Re: ASA and clubs?
take the classes, they're fun.
you do some book larnin', then go sailing. not a bad way to spend a weekend or two, depending on the class.
most clubs will require that you pass various classes or test out of them in order to rent certain boats. if you want to rent the keelboats or larger you may need to take some classes.
sailing classes aren't a chore, they're sailing, go and have fun.