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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everybody,

I usually leave in the UK but I’ve had to spend almost a year in the US (Houston) for work.
During my staying in the US I decided to learn how to sail and I participated to 3 of the American Sailing Association courses ASA 101, ASA103 and ASA104. The last 2 were delivered as a combo (ASA103-104) and are supposed to be the equivalent of the RYA Day Skipper.
I say ‘supposed to’ because by reading at the course’s program and duration (3 days against 5) it looks to me that the RYA Day Skipper is more advanced and comprehensive.
Now that I am about to go back to my old life in the UK I would like continue my sailing education and training. What would be the best RYA course for me at this point? Should I attend the ‘Day Skipper’ one or should I just get some practice by chartering boats and maybe next year do the ‘Costal Skipper’ course? … And if this is the case, is the ASA 104 accepted in the UK for chartering boats?
Thank you for taking the time to read this (and hopefully reply)

Alessandro
 

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Small operators might not, big operators will accept a wide variety of qualifications. Including ASA.

Day Skipper is just a sailing course, much like any other. good experience but a lot of it will be a repeat of what you have already done. If I was going to take an RYA course after ASA I would pick the next level up. The Europeans seam to be all about this ICC nowadays for chartering. I think its a free top up with a RYA course. Or can be done standalone.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you Uricanjack.

What you are saying makes sense to me but a couple of days ago I have spoken to an old friend of mine who had done the 'Day Skipper' course with RYA and then moved to Florida and did the ASA105 (in theory the next level up). He found the ASA course, even though it was the next level up, to be more basic ... his exact words were "much less theory and much more 'let's go out on the water".
To me this is not necessarily a bad things but I would appreciate some other inputs from people that have had a similar experience (i.e. that have participated to similar courses with both ASA and RYA).
 

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I have lived and sailed in both the US and UK. I also taught Day Skipper in the UK. The most important thing is to do the courses in locations where there are winds, tides, and commercial shipping. I personally think that RYA courses are better but I also know some very good ASA instructors.

Do Day Skipper practical on the Solent in winter, early Spring or late Autumn and you will get a very superior experience. Day Skipper theory is superior to the ASA theory courses...do it over winter, as night school, by joining a sailing club which will also open up potential crewing opportunities.

Phil
 

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What you are saying makes sense to me but a couple of days ago I have spoken to an old friend of mine who had done the 'Day Skipper' course with RYA and then moved to Florida and did the ASA105 (in theory the next level up). He found the ASA course, even though it was the next level up, to be more basic ... his exact words were "much less theory and much more 'let's go out on the water".
To me this is not necessarily a bad things but I would appreciate some other inputs from people that have had a similar experience (i.e. that have participated to similar courses with both ASA and RYA).
I suspect that something is being lost in translation...

I teach the ASA courses, and this is how they fit together;
  • ASA 101 - no Prerequisites - BASIC sailing: how to make a small boat with a tiller go/stop/turn, and how to pick up a mooring/MOB 30% Classroom / 70% Sailing
  • ASA 103 - Prerequisite is ASA 101 - Controlling a larger (~30 foot) boat under power: Anchoring, Docking and Safety - 30% Classroom / 70% Sailing
  • ASA 104 - Prerequisite ASA 103 - Basic Coastal Cruising: Navigation, Provisioning, Docking, Anchoring. - 20% Classroom / 80% Sailing - Qualifies you for an ICC
  • ASA 105 - No Prerequisites - Navigation using paper charts: 100% Classroom
  • ASA 106 - Prerequisite ASA 104 AND ASA 105 - Advanced Coastal Cruising: 10% Classroom / 90% Sailing
[EDIT] Adding link to the ASA Certifications : https://asa.com/certifications/
I cannot speak to the RYA standards.
 

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I'm not a fan of these combination courses like ASA101 and 103 together, and 103/104 together. A valuable part of the courses is time on the water to practice what you've learned. ASA 103 alone took me 4 whole days, with a free charter on the 5th, which is a really great idea. 3 days just isn't enough for 103 and 104 together. It shouldn't just be about getting a certificate.

Having done Dayskipper and ASA 101, they appear to be tailored to the particular waters. Compared to ASA courses, RYA ones seem to have an obsession with tides and currents. Well, if you sailed in UK waters you'd know why. That would be one of my main concerns actually, that you might not be prepared for the ferocity of the currents in UK coastal waters!

Bizarrely, I did Dayskipper at evening classes (Adult Ed as we call it here) and passed just fine, despite never even setting foot in a boat, at any point during the course! It seems very odd to me that you can have a sailing qualification without having demonstrated any of the skills. So if you really want that Dayskipper certificate, that would be an option.

Edit : I looked online and it looks like Dayskipper is split into a classroom course which is recommended before the practical, and then a practical course. So I took the classroom only.
 

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I suspect that something is being lost in translation...

I teach the ASA courses, and this is how they fit together;
  • ASA 101 - no Prerequisites - BASIC sailing: how to make a small boat with a tiller go/stop/turn, and how to pick up a mooring/MOB 30% Classroom / 70% Sailing
  • ASA 103 - Prerequisite is ASA 101 - Controlling a larger (~30 foot) boat under power: Anchoring, Docking and Safety - 30% Classroom / 70% Sailing
  • ASA 104 - Prerequisite ASA 103 - Basic Coastal Cruising: Navigation, Provisioning, Docking, Anchoring. - 20% Classroom / 80% Sailing - Qualifies you for an ICC
  • ASA 105 - No Prerequisites - Navigation using paper charts: 100% Classroom
  • ASA 106 - Prerequisite ASA 104 AND ASA 105 - Advanced Coastal Cruising: 10% Classroom / 90% Sailing
[EDIT] Adding link to the ASA Certifications : https://asa.com/certifications/
I cannot speak to the RYA standards.
Surely ASA103 is Basic Coastal Cruising. 104 is bareboat.
 

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Surely ASA103 is Basic Coastal Cruising. 104 is bareboat.
You are correct... my apologies for mixing up the names. However, my explaination is that we don't discuss them using the 'long names,' just the numbers. My references to pre-requisite courses, however, is accurate.

For anyone confused by my earlier post, here are the names, and descriptions per ASA;
ASA 101, Basic Keelboat Sailing
Learn to skipper a 20' - 27' sloop-rigged keelboat by day, in light to moderate winds and sea conditions. Learn basic sailing terminology, parts and functions, helm commands, basic sail trim, points of sail, buoyage, seamanship and safety including basic navigation rules to avoid collisions and hazards.

ASA 103, Basic Coastal Cruising
Learn to skipper a sloop-rigged auxiliary powered 25'-35' keelboat by day in moderate winds and sea conditions. Learn cruising sailboat terminology, basic boat systems, auxiliary engine operation, docking procedures, intermediate sail trim, navigation rules, basic coastal navigation, anchoring, weather, safety and seamanship.

ASA 104, Bareboat Cruising
Learn how to sail a sloop-rigged, auxiliary powered 30'-45' sailboat during a multi-day cruise upon inland/coastal waters in moderate/heavy winds and sea conditions. Learn about provisioning, boat systems, auxiliary engines, advanced sail trim, coastal navigation, anchoring / mooring, docking, emergency operations, weather, and more.

ASA 105, Coastal Navigation
Learn the the navigational theory and practices for safe navigation of a sailing vessel in coastal and inland waters. On-water coastal navigation skills elements are contained in the ASA103, Basic Coastal Cruising, ASA 104, Bareboat Cruising, and ASA 106, Advanced Coastal Cruising, in progressively increasing levels of detail.

ASA 106, Advanced Coastal Cruising
Learn to safely act as skipper and crew of a sailing vessel about 30 to 50 feet in length in coastal and inland waters, in any conditions.
 

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eherlihy,

What constitutes 'advanced coastal cruising'?

Phil
Review of 101, 103 104, and 105 on a bigger (40+ foot) boat, a 5 to 7 day journey (vs a 2 day in 104), night sailing, dinghy operation, 3 days navigation without a chart-plotter, more thourough review of boat systems, MOB exercise when you least expect it, and dealing with emergencies.

A typical itennerary looks like this:
start at home port,
night 1 - anchor off Jamestown,
night 2 - anchor or mooring at Cuttyhunk (explore ashore)

night 3 - anchor in Lake Tashmoo (explore ashore),
night 4 - mooring in Edgartown (explore / reprovision ashore),
day 5 - catch the favorable tide through Woods Hole

so that we can take a mooring or anchor in Hadley Harbor

night 5 - sail down Buzzards Bay, anchor off Newport,
night 6 - somewhere in Narragansett Bay,

Correct the written test while we return home

Other destinations include; Block Island and Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket and circumnavigation of Martha's Vineyard, Provincetown and circumnavigation of Cape Cod, New York and circumnavigation of Long Island.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Thank you very much for all the feedbacks!

I think I made up my mind about what I am going to do.
The main thing is to start spending some time on the water so I will use my ASA104 certification to charter boats (for periods of a day or 2) and sail in local waters until September.
In October I should be back in the UK and I'll do the RYA Day Skipper course (hopefully they will recognize my previous sailing experience and let me do the sailing part without the theory course ... I'll read the book before hand though) and possibly get ICC.

Feel free to try to change my mind. I am always open to the opinion of more expert sailors! :)
 

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Review of 101, 103 104, and 105 on a bigger (40+ foot) boat, a 5 to 7 day journey (vs a 2 day in 104), night sailing, dinghy operation, 3 days navigation without a chart-plotter, more thourough review of boat systems, MOB exercise when you least expect it, and dealing with emergencies.

A typical itennerary looks like this:
start at home port,
night 1 - anchor off Jamestown,
night 2 - anchor or mooring at Cuttyhunk (explore ashore)

night 3 - anchor in Lake Tashmoo (explore ashore),
night 4 - mooring in Edgartown (explore / reprovision ashore),
day 5 - catch the favorable tide through Woods Hole

so that we can take a mooring or anchor in Hadley Harbor

night 5 - sail down Buzzards Bay, anchor off Newport,
night 6 - somewhere in Narragansett Bay,

Correct the written test while we return home

Other destinations include; Block Island and Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket and circumnavigation of Martha's Vineyard, Provincetown and circumnavigation of Cape Cod, New York and circumnavigation of Long Island.
Looks lovely. Some nice destinations there.
 

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I believe that the expectation is that the classroom stuff (theory) has been dealt with in 104 and 105. 106 should be putting all of that information into practice. My classroom review for 106 is short because I intend for it to be.

For example; all the discussion of light characteristics and night sailing in the world cannot prepare you for what it is REALLY like. You have to sail in the ocean at night to know what it is really like, and how disorienting it can be. When I teach 106 I intentionally have the students circle this bouy a couple of times before I allow use of the chart plotter;

I ask them to tell me when they think that they know what it and the area around it look like.

By the time that we are ready to night sail we have slackened up and I let them use the chart plotter. I make sure that we approach the same bouy at night. They are never quite sure where they area or what they are looking at until I turn on the spotlight and there is our friend RW "SR" Mo(A) WHIS. The students are usually astounded that this is the same place, and that is the same bouy that we were sailing past just a couple of days ago.

Better to experience this with an instructor at your side than to either never do it, or hope that you are ready and find out that you're not.
 

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Looks lovely. Some nice destinations there.
More pictures from my classes;

The Alabama off East Chop


More Cuttyhunk with Westport/Dartmouth on the distant shore.


Cuttyhunk inner harbor in early June


Canapisit Channel (for those that dare)


Cuttyhunk in fog


Dutch Harbor


Wickford Harbor


Dinner at anchor off Third Beach - this was taken during an ASA 104


Home port

Many of these were taken by my students.
 

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In October I should be back in the UK and I'll do the RYA Day Skipper course (hopefully they will recognize my previous sailing experience and let me do the sailing part without the theory course ... I'll read the book before hand though) and possibly get ICC.
Unless things have changed, RYA don't have prerequisites, only expected experience - you can start anywhere if you have the necessary previous knowledge and experience. Talk to the chief instructor at the RYA school you want to use - be completely open about your experience and he will recommend where to start. Keep a good log to take with you.
 
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