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I have sailed small boat for a good part of my life, but just started racing on a Farr 395. That got my blood going to look into bareboat chartering but first I felt that I needed the basics on running and cruising a large (40 foot plus) sailing vessel. Below is a summary of my experiences with Blue Water Sailing School out of their Fort Lauderdale location.

I just finished up the ASA 101, 103, and 104 course in Fort Lauderdale, FL. Our instructor was Captain Bill and the class met all and exceeded many of my expectations. Bill is definitely a bit of a crusty old salt that didn't just give you the answer but made you work for it. His focus on the feel of the boat and basic charting, were a bit difficult to grasp at first, but as the course unfolded, I grew to really appreciate this approach. Bill was a wealth of knowledge if you really wanted to learn.

I also took the Coastal Navigation (ASA 105) course home study before I arrived and I completed the test for that on my last day on the boat. The flexibility that Bill showed in helping me fit that extra in was thoroughly appreciated.

This was NOT a catered cruise and we cooked our own meals and cleaned up our own dishes. Bill was there to teach and he did so by having us do things for ourselves. I can understand how this could be off putting to someone who showed up for a vacation cruise, but that is not why I was there. I wanted to learn how to cruise a 40 foot boat safely with my family. I feel comfortable that I achieved that goal despite the fact that there was virtually no wind the last 2 days of our class.

Thanks to Dave and the office staff, there was excellent communication throughout the entire process and once on the boat, I found everything working just the way it should be, despite the heavy use I am sure the boat sees. Our boat was the Gibsea 52, Gitana. The only thing that was less than perfect on the boat was some water damage to laminate around the starboard portholes from the last hurricane, and some water staining below the freezer on the the port side of the boat. This in no way effected any aspect of the course.

I can heartily and unconditionally recommend this class to anyone transitioning from small boat sailing who is trying to learn how to cruise a large boat.
 

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So because I haven't posted here before because I didn't have anything particularly important to share I shouldn't post a positive review? I have learned a lot from many posters on this board, and so when I had something substantial to post, I did. I am in no way associated with the school in any other capacity than being a satisfied student.
 

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Battered and Bruised
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So because I haven't posted here before because I didn't have anything particularly important to share I shouldn't post a positive review? I have learned a lot from many posters on this board, and so when I had something substantial to post, I did. I am in no way associated with the school in any other capacity than being a satisfied student.
Good write up. Sounds like it was an all around valuable learning adventure.
I'm glad you posted your experience, as you know it is quite helpful to the many that read but have yet to contribute to the discussion.

Maybe fill us in on your plans? Did you take the class in preparation for a new boat, a planned cruise, or to be better prepared to charter with the family?

Glad it was a good class!
 

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Too often we get members asking for recommendations from other members and then we don't hear what they chose and how it worked out. Thanks for sharing.
 

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Bill Mount is a great teacher, and even better, a great shipmate. They don't get much better. He's the main reason I've heartily recommended BWSS to those seeking opinions in the past.
 

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Been there and done that. Great experiece and a great way to find out little liveaboard tricks that make sense. We will do it again for their passage making course!
 

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I too completed ASA 104 & 105 with BWSS with Bill as our instructor in Feb. 2010. We sailed from Ft. Lauderdale to Miami in relativley clam conditions practicing coastal navigation all the way down. The next night we departed Miami around 2:00 AM for Bimini. The Gulf Stream crossing was in exceedingly challenging conditions (both ways). The crew really learned alot about seamanship and navigation under the watchful eye of Capt. Bill. As is stated many times in these forums, you need to get out and challenge yourself to really understand what the boat can do, but more importantly, what you can do. To do so under a skilled captain who will guide and cajole you...not just show you...is a real plus. I would highly recommend him!
 

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Go Cowboys
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I just talked to them in the last few days. My wife and I have both recently had a little problem with out backs and we're in our 60s. How physically difficult is the course?
 

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Late review! I took 101, 103 and 104 in Nov 2012 with Blue Water, Ft Lauderdale. I have never sailed before and always wanted to learn. I will admit that I had zero experience with any type of boat other that a major cruise line! Did a lot of research on schools and Blue Water seemed to have the best reviews. As stated, this is not a vacation cruise. I had a great time because I was there to learn and expected to cook, etc. The food was quite good, (I can cook and it seemed the other students could also.) Capt. Jaye lead by example and also cooked a fine meal! Part of the instruction included meal planning for the week. (One of the things I have since learned which I like about Blue Water, is the food was purchased by Blue Water and some other schools add this expense.) Capt. Jaye worked with us and made sure we grasped the concepts and practical aspects of sailing. I do not like taking tests but I was prepared for the ASA tests. Great course and I am planning the cat course hopefully this year. NO, I do not work for Blue Water Sailing School!
 
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