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fendertweed 02-25-2011 09:25 PM

Recommended ASA Certification schools in Annapolis?
I've sailed for 45+ yrs. and have mostly soloed my Pearson 26 on the Potomac the past 8 including my 200-mile round trip cruise in '08, but I want to get my wife more acclimated and also want to get a formal ASA certification for myself so that we can charter easily in various places (including the BVI (where I'll probably do a crewed charter the 1st time) and Croatia -- we have a Serbian (American) friend & want to go over there w/ he & his wife, but Croatian govt. regs require an ASA cert. to charter, I am told).

I'm looking for first-hand (preferably) recommendations for ASA certification schools in Annapolis ... we live in NoVa and probably won't get to it this year but I want to do it in the next 2-3.

Any recommendations (or ones to avoid, private email is fine for that if you prefer) are appreciated, as well as tips/ tricks/ traps.

Our boat is very rudimentary (outboard/ porta potty/ no water tank, etc.) so there is a bit to learn in terms of modern boat systems and navigation.


c2cSailor 02-25-2011 11:09 PM

ASA Certs

Though some places may require an ASA cert, most major boat charter companies rely on your experience both length of boat and time frame for considering the type of vsl you may want to bareboat.

I personally have Basic Keel Boat (101), Basic Coastal Cruising (103), Bareboat (104), and Coastal Navigation (105). These are good as a foundation, but if the only sailing experience is limited to a 26 ft with outboard, a bareboat charter may be out of the question. Many companies smallest boat is a 35'. Best of luck to you!

sck5 02-26-2011 07:49 AM

annapolis school of sailing is great. but it really is all about the instructor so go meet him/her first to be sure, but they have been around a long time and were very good when i did it a few years ago

sailingdog 02-26-2011 08:14 AM

I'd point out that what might be a great school now may not be one in two-to-three years, since instructors, ownership and fleets can all change in that much time.

moorehal 03-20-2011 09:32 PM

Since you are NOVA based, you might want to look at Pentagon Sailing Club ( We run our ASA 101/103 on our Capri 22s on the Potomac, and our bigger bay sail boats on the Bay.

In your case, with your experience, you sound like a good challenge candidate. Since you want to go ASA, we would have you take the 101 and 103 exams, and then go for about a two hour sail. Mostly, the sail is to familiarize you with our boats and procedues.

We might also look at your sailing resume and see how you might be able to challenge on a higher level.

fallard 03-20-2011 10:42 PM

We've chartered in the Caribbean for over a dozen years and are amazed at some of the folks they'll allow out on a charter. Your 8 years on a Pearson 26, including a 200 mile trip indicate a degree of experience with sailing and navigation. I'm not sure I'd lend you my boat, but I'll bet you'd qualify for a charter in a benign area like the BVI. We've met a number of other charters in the Virgin Islands who have never owned a boat and had less experience than you.

Our first charter experience in the Caribbean was an eye-opener. My wife and I had just returned our boat and were sharing a taxi to the airport with a foursome who had also just finished their charter. We were sharing stories about where we went and what we liked the most. When we told them about taking a slip in Spanish Town, BVI, where we were impressed with the slip fee of less than a dollar a foot, their reaction was, "You docked the boat yourselves?"

I don't mean to disparage your interest in sailing schools at all, but you needn't sell yourself short, either. You might check with charter operations like the Moorings or Sunsail to see what they think about your qualifications. Sometimes they will put a paid skipper on your boat for the first day or two, if they think your qualifications are marginal. Otherwise you can do the crewed charter for a lot more money.

All that said, you should follow your instincts about taking courses to become a better sailor. I wish there were more sailors out there like you.

fendertweed 05-26-2011 05:15 PM

Thanks all for your replies.

You address a couple of my thoughts: (1) being sure I can rent where I want to go, one of which is Croatia (we have a friend (in Va.) who is Serbian so we'd love to cruise over there with them) and I recently read that the charter companies there require an ASA type certification if you don't have a paid captain, but I'll confirm that -- probably would be OK in the BVI; and (2) I definitely need to get more time/experience on a boat w/ more systems than Catalyst (no water tank, stove, diesel, basic electrical w/ no generator or much of anything powered, etc.), as well as handling a larger boat in a harbor/docking situation ...

In fact, for the BVI since I'd like to go to Anegada and understand that they won't let uncaptained charters go there unless you've done it before, I thought of even doing our first week down there w/ a captain so that on later trips we'll have "BTDT" and can go on our own (we hope).

so thanks for the votes of confidence & suggestions, I'll probably be back to ask again as I get closer to having time to actually do it ... with current situation involving parental eldercare I have no time for the foreseeable future, can barely get to my own boat 25 mins. from my house.


Antibes 05-26-2011 07:05 PM

I did a week long live aboard class about 10 years ago out of Ft Lauderdale. Great way to get the ASA certifications.

The islands in Croatia are beautiful.

severnmd 06-11-2011 05:24 PM

I went there last weekend. It is in Baltimore, not Annapolis, but I, personally, thought it was excellent. ASA 101 was the course....sailed on a SONAR 23 right near Ft McHenry...

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