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  Topic Review (Newest First)
10-02-2012 11:37 AM
Re: Challenging ASA ratings?

Thanks for the follow-up. I like when there is some closure to old threads. I think a lot of charter companies could care less what ratings you have. They just want to see some evidence that you will not destroy their boat (usually that you have sailed a similar boat without destroying it).

ASA 101 $150
ASA 103 $150
Charter with 6 girls... priceless
10-01-2012 01:46 AM
Re: Challenging ASA ratings?

Just felt I owed a follow up with my results. I spent the last 6 years living in Utah with little sailing. I moved last year to San Diego County. My schedule was fairly busy not allowing me to sail much. I joined a club that allowed me to take out boats to 25 feet. I took out a boat 3 times, read the ASA 103 book and found a place that let me challenge the 101 and 103 courses. I passed the written portions with 90%+. Spent one hour of the checkout docking and motoring as I knew that was my weak point. We then went out of the harbor where I was able to tack and jibe the boat solo (although I was very sloppy with a wheel) to prove I knew how to sail. We spent some more time doing MOB I mean COB drills. So for less than $300 I got 2 hours of private lessons, and walked away with my ASA 101 and 103 ratings.

Shortly after that a girl I met through work and told about sailing called and asked if I could take out her 5 friends. So here is the happy captain, and his crew, all of which payed their share of the charter of the 32 foot boat.
01-01-2011 07:37 PM

I could see challenging keelboat with your experience, but would highly recommend taking a coastal cruising and bareboat course to fill any knowledge/skill gaps that I am sure exist AND gain critical experience on a heavier displacement boat. Safety and confidence if nothing else. Plus respect for the company or owner of the boat you plan on chartering. Dinghies have little relation to bareboating in my opinion. Having more than adequate time training/practicing on a similar boat you plan on chartering is key.
11-19-2010 04:14 PM
jephotog Hi Moorehal,

I appreciate all your great advice and suggestions. I think you are underestimating my experience, possibly almost as much as I may be overestimating it.

Twenty years ago I challenged the bareboat rating and passed it, never having been on a keel boat before. After a few months of sailing and a 3 day course I was able to charter bigger boats including a Hans Christian 33 and other boats in other areas along the west coast, and a night charter in the SF bay.

I was probably in over my head in those days but it all worked out. Since then I have sailed a lot more, and am a much better sailor now than then. I have a lot of time on boats on 35, 38 and 45 feet in length often as navigator, tactician or trimmer, and sometimes helmsman.

I would not mind taking a class I feel I would benefit from. Your course description for the ASA 104 seems like a good fit for what I need to work on. If I could find an advanced or intensive course I would love that is up to my skill level I would love to participate in one.

I am pretty confident in my ability to challenge the navigation portion. I was a decent navigator 20 years ago when I took my first sailing class, but now I am a professional pilot and flight instructor. Most of my piloting takes place at 200 knots. This also makes airfare not an object if I am going to take a class it won't be in the shifty mountain winds of the Rockies but one of the coasts.

I was in communication with a school owner that certifies instructors. I had planned on sailing with the owner to challenge some ratings, and let her evaluate my skills. The time I had allotted did not work out but I plan on following up over the winter.
11-19-2010 02:45 PM
Qualificatons for Charter


I am a Navy Sailing E-MS and instructor rated skipper, as well as an ASA 201 through 205 instructor. I am the Training Commodore for a sailing club in Chesapeake Bay that awards over 80 Navy Sailing and ASA 101-103 certs each year, and about 30 of the higher level certs. We charter about 60 boats each year in Annapolis and the British Virgin Islands.

First of all, I want to echo all of the responses that have been made by contributors to this threead to your plans.

First of all, you feel that having ASA certs will get your foot in the door with a charterer. However, most charter companies are looking at the "whole package." The presentation of a qualification card or book loaded with stickers is not going to interest them by itself. A sailing resume is one thing that they are looking for. They will want to see evidence of experience. Another piece of paper that they are looking for is appreciation notes from other charter companies on how well you took care of their boat. They most important qualification that they will want is your credit card. They will want to see that they can hit it for at least the deductible on their insurance ($1,500 or higher).

You say that you have "found" a charter company that will let you charter based on a docking OTW evaluation that they will conduct for you. Whenever a chartering company tells you they need to see your skills demonstrated, then that means they have some doubts.They know that you have spent a lot of money in flying to their destination and are probably willing to fork out the money for a skipper vice turning around and flying back home when they tell you "sorry".

From what you have described, you have a lot of experience in 20 to 30 foot keelboats, but practically no experience in larger boats with auxiliary propulsion. I do not think that your demonstration will be "successful." The chartering company will then turn to you and say " will need to take a skipper with you that we will provide for you for $400 per day." It does not sound as though your pocket book is prepared for that.

In Annapolis, the chartering company we use (Annapolis Bay Charters)is familar with our training standards, and does not require skipper demonstrations. In the BVI, we normally use Horizon Charters at Nanny Cay Marina in Tortola. They do not require an OTW from us either. However, for most of the charterers (not us), Horizon doesn't generally let the charterers maneuver the boats in the marina. They take the boats to a safe T-head that the charterers can depart from.

Qualifications, whether they come from ASA, Navy Sailing, US Sailing, or the Royal Yachting Association simply demonstrate that you have demonstrated a minimum level of experience and skill. It is rare that any charter company would take a "qual card" at face value without also looking at a sailing resume. Keep in mind that a "forged" sailing resume will be viewed by most chartering companies as "negligence", which means if you have an "oops", you are paying the entire bill and the insurance company won't be a part of it.

As for your efforts at challenging the ASA certifications, the first thing that you need to realize is that all instructional facilities with any of the qualification organizations go through an inspection process, management plans, and ethics agreements to ensure that they are operating sound programs. ASA, for example, strongly discourages sailing qualification "puppy mills" where students with no experience start at ASA 101 on week one, and end up with ASA 106 on week five. The same holds true for challenges.

I entertain about 15 challenge requests each year at various levels. With only about 2 exceptions, the challengers overestimate their skills significantly. I usually ask them to take the requisite exams first. When they fail the exam (which will usually be the case), I will not have already waisted the time of instructor and, potentially, a crew to evaluate them.

Based on your skills to date, I would let you take the 101 and the 103 exams. If you passed, I would let you take an evaluation on a Capri/Catalina 22 with outboard propulsion. If you did well on the OTW, especially the marina maneuvering portion, I would give you your 101 and 103.

However, I would not consider you for 104/105 without your having taken a 2 day classroom piloting course and an additional 86 hours of day sailing and 20 hours of night sailing on a 30 foot plus boat with inboard auxiliary propulsion. As part of that experience, you would get practical training on how to conduct a visual navigation plot. I don't know of anyone who has passed the 105 without having had practical experince with piloting first. This experience would also include lots of close quarter maneuvering in a marina, reefing and sail trim training, use of preventers, diesel operation and basic repair, electrical sytem training and casualties, propane stove usage, anchoring, basic weather, contact management, VHF communications, man overboard techniques, use of jack lines, and mooring to a buoy. You would also have needed to have demonstrated every sailing skill on the ASA examination forms for 104, and a repeat of the 103 skills.

I am sorry to say this, but I think that you are overestimating your skills for this adventure and could find yourself in a great deal of trouble. I know that you want to get out there in the big boats and the big water without spending a lot of money. But what you won't want is the feeling of fear or frustration on your part or the part of your crew when something comes up that you can't handle. It will become very apparent to everyone very quickly when you can't, and it will kill their confidence in you as a skipper. Most of all, you don't want the situation to deteriorate into boat damage or personal injury.

There is an ASA school not very far from you....Sail Western Colorado

I would send the owner a note and see if he would let you challenge 101 and 103. You will want to do that the day prior to the actual 101 and 103 class. If you don't make the grade, then you can stick around and take their three day class for $600. They offer the 104 as part of their BVI cruising program. Going as crew will cost less than chartering a boat yourself, and you will gain valuable experience.
09-08-2010 05:20 PM
jephotog RDFs are still used in airplanes, except they are called ADF. They too are being abandoned though. Still come in handy because if you are flying a plane equipped with one you can listen to the game or your favorite AM station en-route. Or simply use it to fly straight to your hometown station.

I just got off the phone with the charter company I am interested in using. The owner told me my resume speaks for itself and I would not need a rating to charter his boats. The most I would need, would be a one hour $70 checkout to practice getting in and out of the slip, which I would want to do anyways.

So the ASA classes are not needed but I am still tempted to take them to get some recency of experience, and to make me finish all my studying. Not sure its worth it at this point though.

I might just take the 105 which does not have any prerequisites.
09-08-2010 05:12 PM
sailingdog Yup...well aware of that Boasun.. Used to use an RDF many years ago when crewing on my friend's grandfather's boat.
09-08-2010 04:45 PM
Originally Posted by sailingdog View Post
I doubt it... radar and celestial navigation are outside the scope of that course AFAIK. What do you mean by Radio Nav questions??
Radio Navigation comes from the days when we carried RDF (Radio Direction Finder) on board the vessel.
And at that time there were Radio Beacons along the coast lines, marking the entrance of every harbor and headland. Due to the advent of Loran & GPS this method of Navigation has been pretty much abandoned. But if you are lucky enough to have an RDF, then you can use the well plotted antennas of the commercial radio stations that are along the coast lines. And get a radio bearing on any vessel that is transmitting on any freq that your RDF covers.
Note: Loran C has been abandoned by the stupidity of our government also... and that leaves three method of Navigation; Celestrial, GPS, and Coast piloting. And GPS can be dithered or turned off by the Military if they deem it necessary for national defense. And that leaves Two Methods.....
09-08-2010 04:38 PM
jephotog Just looked at the ASA standards for 105 and it appears none of this is on there. Including radio calls, which I got down already.
09-08-2010 04:31 PM
sailingdog I agree that Maydays and Pan-Pans would be on the exam. I don't think RDFs are though, since they've fallen out of common usage, in favor of GPS and possibly LORAN.
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