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post #11 of 92 Old 08-29-2016
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Re: Do sailing instructors ever teach actual sailing?

Alot depends on the student. i have had students who have great difficulty processing.. "wind direction". It becomes difficult to proceed to all the various sail adjustments one can make to optimize performance, until one grasps the basic points of sail. And where the wind is!

With 4 students on a boat, each required to perform the basics of tacking and gybing etc. as well as anchoring, heaving-to etc. in a typical 101 course it's difficult to get it all in. However, there were occasions when I had very natural, instinctive sailors who by the end of the day became a crew and sailed me home without any assistance, we could then get in to some finer points. Everyone learns at their own pace.

We taught, some of the physics of sailing in the classroom. To me, sailing is as much about senses and awareness of your surroundings, as understanding the physics. Perhaps even more so. One can possess all the knowlege of theory and physics, but not sense a wind shift and find themselves stalled or gybing or simply falling off the wind constanly not able to hold a course. Does one have to be a mechanical engineer to drive a car? Can engineers be bad drivers? For a basic sailing course, if one can't tell me where the wind is coming from at all times or hold a steady course for a hundred yards. Physics lessons probably need to wait.

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post #12 of 92 Old 08-30-2016
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Re: Do sailing instructors ever teach actual sailing?

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Originally Posted by Landwalker View Post
To echo other voices on the ASA courses, my wife and I just finished ASA 101 and it was definitely sailing-heavy.
This ^^^^^^^

ASA 101 is the course where you learn sailing. The other courses, from there on up, all assume that you know the basics of sailing and so they focus on navigation, anchoring, boat systems, MOB, and so on.
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post #13 of 92 Old 08-30-2016
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Re: Do sailing instructors ever teach actual sailing?

I have taught the US Sailing Basic Keelboat (equivalent to ASA 101) curriculum in Florida. Class starts at 08:00 every day. There are two hours of PowerPoint and DISCUSSION of theory (and a bathroom break), every day, and we're out on the water by 10:30. We're back in the slip for lunch at 12:00, and back on the water from 13:00 to 16:30.

I've never taught ASA 101, but the schedule is similar. When I teach 103, I send the students a link to a PPT that I developed, and the schedule is the same as the above. 104 and 106 are done entirely on the boat.

101 and 103 include a half day use of a boat, but many students do not take advantage of this. Sailing (and docking) well combine many skills into a sport. If you don't practice, and practice frequently, you loose the skills.


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post #14 of 92 Old 08-30-2016
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Re: Do sailing instructors ever teach actual sailing?

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Originally Posted by tempest View Post
...
With 4 students on a boat, each required to perform the basics of tacking and gybing etc. as well as anchoring, heaving-to etc. in a typical 101 course it's difficult to get it all in. ...
As an ASA instructor, I agree completely with this statement. Even with three days the in-the-water time is precious to absorbing sailing skills. For this reason I see limiting students in the boat to three as the sign of a school that is committed to good student outcomes.

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post #15 of 92 Old 08-30-2016
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Re: Do sailing instructors ever teach actual sailing?

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Originally Posted by Ninefingers View Post
This is the course curriculum: http://www.sailing.ca/files/Basic_Cr...effective3.pdf

I would say most students would have a hard time passing 10% of it without assistance.

Do instructors fail students?

Not here in Canada as far as I can tell.

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BTW, That's the curriculum for a basic cruising class for which a basic keelboat sailing class should be a pre-requisite. After taking a basic keelboat sailing course, it's often recommended that students practice and hone their skills by renting a boat ( with a mentor if possible) or sailing their own boat until they are ready for the next level. Many schools offer both courses as a package over 4 or 5 consecutive days. It works for some students, not for others. I have had students come back for a basic cruising class a year after having taken the basic sailing class and they haven't stepped foot on a boat in that entire year. In that time, they've forgotten everything they learned the year before. So, now an instructor is trying to teach basic sailing and basic coastal cruising in 2 days. Add The instructor is typically an employee or a contractor to a school. (1099). So, when we show up, we play the hand we're dealt. Sailingfool's comment regarding the commitment of the school's owner gets to the crux of the dilemma of sorts. The price point that these schools have to compete with to attract students requires them to attempt to "fill" the boat which is often 4 students. Their seasons are often short and most people are only available to attend on weekends. With only so many weekends in a season owners are not likely to rigorously screen students willing to pay for lessons and say; HEY, save your money, you haven't gone sailing in a year, I suggest you go practice before spending the money on the next level. It always pays to be a somewhat educated consumer. I've never had a car dealer tell me hey, your car is running fine, why buy a new one from me.
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post #16 of 92 Old 08-30-2016
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Re: Do sailing instructors ever teach actual sailing?

My suggestion would be for new students take a into class before 101 that way they they have an idea on what to study the intro is fun and can be a good segway into a testing environment
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post #17 of 92 Old 08-30-2016
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Re: Do sailing instructors ever teach actual sailing?

I'm curious how much of the course was on the water? In my view, trying to teach sailing without having canvas and lines to handle is, well, futile.

I'm not sure where your friends are located - but my suggestion would be to find a club situation where they can actually get in a boat and sail. There is a great little club in Hamilton - look up Hamilton Bay Sailing Club. I'm sure there are others around. HBSC is a cooperative: reasonable membership fees and a little sweat "equity" buys access to boats and training. They have great social events and wonderful people to sail with. Can't beat it.

Then, when you're addicted to the sound and smell of sailcloth and the feel of sheets and halyards in your hands take some theory to deepen your understanding and love of the lifestyle.
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Re: Do sailing instructors ever teach actual sailing?

The ASA 101 I took was more of a boating course. About 1/2 the course was on the water. The program I took included the CT boating license as part of the program. Yes, there is practical time out on the water but it was more about getting the boat moving, keeping the boat moving on different points of sail, stopping and MOB recovery. All while reviewing the rules of the road, safety, basic navigation, etc. that was part of the classroom time.

It gave me the confidence to go out and buy a 30 ft sailboat and sail it safely away. However, so much depends on WHAT and WHERE you are sailing. I would recommend the ASA Coastal Navigation class above and beyond the 101. I could have read Sailing For Dummies and got the boat moving through tacks and jibes, I don't think I would have bothered to teach myself the basics of navigation to the level that I learned in the class. Several years later it gave me a big head start in my OUPV class.

FWIW, I thought it was a good course. Getting into advanced sail trim would have just been too much. There are schools out there that will teach you how to go faster and in the end, that is what it's all about. Even sailing heavy air (not talking storm survival here) is about keeping the boat on her feet and moving.

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Re: Do sailing instructors ever teach actual sailing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ninefingers View Post
This is the course curriculum: http://www.sailing.ca/files/Basic_Cr...effective3.pdf

I would say most students would have a hard time passing 10% of it without assistance.

Do instructors fail students?

Not here in Canada as far as I can tell.

Cheque cleared...yep!
As an instructor my task is to assist students in being successful sailors. Sometimes they are not successful in meeting the standards of the course and they do not pass. That is true of any of standards I teach.

The Basic Cruising theory exam is quite easy to pass. I tell my students to create study notes based on the ashore standard. The exam follows that standard.

The Sail Canada Coastal Nav exam is pretty tough. The best success rates for for those who take a classroom based based rather than a self-study course.

My highest failure rates are for the more advanced courses in which students attempt them without having sufficient prior helm time.

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Re: Do sailing instructors ever teach actual sailing?

Personally, I think it's a waste of time, effort and money trying to learn to sail on anything larger than a dinghy. Sure you can learn the names of all the strings and things, learn the physical actions involved in sailing and even the theory, but you cannot learn the feel.
Until you've tipped a sailing dinghy over a few times, felt that instant acceleration (and heel) when you pull in the sheet of your luffing main when sitting still, or ease the sheet to prevent a capsize or slow the boat, you will NOT truly 'understand' what your actions are doing on a bigger boat.
Classes are all fine and good, if that's how you are used to learning. But, just jumping in a sailing dinghy for a few hours will teach you more about SAILING than all the classes available out there put together.
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