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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5 Tips For Cooking on a Boat

By Jay Vilar, Founder & Practicioner, Nourish

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Preparing to cook on your boat can be a lot of work, especially if you never done it before.  Here are some quick tips to prepare for the experience if you find yourself being the chef of the high seas.

SAMPLE MENU FROM CROATIA SAIL

SAMPLE MENU FROM CROATIA SAIL

Tip # 1 – A month prior to your departure date, survey your crew on any dietary restrictions, requests, preferences; and build your menu accordingly.  Remember these are requests so don’t get let your crew get crazy.  

Knowing the meals you’ll be preparing ahead of time will help you plan out your provision list, acquire necessary ingredients, and minimize on food waste.  Make sure to take into account the days you’ll be eating on-shore and plan accordingly.  

 

Tip # 2 – You can save of money and get more variety if you buy your provisions at the local grocery store. Depending on your access to transportation, shopping at the local grocery store will give you lots more options and save money versus buying the majority of your provision from the moorings.

 

 

 

Tip # 3- Use heat wisely. Boiling water can take forever. However if you boil water in a kettle first then add it to the pot you’ll save yourself a lot of time.

 

 

 

 

 

Tip # 4 – Work closely with your kitty master to ensure you are working within the budget for your food and booze costs. Communicate with your boat members to ensure everyone has an understanding of what is kitty related and not kitty related. On our boat anything on the boat was kitty related and anything off boat was on your own. We agreed to the number of meals that will be provided and which meals would be off the boat. Of course this was flexible but it set the guidelines. We were under budget and the crew received a $50 return.  


Note: If you are considering bringing on a private chef ($200/pp), it is cost effective considering they know how to save money on provisioning, meal quantities, sourcing, etc.

Tip # 5 – Source locally whenever you can to get the most flavor. Any chef will tell you that the quality of the meal comes from the quality of the ingredients.  The best ingredients will come from local sources. When looking to source local ingredients remember that every port is different.  Some ports of call will have great options, other will have no options. Be sure to do your research or ask a member of the Trekr leadership about where the provision shopping on your ports of call.

About the Author: Jay Vilar is the Founder & Practitioner of Nourish, LLC, a nutritional therapy company in Washington, DC. The mission is to educate how to heal & optimize the body using food. Jay uses his cooking and culinary skills to teach his clients how to prepare nutrient-dense meals. Being close friends with the Trekr leadership team he was asked to be the private chef for a boat requesting that service. Guests had such a positive experience with Jay that he has been requested to return to chef for future Trekr trips.  If you’d like to reserve Jay as your chef, contact your Trekr organizer to request availability and pricing.

Off the Beaten Path: Finding Adventure in the Thai Spirit

Adventures can happen in unexpected moments. It can awake senses that have gone dormant for too long. The adventure of  jumping out of an airplane can be equally as powerful as the adventure found in quiet mindful moments. Thailand is full of all shades of adventure, allowing us to feel more alive and connected to the world.

In a quiet moment a fellow Trekr veteran and I went searching for the much exalted street food in Patong, Thailand. Patong is a medium sized city north of Phuket where our sailing adventure concluded and the Trekr team was celebrating our first night back on land.

Street food is a staple of Thai culture. In every town, there are food stalls on the street that can put the best Thai restaurants back home to shame. In larger cities, there is often an entire alley dedicated to regional Thai cuisine. Finding the food stalls can be an adventure in and of itself. It requires doing advanced research or communicating with people on the streets.

We set out to peruse the main strip in Patong and were surprised to easily find the alley lined with food stalls. The stalls were filled with simmering cauldrons of curries, noodle dishes, and fish. The air was packed with the aromas of the fresh food that had been cooking since sunrise. As we sat down, people from all walks came in for dinner: people in suits, strippers, students and moms carrying their kids.  Among the crowd, we noticed a small elderly westerner enter into the alley. We was warmly welcomed by the Thai food vendors, kissing him on his forehead and hugging him.

He sat down across from us and we greeted him with smile. “Good morning,” he said to us. We nodded and smiled. Then the gentleman started to speak in in a language we didn’t understand. His eyes weren’t really focusing and it was clear he was not well. One of the street food vendors brought him a bowl filled with noodles, shrimp and broccoli. It was off the menu and not from any of the large pots of Thai delights.

Curious, we investigated further. The gentleman had been coming to the ally for years. People in the community got to know him and began treating him like a family member. As his health began to deteriorate, this community resolved to care for him. It was a touching display of spirit of the Thai people.

Moments of adventure can be swimming with sharks, racing the yachts or enjoying the people around you. It can also be watching how people care for each other in a foreign land. All of it can be a great and unexpected. It is those constant moments of adventure and surprise that make Thailand so special.

Trekr is heading to Cambodia and Vietnam!

Trekr is and always will be a champion of the sailing experience. However, since there are adventures to be had in landlocked destinations, we are thrilled to announce our first land-based excursion to Vietnam and Cambodia December 23-30 of 2017!

Asia is an amazing place with so much history, a vibrant culture, delicious food centuries of architecture influenced by different religions and nations, friendly people and plenty of adventure. Cambodia and Vietnam offer a chance for Trekrs who will join us on our December 2017 Thailand sail to extend their Trek an extra week or it will allow friends who do not enjoy water travel to join on their first Trek.

Over the course of the week, we will go from Patong Beach in Phuket, Thailand to Siem Reap, Cambodia and Hanoi, Vietnam. We will see the temples of Siem Reap at sunrise, tour a fishing village and take a traditional cooking class. In Hanoi, we will tour the most sacred temple for the Vietnamese new year, shop in the Old Quarter and visit the major landmarks of Hanoi, including the prison that once held US Senator John McCain.

The space is limited for the trip. If it interests you, do not hesitate to reserve your spot now. Trekr will handle all arrangements for you, including *flights, luxury accommodations, transportation, excursions, guides and breakfasts. Read in more detail here and do not hesitate to contact us with any questions!