Your course will begin at Outward Bound’s Sea Program base camp located at Wheeler Bay in Spruce Head, Maine. Here you will meet your watch mates and get a basic introduction to your boat, briefings on emergency procedures and soon cast off lines to begin your adventure on the water. Our courses are expedition-‐based, which means that you will leave the Wheeler Bay Base on the first day of your course and not return to it until the end of your course. You will travel with all of the food and equipment you need for your expedition: stoves, food and water, etc. Bathing occurs daily with a dip in the ocean; there are no conventional bathrooms, public telephones, television or other modern luxuries that you may be accustomed to.
You do not need to have previous sailing or expedition experience. We will teach you everything you need to know: sail handling, steering, anchoring, navigating using chart and compass, and living comfortably aboard a small open boat. You should come to your course physically and emotionally prepared for, and excited about devoting all of your time and energy to your expedition, your group, and your Outward Bound experience. Arriving physically fit will enhance your experience and ability to do well on the course and ultimately allow you to take full advantage of the expedition.
Course Area: The Maine Coast
The coast of Maine, with its intricate and indented shoreline, is a unique segment of the North Atlantic seaboard. It is known for its picturesque beauty, abundant bays and harbors, rocky islands, and quiet coves. Our cruising area covers nearly 200 linear miles of the Maine coast, with countless rivers, bays, and islands to explore.
The coast of Maine is rich in history. The rocky, spruce-‐covered islands are the summits of a prehistoric mountain range, and generations of inhabitants have made their livelihoods here. Evidence left behind on the islands reveals the historic presence of indigenous Abenaki camps, post-‐colonial timber and farming operations, granite quarries, and centuries of fishing. Cold, nutrient-‐rich waters flow from the Canadian Maritimes, and make the Gulf of Maine home to a wide range of sea birds, harbor seals, porpoise, and several types of whale.
- Training Expedition: initially, your instructors will focus on teaching the skills of sailing, rowing and navigating, demonstrating maneuvers and coaching your team through the art of moving an open boat safely and efficiently.
- Main Expedition: the instructors begin to hand over technical responsibility for day to day running of the boat while continuing to teach more advanced skills, and coach the finer points of leadership and teamwork.
- Final Expedition: Near the end of course, when you and your group have demonstrated the requisite leadership, problem-‐ solving and technical skills, your instructors may remove themselves from participating in the decision-‐making and technical operation of the expedition.
Sailing – The 30-‐foot open sailboat is your home and classroom. Our boats are very seaworthy, fun to operate, and perfect for a team adventure. The boats are rigged to take full advantage of the power of the Maine coast breezes, and when the winds do not cooperate, the boats can be rowed by two or four people pulling on oars. At night the boat can be configured as a sleeping platform and you and your watch mates will take turns doing anchor watch under brilliant night skies. The bathroom on board, known as the “head,” is primitive with adequate privacy as well as one of the best views of your immediate surroundings. Underway, you will learn to adjust sails properly for sailing at different angles to the wind and execute sailing maneuvers like tacking and gybing, which turn the boat through the wind.
As you practice rowing, you will discover that by coordinating all of the rower’s movements so that the oars splash as one, you halve the effort it takes to travel on windless days. You will learn to navigate using a chart and compass and on those days filled with our classic Maine fog, precision in plotting your course and concentration on the environment around you will prove essential in arriving accurately at your destination. It takes an entire crew to sail or row the boat well; the whole crew must participate mentally and physically. In addition to the challenges of moving the boat, living together aboard this small vessel requires commitment to the support of your crewmates and your community as a whole. As your expedition progresses, your accomplishments in all these areas result in a truly memorable journey. Rock Climbing – All courses will spend some time on land to stretch your legs or go for a run and many courses will spend a day rock climbing or rappelling from the sea cliffs of one of our remote island bases. Your climbing day involves instruction in movement on rock and climbing techniques, the use of appropriate personal protective equipment, and belaying of crewmates.
Service – Service is an integral part of the Outward Bound curriculum. We encourage service to the environment by practicing Leave No Trace ethics throughout the course. We coordinate service projects with local land managers (US Forest Service, Maine Bureau of Public Lands, Dept. of Conservation, local land trusts, etc.) as well as with select social service agencies (nursing homes, hospitals, etc.). During your course, you and your crewmates will have the opportunity to participate in at least one coordinated service project as well as the multitude of opportunities to serve those in you immediate expedition community.
Solo – The solo experience is a standard element of Outward Bound courses. The solitude and break from the fast pace of your expedition allows for rest and reflection. With sufficient food and equipment, you will set up camp at a coastal site on your own for one or two days and nights, depending on the length of the course. Your solo site is chosen to offer as much solitude as possible, yet be within hearing distance of other group members. You will not travel during this time and will be mostly alone, however your instructors will check on you occasionally.
Personal Challenge Event – Our courses end with a Personal Challenge Event, an individual final physical push. These events might take the form of a running, rowing or swimming activity, or it may be a combination of the three. This event is a chance to finish your Outward Bound Experience with a true personal challenge where you can own all of your decisions and efforts in contrast to the time you have spent operating within an expedition team.
To apply for this course click the apply button next to the course dates that work for you. The non-refundable application fee of $125 is due at the time of application. Full course tuition and in-course transportation fee are due within 60 days of course start date. Course tuitions listed do not include our application fee or transportation fee. You can also call one of our expert Admissions Advisors at 866-467-7651.