CLIENTS, COLLEAGUES & CREW COMMENTARY
Here are some observations and comments from folks we have taught, sailed with and/or worked for:
John contacted AMI through this web site in 2004 when he and wife Susan, "Sunny," purchased their 53' Amel Super Maramu 2000 and sought to transport it to from FL to TX with me as delivery skipper. Our full schedule did not allow us to skipper this trip, but when John contacted me again in July, 2010, to sail NOTRE VIE from Kemah, TX to Key West and on to St. Thomas, I made sure I could make the trip. They planned to cut the cord and make the leap into a new sailing life style in the Caribbean. I was more than delighted to help. This turned out to be a fine ride for me and an extraordinary experience for all aboard. See our comments about Nortre Vie voyage.
"David was relentless in his energy to have the boat fully prepared for the journey from Galveston to USVI. I am sure that we would not have had as ready a vessel for the journey without his thoroughness. The journey across the Gulf of Mexico was quite technical with heavy commercial traffic and a lot of rigs, David’s calm expertise took all of the stress from my shoulders and allowed me to learn a great deal instead. David’s ability to bring along two very enthusiastic, pleasant fee paying crew also greatly reduced the cost of the journey and at the same time provided us with two very solid additional crew members. In addition to the technical knowledge David passed along, we also garnered a great deal of practical experience that will enable us to enjoy our cruising lifestyle as we continue our journey through the Caribbean."
aboard NOTRE VIE somewhere in the Caribbean
Charles, student aboard ACADAME for a four day ASA 101 class with Maryland School of Sailing and Seamanship on the Chesapeake in August, 2008 had this to say:
"Man what a class! That was awesome…. David Appleton was our ASA101 instructor. He put us behind the helm the very first time we boarded AcaDame. David never touched the helm, neither halyard nor sheet the entire 4 days. We were literally a team before we knew it. His ability to communicate and calmly articulate commands put our class in a skipper and crew scenario in a mere minute. In my opinion this speaks volumes for David's experience as a Captain and his ability to teach".
Ian contacted me wishing to sail one of his WindPath fleet from Connecticut to Tortola in December 2005. It promised to be and proved out such, an adventuresome trip featuring a broken autopilot, a parted in mast main furling line (parted while hove to in gale + conditions at about 0200) forcing us to sail about 230 nm to Bermuda with just the genoa and hand steering. Thanks to his resourcefulness and the great attitude of the fine crew he brought with him, we were able to get to Bermuda, make repairs, and continue on to Tortola with little difficulty..... One of those trips you really learn a lot from, not only about the boat and the waters you sail, but about the people you sail with. His comments:
"David came aboard as captain on a delivery of a WindPath Catalina 400 MKII from Stamford, CT to Tortola BVI via Bermuda. His expertise and experience proved invaluable during the passage which offered plenty of severe weather, seas, and equipment malfunctions. David has the kind of salty experience that only thousands of hours of blue water passage making can provide, and he shares and teaches that experience and knowledge in an easy to digest and fun way. We would welcome David aboard any future passages as a valuable asset."
WindPath Sailing, Inc.
s/v BLUE TANG
Somewhere in the Caribbean
The Catamaran Company assigned AMI to skipper delivery of Harry’s new Lagoon 410, s/v BLUE TANG, from Fort Lauderdale, FL to Palacios, TX in November 2004 with Harry aboard as crew under instruction. New to Sailing, Harry then hired us to return to Texas in December to provide additional instruction working toward ASA certification. And in February of 2005 we skippered BLUE TANG back to Florida with Harry as Mate on an instructional delivery voyage. We then took her from Key West to St. Thomas, USVI in April ’05. Here’s what Harry has to say about our service:
“David is the best investment I have made on my Yacht. He works with me, not for me. My trips to Texas and back to Florida and on to the Caribbean were only possible because of David’s sailing knowledge and experience. For the voyages from Texas to Florida, and from Key West to St. Thomas he brought along unbelievably skilled and dedicated crew in Bruce and Daryl. If you want to be a better sailor and have your yacht delivered safely, I highly recommend that you use David Appleton.”
Captain F. Lee Tucker, USCG Licensed Master
DREAM CATCHER, IT'S ABOUT TIME, TEAL MONDAY, TAINUI & KINJA
(F. Lee Tucker, MD)
Wirtz, VA & Water Island, St. Thomas, USVI
Dr. Lee Tucker first joined us as Mate on a blue water training voyage from Norfolk to Marsh Harbor, Abaco in 1997 on s/v DREAMCATCHER, an IP 40, and again ’98 on s/v IT'S ABOUT TIME, an IP 38, between Bermuda and Norfolk. In ’99 we put together an instructional delivery on Lee and Mary Lynn’s IP 380, s/v TAINUI, sailing from Coco, FL to St. Thomas with Lee again serving as mate. In 2001 Lee was Mate for us on 2 training voyages between St. Thomas and Trinidad on the IP 45 s/v HALIMEDA. Later we sailed his IP 440 , s/v KINJA, from Little Creek VA to St. Thomas. Lee proved an excellent mate and a superb, discerning teacher (with us for over 5800 nm in this capacity) and extraordinary fisherman (always fresh fish for dinner when Lee’s aboard). Lee is a first rate teacher, and he’s now a USCG Licensed Captain and senior ASA Certified Sailing Instructor. He is one of our very select “Associate Skippers.” His comments:
“I have logged thousands of ocean and coastal miles with Capt. David Appleton as 1st Mate and ASA instructor between Norfolk, the Bahamas, Bermuda, the Virgin Islands and Trinidad. David is an outstandingly competent seaman, educator and captain with experience in rugged conditions in a wide variety of sailing vessels. David possesses a command of coastal, offshore and celestial navigation and marine weather which he uses to advantage in route planning and heavy-weather avoidance. He is capable of teaching, to the extent a student is able to absorb, the entire ASA curriculum including offshore passagemaking—an interest we have in common. David is genuinely concerned about the safety and well-being of his crew, prepares well for passagemaking and is a knowledgeable and resourceful on-board mechanic. There is no substitute offshore for experience and sound judgment, qualities David possesses in abundance.”
St. David’s, Bermuda
As a Senior Watch Officer for Bermuda Radio, Danny has made a number of voyages on freighters and yachts plying the North Atlantic in the vicinity of Bermuda to gain experience and a better understanding of the challenges vessels face as they approach and depart Bermuda, in order to better communicate with them. Dan joined us as Mate on s/v SAPPHIRE in December of 2001 from Bermuda to Marsh Harbor, Bahamas, and again in 2002 on s/v HUMA from Bermuda to Boston. Danny has this to say about his experience with us:
“The trip to Marsh Harbour in Great Abaco on s/v SAPPHIRE was full of new experiences. I got down under the sink and fixed a macerator pump, saving the owner the cost of a new one. Also, changed fuel filters underway, and refueled diesel from jerry cans also underway. The sailing was great, and very tricky the day before arrival. Encountering the remnants of a weak front, I got to see how several wide changes in wind direction were skillfully managed by our skipper. The passage through the reefs was eerie enough in the daytime, as the bottom is visible the whole time, and seems to always grow nearer!”
“Crossing the Gulf Stream enroute Boston from Bermuda on s/v HUMA presented little excitement since our weather window was uneventful. However, manoeuvring round Cape Cod and making the harbour approach during darkness gave us first hand experience of quickly learning and identifying unfamiliar Navaids and Lights. Careful study of the charts during off-watch daylight hours beforehand certainly paid the dividends of invested effort.”
Bob & Lesley Ward
Aboard s/v GRA’INNE
Bobby & Lesley were our students on their IP 350, GRA’INNE, for a number of ASA courses, from Bareboat Chartering on the Chesapeake to Advanced Coastal on a DelMarVa circumnavigaiton to a very interesting Ocean Passage Making training voyage to and from Bermuda discussed in our “From the Log” page .
“We decided shortly after purchasing Gra'inne, our Island Packet 350, that it would be a good idea to take the whole host of ASA courses on our own boat. Working with the Maryland School of Sailing and Seamanship, and with David Appleton as on-board instructor, we completed the Bareboat Chartering, Advanced Coastal Cruising (two DelMarVa circumnavigations), and the Ocean Passage Making (Virginia - Bermuda - Virginia cruise). David is a highly competent Captain as well as an excellent instructor. I would not hesitate to recommend David for any training, instructional delivery, or delivery that you might have. Plus, David is a very good friend now..........”
Captain Eric Petterson
DREAM CATCHER, EMILIA, SIRENA
Eric sailed with us on a ’97 training cruise from Marsh Harbor, Abaco, Bahamas to Norfolk, VA on s/v DREAM CATCHER an Island Packet 40, then later in ’97 as Mate a delivering IP 350 s/v EMILIA from Panama City, FL to St. Thomas as Mate, and again as Mate in 1998 in on the IP 45 s/v SIRENA from Annapolis to St; Thomas for the Island Yachts fleet. Eric is now a USCG Master, a senior ASA Instructor, and accomplished cruiser who has completed a transatlantic circuit with his wife, Carleen, on s/v ISLAND TIME, their IP 35. His comments:
“David Appleton and I met in 1997 he was the captain and instructor for my inaugural offshore training voyage. Since then I have crewed for him on several offshore passages. David's knowledge, experience and encouragement gave me the confidence and experience to do the sailing I had only dreamed about. Thanks to what I learned from him during our passages together, my wife and I have sailed to the Caribbean from the US twice, spending a total of four seasons there. And we are now completing a voyage across the Atlantic via Bermuda, the Azores, Madeira, the Canaries and back to the Caribbean. Something I never seriously thought that I would do. David has truly been an inspiration to me.”
Eric also had comments earlier, following his experience as Student crew in an ASA 108 class in April, 1997:
“…. David was captain/instructor with a crew of four students and a first mate. The purpose of the cruise was (for me) to gain experience and to receive instruction. During the cruise David focused his lessons both on the group as a unit, as well as on the individual students, since the level of knowledge varied substantially among the students. I particularly appreciated this individual attention.”
“During this passage we encountered severe weather. However, David’s ability to anticipate the weather and to calmly and methodically prepare kept the crew at ease. We were fully prepared when the storm arrived. When the weather finally subsided, David ensured there was time for relaxation while still ensuring that instruction was taking place. David’s knowledgeable and professional demeanor throughout the cruise was impressive.”
Captain Keith Jackson, ASA Instructor Evaluator
Colleague of mine at New Jersey Sailing School and perennial American Sailing Association “Teacher of the Year” (2000 through 2004), An ASA instructor Evaluator as well as USCG Captain’s License Instructor, Keith had this to say of his instructional delivery experience with us:
“The fact that you are reading this letter indicates that you are at least considering/dreaming about joining Captain David Appleton on an "Instructional Delivery" voyage. This letter is to inform you that you are about to have one of the most educational experiences of your life. You will get your money's worth.
“In April of 2001 I had the pleasure of being part of the crew delivering a 40 foot Island Packet, s/v MOONSTRUCK, from Miami, Florida to Oxford, Maryland. The experience starts weeks in advance when you receive your AMI-SOP manual. Reading over this book, you start to get a feel for the planning and work involved in setting up and extended cruise. Arriving at the boat you instantly become a part of the crew. Working with individuals that you have just met, you quickly bond with these people whom you will be living with 24 hours a day for the next several days.
"As a sailor you know that every day on the water is different. On my trip we were lucky to see a wide range of conditions while riding the Gulf Stream north from Miami to Cape Hatteras. We saw everything from flat calm seas with no wind to,……well let's just say it was exciting. At no time did I have any doubt in the ability of the Captain, the boat, and the crew. Most importantly, I also gained a lot confidence in myself.
"A delivery with David is not a pleasure cruise. You must be prepared to be a part of the crew and do all your jobs the best you can. David is also right there taking his turn at the helm, cooking and he even takes his turn doing the dishes in the bucket. Though this is a working delivery, the experience and memories are pleasurable, valuable and will last the rest of my life.”
Oct. 17, 2000
John joined us as Student Crew on the ASA 106 DelMarVa circumnavigation cruise in October of 2000 aboard s/v HALIMEDA. He sent his thoughts on the experience back to the MD School and to us. John and all our mates on this voyage proved up to the challenges offered by it. Here’s some of what he had to say in an email to the School shortly after this adventure:
“The Delmarva Circumnavigation trip, 10/6-13/2000 was the most fantastic trip I have ever taken. I have never worked so hard, been so tired, felt so exhilarated or sailed so much. As one of our crewmates put it “that was a profound experience.” We were challenged to our very core, but found strength in each other. What continued to amaze me during the whole trip, was the way we pulled together as a cohesive unit, all sharing tasks, none felt slighted because each, in turn got a chance at all assigned tasks. Captain David Appleton allowed each one enough room to make mistakes and to learn from those mistakes without endangering ourselves, our crewmates or the boat. David is a skilled teacher and a great sailing companion.
"David asked us to review the cover letter that he had sent before the cruise. I think that his letter covers quite completely the requirements and rigors of the trip. If anything, being prepared for the trip cannot be overemphasized. The physical, intellectual and spiritual demands should not be underestimated. I did try to prepare myself by reading and rereading the school material. The trip did challenge me in more ways than I could have ever imagined! I can not stress the importance of being prepared. So much is packed into those few days.
"Now that I have the trip to look back on, I support David in his comment that this trip should only be for those who have had the experience and training necessary to successfully grow from the experience. I know this is a judgment call from the school. In some cases a personal interview might weed out those that are along for the ride and unprepared for the extreme challenge facing them. I liken this particular trip to the outward bound of sailing. You need to be prepared emotionally, physically, and intellectually and be willing to participate as a team and to learn and thrive in that environment. That is not to say that my fellow crew members and I were not prepared. I think that all of us did in fact have the skills and abilities and the drive to succeed. I think that our team did that and more.”
Aboard s/v SHOOT THE BREEZE
St Thomas, USVI
We skippered s/v SHOOT THE BREEZE, Horst’s Island Packet 350, on an instructional delivery to the Virgin Islands in 1998 and again from St. Thomas to Punta Gorda, FL in 2004. We engaged Horst and his friend Mack in some passage making training on the way as we ducked under and escaped Hurricane “MITCH” which passed some 450nm North of our position in early November ’98 creating havoc with the Caribbean 1500 fleet that year. Here’s what Horst had to say after the first voyage:
“In October 1998 I had an opportunity to sail with David Appleton as Delivery Skipper on my newly purchased Island Packet 350 from Norfolk, VA to St. Thomas USVI. David had made this trip many times before and was very familiar with every aspect of this twelve-day passage. He was highly recommended by several individuals, who used him in the past. During the trip he showed time after time that he had what it takes to make any crew comfortable. His teaching skills as far as boat handling made me a much better sailor.
I learned to respect David as a teacher, as well as a Skipper and friend….”
Rock Hall, MD
October 4, 1998
Skip sailed with us as Student Crew during the MDSS ASA 106 DelMarVa Circumnavigation course in September, 1998.
“I want to compliment you both, your organization and especially our instructor, David Appleton on a very worthwhile experience. David’s teaching techniques and considerable knowledge allowed all of us to strengthen our weaker skills and expand our stronger points. All the topics and exercises outlined in the manual were covered and re-covered on a daily basis until they became “automatic.” This served us well for weather ranged from calm to 30 to 40 knot winds through the night. We were fortunate no one got seasick and all could share fully in the activities.
David also provided plenty of ‘extras,’ just a few included:
1. DR without GPS
2. Challenge to locate unlighted buoys at night
3. proper setup and use of preventer
4. Use of David Appleton’s patented “one dollar autopilot”
5. One hand blindfolded tying of a bowline
There were many more helpful “hints” and techniques that come from years of experience, all of which helped us to become better sailors and provided an “eye opener” for offshore cruising.. Again, my thanks…… for giving us this great experience.”
Aboard s/v HABANERO
June 29, 1998
Sue joined us as Student Crew on the MDSS ASA 106 DelMarVa Circumnavigation course in May of 1998.
“Just wanted to let you know that the confidence we gained on the DelMarVa is helping us both tremendously. We are one week into our big circumnavigation of Long Island and haven’t hit anything or engaged in a homicide or suicide yet.
….you really made a difference in our lives, and I thank you. Although I’m still overly cautious (and a little neurotic), the practical skills we learned with you have really turned this vacation from a terror train ride into a great adventure.”
Aboard s/v FIDDLER’S GREEN
Oct. 6, 1997
Bob sailed as Student Crew on MDSS ASA 106 DelMarVa Circumnavigation course in September, 1997.
“Once again, I would like to thank you for providing Mark, Bob, Jeff, Andy and myself a great learning experience on your most recent DelMarVa cruise. When I initially signed up…. I was apprehensive of my abilities and knowledge to partake in an advanced coastal sailing course not having had any formal on-the water instruction other than first hand experience. I was, however, extremely excited about what I was about to learn, not only related to boat handling and those related skills, but also what I would learn about myself in handling the rigors of 6 days of more intense sailing than I am normally accustomed to.
Now that the cruise is over and even during the cruise, I never questioned my ability to handle any of the situations we faced. I gained a new level of confidence in myself and in things I would experience I could handle on my own (with my wife). Some of the things such as night sailing, I would have been more cautious on my own, but now I even more fully understand the need to be able to utilize skills quickly and in adverse conditions, that the luxury of time is not always present. In addition, I have become even more aware of the need to practice skills (navigation, MOB, etc.) and the need for my wife to have the same skills and same level of confidence of handling situations on the water.
Again, thanks for your leadership, instruction and patience during the trip.”
Captain Tom Tursi, President
Maryland School of Sailing & Seamanship
We worked with Captain Tom Tursi and his Maryland School of Sailing beginning in 1993 through 2001 as an Instructor in all levels of the ASA curriculum, and helped develop and refine the DelMarVa circumnavigation and Bermuda Ocean Passagemaking Training. The training voyages I taught and supervised for this remarkably fine school took me from the Chesapeake Bay to Mystic, CT through NYC Harbor, to Bermuda to St. Thomas, USVI and all the way to Trinidad! Here’s what Tom had to say:
Captain David Appleton of New Hope, PA has taught for the Maryland School of Sailing & Seamanship since 1993 and has done an outstanding job in all respects.
He has taught in all of our on board course levels including basic sailing, coastal cruising, bareboat chartering and ocean passagemaking on auxiliary sailing yachts in the 30 to 40 foot size range. These have been in the Chesapeake Bay, coastal waters along the Atlantic Coast, and the open ocean waters between Norfolk and the Bahamas including the Cape Hatteras and Gulf Stream areas.
Captain Appleton has always performed in a very thorough, professional and seamanlike manner and has been entirely honest in his work. Also, he relates very well to his students and establishes a friendly atmosphere which is conducive to learning and enjoyment: Many of his students become good friends with Captain Appleton and maintain a friendly relationship long after the courses are completed.
I have known Captain Appleton during this entire time and have worked closely with him in setting up and conducting these courses. I highly recommend him to any future employer.
John M. Facciola
John joined the Maryland School of Sailing ASA 103 –104 class in May of 1995. It was a great experience for all, including me (sometimes it all works!), and John felt compelled to write these comments to Capt. Tom Tursi, MD School Head Master:
“I just finished taking courses 103 and 104 with David Appleton and… I wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed the courses and how beneficial I found them This was due in great measure to the unfailing professionalism, patience, and dedication of David Appleton. He was an excellent teacher with ferocious dedication to his students’ learning all they possibly could from him. He never seemed to get tired and simply refused to relent until every topic was covered and every skill learned. It was a remarkable performance and he deserves the highest praise.”
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