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Old 12-02-2011
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Sailing classes, where to start?

I've been sailing most of life but only on small boats and on local waters. Last summer I bought my first sailboat a Contessa 26. While I know how to sail and managed to sail/motor my Contessa from Toronto to Orient Point, Long Island, there are many things I don't know.

I would like to learn about coastal navigation, proper use of the radio, radar, sail trim, and safety procedures, anchoring, etc.

I'm planning on taking my boat up to Maine next summer but at this point I don't feel comfortable enough with my skill set to do so.

I'd like to find a sailing school in NYC that offers a series of classes and/or certifications.

I've looked into Power Squadron classes which seem affordable compared to the local sailing schools. I plan on taking a hands on cruising course in the spring but would like to take advantage of the winter months as well.

Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!
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Old 12-02-2011
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BMJ,

The classes offered by both the US Power and Sail Squadron and the US Coast Guard Auxiliary are comparable. You can find both the boating course that provides an introduction to all that you list as well as a dedicated coastal navigation course.

The American Sailing Association provides in-water training and there should be a school and/or instructor near you. The ASA also has instructors that will provide the training on your boat.

In some cases, an instructor with one organization is an instructor at all three. At least that is the case in my flotilla.

Good luck.
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Old 12-02-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmjnyc View Post
I've been sailing most of life but only on small boats and on local waters. Last summer I bought my first sailboat a Contessa 26. While I know how to sail and managed to sail/motor my Contessa from Toronto to Orient Point, Long Island, there are many things I don't know.

I would like to learn about coastal navigation, proper use of the radio, radar, sail trim, and safety procedures, anchoring, etc.

I'm planning on taking my boat up to Maine next summer but at this point I don't feel comfortable enough with my skill set to do so.

I'd like to find a sailing school in NYC that offers a series of classes and/or certifications.

I've looked into Power Squadron classes which seem affordable compared to the local sailing schools. I plan on taking a hands on cruising course in the spring but would like to take advantage of the winter months as well.

Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!
The Power Squadron course are restricted to classrooms. I would suggest working and staying with one standard. Check out the American Sailing Association web site (Find a Sailing School - Learn to Sail with American Sailing Association) for schools near you.
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Old 12-02-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jackdale View Post
The Power Squadron course are restricted to classrooms.
True, as are the auxiliary courses.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jackdale View Post
I would suggest working and staying with one standard.
There's no reason not to take a combination of the classroom and in-water training. I took all three when I first got into sailing. I found the classroom courses provided much more detailed information on the individual topics. The ASA 101 instructor, while teaching us how to sail, could not go into as much detail (or at least mine didn't) while on the water and didn't cover topics like radio, auxiliary engines, weather, and lines and knots at all. They might have been in the book that was sent ahead of the class (I forget now) but we didn't cover it in person.
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Old 12-03-2011
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I've been sailing most of life but only on small boats and on local waters. Last summer I bought my first sailboat a Contessa 26. While I know how to sail and managed to sail/motor my Contessa from Toronto to Orient Point, Long Island, there are many things I don't know.

That is not a short delivery trip from Toronto to Orient. Give yourself a little credit.

I would like to learn about coastal navigation, proper use of the radio, radar, sail trim, and safety procedures, anchoring, etc.
The cheaper Power Squadron courses should teach you all you need to know about radio, safety procedures and requirements and some charting and navigating skills. I did this course down at Bennet Field CGA in Brooklyn many years ago.

I'm planning on taking my boat up to Maine next summer but at this point I don't feel comfortable enough with my skill set to do so.

I'd like to find a sailing school in NYC that offers a series of classes and/or certifications.
Well, you picked the perfect time of year in NY to start taking sailing lessons. The main sailing schools of thought offer courses this time of year down in the Islands.

I've looked into Power Squadron classes which seem affordable compared to the local sailing schools. I plan on taking a hands on cruising course in the spring but would like to take advantage of the winter months as well.
I bet that both SUNY maritime in the Bronx and Kings Point Academy on LI also offer similar courses.

Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated.
Get a few books and supplies like:
Eldridge Tide & Pilot Manual,
a good cruising guide to the NE coast,
paper charts or chart books,
Nigel Caulder's "Boatowners Mechanical and Electrical Manual"
and start reading through them.
I would want to take the coastal cruising course if I was in your boat.
You can use a GPS and paper charts to plot your course on a chart easy enough. The only problem with this method of navigation is that if the GPS fails or batteries die you need redundancy, as in, multiple GPS' and batteries.
It is a really good idea to at least be able to DR or dead reckon your way on the chart since once all your electronics fail that is all you have.


Thanks!
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I recommend

Sailing School Locations - Sailing Schools | Offshore Sailing School

Edit: no affiliation. My wife learned to sail with this school in a week.
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Thank you all for you input. This site is such a great resource. Thanks!
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BMJ,

If you've been sailing most of your life, you might want to formalize your experience and go ahead and obtain your CG license? You can take captains course with Sea School. It's not inexpensive though. They have an office on LI. Offshore sailing school has a great reputation. There's Tracey Sailing School in the NJ Highlands/Keyport. True North Sailing School in Jersey City, has a coastal cruising course, which would include some navigation. I'm sure there must be someone in the area that holds an ASA 105 navigation course in the off season.
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Old 12-03-2011
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BMJ,

If you've been sailing most of your life, you might want to formalize your experience and go ahead and obtain your CG license?
One of the requirements for the captain's license is the basic boating course certificate so he would still need to do that. And, according to the original post, he doesn't know the basics in order to obtain his license so I think this is jumping WAY ahead for now. Certainly something to add to the list of goals, however.
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Old 12-03-2011
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Another angle to consider.
Since you have been boating most of your life, I would think you would be familiar with most of the basics of boat handling. If you are looking to learn the finer points of sailing; sail trim, wind angle, sail choice, tacking, jibing, reaching, beating, etc, etc.. I would find experienced crew to either sail with you or you sail with them. Get yourself on a race boat as a crew member and you will learn a lot, and work a lot.
If your looking to learn coastal navigation, than a classroom should do it. It's not rocket science.
Hands on is my preferred method. Get on a boat as a crew member around the marks and you will learn very quickly.
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