Re: One Week Courses
If you have the time an inclination then take the combined class and enjoy it. ASA allows for many combinations. Most common is 101/103 and then 104/105. I think your option of 1/3/4 is actually a good one. You get the basics in the first few days and 104 allows you to practice your skills while fresh in your mind. I actually think that the 104 class is really just a higher level review of 101/103. That is why they combine 104/105 as the navagation portion takes more time and you get to sail while taking it. I took 101/103 in a 4 day course, 104/105 was six days of cruising northern Lake Michigan.
Not sure what your timing is, but I see that Fair Winds has Lake Erie and Chesapeake options as well as Virgin Islands and others. If you are thinking in the near term I would find a warm climate to learn in and enjoy. Fall in the ?Great Lakes can turn on you as it did today in the north. Highs in the 50's, high winds, rain are not a good learning enviroment. If you are thinking longer term then Bay Breeze in Traverse City is a very good school for next summer. While they offer classes this time of year I would not suggest it.
Many will tell you to start slow and learn on small boats, etc.. My patience level has never been good and I prefer to jump in and learn what I want as fast as I can. Instead of starting with a wet boat, moving to a less wet boat, then to a mid 20's, and then 3 foot ites I knew what I wanted to accomplish and went out and did it. At my age I would still be getting too wet and cold for way to long using the slow route. Safety is always on my mind, but you can start out a little faster and still be safe for yourself, your friends and family, and other boaters. enjoy!