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  #1  
Old 05-22-2013
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Question ASA 101/103/104 in "the Islands"

Hey all, I'm certain this has been hashed to death (and I did do a quick search, and other than one recommendation for one school, I didn't find any recent reviews), but I would like to hear some recommendations for ASA sailing schools around the USVI, Puerto Rico, or the Bahamas. The Admiral and I are thinking about doing this in December for a winter vacation. Want to do this for a few reasons, number one being to at least get a taste of what it is like to live on a small/medium (35-42 ft) sailboat in the Caribbean before we make any decisions to make that a lifestyle, number two that, while we have a 26' boat, we are still fairly inexperienced sailors and feel that a course like this would not only build competence, but also confidence, and finally: December is cold here...we want to go sailing. It will also give us better options in the future if we decide that it would be fun to charter places...I would imagine that most charter companies might look askance upon someone that is trying to charter a ~36' yacht that has no certification and only has experience upon a 26' boat. So yeah, any recommendations?
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Old 05-22-2013
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Re: ASA 101/103/104 in "the Islands"

Hi Rhys05, I just returned from an ASA 101/103/104 course in USVI with Blue Water Sailing School and had a blast. I too took this class for many of the reasons you described, try out a bigger boat, build confidence, looking into chartering … I found the class to give me a good idea to what cruising is all about. Up to this point I have been basically day sailing on a 28’ S2. I really enjoyed the day to day routines of checking weather forecasts, charting our course, monitoring VHF, … and of course sailing on all points of sail. I would recommend reading the three text books and taking all practice tests before going. It takes the edge off and you can then focus on why you are really going, to sail.
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Old 05-22-2013
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Re: ASA 101/103/104 in "the Islands"

A week from today I'll be up on Lake Superior for ASA 103/104 with Northern Breezes Sailing School. I've already taken 101 and 105 from them and in July I'll be doing 106.

During the winter they move from Lake Superior to the BVI:
http://www.sailingbreezes.com/Sailin...cation-bvi.htm

So far my experiences with them have been great. All the instructors have been very knowledgable and thorough. Their website can be a bit confusing, but they're good about responding to emails.
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Old 05-22-2013
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Re: ASA 101/103/104 in "the Islands"

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Originally Posted by Minnesail View Post
A week from today I'll be up on Lake Superior for ASA 103/104 with Northern Breezes Sailing School. I've already taken 101 and 105 from them and in July I'll be doing 106.

During the winter they move from Lake Superior to the BVI:
http://www.sailingbreezes.com/Sailin...cation-bvi.htm

So far my experiences with them have been great. All the instructors have been very knowledgable and thorough. Their website can be a bit confusing, but they're good about responding to emails.
Lake Superior sounds cold right now...are they even ice free yet?? On topic, I doesn't look like Northern Breezes has classes in December down there, but I may contact them to inquire. Do the same instructors that do the Lake Superior classes travel down to the BVI's for the winter classes, or are they different?

Frantum:

Cool, we also have an S2 (a 7.9). Yours an 8.5 or 8.6? Do you remember who your instructor was?
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Old 05-22-2013
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Re: ASA 101/103/104 in "the Islands"

Offshore Sailing School in Tortola, British Virgin Islands. They are a US based company. You can literally see the BVI from the USVI. You will also be undoubtedly vacationing there with your new skills at some point. It is enormously popular and you'll become familiar with the territory, which is a great advantage.

http://www.offshoresailing.com/
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Old 05-23-2013
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Smile Re: ASA 101/103/104 in "the Islands"

Hi,

I learned how to sail in the USVI this January with Blue Water Sailing School (BWSS). They are totally legit. For $2000 + $200 tip I lived aboard a 43-footer for seven days with three other students and our teacher. After a week, I got my ASA 101/103/104 certification. I would strongly recommend them if $2200 isn't too much for you. For me, it was a little too much but it was the only way to get started.

Our teacher with BWSS was good friends with other teachers from the Fair Wind Sailing School. We often ended up in the same places as they did so we got to know some of them and their students. They were a great bunch and the school is also totally legit and I'd recommend them.

The same teacher also taught at Barefoot Offshore Sailing School (BOSS) in the Grenadines for many years. She remembers them with fondness and strongly recommends them. I am probably going to get my ASA 105/106 certification with them because I enjoy visiting new places.

One thing I cannot stress strongly enough is to read the three ASA textbooks in their entirety before going. If you do, then sailing school can be much more relaxing and enjoyable--like a vacation. Why shouldn't it be if you are paying that much.

Best wishes. . .

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

S2 8.5, my instructor was Molly.
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Old 05-24-2013
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Re: ASA 101/103/104 in "the Islands"

Quote:
Originally Posted by jaco59 View Post
Hi,

I learned how to sail in the USVI this January with Blue Water Sailing School (BWSS). They are totally legit. For $2000 + $200 tip I lived aboard a 43-footer for seven days with three other students and our teacher. After a week, I got my ASA 101/103/104 certification. I would strongly recommend them if $2200 isn't too much for you...
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...

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. Sailing ability comes from days and weeks of sailing and boat-owning experience, not hours of instruction. Most of the ASA graduates come on here seeking even more education and need even more help, an indication that they realize their own limitations, which remain considerable, even after completing the courses.

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 more valuable experience than the ASA courses. And to those of us who have sailed for a greater part of our lives, that kind of experience is far more valuable than your ASA certificates, which are virtually meaningless.

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.

Last edited by jameswilson29; 05-24-2013 at 08:45 AM.
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Old 05-24-2013
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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...

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. Sailing ability comes from days and weeks of sailing and boat-owning experience, not hours of instruction. Most of the ASA graduates come on here seeking even more education and need even more help, an indication that they realize their own limitations, which remain considerable, even after completing the courses.

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 more valuable experience than the ASA courses. And to those of us who have sailed for a greater part of our lives, that kind of experience is far more valuable than your ASA certificates, which are virtually meaningless.

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.
james- I definitely agree with you that owning a used sailboat >> taking a week long class. I've got the used sailboat (S2 7.9) that we are on 2-5 times a week. I guess I'm looking at taking a class for a few reasons, least of all because of the "class" part of it to be honest:

1) To give some experience on a bigger boat on the ocean (ours is 26' and currently we only have experience on our small lake...that will change after next week when we plan to have it for ~4 days on a much bigger lake).

2) To dip our toes in the water (so to speak) in the Caribbean live-aboard cruising life.

3) To go sailing in the warm waters of the Caribbean during the winter.

4) To obtain the "certifications" that make it easier (and cheaper?) to charter bigger boats if we desire.

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

I went to the BOSS Sailing School in the Genadines back last October for my ASA 101,103,104,114 (Catamaran) certification. I had a great time and the islands down there were amazing. Tortuga Cay was a highlight! I documented each day and the cost on www.MokaKat.com. Tony and Nancy were excellent captains/trainers and I hear they have added a new captain since my trip.

Dale
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