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Old 02-17-2012
datswite datswite is offline
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Sailor Training

Hey, folks. I'm looking for some opinions from those with more sailing experience than me. I started sailing 2 years ago by enrolling in an ASA 101 Basic Keelboat course in Baltimore's Inner Harbor. I "bought into" a Hunter 27 at the same time, and I needed to learn how to sail the darn thing. I latched on to sailing immediately, and I my interest has only deepened. I sail every chance I get and spend my days reading and daydreaming about my next adventure.

As I mentioned previously, my current education consists of an ASA 101 class. My experience is well beyond what they taught in that introductory course. I've been around Smith Point in conditions that were way beyond my skill level, and I've learned a lot over the past 2 years. I've spent up to 1-week aboard gunkholing around the lower Bay with several multi-day trips added in for good measure. While they Bay can get nasty, I'm sure it pales in comparison to what I'll experience offshore.

My long-term goal (i.e. next 5-7 years) is to trade-in my current lifestyle for that of a full-time cruiser. I'd like to spend a few years farting around the Caribbean and then take off on a circumnavigation. Aside from the logistical considerations about how to do that (i.e. money, different boat, etc.), how do I best prepare myself for the skills required to tackle the adventure?

I intend to sail my current boat as often as possible. But I need more training. In your opinion, what route should I take to gain that experience. I plan to enroll in the next several ASA courses, 103, 104, 105, etc. Is that a reasonable plan? Will those courses really prepare me for crossing an ocean? I have the textbook from the next level ASA course. After reading the text and looking at the curriculum, I have reservations about whether I'll learn anything in that class. However, I need to spend the money, take the class and get the t-shirt as a prerequisite for the next level courses.

I have no dinghy experience, but I've heard it's a great way to learn. Should I make dinghy experience a priority?

Any input will be appreciated.
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