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Jim H 05-10-2006 01:57 PM

ASA Bareboat Certification
Just a quick report-- my wife and I achieved our ASA Bareboat certification last weekend from in Bellingham, Washington. We had a great time.

It was a two-day course that involved a cruise from Bellingham Bay to Sucia Island in the San Juans. We used a 2004 Catalina 350. In addition to us, there was one other student and our instructor (who grew up sailing in the San Juans).

The confidence of our instructor was really evident when the weather became rough. We overpowered the boat right off the bat and had to reef as the rain came down. Then things cleared and the rest of the trip to Sucia was perfectly manageable even if overcast and cool. We took a narrow channel into Echo Bay, and then practiced anchoring, maneuvering, and picking up mooring bouys. That night, we studied for the test and practiced chart skills.

The next morning, there was a strong blow coming into the day, with 3 foot chop. The boat was bucking at the mooring, and the thought of taking the hour-long written test below decks was not comforting. We motored into a more protected part of the bay and anchored, but still my wife and I were getting green halfway through the test and moved up and down between cabin and cockpit as we completed the pages. We both passed without much problem, but I wasn't in best form for the rest of the day.

Sailing back to Bellingham, we had some fairly heavy conditions (for us, at least). There were strong gusts, four foot swells, and we used only a reefed foresail. Still, we buried the rail more than once, rolling to 25 degrees or more. It was pretty exciting, and my wife did a great job at the wheel and the winches (which were under major strain and a bit touchy when releasing).

We had enough wind to sail all the way back down Hale Passage, which I understand is somewhat rare, and we used the GPS/chart plotter to get the maximum distance out of our tacks. We lunched at Inati Bay (well, at least I ate some trail mix and sipped water). Then we sailed the rest of the way back to the Bellingham marina. There, we did slip practice. We used the engine very little during the entire trip-- pretty cool.

So, a wonderful experience, and we're looking forward to our week-long charter of an Islander 28 in the San Juans this summer (last week of July). This weekend we plan to do an overnight trip on our C&C 27 with our kids on the Columbia River (if I can get out to shock the water tank this week).

I've posted some pictures from our Bareboat course here:

Jim H

jared 05-10-2006 06:39 PM

Congratulations, Jim! When a husband and wife take that kind of course together, and both pass and both are still married when it is done, that's a good sign of things to come!<G>

Irwin32 05-10-2006 09:05 PM

Sounds like your are ready to rock and roll
Congrats!! You are on the right track.

Jim H 05-11-2006 11:12 AM

Advanced Coastal Cruising and Navigation
Thanks for the comments-- we are looking forward to what's to come.

Next year or the following (after we charter for two or more weeks, and cruise the river on our C&C 27), we both plan to return for the week-long Advanced Coastal Cruising and Coastal Navigation courses (ASA 106 and 105). The series this year even offers a series of longer cruises that circumnavigate Vancouver Island.

We'd both like the additional ASA certifications, but it isn't cheap and we'd have to go one at a time (kid duty at home), but it's a good goal and maybe the best way to get some offshore experience.

Jim H

Pilot11 06-14-2006 08:13 PM

Jim, congrats on your course work. My wife and I are taking a 6 day Basic and Bareboat Cruising Certification out of Charleston, SC next month. I am very excited to get to go back. We did the Keel Boat Certification last year. With a friend, our family did a 7 day bareboat cruise in BVI on a 47 Cat! Needless to say we are now BROKE and RUINED! Next step is a boat of our own to bang around on the SE coast.!! Cheers!

Jim H 06-15-2006 10:28 AM


Originally Posted by Pilot11
With a friend, our family did a 7 day bareboat cruise in BVI on a 47 Cat! Needless to say we are now BROKE and RUINED! Next step is a boat of our own to bang around on the SE coast.!! Cheers!

I've been to the BVI, but not on a sailboat. I've heard it's just about the ultimate destination for a first charter if you want to become hooked. Have a great time on your 6 day cruise-n-learn, but beware that "BROKE and RUINED" could become permanent.

Just yesterday in the office, my colleague noted that he was glad he didn't have a gambling problem. I saild "Yeah, I'm glad that I only have a little sailboat problem." At that, I was stared at like I had cancer... :)

Jim H

Pilot11 06-15-2006 08:50 PM

Jim, we are counting on staying BROKE and Ruined! Keep us posted of how you progress on your learning curve. We will do the same. Cheers, Pilot

sailingdog 06-16-2006 05:58 AM

LOL, being Broke and Ruined, but sailing is not all that bad a place to be.

PBzeer 06-16-2006 06:48 AM

Might be broke, but if you're afloat, you're far from ruined! Always great to see people going for their dreams.

Valdare 06-23-2006 11:56 AM


My wife and I did our ASA's together. The instructor only had one rule which I totally agreed with. At no time was I to tell my wife what to do. It was great because too often she depends on me when she knows exactly what needs to be done. Anyway we've been together for 33 years, but it wasn't sailing that was the test it was wallpapering. :-))

My question, in the post your wife seems to have a prety "cool" life jacket on. I don't think I have seen one quite like it. Is it a PFD and is it as "cool" and comfortable as it looks?


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