Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: central Louisiana
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If you want to learn to sail I would highly recommend doing a 5 or 6 day crash course. ASA offers a 101,103 and 104 class which is very informative if you are well read. Contact the American Sailing Association and get the Sailing Made Easy (101), Sailing Fundamentals (103) and Cruising Fundamentals (104) and study them. My wife and i did a 6 day 5 night crash course and loved it. We just got back from sailing for 5 days and loved it and learned a lot. We are getting more confident each time we go.
Any company that would let you got out with an online certificate and no formal training doesn't care about your safety or their boats.
I got ASA certified in October of 2011 and the company I just chartered with had me fill out a questionnaire of different situations and how you would handle or react to them. Then I had to take a captain out in the bay to show them that I could do it. If you cant answer a few basic sailing questions, then raise the main and tack and jibe a few times outside of the marina then you dont need to go by yourself. And that is more than reasonable.
On this past trip we brought our kids and hired a captain to teach the kids and to help hone our skills. And it really paid off having him because our last day we really needed his help. Which brings up another subject. My wife was more than happy hanging out and helping with a tack and jibe but didnt want to drive the boat and i didnt feel there was any need for her to because i like to do it anyway. Our last day there we were heading to the marina, had put the sails away, had the dock lines ready and where motoring the 200 yds to the entrance to the marina. As we were motoring we saw a lady had fallen in the water and started drowning. We motored as fast as we could 7knots and she went under for the second time. Long story short when we got to her she was face down and unresponsive. I gave the wheel to the captain and i jumped in the dingy and got her. My wife didnt have a clue as to what to do with the boat while i jumped ship. Im glad we had the captain with us because the boat would have ended up against the wall or ran aground but you do what you gotta do.
If you really want to sail dont do it half ass! Do it right, be safe and enjoy!