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post #4 of Old 09-19-2002
Join Date: Jul 2002
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I know a little about the ASA program so I can speak to that. US Sailing also has a program of a similar nature and seemily every bit as good. In the end it''s the intructor more than the school. Try to meet the instructor and see if you like working with them. Not all intructors teach all courses either. Many of the good advanced instructors are really bad with beginners.

I''ve seen the 7 ASA course offered in groups of as many as 3. The first 3 are often offered as a week live aboard. The next two include the first navigation as well as advanced coastal cruising, the last two are celestial navigation and passage making. The two navigation courses are required before the other sailing courses. You generally have to take them in order except the first navigation course that you can take any time.

One thing about the all ASA courses is the classroom trainning is very minimal. They depend on you to do all that at home through the course books. You study the course books before you take the class. That gives you the most time on the water sailing with your instructor.

Another way to supplement the naviagtion courses is through local Power Squadron navigation classes. They teach two levels and cover everything you would need and they do it on a more school classroom basis with a test at the end. Often held in a local school or church a couple nights a week for some weeks.

Some of this all depends on what your final goal is too.

I''m not sure you could really do all of them back to back without some time in between to study up. Some actual sailing might help too. Hours at the tiller count for a lot.

You could easily study all the navigatoion as a home study then perform the on board portions with the repsctive classes as well as take the written exams. ASA offers an option to "test out" with apractical and written exam too. So it sort of depends if the certification is as important to you as the education part of it.

What I think you could do is to find a school and location that offers all the courses. Enroll in them based on the schedule that they have available. In between you could fill in with private lessons to perfect your sailing skills too. Add night time naviagtion and you could put together a very good course over a full sailing season.

After that you can work on all the other things though basics will be part of any course too. Boat systems are complex enough that you''ll need to spend a lot of time with those. I''m not sure you never can master them all. It becomes part of sailing that you continue to learn more.

The fact that it never really ends is part of what makes it the sport that it is. A quick crash course really won''t change that, but it could be a heck of a good boost to get you going.
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