Summer: The Season to Combine Cruising and Learning

Sailors shopping for catamarans via charter or wanting to catch up on nautical skills have a number of options this summer.

Maine Cat, of Bremen, Maine, offers a 50-percent discount to charterers who bareboat with the company in the Bahamas and buy a Maine Cat 31 within 90 days of the trip. The company offers three Maine Cat 30s for one-week charters from Hope Town, Abaco, Bahamas. Low-season rates are in effect from July 15 to October 1, and sailing can begin on any day of the week except Sunday. For details, contact the company (888-832-2287, www.mecat. com and mecat@gwi.net).

Courses for Women Only
Womanship offers its Getaway Adventure for people on a tight schedule. Students can take the Learning Adventure in the British Virgin Islands July 6-10 or in Canada's Gulf Islands July 2-6, 7-11, and 26-30; August 9-13 and 23-27; and September 6-10 and 20-24. The company also offers Summer Break Sail & See Adventures in Greece July 1-9 and July 1-12.

For those who need to return home each night, Womanship also offers throughout July and August two- and three-day courses departing from Greenport, New York. For additional information, contact Womanship (800-342-9295, sail@womanship.com, www.womanship.com). Sea Sense offers coastal and offshore cruising instruction this summer in New England, on the Chesapeake, and in the Pacific Northwest. These three- , five- , and seven-day courses provide women with a range of hands-on instruction in everything from passagemaking to seamanship, sail trim, engine maintenance, and navigation. New England courses include both a seven-day liveaboard coastal-cruising course in Penobscot Bay for beginning to intermediate sailors that departs from Camden, Maine, and runs August 16-22 and an eight-day liveaboard offshore-passagemaking course that sails from Camden, Maine, to New London, Connecticut, and runs August 23-30. Chesapeake Bay courses include a three-day coastal-cruising course set for July 12-14 and a five-day course from Annapolis, Maryland, for July 16-20. The company also offers a seven-day (July 19-25) coastal-cruising course in the San Juan Islands that sails from Anacortes, Washington. For details and rates, contact the company (800-332-1404, www.seasenseboat ing.com and info@seasenseboating.com).

Charter Lobby Forms
Professionals in the charter business, including brokers, bareboat companies, and charter yacht owner-operators, are eligible to join the new National Marine Charter Association (NMCA), a lobbyist group that opened its doors in metropolitan Washington, D.C., earlier this year. The NMCA's focus is to follow legislative issues affecting the industry, represent its members on Capitol Hill, and offer services and equipment discounts. "Any niche in the over-arching charter industry is included," says Brian K. Lagana, director of government relations. The group's current attention is on proposed safety requirements affecting U.S. Coast Guard-license holders and vessels. For details, contact the NMCA (800-745-6094, www.marinecharter.org).