asa school vs buying own 20-30ft and teach self? - Page 4 - SailNet Community
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post #31 of 34 Old 08-03-2013
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Re: asa school vs buying own 20-30ft and teach self?

I've had my first boat a little over a year now. My wife and I just took the ASA 101/103 courses a few weeks ago, we both learned so much more in the classes than we learned by trying to teach ourselves. The added plus was that my wife is no longer scared about sailing! Going with a trained and certified instructor gave my wife the ability to relax and enjoy the experience. We did countless MOB drills, and my wife can now confidently sail the boat if something were to happen to me. I vote for do both!

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post #32 of 34 Old 08-06-2013
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Re: asa school vs buying own 20-30ft and teach self?

Another vote for doing both.

Find a cheap intro sailing course, hopefully one where they will let you rent boats out to practice afterward. You don't necessarily need ASA 101-103 certification ($1200) unless you want to charter - when I started out I found a two-day Red Cross course for about $350 that covered all the same material.

In my opinion, a course is a much better introduction to sailing than learning on your own. Trial and error on the water is not fun. The first day the wind picks up to 20 knots and you didn't reef your sails before leaving the dock and your boat heels so hard the rails hit the water you'll give yourself a heart attack that might cause you to never go out again.

Use their boats to practice for a season while you see how much you like sailing. This will also buy you time to save up for boat, slip, and maintenance budget.

You don't mention who will be sailing with you, but if you are planning to single-hand, lessons will allow you to see how hard that is going to be. If you have someone to sail with in mind, have them take the course with you so you can develop confidence together as a crew.

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post #33 of 34 Old 08-06-2013
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Re: asa school vs buying own 20-30ft and teach self?

When I wanted to start sailing there were no classes on the small inland lake in Indiana where we had a cottage. I found a cheap sailing dingy and bought a book on sailing. read the book and practiced every chance I got. When my kids were small we bought a sunfish and sailed the heck out of it. When the wind was blowing whitecaps we were out there tipping it over and having the time of our lives.
Now I live in NC and sail the Cape Fear region. I have sailed with a lot of different people on a lot of different sailboats. Every time I go out I learn something new, even when single-handling my own boat. Nothing beats experience, especially when backed up with knowledge.

I agree with a previous poster, buy a small boat and learn your sailing skills on the lake and your seamanship manners on saltwater.

Experience teaches us things we would rather not know.

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post #34 of 34 Old 08-06-2013
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Re: asa school vs buying own 20-30ft and teach self?

In my case I did a bit of both, doing the ASA 101, 103, 104 and 105 courses over a couple of years while sailing a 16ft dinghy on lakes and the bay. The later, more advanced courses will mean a lot more if you have been doing some sailing in between.

What I don't like the idea of is these packages where you do, say, 101 and 103 in a week. I prefer the idea of spacing them out a bit, and each one should take a week (or two weekends). You need to maximise time on the water, not minimise it.

I still look back on those courses as some of the best times I've had. Rather than a chore, they made pretty good vacations - taking a week off work and sailing beats working, any day.

Bristol 31.1, San Francisco Bay
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