Need Help picking a sailing school. - Page 2 - SailNet Community
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post #11 of 24 Old 01-28-2017
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Re: Need Help picking a sailing school.

I took a week long ASA 101, 103, 104 course in November with Blue Water Sailing School in Fort Lauderdale. I suspect that the quality of your experience is going to depend less on the school and more on the particular instructor. If you decide to look into BWSS in FLL, see if you can get Wayne as your instructor. Also, if you take a course in south Florida, do it now-ish. Don't do it in the summer, there's significantly less wind in the summer and it's hard to learn to sail if there's no wind. The schools generally won't tell you this because they want to keep their income coming in all year long.

There were a total of four students in my class. So this was the course that people worry about being too much crammed into a short period. Of the four, three of us (including me) had a little bit of previous experience. The fourth had almost no sailing experience. The three with experience passed the course and felt like we got a lot out of it. The one with very little experience did not pass the 104 portion, and while he felt he got a lot out of the course, admitted that he didn't feel that he was ready to charter something yet.

If I could do it again, I would do it the same way. I spent the summer practicing at a local lake with a little 16' sloop and researching a lot. By the time I took the course, I had enough background that I was ready to quickly absorb most of what the instructor was teaching. I think that if you're a quick learner, you can _probably_ get a lot out of the one week course with little or no prior experience, but it will be tough.
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post #12 of 24 Old 05-13-2017
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Re: Need Help picking a sailing school.

I dont know about where to go, but I can certainly tell you DO NOT go with the Island Dreamer sailing school in Florida. It was one of the worst experiences of my life. We paid a bunch of money and did not learn a single sailing maneuver for the time on our boat, in addition, the boat was a little gross and and captain could best be described as sullen
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post #13 of 24 Old 03-31-2018
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Re: Need Help picking a sailing school.

In picking a school, I've advised to consider what amount of training the school will actually provide, ie for ASA 101 you want at least three school days with on-the-water having only three students in a boat. Anything less and the typical student wont get adequate practice.

I was surprised recently to see a local school now offering ASA is using their racing Solings as the 101 training boat. I've had three middle-aged adult students in a Soling in the past and its an experience I would never want to repeat. The cockpit of a Soling is like the back of a pickup truck. Anyone who does not duck during a jibe will get bonked. So this is another consideration in picking a school, does the school provide proper training vessels for the class in question? To me the Colgate 26 is the hands-on right boat for teaching 101 to adults, most anything else and the school is simply getting by with what they happen to have on hand, and the student's learning experience will suffer.

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Last edited by sailingfool; 03-31-2018 at 12:28 PM.
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post #14 of 24 Old 10-26-2018
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Re: Need Help picking a sailing school.

The NauticEd program would be great for you all. Online courses, practical training schools, certifications, resume building...all very modern, high tech, with focus on genuine competence and learning.
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post #15 of 24 Old 10-26-2018
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Re: Need Help picking a sailing school.

I would reiterate the need to get sailing experience outside of formal classes. Read, sail, ponder mistakes, repeat. Personally, I think a better learning environment is to join a local sailing club with competent instructors.

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post #16 of 24 Old 10-28-2018
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Re: Need Help picking a sailing school.

My advice to the OP is to look at the boats that will be used for the class. While the Colgate 26 is a GREAT training boat, and is used by the US Naval Academy (which calls the the N26), it is not the only boat that I would use for 101 or Basic Keelboat. The new Beneteau First 24, and 27 look like interesting boats on which to teach as well. There are other schools that use 30-foot cruising boats (with a wheel at the helm) to teach 101 or Basic Keel Boat courses.

Do not just look at the type of boat, but the condition of the boats that are used by the school. This is one area that Colgate's Offshore Sailing School (OSS) excels. They have many more boats in their fleet than are required (at least 4), and therefore, if anything is not right with one boat, the instructor can simply notify the maintenance manager, and grab another boat. Here is how you can tell pretty quickly about the condition of the boats; are ALL of the lines on board that should be? What is the condition of the boat, and in particular the lines? Do the boats have roller furlers (expensive and convenient) or hank on sails? Did the school cheap out when a roller furler broke and switch to hank on? Are the rub rails in place, or have they broken off and not been repaired? - A Colgate 26, for example, SHOULD have the following: a grab rail that runs the length of the cockpit, single lifelines that run from the grab rail to the bow pulpit, a roller furler, five (or more) working clutches on the cockpit top, a main sheet (which should be blue), a main halyard (red), a traveler line (black), a backstay adjustment line (white), a Cunningham (white), and ideally a spinnaker and spinnaker pole stored below.

I totally agree with @sailinfool that you simply cannot take a person with no boating experience and make them competent to bareboat charter in a week. Schools that offer this are doing so to entice more people into taking their classes; they are shortchanging their students. Fast-Trac courses are a rip-off. YouTube has several videos starring people that thought they were capable. Fortunately, OSS offers Basic Keel Boat certification in 3 forms: a three-day course, a five-half-day course (five 4-hour days), and two days as part of the Fast-Trac course. The five-day course allows the student to really learn something and gives them time to enjoy the resort.

Because I am an instructor, and you may wonder about my motivation; I will share with you that the easiest course to teach is the two-day portion of the Fast-Trac course (you simply pass the student on to the next instructor), the three-day course is next easiest, and the five day is most difficult - and least financially rewarding (because instructors are paid by the hour - the time spent on boat pre-check, set-up and put away are not paid).

Another area that OSS excels is that there is a Steve Colgate developed presentation that EVERY instructor uses. This assures that EVERY student is exposed to the same material in the same way. If I were the OP I would ask the schools that I was considering if they teach from a presentation or whiteboard the course. Many schools simply use a whiteboard "chalk-talk." Aside from variances in the individual instructor's artistic abilities, it leads to instructors stressing different things within the course. In order to address my lack of artistic ability, and to provide consistency with MY courses, I use my own presentation that I developed and copyrighted when I teach sailing for "chalk-talk" schools. I believe that @jackdale does this as well.

One more suggestion for the OP is that you and your spouse or "significant other" NOT take instruction in the same boat! In my years of teaching, I frequently see that one partner dominates the other. This is a couples dynamics thing. A similar situation is teaching your spouse to sail, or ski. While it is great if you are in class together, allowing you both to make mistakes and learn apart from each other is an important enabler to learning. Every chance that I can I separate couples into different boats, and it has always worked to the better learning of the students. Sometimes this means that there is a "boys boat" and a "girls boat" other times it is a "mixed couples boat." When you and your other get together you can share what you have learned, and you meet more people this way!

Also agree with @Barquito in that you NEED experience outside of class in order to make the lesson's stick. OSS's three- and five-day classes are ended with the students taking the boat out without the instructor aboard. I joke that if you don't come back you don't pass the course.

Disclaimer: I have taught for both BlackRock and Colgate's Offshore Sailing School (Captiva and Fort Myers Beach), as well as other schools. I am sharing my experience and opinion to try to help you. YMMV.
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post #17 of 24 Old 10-28-2018
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Re: Need Help picking a sailing school.

Also decide if you want US/Sailing Certification (Colgate's Offshore Sailing School), or ASA Certification (BlackRock and Blue Water Sailing School), or if "certification" is not important to you. Certification gives you a document that says that you have demonstrated a set of skills and passed some tests, and can be a requirement to bareboat chartering. Certification is not important to many on this forum (usually people that own their own boat - but not always). If you only want instruction, or wish to work on some of the skills necessary to competently handle a boat you can approach an individual instructor, which gives you more control over your learning experience.


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Re: Need Help picking a sailing school.

Note to Sailingfool:
The Colgate's Offshore Sailing School did for many years use Solings as their exclusive teaching boat, usually with four students in the cockpit and the instructor standing on the transom. The Colgate26 was their decision to move to a larger boat, built specifically for their needs as well as for the market.
But they used many Solings for many years, the boat proved well up to doing the job.
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post #19 of 24 Old 10-30-2018
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Re: Need Help picking a sailing school.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
Note to Sailingfool:
The Colgate's Offshore Sailing School did for many years use Solings as their exclusive teaching boat, usually with four students in the cockpit and the instructor standing on the transom. The Colgate26 was their decision to move to a larger boat, built specifically for their needs as well as for the market.
But they used many Solings for many years, the boat proved well up to doing the job.
I can affirm this. In fact, there were pictures of Solings which were used to illustrate some of the concepts in the OSS Basic Keelboat presentation when I last taught the course.


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post #20 of 24 Old 02-07-2019
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Re: Need Help picking a sailing school.

come to Europe and enjoy warmer weather. White Wake Sailing in Croatia is very good

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