbean, both coasts of North and Central America from Alaska and Nova Scotia to the Panama Canal, and Cape Town, South Africa.

Having completed seven trans-Atlantic passages and three Panama Canal transits, he has captained boats offshore as diverse as a production 31-foot sloop designed for the Caribbean charter trade, catamarans, and a 110-foot motor yacht.

 

Masquerade

Masquerade is a Finnish-built Baltic 47, one of the best production boats of her size in the world.

She has just undergone an extensive refit that included new refrigeration, a couple of new sails, new running rigging, a complete rig inspection that included replacing a couple of shrouds and re-heading the rest, and a complete B&G electronics package with a 12" Zeus plotter at the helm and 20/20s at the mast.

Accommodations consist of four cabins; the captain's cabin aft to port and three double cabins each with a comfortable upper and lower berth with lee cloth. The forward head has a manually operated toilet while the aft head features an electric toilet.

The galley, nav station, and roomy saloon complete the interior.

 

How to Qualify for a Passage

The more you know, the more you'll get out of your passage with Adventure Sailing.

No offshore experience is required, but if you have it, we will help you hone your skills.

In order to get the most out of your time at sea with us you should possess basic sailing skills such as how to "hand, reef, and steer." Especially, you should know how to steer a compass course. Most of our time at sea we won't be using the autopilot. Sitting in the cockpit watching "Otto" steer the boat does nothing to hone your skills, but steering in waves certainly does!

 

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.

 

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.

 

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

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!

 

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!

 

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.

 

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!!

 

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

 

Just wanted to let you know that NARC 2018 was a great experience. To me, the combination of Jonathan and the Swan 60 represented the absolute best in offshore passage making. I was very fortunate to be part of the adventure. Thanks for the opportunity, you and Jon have one big thumbs-up from me. I look forward to a long association with OPO.

 

More Testimonials

To view additional testimonials, please click here.