Join Date: Nov 2010
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Re: recommendation, Puget Sound sailing instructor, Puget Sound area
My wife did the ASA 101-103-104 series with Nate Harmon from Sail Northwest in Bellingham a couple years ago. I came along for the ride, having completed the ASA courses earlier. We were a week on a Islander 32 with Nate.
With the Sail Northwest week-long 'cruise and learn' format you have to accept conditions as you find them - for example, on the third day I was on the deck tethered to a lifeline learning how to put in a reef in 25 plus knot winds. Nate was patient, calm, and built confidence - he doesn't yell (except when a raccoon snuck in during the night and leapt onto his bunk). He will try and find your limits and challenge you to extend them - but in ways that I always felt were safe.
After our week with Nate we were ready to be on our own. We kept the Islander for another week and did our own circuit of the San Juans. It was extremely helpful to have had him introduce us to the necessary 'local knowledge' - especially about currents, tides, rocks, and deadheads - in the area.
I don't know whether Nate is available to be a instructional captain on your boat - but it wouldn't surprise me, especially in the off-season.