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I am just starting off in my quest to learn to sail. I understand that there are two primary assoications, U.S. Sailing and A.S.A.

I want to get the best possible instruction and the most recognized certification. Does anyone have any thoughts?
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Niels-

Look down the list here for someone who asked that question a little while ago. I would answer again BUT as you will see my response to this question is long and drawn out.
 

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Hey all,

I'm the Executive Director of the ASA, and wanted to throw in my 2 cents regarding some of the issues above.

Certification, and the education and practice that goes with it, can be extremely valuable. It also evidences that you have achieved a given level of proficiency, which is helpful when chartering.

However, learning to sail and PRACTICING should be one's goal. Some people get certified and then don't go sailing. That's not the point. Certification means little if you learn in a week and don't get out on the water for a year or two. That's why diving facilities, for example, don't just ask "Are you PADI or NAUI certified," but "When is the last time you dove?"

ASA and US Sailing standards are nearly identical. Both systems have many excellent schools and instructors, and each system can claim "bragging rights" over the other in certain respects. US Sailing is the official amateur racing body for sailing in the US. ASA has more sailing schools in its network and was the first to introduce keelboat standards to the U.S. But the most important consideration is the quality of the particular school and instructor, not "which system is better."
 

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We started with US Sailing on a lake, and restarted with ASA on the Gulf only because we wanted coastal experience.

Neils, you might want to disclose your location and get recommendations because schools and their instructors vary (widely I think). We thought both schools were good. In our experience, US Sailing expected more single-handling.
 

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Again... any reason for reviving a thread that was dead for almost six years??? You must be an idiot... If you wanted to bring attention to US Sailing or the ASA, it would have been much better to create your own thread... :rolleyes:
Hey all,

I'm the Executive Director of the ASA, and wanted to throw in my 2 cents regarding some of the issues above.

Certification, and the education and practice that goes with it, can be extremely valuable. It also evidences that you have achieved a given level of proficiency, which is helpful when chartering.

However, learning to sail and PRACTICING should be one's goal. Some people get certified and then don't go sailing. That's not the point. Certification means little if you learn in a week and don't get out on the water for a year or two. That's why diving facilities, for example, don't just ask "Are you PADI or NAUI certified," but "When is the last time you dove?"

ASA and US Sailing standards are nearly identical. Both systems have many excellent schools and instructors, and each system can claim "bragging rights" over the other in certain respects. US Sailing is the official amateur racing body for sailing in the US. ASA has more sailing schools in its network and was the first to introduce keelboat standards to the U.S. But the most important consideration is the quality of the particular school and instructor, not "which system is better."
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Two recommendations (even if this is an old thread) make sure you:

1) Understand that when you start with one school like US Sailing, that you may not be able to do a more advanced course with ASA without taking an additional certification test and paying an additional $100 or more.

2) Make sure the actual instructor teaching the course is certified by US Sailing or ASA not just the School's owner who signs your certificate.

3) If you don't own a boat, crew with others or charter/rent a suitable boat and gets some experience before you take a more advanced course.

Lesson learned.
 

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Cam-

The guy has exactly three posts... all of which are exactly the same... on most forums that is considered SPAMMING... posting an identical message in more than one place. For example, this is a definition of SPAM from a google search. Many of the other definitions are similar.

:rolleyes:

To send identical and irrelevant postings to many different newsgroups or mailing lists. Usually this posting is something that has nothing to do with the particular topic of a newsgroup or of no real interest to the person on the mailing list. The name comes from a Monty Python song and is considered to be a serious violation of netiquette.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Niels
There’s a few dirty little secrets US Sailing and ASA don’t want you to know. First their certificates are worthless. Even charter companies don’t hold them in any higher regard than Safe Boater Cards you can study for and obtain free online in every state….that is if they bother to ask for anything. Second their wonderful “super qualified” instructors can do the classroom portion but can’t take you to sea legally unless they have a US Coast Guard License. Most schools (and their insurers) require instructors, even classroom, to have a USCG 100 ton Masters License with an auxiliary sail endorsement. To get that you must have spent two years at sea under sail; that’s 720 verifiable days minimum, 360 of that must be in offshore waters. Now where do you think these Masters learned to sail? I can guarantee you it wasn’t at an ASA or USS school at a cost of thousands of dollars just to get to basic keelboat proficiency. The point is that they know much more about sailing than the canned curriculum of a one size fits all sailing school. This brings me to the third little secret. A Coast Guard license isn’t just a license to operate a vessel with passengers, it’s also a license to teach seamanship, you even get sea service time for teaching. These sailing outfits want you to believe their instructors are fabulously qualified and continuously reviewed, and they are….but not by them!

I’m telling you all this because I want you to consider another option. All sailing programs consist of two parts. Classroom and on the water boat handling. You can get excellent classroom instruction from the Coast Guard Auxiliary or the Power Squadron. It’s inexpensive and IMO is much more through. Their certificates carry more prestige than anything else short of a USCG license, even in Europe. That will take care of the classroom part. Now for the boat handling. Find a boat club and join it. It will have a fleet of boats you can use. Then find a sailor to instruct you. The boat club will probably have a list if they don’t already have their own program. The advantage to this is that you’ll get individual instruction, boats to use on your own to practice, make a lot of friends, get as much time on the water as you want (not 8-12 hours from a basic sailing course at a cost of hundreds of bucks) and save a lot of money. Furthermore you can hire different people and learn a greater number of skills and you’ll be “on the scene” and learn your way around boats much faster. Also get a logbook so every time you sail with a licensed Captain he can endorse it, this will be more valuable than any certificate you can get from a school and be the start of your sea service record.

Remember, there is no substitute for experience on the water; that’s why the Coast Guard requires 2 years at sea but less than 80 classroom hours to get a license.

Good luck,
Sorry about the long post.
 

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Dawg...
The guy has exactly three posts... all of which are exactly the same... on most forums that is considered SPAMMING

How about you letting the mods and admins decide what is spam and refrain from calling others idiots?
 

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As I am (obviously) new to posting on boards, I appologize for posting the same response in difference places and "answering an old thread." Having said that, I don't see that it's appropriate to say "You must be an idiot" either... Seems a bit junior high to me.
 

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ASANC,

Thanks for your response. I have taught for both ASA and US sailing and I am glad there was no US Sailing-bashing. I think both are good organizations, but it is the actual school AND instructor that makes the difference!!
 

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Other than the fighting posts, I would like to thank all for posting to this as I'm trying to judge between these 2 schools and also the avenue of no school at all, just going sailing.
 

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Other than the fighting posts, I would like to thank all for posting to this as I'm trying to judge between these 2 schools and also the avenue of no school at all, just going sailing.
I would definitely recommend instruction, and if you're lucky enough to have BOTH ASA- and US Sailing-affiliated schools nearby, don't complain about it, just pick one. As the previous posted said, the actual instructor and school matter more than it's affiliation IMHO.
 

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I've (part-time, weekend/evening gigs) taught ASA basic keelboat so as to issue certificates, and have taught in an adult ed class on centerboarders out of a yacht club program using the USSA book, no certificates issued.

I do not have a teaching certificate from either one... but I do hold a 6th-issue 100-ton Aux. Sail license, and agree with a previous (long, old) post that there's no substitute for time on the water for all sailors, especially the instructors.

That said, it seems to me that ASA is slightly more cruising-oriented, and USSA more racing-oriented, which reflects the origin of each Association. The wise advice is similar to scuba instruction in my opinion, namely, "the instructor is more important than the certifying agency".

If I had a choice of schools (and you do, apparently), and I knew I wanted to end up racing, I'd probably pick USSA (again, depends on the instructor); if not, I'd toss a coin.
 

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Thanks. . .Actually the issue is that the USSA guy wants about $125 for his basic class and the ASA place wants $495. Classes are about the same length of time. I was just wondering if there was a huge difference in content based on the association.

Since time on the water practicing is the most important factor, I was also thinking that I might be better off just putting that money into the boat.
 

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I spent a few years in a club that offered lessons to it's members at half price (US Sailing) and chartered boats at half off too. It ended up being cheaper than owning for that period and the instruction was top notch. That way you can get instruction and time on the water without a lot of cash outlay. The club I was at had a variety of boats, so you could try out different ones and get a better feel for what you like and don't like before you go and buy.

Anyway, I was a moderately experienced small boat sailor with very little larger boat experience and I found the classes invaluable even though most of the 'book' material was a review.

When I was ready to buy I left the club knowing a lot more about what I wanted.

That particular club had a program where you could buy one of their boats as long as you kept it it in the club for a couple of years, earning a percentage on it's rental, no slip fee, and they did the maintenance. If I had lived closer I might have thought about it.

(windworks in seattle)
 
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