How to find a GOOD sailing instructor? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 12 Old 11-24-2006 Thread Starter
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Question How to find a GOOD sailing instructor?

Hiya!

I want to take a few lessons but I'm a bit worried about how to find a good qualified instructor. I've heard a few stories from people who took lessons and the "instructor" was unwilling (or unable) to actually teach even the basics. I also live in a tourist area so the local businesses are geared to (let's be honest) ripping off the tourists as much as possible. Hopefully that doesn't apply to the sailing crowd but you never know.

Basically, what questions should I ask of a potential instructor?

Thanks!
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post #2 of 12 Old 11-24-2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CherokeeSailWench
Hiya!
Basically, what questions should I ask of a potential instructor?
Thanks!
Why do you want lessons? So you can sail the boat you own now, charter boats, buy a boat in the near future, crew on someone else's boat, take your non-sailing wife and kids out, sail by yourself singlehanded, 15', 20', 30' boat?

I wanted to learn how to take my friends and family out on 22-25' charter boats from a club rather than own my own boat. In that case, the club was more important than the instructor. Two months later now I've met and sailed around three of their instructors so far and feel very comfortable I got my money's worth. They also ensured I was ASA certified so that I could charter boats from other clubs around the world.

As an inexpierenced sailor, there isn't much you can ask a potential instructor that will increase your chances of getting a fair deal. I would just make sure you're getting instruction from an ASA or US Sailing certified school and let them assign you the instructor. Pick a school that has multiple instructors. Many schools will let you retake portions of the course for free if you desire.

My club has 1-2 classes sailing almost every weekend. So if I wanted, I could join a different instructor later for free I think.

Hope that helps.

Ray
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post #3 of 12 Old 11-24-2006 Thread Starter
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Thanks Ray!

Right now I want to learn how to crew but I hope to eventually have my own boat. By the time I can afford a boat my daughter will be big enough to crew so we'll be Mom and Daughter team!
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post #4 of 12 Old 11-24-2006
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Ahahahahaha

Hey smartass RayMetz100.....

wanna redo your post????? ahahahah

Hey does J boats know you're using their drawing??
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post #5 of 12 Old 11-24-2006
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I'd ask for references and then check with those. Also, if there are yacht clubs or marinas in the area, ask around those. Ask for ASA certified instructors.

If you're in San Diego, contact Capt Lee Pearce--he's an ASA instructor and excellent.
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post #6 of 12 Old 11-24-2006 Thread Starter
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Thanks Eric but I'm on the other side of the continent. But I will check for ASA certification and ask for references. I did check with one yacht club but they hung up on me when they found out I wasn't a member. Kinda put me off calling any of the others!
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post #7 of 12 Old 11-24-2006
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You should also check with local colleges, which often have sailing programs, as well as other community based programs. In Massachusetts, there are programs in Buzzards Bay and in Boston and Cambridge that offer lessons for relatively little money. Crewing is another excellent way to get experience, but I'd highly recommend you get a good foundation course in first, like an ASA 101 course. Also, highly recommned that you get The Complete Sailor, by Dave Seidman. Excellent book, very well written with good drawings and plain language. I generally have anyone crewing for me read it before coming aboard.

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post #8 of 12 Old 11-24-2006
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What State/ Area

You should be able to find a good school & instructors in most populated area. If you are more specific, then recommendations will probably follow.

here's links to the two biggest sailing associations which have tools / info to help your search

http://www.ussailing.org/commercial/keelboatsystem.htm

http://www.asa.com/
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post #9 of 12 Old 11-24-2006 Thread Starter
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Thanks both of you!

I live in south Florida right now. To be honest I wouldn't trust anyone local but I might try the Sarasota area, it's only a couple of hours away.

SailingDog, I'm reading (or at least trying to) Chapman's Piloting, Seamanship and Small Boat Handling but I think some hands on time is a must for me to really understand some of what I'm reading. I've been a passenger on some daytrips but since I'm a novice I wasn't allowed to do anything. Most of my experience is on cabincruisers and "speedboats" and it does help a little. I'll try to find a copy of the book you recommended. Our local used book store seems to have a plethora of books about boats so maybe I'll get off cheap, lol.

Chuteman, thanks for the links! I've bookmarked both of them and will investigate the websites as soon as I get my little monkey to bed!

Last edited by CherokeeSailWench; 11-24-2006 at 09:19 PM.
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Chapman's, while a great reference, is really not an appropriate book to learn sailing from. The Seidman book is really designed and written to teach a lot about the basics of sailing, sailing theory and techniques. I think you'll like the book a lot.... most of the other people who have read it on my recommendation have loved it.

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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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