Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: New Orleans, LA
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Re: Learn to sail this winter: Where to go?
Like you, I also recently undertook sailing and wanted to benefit from the experience of more seasoned sailors through an ASA program. I took classes on both the Gulf Coast and the San Francisco Bay area to experience differing conditions. Both schools were excellent. You can find their contact information on their web pages.
In Gulfport, Mississippi, NorthStar Sailing Charters offers the ASA 101, 103 & 104 courses. I took the 103 & 104 courses with them. Jim King is the owner. He is a retired military officer, and is an excellent instructor. He teaches on a very comfortable boat. The waters just outside of Gulfport are generally protected by channel islands, so you can learn from differing sailing conditions inside or outside of the islands. Gulfport of course was devastated by hurricane Katrina, but the community is rebuilding. Living expenses are likely much less than you will find in many other coastal communities if that is part of your consideration.
I took my ASA 106 course with Modern Sailing Academy in Sausalito, CA. They have many boats available with regularly offered ASA courses through an number of instructors. San Francisco Bay offers many different sailing conditions. I took the 106 course with them to experience open ocean sailing with them, and it was an incredible experience. By day three of the course, I was comfortable sailing in 10 foot seas with 25 knot winds. I say comfortable not as bragadocious, but as a testament to the skill of the instructor as I had never been in such conditions. By day 4, sailing in San Francisco Bay fully healed over was a thrill, something I would have been nervous about just 4 days earlier.
Hope this helps with your decision, and good luck.