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Old 08-11-2008
cnbnichols cnbnichols is offline
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Just Completed ASA-101

I just spent a spectacular weekend complete a 3 day ASA-101 sailing course.

I, and another couple, sailed with Black Rock Sailing School, out of Charlestown, MA. I have been sailing most of my life, mostly self taught, and decided it was time to legitimize my sailing experience so that I could start to charter sailboats with the family...and possibly join sailtime, or an equivalent...the school is affiliated with the local sailtime franchise.

Day-1 - 3 hours or so of "classroom", our classroom was the cabin of a Hunter 36, we went over the parts of the boat and some sailing basics...the first 60 questions on the ASA test were related to the parts of the boat. We then preped and headed out on the school's new Colgate 26, a boat I had never sailed on before, to practice tacking and jybing...managed to survive a quick T-Storm on Boston harbor. NOTE: Don't ever try to tie up near the Boston Harbor Hotel...they wanted $50 per hour...while we were trying to take shelter during the T-Storm. Anyway, we ended up staying out on the harbor as the storm cleared very quickly and sailed up and down the inner harbor for about 5 hours.

Day-2 - 3 hours or so of "classroom", this time on a Hunter 33. We covered right of way and a few more boat parts. The afternoon was more sailing, further out into the harbor. For those of you who know the harbor, we ended doing man overboard drills off of long island. We each ended up doing 4 or 5 of them. Then more basic tacking and gybing.

Day-3 - 2 hours or so of "classroom"...Hunter 30. We covered basic navigation and ATONs, audible signals and such. Then we made a democratic decision to take the written test before we sailed...everyone passed!!! I'm happy to report I scored a perfect 100!!!

During our sail, we took turns demonstrating our knot skills. We sailed out beyond long island, working towards rounding Georges Island, but heavy weather set in again. We watched as T-Storms built up over the city and then started to surround us from the south. When the rain got really heavy, we put in at Spectacle Island...they didn't seem to mind...and waited about 30 minutes before we attempted another rounding. The storm that came up over the city ended up stalling there and building so we made another run for Spectacle, but the skies cleared just enough to get us to head back towards Boston. After another 5 or so hours on the water we arrived back at the marina, stowed the boat and headed home.

Overall, our instructor, Brent, was awsome. The weather could have been a little more cooperative, but I think it was good experience, we spent some time discussing the weather and how to make short-term predictions based on what we were seeing. At no time did any of us feel like we were in any danger and we all felt Brent made all the right decisions with respect to putting in and staying off the city.

Even though I have been sailing most of my life, I learned a few things and the experience has made me a more confident sailor. I recommend the school highly, the Colgate 26 is an excellent boat to learn on, stable and peppy all at the same time.

Next weekend...ASA-103!!!
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