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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Learning to Sail
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  #1  
Old 11-18-2007
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Sailing School Experiences?

Hey everyone,

My wife and I are getting ready for stage two of our plan; and are shopping sailing schools. I like two; and would like to know if anyone here has had direct or secondary experience with either of them.

First: Blue Water Sailing School http://www.bwss.com/whybwss.html

We would be taking this one, probably:

Course A Plus - Bareboat Chartering
Basic Sailing (ASA 101), Basic Coastal Cruising (ASA 103) and Bareboat Chartering (ASA 104) combined. Our most popular course. A one week, liveaboard cruising course, leaving from Ft. Lauderdale and sailing to the northern Florida Keys and return. Sailing and navigation exercises, docking, anchoring, weather, plus knowledge of boat systems amd maintenance procedures qualify you to charter a similar vessel. No experience necessary.

The second possibility is: http://www.offshore-sailing.com/

Not quite sure what course yet.



Any thoughts?
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Old 11-18-2007
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I went to BWSS. The overall experience was great, and I learned a ton. I also got my cat certification ASA 114. Not that I needed that one, but I wanted experience on a cat. I went in the early spring and we had great winds. The capt said that during the summer months the wind is non existent. We spent most of the week with at least a single reef in.

The only detraction from the whole experience was that the capt. had a bit of a short fuse and I seemed to be in the line of fire more often than not. Maybe it was the fact that we had gale force winds the first night and he didn't have patience for my fumbling with rigging a bridle. I redeemed myself later in the week when we ripped the jib car off the cabin top during a mob drill. By then I knew that I should tack, then heave to. Then I got the jib car reattached to the track. Once we were back underway, I was able to find the drifting life jacket since the gal who was supposed to be watching it forgot. Capt Rick was very nice to me after that day.
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Old 11-18-2007
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I think your experience will vary depending on the instructor. If you sign up for a number of days with just one instructor (see the post above as an example) you'll have a great, or good, or not so good, experience depending on the instructor, his/her teaching methods, your learning style, and the weather front (or lack of front) that dominated those days. You might consider a series of "day" lessons somewhere, where you get different weather, instructors, and situations over time.

I say this as a part-time weekend instructor who takes students out for just a few hours each time, so maybe I'm biased. And that approach, by definition, won't work for coastal cruising, where the crew is the same for a few days. I don't know the schools discussed above, this is just a general observation.
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Old 11-19-2007
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I attended BWSS in the BVI a few years back. I had a great time and the instructor was great also. So I would recommend them.
Melissa
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Old 11-19-2007
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There was a previous thread where a number of people gave there opinions of BWSS (myself included). I'd recommend a 'search' for the thread (I'm pretty sure "BWSS" was in the title. The one thing I'd like to point out is that if the same courses (101, 103,etc) are included, the class that takes the longest means more time on the water.... which is a good thing.

Found a couple threads:
Blue Water Sailing School?
Blue water sailing school?
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"... the only matter of consequence before me is what I will do with my alloted time. I can remain on shore, paralyzed with fear, or I can raise my sails and dip and soar in the breeze." - Richard Bode, First you have to row a little boat (pg. 94)
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Old 11-19-2007
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Wow, Mike. Those are great threads, thanks for dragging them up for me. I think this is likely the route we want to go.

Fred
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I got an Old Fat Boat
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Hard In The Chine, but Soft In The Transom
I Love Her Well, And She Must Love Me
But I think It's Only For My Money
.
..... Gordon Bok
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Old 11-19-2007
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Giulietta is just really nice Giulietta is just really nice Giulietta is just really nice Giulietta is just really nice Giulietta is just really nice
Come spend a week with me in Portugal....you'll be sailing fast and saying funny stuff by the end of it....I am getting old a tired and need a replacement here.

Sailing Giul everyday for 24 miles, Mon to Fri. Saturday and Sunday we take Fred to his club by boat.

Good food and drinks all day...Photoshop lessons in the evening.
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Old 11-19-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Giulietta View Post
Come spend a week with me in Portugal.....
Be careful what you wish for I might just take you up on that someday....
__________________
I got an Old Fat Boat
She's Slow But Handsome
Hard In The Chine, but Soft In The Transom
I Love Her Well, And She Must Love Me
But I think It's Only For My Money
.
..... Gordon Bok
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Old 11-20-2007
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Fred
You may still want to do a search for 'offshore sailing school' to get some opinions on them.
Also, nolatom's point above is not a bad one regarding more than one instructor. I don't know if it's possible for a coastal cruising class, but I had that experience for my basic keelboat and it is was as tom said, more opinions and viewpoints do help (eventually) to make the subject clearer. Kind of like Sailnet, I suppose....
Have fun regardless!
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"... the only matter of consequence before me is what I will do with my alloted time. I can remain on shore, paralyzed with fear, or I can raise my sails and dip and soar in the breeze." - Richard Bode, First you have to row a little boat (pg. 94)
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Old 11-20-2007
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AB,

We'll toss in another plug for BWSS. We had a very good week on the water with them when we did our ASA 101, 103, & 104 certs. The things under the control of the school were all handled quickly, competently, and professionally. We had a great instructor-student ratio (1:4), and the instructor was top-rate -- attentive, thorough, patient.

We were also fortunate in that those aspects not under the full control of BWSS were pretty good as well. The weather couldn't have been better. We had good wind all week (15-20 kts), and almost no rain.

More importantly -- and this is a crap shoot no matter where you decide to go -- all four students were there to learn, not simply get a cert. Nobody came with a "you've got nothing to teach me" attitude. Everybody also pulled their share of time in the galley and doing the other chores.

All the best,
PF
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