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Stryker72 08-08-2007 02:04 PM

Sailing Lesson ASA vs. Localing Sailing Center
Ok, I am looking to take some sailing lessons this year yet. There are two paths I could take in this area and each one has it's own merits but I can't decide. I am looking to hear your opinons.

First is The ASA 101/103 sailing course. it is taught on Lake Michigan with a 30' sailboat. Standard descriptions for the course are:
Basic Learn to Sail (101) - Understand the basics of sailing in the classroom and then apply these concepts on the water. Upon completion you should be able to handle a smaller sailboat in light moderate wind and sea conditions in familiar waters. 2 - 10 hour days
Basic Coastal Cruising (103) - Learn to cruise in local and regional waters building on your skills from the first course as both Skipper and Crew of a 30’ sailboat in moderate wind and sea conditions. 2 - 10 hour days

The next option is the Milwauke Community Sailing Center. This is a little different as my membership there would allow to me to use their boats free (based on availibility), but it is not geared to bareboat chartering.

Adult Sailing Instruction
The Sailing Center’s nationally acclaimed basic sailing instruction incorporates classroom theory and on-the-water practice in an 8-session‚ 24-hour course over two weeks to make learning to sail safe‚ easy and fun. Learn basic sailing techniques like tacking‚ jibing and docking. Become familiar with boat rigging‚ sailing terms and safety inspection as well as knot tying‚ right of way and the Quick Turn crew overboard maneuver. Experienced volunteer instructors sail with students the first several sessions. After successfully completing the Basic Course‚ students earn a Light Air rating entitling them to take additional courses and participate in Open Sailing (Page 11). Adult Basic Evening and Day Courses meet Monday - Thursday for two weeks. Fridays may be used as make-up days in case of inclement weather.

I had been leaning towards the Community sailing center as it would provide a great networking oppurtunity and I would most likely learn more about sailing technique. They also have over 80 boats avialable from a Pearson Ensign, J-24s, Solings, Internation 470s, and a C&C 27. But if I go else where and want to charter would I be denied without the ASA classes? The Sailing Center also has a membership fee that I would have to pay, and it is very late in the season.

I would like to hear some opinions from others on classes.

GySgt 08-08-2007 02:14 PM

Go with the Community sailing, then challange the ASA courses so you have certs in case you go somewhere on vacation and want to charter. Keep track of your water time in a log. My .02 cents worth.

ReverendMike 08-08-2007 02:25 PM

I took a quick look at the Milwaukee Community website. They're affiliated with US Sailing, which (I believe) is equivalent to ASA in the eyes of charter companies. So I think you won't even need to challenge. (I got keelboat from US and my cruising from ASA, not much difference IMHO)

Stryker72 08-09-2007 09:21 AM


Originally Posted by GySgt (Post 177048)
Go with the Community sailing, then challange the ASA courses so you have certs in case you go somewhere on vacation and want to charter. Keep track of your water time in a log. My .02 cents worth.

By Challenge to you mean that I could go to the ASA and ask for a certification based of experience?

Freesail99 08-09-2007 09:23 AM

I understand ASA is raising there fees by $39.00 after September.

GySgt 08-09-2007 11:05 AM


Originally Posted by Stryker72 (Post 177457)
By Challenge to you mean that I could go to the ASA and ask for a certification based of experience?

The schools in this area will let you challenge the course. At our club I think it is around 125.00 to take an instructor out and challenge the skills at whatever ASA level. I personally have not done that opting to take the course. Mainly because I can barely spell sailboat, let alone skipper one.

But whether it is US Sailing or ASA certs and skipper logs I have heard haveing them makes chartering much easier.

6string 08-09-2007 03:45 PM


I grew up sailing scows and other small boats. Sailed with a few guys out of Milwaukee and Port Washington on Keel boats.

The first time I chartered was in Bayfield at the Apostle Island, great place to go. All I had for them was a resume of a bunch of sailing. I did not have ASA certification. They never even went out on the boat to check me out to see if I knew port from starboard. Had a 30' boat for 4 days. Next year we went to a different charter company and got a 45' boat for charter in the same area. No one check me out, just sign the check. I have since been to the Caribbean twice and chartered with Footloose a Beneteau 473. they didn't check me out either.

I would recommend to take your lessons with Milwaukee Community Sailing Center. I would also show up at South Shore or Milwuakee Yacht Clubs on their race days and find some larger boats to get on. Try to get into a few across the Lake races. It looks good on your resume. You will get more experience on the water than just doing a week class at ASA and make a lot of friends. If you want to take some certification classes locally, check out Performance Yachts, I know they do some.

Good luck


Stryker72 08-09-2007 08:12 PM

Well I start my 2 week class on Monday with the sailing center. I am very excited. I am hoping that this will also allow me to network and get on some bigger boats as 6string was saying.

tenuki 08-09-2007 10:56 PM

sailing center is the way to go, glad you chose it. US Sailing classes are pretty good too, like others have said, they are pretty much equiv. Once caveat regarding certs, most organizations require that you maintain membership to answer queries regarding your certs, so supposedly it's not valid unless you maintain membership. Kinda a scam if you ask me.

arbarnhart 08-09-2007 11:23 PM

I have not chartered yet, but I have done some queries at sailing centers located near me, near relatives or near places I would pay to visit about training and chartering. Several of them did not offer formal training, but every single one I contacted told me that certs are not required if you can demonstrate boating knowledge. I think I still want to get a few courses under my belt, but it does seem that getting experience through other means (cruising with friends) is no less valuable. I might go to a USCG license course instead of ASA as I may have an opportunity to do some for hire work in semi-reitirement in a few years, and that does requre their certification/license.

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