November 6th Newsletter

Still lots of Sailing at Sound Sailing Center!

With the warm weather so far this fall, we have kept all the boats in service, except for the Contest 36 in Mystic.  Even better, a warm winter has been forecast, and unlike the past 2 winters, we will likely be sailing all winter.   Of course, Frostbiting on the Ensigns is another option, and the VAr 37 membership has 1-2 spots available and will be doing the Offshore Passage to Bermuda and St Thomas at the end of November (see below).  While in St Thomas, we will offer several Flotilla cruises for members this winter.    Of course, VAr 37 members have the option of using her in the Virgins this winter.

Bosun Chair flying as demo’d by Martin jr. off St Thomas, USVI
Memberships make a great gift, and by signing up now, you pay 2015 rates for 2016.  Rates will go up 6-8% next year, and students or returning members get an additional 5% off.
Audrey back in the thick of it!
Frostbiting every Sunday
SSC is pleased to offer Frostbiting again on every Sunday from October 25th to December 27th, with a New Year’s Race on January 1st 2015!  Rigging starts at noon with the first start at 12:30.  The final race will start by 2pm.
We had 4 Ensigns on the line last weekend, with some really close finishes.  We were glad to see Audrey Nohre back out on the water, after a long summer of rehab following a foot injury, with several bullets out there.  Dave Fergemann as usual was super competitive and finished in second overall, except for his last race where he was on the wrong side of a big wind shift.  Mark Cooper is moving up, and finished 2nd in the last race.  Our newest member, David Ashcroft did his check out with Sean while racing, and they managed 2 second place finishes.
 As before, members can race for free as crew.  Non-members can race for $20.   Kids race for free.  All crew who are not your kids would still need to fill out a registration form and pay the $20 per person fee. 
One design racing is the best way to refine your sailing skills, and learn what makes a boat fast.  We guarantee you will become a better sailor, and of course, the thrill and excitement of racing is great fun.   We look forward to seeing you out there.  Please use our MeetUp page to sign up for racing;

Sound Sailing Center MeetUp Page

Ocean Passage / Basic Cruising Class
Last call to sign on for our Ocean Passage south 2015!  Please get your registration form in this week.   Our Var 37 will be Captained by Martinus van Breems.  Frank Finoglio will Captain his  Hanse 400 ‘Bermuda High’ (formerly owned by SSC). The cost for the Ocean Passage (including food) is $2,350, or $1,980 for members.   You will have to pay transportation expenses, along with custom / immigration fees. Note that repeat students pay 1/2 price, and those who have done it more than 2x pay just a share of expenses.
10-12′ Ocean Swells are the norm.
The VAr 37 Northbound Crew 2015
We will meet on Saturday, Nov 21st from 9-3pm to review weather, the boat, and head out to practice reefing and man over board drills.  Bring appropriate sailing gear  (there is a list below) and lunch.   We may make a run to West Marine, where you can buy gear at our discounted prices.
Friday, November 27th  - Basic Cruising Class, Norwalk to Mystic.  The passage from Norwalk down the Sound will be run as a Basic Cruising Class on the VAr 37, with stops in 4 harbors per student to practice the Basic Cruising drills.  We have space for one more student.  Bermuda High will depart from Norwalk and head straight to New London or Mystic.   All crew should drop off their gear by thursday if they can not join us on friday.
Saturday, November 28th.  Earliest departure from Mystic.  Note that we often have a 2-3 day delay (or longer) to find an appropriate weather window.
Thursday Dec 3rd.  Earliest arrival in Bermuda.
Friday, December 4th  Likely arrival in Bermuda,  2nd leg crew should arrive if possible.  Of course, we will have a very good idea if we will be leaving on Nov 28th by Nov 24th, allowing a week in advance to purchase tickets.  An incentive to arrive by Friday evening is the massive party in St George from 6-9pm, with many events including lots of the finest homes open to the public and serving all sorts of amazing food and libations!


Sat, Dec 5th   Earliest departure Bermuda.
Sun, Dec 6th   Likely departure Bermuda.
Friday Dec 11th – Likely arrival in St Thomas.   We normally spend the first night upon landfall moored off Caneel Bay, a lovely resort in St John, and have breakfast there in the morning.   A well deserved treat!
The Gulf Stream welcoming committee!


July 21st Newsletter

A lovely sail on the VAr 37.


Summer Sailing is Here!
Summer is here and as usual, some of the larger boats in the fleet will be making extended passages.   The Contest 36 and VAr 37 will be making several one week cruises.   The Contest is already in Mystic Shipyard East, and the VAr 37 will join her in August.  Mystic Shipyard East is a lovely, resort style marina with a pool just steps away from our slip.   From Mystic, Shelter Island or East Hampton / Montauk are less than 2 hours away, while Block Island is just 3 hours away.
The Sweden 340 is available and perfect for longer passages, with all the gear and lots of availability for that week long August cruise.   There are only 5 days reserved in August so far.  There are only 3 days reserved on the Hanse 320 in August, so lots of availability.


Martin’s kids discover new uses for the sailbags !


Sailing the Clearwater 35 back to Norwalk.


Future Key West Bow Person!


We strongly encourage members to work together to book time so you can enjoy one way trips.  From Mystic, a great spot to switch is at Marion MA, which offer a lovely harbor at the top of Buzzards Bay.    Jamestown, across from Newport, is another great spot to change over.  One way trips allow you cover far more territory without the need to change over the boat.   The best sailing of the year starts now, with warmer water and the SW breeze kicking in.  We hope to see you out there soon!


Our Ensign fleet, with the Pearson 37 and Var 37 in the background.


Summer Ensign Racing Starts this Thursday!
Our summer Ensign Racing program starts this Thursday, July 23rd from 6-8pm and runs to September 10th.  Members can Captain an Ensign for free this thursday, thereafter members can race for free or captain a boat for $20.   Non-members should go to our Meetup page to sign up.   We look forward to seeing you out there!



Class Update

Kids Camp.  Cat and Thomas are doing an awesome job with our Kids Camp.  After a very busy start, we have some spaces available in August.

Intro to Sailing and Basic Keelboat.  New classes start every week.  Right now we are booked into the 2nd week of August, but we are looking to add some classes.  Now might be the perfect time to start your passage to becoming captain of your own vessel.   We often get people for checkouts who have taken lessons elsewhere.   If the program includes a membership component, so that you can use the programs boats after the classes are done, the quality of the instructions is almost always better.  The programs with no membership component often seem to be little more than glorified 3 hour cruises.

Basic Cruising.  We have a new class this weekend with one opening (a student had to drop out).  This class starts at 10am on friday, with an evening session on thursday from 6-9pm.  We will also conduct an extra make up session for cover the material from the first evening session.   This class is taught by Martin, and is a great intro into the basics of cruising.  The pics below are from the class from last weekend.




Fleet Update
Big Fleet news is that we are getting the Clearwater 35 in shape, so Midrange (Hanse 320-Contest 36) members will have a new option available soon.  Last week we sanded and revarnished all the floorboards on the inside.  We rebuilt all the winches this week, and have done lots of little jobs.  A big question is do we keep the tiller or switch over to a wheel.  We may also go to a lifting keel but that is for next year.  The draft right now is 7′.  The Clearwater was the overall Sailing World Boat of the Year in 1988, an impressive award indeed, and is classic American yacht built by a very good yard.
Ensigns:  Vim has new bulkheads and her bottom will be painted this week.   Courageous is getting her bottom painted now.
Oday 240:  She is starting to go out and is part of our new Ensign + program.    Perfect for local overnights.
Sabre 30.  Seguin is up in Mystic East (which offers easy access by Amtrak).  The channel is somewhat shallower than last year.   Plan on heading in/out at half tide. Sabre 30 members can also sail the electric Pearson 37 Friendship out of Norwalk for the Sabre 30 rate.
Pearson 37′s.  Matinicus just had her bottom painted, and we also repitched the prop, so the motor can be run to 2500 rpms (max is 2800).   We will be adding solar panels to Friendship, the electric Pearson, for extended range when motoring.


Our new Clearwater 35 and the Sweden 340.  Classic American and European yachts.




Mid Range.   All 3 midrange boats, the Hanse 320, Sweden 340 and Contest 36 (in Mystic) are now in service and ready for your use, with the Clearwater coming online soon.   Our most popular membership category.
VAr37.  The 37 is reserved for most of August up Mystic, with one member handing off to another member at various points heading up to Martha’s Vinyard.  The Contest 36 will likewise see lots of extended trips.   The Var 37 will be heading to the Newport and Annapolis shows in the fall, and then south to Miami for the winter.   Cuba anyone?!!



January 23rd Newsletter

Key West Race Week 

January 19-23, 2015

Going to windward en route to our best finish so far.

(KWRW) is one of the premiere racing events in the US with about 200 boats competing.  We brought our VAr 37 and have been racing with 6 SSC people including Martin and Sean.

Our foredeck team – Alice, Jason and Mark.

The first three days of racing had atypical light winds – not ideal for a medium displacement Cruiser Racer like our VAr 37. We finished in 4th place for the first 3 days consistently beating the only a similar Racer Cruiser – a C&C 121. We initially had an impossible PHRF rating of 90.  By yesterday out rating was 105 and we were up to a more typical12-15 knots. Our finishes tightened up till we finally placed ahead of a J80 in the strongest wind over the last race.

Andrea did an awesome job keeping us fast downwind. 

Over the past 4 days we have set, jibed and taken down the chute some 28 times.  We are getting pretty darn good at it and at the end of each day we are all ready to relax a bit.  Of course – keeping more of the fleet behind us is extremely exciting!

The crew has been awesome.  Our spin sets and jibes have been near perfect and everyone is doing a great job calling out the numerous wind shifts.  Upwind we have been taking turns driving and doing the starts.  Downwind we have Alice on the bow, Jason at the mast, Sean and Martin grinding and Andrea driving.  Great fun!

44th Newport International Boat Show September 11 – 14

Dear Members and Friends,

It’s that time of year – Boat Show Season! The 44th Newport International Boat Show at the Newport Yachting Center is this coming weekend.  Our VAr 37 will be on view at Dock . Read below for all the information about the 2014 Newport Boat Show.

Due to Popular Demand, We have created an “SSC Members Board” on the SSC website. We are listing members who are looking for other members to sail with or looking for crew. Please contact us for more information and to get your contact information listed.

Have you been putting off taking our Basic Cruising Course? Well, now is the time to sign up! There are still openings to get your Basic Cruising Certification while sailing the VAr down to Annapolis for the Boat Show in October. We set sail from Norwalk on Friday, October 3rd. We will arrive in Annapolis late Sunday afternoon.  You can sign up for this Basic Cruising Course at our website These trips are some of our Members’ favorite memories of Sound Sailing Center.

Our classes are filling up for the rest of the season as well. If you would like to improve your sailing skills to prepare for a Winter Charter Cruise in the Islands or get your spouse into a class to find her passion for sailing (and to help you crew) – sign up on our website at “Instruction”.

We really appreciate the efforts of our Members in following the procedures to sign up for their boats on our online appointment system, as well as taking the boats they are assigned and not taking another boat from the dock. Many Thanks!!

Happy Sailing!

Martin van Breems

2014 Newport International Boat Show

The exciting Newport International Boat Show at the Newport Yachting Center is this weekend September 11 - 14, the hours are 10 – 6 each day. Newport, the Epicenter of the Yachting World, is the location for this prestigious event. This show encompasses 13 acres of Newport’s famed waterfront to see all the latest boats the Industry has designed for 2015.  You will be able to stroll along the docks and peruse the magnificent boats – ready for boarding and review. There are also lots of fascinating exhibits and presentations to experience. Along with fabulous boats there is also plenty of fabulous food and drinks available at many spots throughout the Show. It is a day well spent for the sailing enthusiast and truly an experience you will never forget. Come visit Martin on the VAr and stop by the Dutchman Booth to see Rob and Sean.

Newport Parking

The Newport International Boat Show offers parking at Easton’s Beach, located at 175 Memorial Boulevard, Newport. Parking is $15 per vehicle and shuttle service is included in the price of the parking space. The parking lot is open daily from 8 am to 8 pm and the shuttle service runs daily from 8 am to 8 pm as well. A parking pass may be purchased online when buying tickets or, to order by phone, call 800.745.3000. Parking pass purchases online are available in advance only and subject to availability.

Basic Cruising Class to Newport

Beautiful Sail on the VAr to Newport

We have had perfect weather for our Basic Cruising Class on the VAr to Newport. Martin hopped off at Noank so the students could do their practice solo cruise to Block Island. We are so proud of how well the students have been docking and showing their sailing expertise. Sign up now to be part of our Basic Cruising Class to Annapolis. It will be a class you will never forget!