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  #51  
Old 03-08-2014
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Re: Are sailing schools worth it?

Sailing Schools (like any other school &/or teacher) varies. I will say right up front that I am an ASA instructor working in California and the Caribbean. I've sailed for 40 years, starting with lessons at 13. I sailed sabots a lot, bought a 32 boat when I was 40, took a couple of advanced ASA classes, then spent 10 years racing my brains out. Got my 50 ton near coastal USCG License 5 years ago, then certification as an ASA instructor 4 years ago. ASA has a very high standard (I passed my USCG navigation test first time, but the ASA instructors navigation test took two tries!).

Now, what do you need to know?

Nothing beats sailing a little boat (< 24'-26') a lot. This gives you immediate feedback and the all important "feel" for what is happening in and outside the boat and quick results of actions you do or do not take. Learn from friends and crew on a few boats. If you crew with quality people that like to talk about what they know great; but formal training will let you see gaps in other's knowledge. I think all cruisers should join a race team and all racers should take a cruising class no matter how long they have been sailing. But just Go Sailing!!! There is NO Limit to the level you can take it....
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  #52  
Old 05-13-2014
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Re: Are sailing schools worth it?

Well if I had a 40+ foot late model sailboat and two people came to me to charter it, one with a mature (albeit cautious) attitude and a folder containing his sailing resume and his ASA 101-104 certificates; the other an old salt telling me how he’s got 50 years of sailing experience and always sails with the rail in the water otherwise “it’s just not sailing!” Guess who I’m going to let charter my boat….
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  #53  
Old 05-13-2014
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Re: Are sailing schools worth it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by lakesnbays View Post
Well if I had a 40+ foot late model sailboat and two people came to me to charter it, one with a mature (albeit cautious) attitude and a folder containing his sailing resume and his ASA 101-104 certificates; the other an old salt telling me how he’s got 50 years of sailing experience and always sails with the rail in the water otherwise “it’s just not sailing!” Guess who I’m going to let charter my boat….
Is the demand for charters strong enough that you even have such a choice?
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  #54  
Old 05-13-2014
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Re: Are sailing schools worth it?

Yes.

A simple statement of fact.

Lots of people muddle by just fine without. Doesn't change the simple fact.

Old salts do not necessarily make good instructors.
Some of the best instructors are not necessarily the most experienced sailors.

Good instructors enjoy the subject they are instructing and enjoy passing the knowledge on. In addition to this they are patient while some student does not understand the topic right away. Willing to explain it again in a way the student can understand. To do this the instructor needs a thorough understanding of what they are teaching. And a clear understanding of what needs to be taught to explain the whole process. Which requires a carefully planned thorough lesson based on a well though out curriculum.
A good instructor will encourage you to ask questions, answer your questions clearly, fully, without making you feel foolish. And above all honestly. Especially if they don’t know the answer.

This applies to a lot more than just sailing.

The course is often only as good as the instructor.
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  #55  
Old 05-13-2014
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Re: Are sailing schools worth it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by lakesnbays View Post
...an old salt telling me how he’s got 50 years of sailing experience and always sails with the rail in the water otherwise “it’s just not sailing!” Guess who I’m going to let charter my boat….
Well, duh, the old salt isn't that good a sailor since he's obviously not sailing the boat to her maximum speed potential and one day the excess leeway may put him in a bad place.
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  #56  
Old 05-14-2014
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Re: Are sailing schools worth it?

Sailing is a hands-on sport. Books and classes are great but you need the time on the water to fully understand the information and develop skills. If you plan on day sailing and coastal cruising, take the ASA 101-104 sequence. Use the remaining funds to obtain regular access to a sailboat. Smaller boats are better for learning sailing. Local sailing non-profits are a great way to learn if one is in your area. Also read every sailing book you can find.


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  #57  
Old 05-14-2014
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Re: Are sailing schools worth it?

Lots of opinions...here's mine

For $2K you can buy cheap boat to learn on so buy a boat, put the white things up, and go. When you want to stop drop those white things...pretty simple. Everything in between can be learned from a book or youtube and some time on the water (light breeze days first).

One note...If you have NO experience on the water at all then a safety course is warranted, you don't want to hurt yourself of others.
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Old 05-14-2014
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Re: Are sailing schools worth it?

Just got back from doing a sailing school with my wife. We already had the "sailing" part down pretty well, as we have a 26' boat on a small lake, but what we really wanted (and received in spades) was a boost in confidence for handling larger boats and/or larger water. My biggest goal for the class was for my wife to gain confidence steering the boat, as she had up until the class pretty much refused to take the tiller of our boat, she now is saying that she feels confident enough to take it [our boat] out by herself on the lake..I call that a win. Other than a few pointers on sailing technique, the main things we learned/gained confidence in were anchoring, navigation, crew overboard recovery, picking up mooring balls, dealing with clearing in/out (we were in the Virgin Islands), busy harbors, etc. 100% worth it to us. Plus it was just plain good old fashioned fun cruising around in the the islands.

If what you really want to do though is sail a small boat on a small lake or inlet, then you would probably be better served to buy a small boat and sail it, but if you want to go to more far flung places and "cruise" a larger boat, then do the courses [and buy the smallish boat to practice on]. IMO
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