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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Learning to Sail
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  #11  
Old 05-24-2013
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Re: ASA 101/103/104 in "the Islands"

Quote:
Originally Posted by jameswilson29 View Post
.....Judging by the quality of the posts of the people who completed their ASA courses (and the posts of the ASA instructors) on this forum, the students aren't really learning too much for the cost, and they lack the confidence of those who have taught themselves how to sail and own their own boats.......
While I don't disagree that you are not going to be an experienced sailor after a week, I have seen first handed how people have gone from absolute zero to reasonably competent fair weather sailors in that short a time. It may not be enough on its own, but its an excellent start and avoids learning bad habits by oneself on a boat they don't know how to operate.

I think the odds are much higher for success with these schools, where the graduates would follow through to continue learning on their own, compared to the likely frustration of having to commit to figuring it out or doing piecemeal lessons.
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  #12  
Old 05-24-2013
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Re: ASA 101/103/104 in "the Islands"

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Originally Posted by Rhys05 View Post
Honestly, if someone tells me that I don't need the classes in order to bareboat charter a bigger (~36') boat in the islands, keeping in mind our current experience is with our 26' on small and medium sized inland lakes, then I would probably want to do that this winter rather than do a course. Feel free to school me! (I've done tons of reading, I haunt Sailnet, I'm on my current boat as much as I can, I'm a mechanical engineer and fairly confident in my problem solving and mechanical abilities..)
I won't say you don't need one, but if you're already sailing a couple times a week you're probably well on your way to being able to charter a simple location like BVI. For one, the charter company takes you on and off the only dock you'll encounter the whole trip (which is honestly the hardest part). You'll get a chart breifing before you leave that spells out pretty nicely where you should or shouldn't go and what anchorages are safe/comfortable. You'll pick up mooring balls everywhere else, or maybe drop anchor (either way it's a skill you should pick up whether you know you'll need it or not and a lot of people do it wrong). A 36' boat will probably feel like a lot of boat compared to your 26' now, but maybe you know someone with a larger boat that would let you spend a day handling it? You'll probably find it easier than you expected. In other words, you could probably hone the skills you already have for cheaper somewhere nearby and save the big money for the actual trip. Bareboating with just myself and a GF was the most expensive vacation I've ever been on in my life, but well worth it. On the other side, bareboating a 38' foot catamaran with 8 people is one of the cheaper ways to see some beautiful islands - obviously it depends on the experience you're after.
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Old 05-24-2013
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Re: ASA 101/103/104 in "the Islands"

To OP,

I am a product of ASA 101 to ASA 106. I highly recommend to take the formal training courses. It is better, more organized, more thorough than you have your best friend (ever if he has sailed for 100 years) to teach you.

Once I got my bare-boat certificate, I bought in a time-share boat for two years. I sailed her hard up and down Chesapeake Bay and as far as Cape May in day and night (with the owners blessing, he is a real sailor). Thereafter, I crewed for other Captains/Owners, learn from them what to do and what not to do. Together read as much as you can on the net, and also read all sailing books such as Fastnet Force 10, Sydney to Hobart Race, A Storm Too Soon (the latest one) and etc. The books are so valuable to my everyday life when I head out to the sea.

Within this 6 months, I have done 5 off shore voyages (from 7 to 14 days) served 3 times as a captain and two as first mate.

Why I tell you all these? There are many way to skin a cat. There is no right way or wrong way to learn how to sail. Know your option, identify your style and limitations, then go after it.

There is nothing better than sailing under the moonless sky, listening to the bow waves, gliding thru the water into another day. Ok, my wife may not agree. My wife said something like that: Sailing usually consists of endless days of extreme boredom and intertwine with a few moments horror and death traps. In my next life, I will choose my mate carefully

Good luck
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Old 05-24-2013
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Re: ASA 101/103/104 in "the Islands"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhys05 View Post
Honestly, if someone tells me that I don't need the classes in order to bareboat charter a bigger (~36') boat in the islands, keeping in mind our current experience is with our 26' on small and medium sized inland lakes, then I would probably want to do that this winter rather than do a course. Feel free to school me! (I've done tons of reading, I haunt Sailnet, I'm on my current boat as much as I can, I'm a mechanical engineer and fairly confident in my problem solving and mechanical abilities..)
Bigger the boat, easier to sail. She practically sails herself and you just come along to enjoy the ride.

You are way ahead of the game with a ME degree when comes to sailing. The CG, CE, moments, vectors, fluid dynamic and etc come very useful to find a solution when no one there to ask.
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Old 05-25-2013
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Re: ASA 101/103/104 in "the Islands"

I used the Rob Swain Sailing School out of Nanny Cay in Tortola for my ASA certifications and can highly recommend them. Also, after your course, you can charter either your training boat or another similar boat from them.
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  #16  
Old 05-26-2013
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Smile Re: ASA 101/103/104 in "the Islands"

Quote:
Originally Posted by jameswilson29 View Post
I disagree - there are far better options. For the cost of the course and the roundtrip flight, you could have bought a used sailboat, on which you could have used to practice sailing in all different conditions by yourself, while you crewed on other people's big boats for free.

You would be a far better sailor and have much greater confidence, than having spent a week being led around by the nose and having little to show for it...
...
Buy a used, trailerable daysailor or a small keelboat, read books, read this forum and others, take the Coast Guard auxiliary courses and the Power Squadron courses, volunteer to crew on others' boats - you will gain far
...
A major part of successful sailing is problem solving on the fly, extensive practical experience, and seasons of practice, and you don't learn that from a supposed "expert" teaching a group of students on a big boat for a week.
Some good points were made above but also consider:

(1) If you've got a week, I cannot think of a more intensive experience than the 7-day ASA 101/103/104 live aboard course. It is not supposed to be a substitute for "extensive practical experience" or "seasons of practice". It is just supposed to be a really good head start which I think it was.

(2) If you get the sailing itch during the winter months, as I did, then you really need to fly south to Florida, Texas, or the islands. What else can you do?

(3) I sure hope that my certification is not meaningless. Aren't I more likely to get crewing opportunities on other people's boats now that I have my certification? I am new at this so I cannot be sure but I do have a 3-day Hope Town-to-Ft. Lauderdale trip that I am going to be making in July on an Ericson 34. The airfare will be expensive but I've never been to the Bahamas.

(4) If you live in a land-locked state without any large lakes, the trailerable sailboat option is not so appealing. Also, the trailerable sailboat doesn't give you a taste of the live aboard life which I needed to sample.

I cannot disagree with the importance of experience which I don't have yet. Also, I can confirm that you do learn more in a small boat, especially one that can capsize.
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