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  #1  
Old 12-10-2008
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San Diego Sailing Academy - Classes?

First the link to the school.

San Diego Sailing Academy

Second the question.

Anyone have experience with this school? If so, good, bad, indifferent.

I'm looking at taking a 7 day course perhaps around late Feb. time frame.

The course will be a basic keelboat, basic coastal cruising and a basic bareboat chartering course.

Goals are pretty simple...

Get a couple of basic courses under our belts, ON the OCEAN (rather than in lakes in Colorado) and find out a couple of things... 1) can we do this and handle a boat -I'm sure we can, but experience at doing it is always better than guessing.... and 2) get the certifications in case we decide in the future only to charter a boat, rather than buy one.

Honestly, at this point, I'm MORE than ready to learn as much as I can, and get my behind on as many boats as possible as quickly as I can. Time's a wastin' as they say.

So - if you guys have any clues to hand me, please pass 'em my way.

Here's a blurb from their site (And NOTE I spoke to a very NICE guy today who was VERY helpful and informative... that has NOT been the case with the other four schools I've called so far. This guy stayed on the phone with me, even though he was on the docks, by the boats and didn't rush me off the phone... that right there was class A customer service to me....)

Quote:
The 7-day combination package 101/103/104 Basic Keelboat/Coastal
Cruising/Bareboat Chartering Certification is our most popular program.
A typical day might begin sailing a 15 mile close reach in the ocean
from San Diego Bay to Mission Bay, or you may set sail for South San
Diego Bay where a variety of destinations including Glorrietta Bay are
located. You will learn new skills like piloting and sailing a yacht
using the chart, the buoys, and the hand-bearing compass. You'll get
practice at steering in waves and gybing in the ocean. Heaving to,
reefing, man overboard recovery, docking under sail and power, and
anchoring are all taught in this class. Students will practice planning
a sailing trip on the spot with various wind and tide conditions, and
pick the best locations for the day. Late in the afternoon, students
will dock and the instructor departs the boat.
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  #2  
Old 12-10-2008
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Can't comment about the school, but I lived there 2 years and never heard any jokes about it. "J" World... well...
I digress. San Diego is the perfect place to sharpen seamanship and navigation skills. It also gives you *some* exposure to the ocean. If you are lucky you might get some NW swells to play with, otherwise it will be pretty calm and flat. Great sailing in the bay however. You WILL learn all about the rules of the road, and all about military security zones.
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Old 12-11-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailboy21 View Post
Can't comment about the school, but I lived there 2 years and never heard any jokes about it. "J" World... well...
I digress. San Diego is the perfect place to sharpen seamanship and navigation skills. It also gives you *some* exposure to the ocean. If you are lucky you might get some NW swells to play with, otherwise it will be pretty calm and flat. Great sailing in the bay however. You WILL learn all about the rules of the road, and all about military security zones.
That's the sort of things I want to hear. Thanks.

I think we're going to go there sometime in February. Gonna do the "7 day" classes. Five days of instruction, and two days "on our own" I guess.

I've talked to four schools so far. Two here in Colorado - and one in Florida.

None of them were helpful but this last one.

The two in Colorado I spoke to have some rather convoluted web sites and when I called and sent emails I was referred back their web site... when I was trying to get clarification on something the web site said. Not a good way to do business.

The Florida school - at least the person I spoke to - tried very hard to get me to just "sign up" and then make a decision about coming down later. They had a "no refund policy" which he didn't mention and when I started asking questions he said, "Listen, I need to call you back I've got an appointment in five minutes".

Ok..... well, could have told me that to begin with, and not try to hardsell me something on the phone without answering questions.

I figure it was because they were in the Miami area... used to being snotty to people there I suppose (I HATE Miami, Hate it hate it hate it - people are almost as rude there as they are in Paris... )

So, in shopping for schools, I ruled out several due to prices.

I've pretty much ruled out inland schools like here in Colorado several reasons

They haven't been HELPFUL at ALL.

One guy was rude, the other was very UNHELPFUL - but, you also have to do your classes in several sessions meaning I have to travel 80 miles each time to get there, boats are 19', they are on small lakes, not ocean, it's COLD in the water here if you go overboard..... and in general though the cost is cheaper for the classes locally, than traveling (no airline fees, and it's about 1/2 the cost) - But then there's the inconvenience of driving back and forth for several classes that do not seem to be linear or tied together.

So... over all, we decided to travel for vacation for training.

Any other comments anyone has on either school or location before we make a final decision this evening?

Thanks
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Old 12-11-2008
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Don't know anything about SDSA other than SDSA seems to be pretty active, there are several Hotels within easy walking, Airport is about ten minutes away and as Sailboy mentioned, excellent sailing area.

You could even hookup on a daysail with Stars & Stripes, they're in the same marina


And if this is a Family Vacation, Sea World is also ten minutes away
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Old 12-13-2008
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I dont think we're gonna have time for Sea World. I've been to Sea World before, and visited San Diego many years ago several times. I stayed in a really beautiful hotel there - the Del Coronado I think it was. Red roof... on the ocean.

Played tennis with Vice President George HW Bush (as his partner). Whipped a Secret Service Agent and the Reagan's Secretary of something-or-another.. lol

Anyway - I had done a search previous to posting this thread and couldn't find anything for some reason. I just searched again and found not just my thread but three others.

All were one-post-wonders... I wonder why people make one post and then never post again or never come back?

There were no responses to the others - well, to two of them.

One was there to say "I had a HORRIBLE experience" but they posted ONE message, that one. So I wonder why someone would do that?

I'm thinking perhaps the moderator ought to combine all three of the other threads, and mine and put the information together. It'd be helpful later.

Oh, and REST ASSURED I'll be rating the school, the instructor and the courses right here.

And to let everyone know, I spoke to Nick from the school twice now. Both times he was not only helpful (but busy!) and instead of brushing me off and asking me to call later, or trying to get me off the phone, he remained on the phone with me while I asked him stupid questions.

My idea of customer service includes someone who is HELPFUL and not pushy, not antsy and not trying to get out from under getting asked the same dumb assed questions he or she got asked by the last customer.

I do this for MY customers and I expect NOTHING LESS.

Nick impressed me right off the bat.

Now.... knowing that, and knowing he MIGHT be reading here... oh well, he is on notice now I'll be evaluating him. I spent many years as a teacher and know what to look for in an instructor, instruction and direction. Knowing I'm actually learning something NEW this time around (except I'm very well read on it now) means that he's going to basically be giving me the hands-on training I'm looking for.

So... look to this thread for a review in a few months.

JoAnne and I are scheduled to depart on the 5th of April and start classed on Monday morning.

The class is a live-aboard for 7 days. Five days of instruction and 2 days of "bare boating" I guess.

They are shipping our books today and I should have them by Monday, Tuesday at the latest.

We're taking three certification courses. Basic Keelboat, basic Coastal cruising and bareboat.

So, I'll have notes on all those things at a later date for future question askers...

Rick
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Rick Donaldson, NØNJY

moˈloːn laˈbe!

It's better to be hated for who you are, than to be loved for who you're not.

Let those winds of change blow over my head,
I'd rather die while I'm living than live while I'm dead - Jimmy Buffet
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Old 12-14-2008
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If you want to save a few bucks, I can recommend the Mission Bay Aquatic Center: Mission Bay Aquatic Center- sailing
Most, not all, the instructors are young, but they know their stuff and you'll get many more hours to practice skills than most other courses offered anywhere in California.
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Old 12-14-2008
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My wife did the one week course at SDSA. She sailed a Hunter 30 for a week, slept on it at night. No great shakes in her opinion. The owner (older guy) was a little stuck in his ways and could have been more helpful. He was not real interested in my wife's questions about engine systems, which is a part of the class according to the text book. She really had to push hard with question after question to get the most from the class.

His son, was a much better instructor, and answered questions more freely in her opinion. You take the tests in the evening when the sailing is done, She felt it was pretty expensive for what you got. She did have previous sailing experience though. SDSA might be just fine for someone with no experience who wants to get started.

She did come home with a nice tan.

michael
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Old 12-15-2008
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I agree that Mission Bay Aquatic Center is a great place to learn sailing, however they don't offer ASA certification, as far as I know. They do offer US Sailing certification.

They also don't cover some of topics that are covered in the ASA class, especially engines.

My wife and I took the first three of MBAC's keel boat classes earlier this summer, but chose not to take the test for the US Sailing certification because it looked like most charter companies want ASA certification. We just joined the Harbor Sailboats sailing club and took their ASA 101 class. The instructor was very good, although the class was much shorter than the MBAC classes and did seem a bit rushed.


Andrew

Last edited by Bleyddyn; 12-15-2008 at 07:03 PM. Reason: another typo
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Old 12-16-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thesnort View Post
If you want to save a few bucks, I can recommend the Mission Bay Aquatic Center: Mission Bay Aquatic Center- sailing
Most, not all, the instructors are young, but they know their stuff and you'll get many more hours to practice skills than most other courses offered anywhere in California.
Already made the decision to go with SDSA - for several reasons. While I'm sure the one you offered is a fine school, it, and most of the others simply doesn't meet my requirements. Classes are "set" up a certain way that is inconvenient for me to attend.

As I live in Colorado, I can't just pick and chose. We have a handful of schools here as well - ALL of which are 80 - 200 miles distant, forcing me to pick and chose when I can possibly attend classes, driving the distance between (perhaps having to take off work to do so) and in short, they are lake courses, and not ocean courses.

Further, each of them are divided up individually.

The school I mentioned here has "private lessons" for my wife and I - one instructor, and we have him for five days of training, without others. As a former college teacher myself, I can tell you that the fewer students you have the better you can concentrate on the students' needs and training.

Thank you though!

Rick
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Rick Donaldson, NØNJY

moˈloːn laˈbe!

It's better to be hated for who you are, than to be loved for who you're not.

Let those winds of change blow over my head,
I'd rather die while I'm living than live while I'm dead - Jimmy Buffet
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Old 12-16-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doubleeboy View Post
My wife did the one week course at SDSA. She sailed a Hunter 30 for a week, slept on it at night. No great shakes in her opinion. The owner (older guy) was a little stuck in his ways and could have been more helpful. He was not real interested in my wife's questions about engine systems, which is a part of the class according to the text book. She really had to push hard with question after question to get the most from the class.

His son, was a much better instructor, and answered questions more freely in her opinion. You take the tests in the evening when the sailing is done, She felt it was pretty expensive for what you got. She did have previous sailing experience though. SDSA might be just fine for someone with no experience who wants to get started.

She did come home with a nice tan.

michael
nice tan huh? LOL

Well... I guess there's always some perks!

We've got zero sailing experience at this point and that was one of the reasons we chose this.

Over the course of the past few months - and having visited this site and the Cruiser's Forums site - and was really turned off of going to classes, not because of the forums, but from listening to all the people saying "You HAVE to GO!"

Then in dealing with several schools, found they were not real helpful, didn't want to talk on the phone at all, wanted to get me to sign up and not really give me the information I was asking for. I was looking through two sites, one in particular was so convoluted and difficult to understand I sent emails asking for some assistance. I was referred back to the web site, so I called.

The guy was short with me, and referred me again, back to his web site.

So - all in all I've had some bad experiences already and I was about to say "Screw it" - I'll read my books and just "go do" on a lake, where it's relatively safe and non-threatening to figure things out myself.

However, we decided in the end to find someone who will be spending time with us and show us a few things. With NO experience, I'd say, they might be a bit more expensive than I really wanted, but in the long run, I get the instructor - and whether he knows it or not, he's going to be a captive with ME for those 5 days rather than the other way around.
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It's better to be hated for who you are, than to be loved for who you're not.

Let those winds of change blow over my head,
I'd rather die while I'm living than live while I'm dead - Jimmy Buffet
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