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· Freedom 39
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There have been some very "interesting" ASA schools offering certifications down here. I'm not familiar with this particular one. Posting on a forum isn't a bad idea when expectations are not met. It might be even better to contact the folks at ASA directly and relay your experiences to them. It is my understanding that corporate ASA takes your type of accusations seriously.

There was another ASA "school" down here that contacted me to teach a week long class. I am not an ASA instructor nor have I ever even taken an ASA class. I have taught many other skills in collegiate settings and apprenticeship trades. After making the local company representantive aware of my lack of certifications they said it wasn't a problem. They would sit down with me for a couple of hours to go over the curriculum and make me an instructor!!! They then told me what my compensation would be and it was substantially less per day than I'm paid to deliver boats. As to their teaching vessels, well let's just say that I wasn't sure I was a good enough mechanic to keep their broken down crap functioning and available as a teaching platform for 7 days. Between the ridiculously low pay and their lack of concern as to how they certify an "instructor" I knew that they were just a diploma mill trying to fleece sailors. Not someplace that I could work at and have any self-respect. They eventually had their ASA credentials removed.

There are some very good schools down here that have a long track record. Rob Swain on Tortola comes to mind. There are a few schools that come down from New England to teach here in the winter. Some of them are good, some aren't.

Do your research before you spend your money people!!!

· Registered
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In March 2014 I took ASA 101/103/104 class in the Virgin Islands from Blue Water Sailing School. I had some sailing experience with small keelboats. If you consider this course I recommend that you get some sailing experience in advance.

My expectation was to learn to sail and operate larger cruising boats and do that in a beautiful environment.
Basically a vacation with a lot of learning and tasks to accomplish.

You’ll receive your books a few weeks before and I recommend studying them carefully, this was for me very helpful and enabled me to also enjoy some free time on the boat. If you don’t, you’ll spend a decent amount of hours studying when the boat is moored or anchored.

You will also receive a letter from your instructor in my case; Molly Winkelman. She gives some good and relevant information on what to bring and what to expect. Two things I would highlight to be prepared for a great experience:
You’ll live on the boat in close quarters, usually with people you don’t know. Be respectful to each other and tolerant. After class give everyone time and “space” to withdraw from activities as some people need to recharge or have some time by themselves. Bring a book or your earphones to listen to music.

The other one is the tip for the instructors is not included in the price you paid BWSS. Just like in other service industries the instructors are working for their tips. 15-20% is normal practice. I was glad somebody mentioned it to me. Molly’s work was definitely worth it and I was glad I was prepared to leave her the tip.

Molly is very experienced sailor, captain and instructor. She has been instructing for BWSS for years. Molly will ensure you’ll have a safe and great learning experience. Pay attention to what she says during class and make notes it will help you a lot to successfully manage the boat and during the 3 exams you will do during this class.
After class you’ll have the most spectacular environment to be in. I enjoyed it so much; go for a swim, a snorkel or take the dinghy for some entertainment or a meal at a restaurant on land.
It is a living onboard course so you will need to “run” your own life after class. It is a lot of fun; preparing your own meals onboard, start plotting next day route, enjoy the sunset, play some music.
I would highly recommend BWSS and Molly Winkelman. I learned a lot in paradise!
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