Considering a Trek? Here's what you need to know

You've heard about Trekr. You've seen the pics. And now you're curious. Here is what you need to know when considering a sailing adventure with us.

First, prepare for the adventure of a lifetime. We travel to exotic places, board luxury yachts and sail from island to island to see some of the most beautiful sights in the world. Trekr makes this possible by doing the work so all you need to do is show up.

Getting There

Sometimes we are asked if we sail to the places we are going to explore. We do not. We work with two of the largest sailing charter companies in the world. They have bases all over the world and we travel to those bases and board the yachts there. Accordingly, part of your journey is the travel to the destination we will be sailing from, such as Greece, Thailand, Belize, Tahiti and more. We can provide advice planning your travel into and out of the port city, as well as lodgings and excursions before and after our week of sailing. 

The Yachts

While we are sailing, we stay on the yachts. The luxury sailing catamarans we sail on are very comfortable. Each of the four cabins are large enough for two guests, and the yachts have showers and toilets. Upstairs, there is a large saloon with a full galley, refrigerator, freezer, navigation station, dining area, stereo system and a nearly 360 degree view. The deck provides plenty of space to be social and relax, both on the forward and aft of the yacht. The interior is air conditioned to provide maximum comfort for guests. The yachts are supplied with linens and towels.

Typical Day

Each day begins with breakfast, showers, bathing off the back of the boat, morning coffee and a briefing on the day's plans. Then we get underway for the day's adventure, usually sailing 3-4 hours. Depending on the destination, we may tie up at a dock, attach to a mooring buoy or drop anchor for the night. If we are at a dock, you have constant access to shore. If we are anchored or moored, each yacht has a dinghy that is used to shuttle guests from yacht to shore.

Once the yacht is secured, guests have the options to explore the new destination, enjoy excursions that are offered for the day, go snorkeling around the yacht or nearby beaches, or simply relax on the yacht for the afternoon. The evening may include dinner on the yacht or on shore with your fellow boat mates, hosting another yacht for cocktails or enjoying drinks on the island. You can read more about a typical day here.

Sailing & Provisions

You do not need to know how to sail. Each yacht comes with a certified and experienced skipper. If you are interested in learning about sailing, your skipper is happy to answer your questions and teach you whatever you'd like to learn. You are welcome to help as much as you want or not be involved in the sailing at all. Ways that you can help the skipper include tying lines when we dock, helping to attach to a mooring buoy, helping to drop and lift the anchor, helping raise or lower the sails and helping trim the sails. How much adventure you want is up to you.

Trekr will help you provision your yacht. In advance of the Trek, you and your boat mates will select a "kitty master" and decide how much you each will contribute to the "kitty", which is a pool of money that is used for shared expenses. That includes food, drinks, docking fees and any other expenses that everyone agrees upon, with guidance from your skipper.

Provisions are ordered in advance as much as possible to provide the convenience of having provisions delivered directly to your yacht. Other provisions, such as perishables and local fare, can be purchased upon arrival. Throughout the week's adventure, you will provision as needed at local stores or marina shops. Sometimes, you will pass fishermen while underway and can buy fresh seafood just out of the water.

Sleeping Arrangements

Guests on Trekr trips come in all shapes and sizes. We have folks who come alone, come with a partner or spouse, some share a cabin with a friend and some charter a whole boat. No matter where you fall, Trekr will work with you to ensure an enjoyable experience of your yacht. We do this by getting to know our guests in advance and pairing them up with other guests who are expecting similar experiences. As an example, we put together guests who plan to be to bed early and up early in the morning rather than mixing them with guests who plan to enjoy the bars and nightclubs.

Cost

Trekr provides the most affordable way to sail in exotic places around the world. The value that we bring our customers is to provide all of the planning, logistical and technical aspects needed for a week of sailing on a luxury yacht. Here is a breakdown in the costs and what is included in each:

What you pay to Trekr:

$1499 - This is the cost that covers your spot on the yacht for one week and a certified skipper to sail the yacht.

$60 - In order to cover the liability of damage to the boat, Trekr charges each guest for a damage liability waiver.

$135 - For peace of mind and safety, Trekr requires all guests to have comprehensive travel insurance that covers everything from trip cancellation to medical evacuation. This fee can be waived if your credit card provides a comprehensive travel insurance.

Any excursions you choose to participate in before, during or after the Trek will carry an additional cost.

What you don't pay Trekr:

⁃Kitty contribution. As discussed above, each boat determines the amount each guest contributes to shared expenses.

⁃Travel. Each guest is responsible for his or her travel to the Trek's departure point.

If you have any other questions, we are here to answer them. You can message us on our Facebook page, contact us on the live option here on the website or through the contact page on the website. We hope you'll join us on an adventure soon! Here is a list of all upcoming treks: www.trekr.org/treks.

Trekr Racing is returning to the British Virgin Islands in 2018

By Charles Carson

Earlier this year, Trekr Racing debuted in grand fashion at the British Virgin Islands Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival. Of the nine of us on the team, only three had ever participated in a major sailing race before. Most of us were first-timers and were anxious to experience all aspects of what the week of racing would bring. It ended up being one of those adventures that each of us will always remember with excitement and fondness. As fellow sailor Hilary Howes said, "I had the most amazing time with the Trekr Racing crew on just an every minute fun way."

Trekr just announced that we are going back to the BVI Spring Regatta, which is March 26 - April 1, 2018. And I’m particularly excited we’re not just returning, but we are also expanding and opening up the opportunity for more LGBT sailors to join in this life-changing experience.

You do not need to have experience racing and do not have to have much experience sailing. Seasoned skippers will be on hand to show you the boat you will be sleeping on and racing. There will be plenty of time to learn about each of the positions on the team. Before racing, you and your team will take the boat out and practice everything you need to know. In no time, you will practically be an expert!

Once the races get underway, the week settles into a pattern. Each morning, we get up and begin to prepare ourselves and sailboat for the day’s race(s). Your skipper will brief your team on the plans for the day once notified by the race committee. Soon after, we get underway to the starting line and before you know it, we are racing! Some days, there is more than one race. On others, there is only one. Those days, you can choose to have a leisurely sail to a nearby island for some swimming and fun in the sun.

In the evenings, we meet our competition on friendlier terms. Each night there is a big beach party, with music and dancing. You will meet sailors from all over the world: some will be professionals manning the big, magnificent gunboats; some will own and race their own boats; and some (like us) will be chartering a sailboat to experience the thrill of racing in the beautiful British Virgin Islands. Some sailors have been attending this Regatta for decades and others will also be first-timers. You will find that all are welcome and friendly!

Trekr aims to do two big things: increasing visibility and participation of LGBT people and our allies in the sailing and yachting world. Last year was a great success on both goals: our presence was covered by major media outlets, and we were welcomed with open arms by the Race Committee and other racers.

Now we’ve set our sights on next year. We plan to have an even larger presence in the regatta, with two boats racing in 2018. We want to continue to draw from a diverse cross-section of the LGBT community. 

If you’re interested in being a part of the Trekr Racing team for the 2018 Regatta, you are invited to join the experience! More details and registration information are available here.

Trekr helps reduce plastic waste

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One of the very first things you learn about when becoming a sailor are the things that are done to protect the oceans, rivers, bays and waterways. Very strong international treaties dictate a great deal of this. Often, national or state laws also play a role. Sometimes, the most important part is when we decide to go even further to do out part.    

Trekr strives to always go above and beyond expectations. On our trips, we do our part to separate recyclable materials from non-recyclables. Most marina's accept both. However, it is a big burden on most small islands to handle the volume of trash and recyclables left behind by sailors and yachties. 

In order to cut down on plastic recyclables, Trekr has opted to forgo the purchase of individual bottles on our Treks. Instead, we provide our Trekrs with individual water bottles that can be reused throughout the week of their Trek and when they return home.

The water bottles are super useful and can be used at all kinds of times. For instance, they can be used when suntanning or when cooking!

The reusable water bottles can also be used when exploring the islands, for morning hydration or <gasp!> when working!!! 

In today's times when we are seeing the effects of climate change, we all should be mindful of the small things we can do to help. This is one small way that Trekr helps to empower our customers to do their part. We are proud to do so and committed to finding additional ways to make our Treks as environmentally friendly as we can.

Trekr Pride in the US & Europe!

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It is June, and that means the start of the LGBT Pride season.  Pride is celebrated in June to honor the 1969 Stonewall riots that took place in New York City.  It is a time of reflection and opportunity to both strengthen and invigorate the greater LGBT community.  

At Trekr, we celebrate pride and embrace diversity on every Trek.  It is our commitment to provide an inclusive and accepting experience for all of our guests.  You may have noticed in our photos that we fly the LGBT flag proudly on every yacht in our flotillas – this is by design.  We want everyone, regardless of their sexual identity, to experience the wonders of yachting around the globe.  

As we celebrate during this time of the year, Trekr invites you to come out and meet our team.  We will be traveling to various LGBT pride events around the world this summer and fall.  

We would love to meet you and share more about what makes a Trekr Adventure a truly magical experience.

Here is where you can find us – just look for the large Trekr Adventures logo at our booth and say hello!  

Washington, DC Capital Pride -- June 11

Philadelphia, PA Pride -- June 18

San Antonio, TX Pride -- July 1

London (England) Pride -- July 8

Austin, TX Pride -- August 26

Philadelphia, PA Outfest -- October 8

Ian Foss: How Trekr nurtured my sense of adventure

Ian Foss (left) and fiancee Terry Horner (right) in Thailand 

Ian Foss (left) and fiancee Terry Horner (right) in Thailand 

The vastness of the ocean fills Trekrs with sense of how magnificent the world really is. It’s hard not to get swept up in the vastness of the sea and a limitless horizon. The Trekr Thailand Adventure in December of 2015 was particularly moving for one Trekr, Ian Foss. In Southeast Asia he was able to experience the quiet beauty of the ocean and the limitless horizon. Along the way, he achieved personal growth and overcame a long held fear.

One of Ian’s most memorable experiences on the trip happened late at night when he decided to sleep out on the trampoline, the netted area in the front of the catamaran. He and his partner Terry spent the time with a fellow Tekr, Justin, gazing at the stars. “We were in an area in Thailand that didn’t have much light pollution. Bangkok was far away and you could see wisps of the Milky Way.” On the boat, "you’re more apt to be struck by the sense of awe and wonder because you drop inhibitions when you’re so far removed from who you are in your day-to-day life. We were lying there in total silence, looking at the distant Andromeda galaxy, and wondering.”

During the trip, Ian’s perspective began to shift. He realized how much the experience was changing him when he went snorkeling. Ian had always been simultaneously fascinated by the ocean and scared by it too. Ian recounted, "We went snorkeling once when I was younger and it was not a good experience. So, I brought my young teenage trauma to snorkeling in Thailand. Terry, one of the best qualities about him, is that he pushes me to do things I normally wouldn’t do, but he always makes me feel safe about it. That’s how it went with snorkeling.”

In Thailand, Terry, Ian and a group of Trekrs hitched a ride on a Thai long-tail boat for snorkeling. When Ian hit the water, he couldn’t breathe. “The snorkel gear was malfunctioning. Terry fixed it. It was still scary. Terry told me to try again.  And, I did—reluctantly. Eventually, the fear melted away and my heart rate slowed down. My eye caught something that was so beautiful and I was transfixed in the water. Time slowed down. It was wonderful.”

Ian and Terry are excited to join the upcoming trek to Tahiti. The South Pacific archipelago has “captured my imagination. Before Thailand, I would have said that  I wasn’t a tropical person, that my idea of a beach is the coast of Maine. Thailand was the opposite from Maine in every way—in a good way. I saw the water change to that aquamarine color and I relaxed into the speed of the tropics. Now that I’m converted to the tropical cause, I can’t wait to see what the South Pacific has in store.”

Join Ian in Tahiti and see where your life goes.

Creating a culture of safety

Earlier this year, we posted a piece called "Safety First!", which detailed the experience that some members of Team Trekr had when we took the STCW course at the Marine Professional Training school in Fort Lauderdale. It was meant to show you that we value your safety and are doing what it takes to be ready for anything.  

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Our Treks are experiences that most people would be lucky to have once in a lifetime. Nearly all of our previous customers have already gone on a second trip or are signed up for it. That's because it is a load of fun and Team Trekr does a lot of work on the back end to ensure a stress free experience for all of our Trekrs.

Doing a weeklong sailing trip can be a daunting task, especially for a first time sailor. Most of our first-time customers have never sailed before and can attest to all of the initial questions that come to mind: who will skipper?, what are the cabins like?, where do we get food?, do we need to know how to sail? and many more. 

Interestingly, we don't often get asked about safety. It is standard for any charter to have a safety briefing before ever getting underway. What is not typical for a charter is to have skippers that have been actively working to improve their skills so that we can create and preserve the environment for our customers to enjoy themselves as much as possible.  

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 In addition to the safety certifications mentioned above, there are additional steps that Team Trekr has taken to gain valuable experience that translates into a more meaningful and safe experience on a Trek.

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Members of Team Trekr have received some of the finest private training possible by a highly respected instructor from the American Sailing Association. This allowed for individual attention to supplement the training that would normally be afforded in a large class experience.

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Team Trekr has also sought other opportunities to grow our expertise and build our skills. For instance, we have taken up racing as a means of learning how to sail under pressure and time constraints. In addition to competing in the internationally acclaimed BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Featival, we seek out other opportunities to race in the local level. Other members of Team Trekr took a ten day job on a boat that crossed the Florida Straits, went around Cuba and stopped at Grand Cayman before returning to Miami. The experience provided training at running a galley, night sailing, staffing a night watch, towing a boat, charting courses, replacing rigging, working on the engine, sailing in rough seas and learning about the way electricity is wired on a boat.

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Other members of Team Trekr bought a sailboat in Fort Lauderdale and are currently sailing it up to Annapolis by way of the Intracoastal Waterway as well as legs on the ocean open. 

All this is to say that we take a holistic approach to ensuring the safety and fun of our Trekrs. There is a common saying among boaters of all kinds, "something will go wrong, it's just a matter of when". They key is having the experience to handle whatever comes up so that the experience of a lifetime being had by all goes uninterrupted. We value our customers and will always do what it takes to make them happy.  

As always, never hesitate to reach out to anyone on Team Trekr to learn more about any aspect of our trips. We want to share these amazing experiences with you! 

My week with the Trekr Racing team

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The BVI Spring regatta attracts sailboat racing crews and fans from around the world to beautiful weather, gorgeous islands, and a stunningly blue ocean. The teams who compete are local racers, sailing schools, folks who bare boat charter, friends, competitors who become a team, and one LGBT diversity team competing for the first time. This is how this transgender activist and sailing enthusiast came to spend a week racing sailboats and partying with a purpose. The image of sailboat racers tend to be rich, white, male, and heterosexual, but the joys of boating can really be available to just about any fit person who can show up at a dock with shoes that don’t mark the deck. There is casual ‘beer can’ racing in most sailing areas where you can can crew and learn to enjoy the mysterious connection of wind and water that move you along with a seemingly infinite adjustment of controls. 

The dual ideas of promoting visibility of the LGBT community in the sailing world and the adventure of sailing to the LGBT community resonated with me instantly. However, offshore racing can be physically demanding, emotionally charged, and highly competitive so I actually turned down the offer to do this because I believed that I might hold back the team. I called a much more experienced transgender sailor to talk her into going to and she turned around and talked me into it. She explained that, supported by other community members, it would be the best way to build my skills and connect with committed sailors. She was so right. 

My fears of the "demanding offshore sailing" evaporated along with the “reliably strong winds” of spring in the BVI. Low winds made for races that stressed only our strategy and minute attention to every detail of sail adjustment to eek out bit of propulsion from winds to move at sometimes excruciatingly slow speeds. It was a fantastic training for me as I had never explored what the vang or traveler actually did on my boat. Slowly gliding along on smooth seas in the warm sun was the easiest of occupations. Competitively the light winds did not favor our boat of choice however. So that, combined with our mostly novice crew, meant that our hopes of bringing home a prize were dashed. 

While the racing was subdued, the nightly parties were an area where our queer crew could really shine on the beach ‘dance floor’ and gregariously socializing. The Transgender Day of Visibility came up during the race appropriately and I found myself not only educating the sailing community, but also my cisgender team mates. The relationship of the T to the LGB in the movement has been rocky at times and so I have found it just as important in my activism to work on building relationships within the community as well as with the world at large.

I had the most amazing time with the Trekr Racing crew on just an every minute fun way. Talking, hanging out, trying new things and listening to great music the whole time. The caring kindness that I felt from everyone onboard really helped me to learn and be willing to try even crazy things, like Fender Rodeo. Fenders are the air-filled giant sausage-like things that protect your boat at the dock. When we were moored in deep water to cool down after a race, one crew member suggested a Fender Rodeo. The idea is to wrap your legs around a fender and jump off the boat and try to stay on it as you hit the water and float up to the top again. Who ever stays on it longest (or at all) is the winner. Nobody else had heard of such a thing, but in moments it was organized into a double elimination competition and we were all doing just about the silliest thing I had ever heard of and having a wonderful time. 

Photo Credit: BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival

Photo Credit: BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival

Dreams of Tahiti

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Travel has always been a part of my soul. Once you start traveling, you realize how much beauty there is in the world, but also wonder how you can possibly see it all, especially some of the most exotic places in the world. That is why I am super excited to announce that Trekr Adventures will head to Tahiti for a sailing adventure from November 18-25 of 2018. It's somewhere I've always wanted to visit!

This will be a big step for Trekr Adventures. We've been to Thailand, Croatia, the British Virgin Islands and the Abacos Islands of the Bahamas. We are also heading to Greece, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Belize. All of these places are amazing, but none of them lie smack dab in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. 

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Tahiti is the epitome of exotic. It is the largest island in French Polynesia, located in the southern central area of the Pacific between Australia and South America. It was formed by volcanic eruption, leaving with a beautiful mountainous terrain, famous black beaches and surrounded by a vibrant network of coral reef. It was painted extensively by Gaugin, visited by Darwin on his HMS Beagle and explored by Captain James Cook. 

It sounds like a slice of paradise and I can't wait to experience it. As a child I was adventurous, but with divorced parents and a single mother who went back to earn a college degree, I never thought I would see exotic places like Tahiti. That's why Trekr Adventures has become an important part of my life. Trekr does the legwork of planning these amazing sailing adventures and offers them at an accessible price. 

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Every Trekr Adventure is special because of many reasons. In addition to the amazing destinations (Tahiti!!!!), the social bonds that are formed are lasting. I'm excited to experience a place that I have always dreamed of visiting and to see what new bonds of friendship are made.  

Please join us on this amazing adventure. 

Let's Go To Belize!

by Jose Rodriguez

Growing up in a military family required constant relocating, but I loved moving from one place to another. I fully embraced living abroad and enjoying different cultures. My love for travel has only increased over time and I have taken every opportunity to see as much of the world as I can.

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In recent years, I have taken an interest in traveling by yacht and this mode of travel has dramatically changed how I experience my favorite destinations. Through Trekr, I have sailed in the Adriatic, Caribbean, Andaman and soon in the Aegean Sea. I have sailed in the quiet coves of Virgin Gorda, snorkeled with sharks in Ko Phi-Phi Don and gone canyoning in the Cetina River. So what adventure comes next? Belize!

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Belize sits at the southeastern tip of the Yucatán Peninsula. The unique beauty of the Belizean rain forest and coast makes it an ideal place to visit. Just offshore lies the largest barrier reef in the Northern Hemisphere, teeming with marine life and the perfect conditions for kayaking and snorkeling. Only Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is larger. The Belizean coast offers an impressive variety of places to explore, including several hundred sand cayes (islands), mangrove forests, coastal lagoons and estuaries.

To learn more and to find out how you can join me on this next adventure visit the link below!

Safety First!

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Sailing is an adventure that connects us with our fellow Trekrs and with some of the most powerful elements of nature. While the water, wind and sunshine can make for an exhilarating experience, we must always keep safety top of mind.

Since the maritime industry is global, nearly forty years ago, the International Maritime Organization met to establish minimum standards for training and certification that all member countries must adhere to. 158 countries commit to these standards, known as International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, or STCW for short.

What does that mean for Trekr Adventures and our customers? It means that a group of us spent a week at the Maritime Professional Training School in Fort Lauderdale with a diverse group of folks to meet the requirements set forth in STCW. Over the course of the week, we had classes, exams and practical training in a number of areas.

First up, we studied personal survival techniques in the case of an emergency on board a vessel. Then we hit the pool to put our classroom lessons to the test. We practiced jumping off of a sinking boat, towing others to safety, deploying a life raft, activating emergency beacons and how to survive at sea until rescued.

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Then we learned about personal safety and social responsibility in the maritime industry.  A big emphasis was on protecting the environment from the result of commercial maritime activities.

Next up, we spent a day getting trained in CPR and First Aid. The training is about recognizing the signs of a medical event and taking initial steps to improve the chances of survival of the victim until medical professionals can step in to provide a higher level of care.

Finally, we were trained in basic firefighting. This was the coolest, yet potentially most dangerous part of the week. An entire day was spent learning about different kinds of fires, how they start, how they spread and the different approaches for controlling them and extinguishing them.

On the second day of basic firefighting training, we went to a training facility for local firefighters in the Fort Lauderdale area. After some demonstrations, we suited up in full “bunker gear”. That includes every piece of gear that firemen wear, including a mask and air tank. We practiced using a water hose and then undertook several scenarios that firefighters encounter. That included fighting overdraft, boundary cooling, search and rescue, grease fires and more.

It was a busy week with lots of material covered and tests to pass. The instructors were true professionals with years of experience to impart to an eager audience. We also came away with a newfound understanding of and respect for the work done by first responders.

One of the highlights of the week was making new friends. Whether they were new to the yachting industry or have been involved for a long time, it was great to connect with other like-minded folks and share in the experiences of the week.

Team Trekr came away from the experience with a sense of purpose. While we remain committed to our core mission of connecting like-minded people with amazing travel experiences, we are better prepared to do that knowing that a high level of service includes being prepared to keep our customers safe in any situation.

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