DialedN_07

ASA Courses (101,103, etc)

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I've been mostly single handed sailing for about a month and a half now.  We are looking to get a bigger boat current (American 14.6), but I'm pumping the brakes a little bit and starting to think about getting some seat time on other boats and maybe taking some classes and getting first hand experience on a few different boats before making a semi-permanent decision with thousands of dollars.

With that being said, there is a sailing school 30 minutes from our beach place that offers a wide array of ASA courses.  In a 10 minute phone conversation with the owner, it seems like a good fit for general knowledge of what I'm wanting to do while sailing, and is conducted in the ICW and also semi-close to shore out in the Atlantic.

Any experience with the ASA courses?  I've already taken the basic boaters safety class (which I'm not required to do in my state at my age) but I think ASA is going to be much more comprehensive and specific to sailing, but I'm curious as to the value that others have gained from these courses.  I don't plan on buying a huge boat and doing charters, but for the knowledge gained, am thinking about a multi-year plan where I take 2 courses per year and just start at 101 and work my way up from there.

Is there a better strategy to gaining seat time and knowledge? Any other recommendations or things to look out for?

My initial plan is to take the "expedited" 1 day ASA 101 class, and then gauge my learning and experiences from there.

Thanks for any feedback.

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It's great to take these courses, sail with different boats and folks to soak up various ways to do things, and general experience. The course materials are good, you can get the book cheaply. There's a focus on safety and those are key skills to have. ... And there's a lot of variation on instructor quality.

My direct experience is that my SO took a course with an instructor who was great. Except he was super quirky about some minor things -- sail flaking, line coiling, and adamant about his students learning those bits his way. I happened to join briefly and found it hilarious.

She asked me later, and I had to say -- yeah, those quirky bits are safe to disregard, the actual lesson is: every captain has a couple quirks ;-)

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Screw it, if its gonna happen, its gonna happen out there. ASA be damned.

Nothing teaches lessons quite like mistakes.

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1 hour ago, OutofOffice said:

Screw it, if its gonna happen, its gonna happen out there. ASA be damned.

Nothing teaches lessons quite like mistakes.

Yeah....made a few of those Sunday...

 

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That's what makes sailing so interesting. It is a never ending lesson. Even if you mastered a boat in every condition imaginable, the next boat is a completely clean slate.

Enjoy the ride, minimize risk while at the same time allowing yourself to make mistakes. I firmly believe a class can not and will not ever prepare you sufficiently for the big stuff.

Let me be clear, that's not to say they don't have their place and they can teach a beginner a lot, but no class will prepare you for when SHTF.

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Yes and no. The more variety you sail (boats, captains, locations, conditions...), the better, clearly. But for someone who's been sailing for a month and half, an ASA course with MOB, basic knots, docking/mooring techniques, basics of dropping anchor, heaving-to... don't tell them to skip that.

We don't know what they've learned, how they've learned it; a course or two will ensure a reasonable baseline, and give them a fighting chance for that day when the SHTF.

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2 hours ago, martin.langhoff said:

Yes and no. The more variety you sail (boats, captains, locations, conditions...), the better, clearly. But for someone who's been sailing for a month and half, an ASA course with MOB, basic knots, docking/mooring techniques, basics of dropping anchor, heaving-to... don't tell them to skip that.

We don't know what they've learned, how they've learned it; a course or two will ensure a reasonable baseline, and give them a fighting chance for that day when the SHTF.

"that's not to say they don't have their place and they can teach a beginner a lot"

I would rather see an experienced skipper show them all of that but in the absence of an experienced skipper, sure, take the ASA.

Truth is (at least for me locally) almost no small boat skippers and few big boat skippers have completed ASA courses for anything but the fringe benefits you get from having it. Most of these guys are very competent sailors. I just don't want to oversell the idea is all. It's not all secret knowledge you must pay to access, a quick google and youtube search will give you everything you need to go practice things on your own. Again, I don't condone just throwing lines off a 30 foot vessel and go out to a major shipping lane or try to drop an anchor in a crowded anchorage on a windy day with no understanding of what to expect, but it can be done without the ASA.

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2 hours ago, martin.langhoff said:

Yes and no. The more variety you sail (boats, captains, locations, conditions...), the better, clearly. But for someone who's been sailing for a month and half, an ASA course with MOB, basic knots, docking/mooring techniques, basics of dropping anchor, heaving-to... don't tell them to skip that.

We don't know what they've learned, how they've learned it; a course or two will ensure a reasonable baseline, and give them a fighting chance for that day when the SHTF.

Understood.  And my philosophy has always been to dive in head first, and that's exactly what I've done.  I am ABSOLUTELY not a pro, and could REALLY use some help in various aspects of sailing (example, sail trim) but have found this forum, YouTube, and other avenues extremely helpful.  I've read the entire Sailing for Dummies book, have practiced MOB drills, have hove to in multiple conditions just to see if I could do it.  Have capsized my boat twice and righted it single handed.  Also have a knot book with practice rope at home.  So yes, a month and a half, but I've put in 196 nautical miles and 50 and a half hours on the boat in that timeframe.  

Although S has not HTF quite yet, I've tried to put myself in some tough spots with reasonable expectations of safety and have learned quite a bit from that

9 minutes ago, OutofOffice said:

"that's not to say they don't have their place and they can teach a beginner a lot"

I would rather see an experienced skipper show them all of that but in the absence of an experienced skipper, sure, take the ASA.

Truth is (at least for me locally) almost no small boat skippers and few big boat skippers have completed ASA courses for anything but the fringe benefits you get from having it. Most of these guys are very competent sailors. I just don't want to oversell the idea is all. It's not all secret knowledge you must pay to access, a quick google and youtube search will give you everything you need to go practice things on your own. Again, I don't condone just throwing lines off a 30 foot vessel and go out to a major shipping lane or try to drop an anchor in a crowded anchorage on a windy day with no understanding of what to expect, but it can be done without the ASA.

Your last couple comments are basically what I've done.  I've researched what is required to pass the ASA exams and instead of just going off and floating/blowing around, I practice practice practice.  It's interesting to see the different takes, and yours seems to be the philosophy that I started out with, but thought that an instructor could potentially give me the extra 10% that I'm missing due to my lack of experience.

Could you elaborate on the fringe benefits you mentioned about the ASA courses?

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20 minutes ago, DialedN_07 said:

Could you elaborate on the fringe benefits you mentioned about the ASA courses?

Not really since I have not completed any. Someone else who has completed them will chime in. I believe its things like insurance discounts. I also think most bareboat charters will require an ASA course. Again not for me to speak on, I don't charter boats.

Honestly, having put 196 miles and 50+ hours into sailing in that short of a timeframe, including some time outside of protected waters puts you light-years ahead of most beginners. I don't want to lure you into complacency, but most beginners could only hope to put that time in over a year.

If you feel the need to take some lessons, go for it. I believe they will let you test out of ASA 101 if you think its too basic.

 

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56 minutes ago, DialedN_07 said:

 

Off topic, but did you ever work out "beaching/storing" the boat? Last I remember you were discussing how best to get it from the water onto land.

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7 minutes ago, OutofOffice said:

 

Off topic, but did you ever work out "beaching/storing" the boat? Last I remember you were discussing how best to get it from the water onto land.

Yes and no. (I don't mind my threads going off topic, I like forums because I can actually ask questions specific to me and get real answers instead of reading about someone else's situation and trying to fit their square peg into a round hole).

There is no logical way to bring the boat from the canal into the back yard.  The pitch is too steep, and the ground level too high.  I'd put tremendous strain on the bow trying to winch it up, then even when I got it up, how can I get it off the lift onto the trailer? It just won't work.  It's only 2 NM from the house to the bridge, so I just have to sail or motor sail down there and back every time.  I did leave the boat tied to the dock overnight two weekends ago, and there was absolutely zero growth on the hull after I pulled it out.

So I've basically decided that I'm going to have to get a swing keel for my next boat.  The intricacies of launching a wing in low tide, or at the closest lake to me (impossible) are very difficult.  I've heard first hand that you must launch only at high tide at the beach and also have a trailer extension, or it WILL NOT work with anything other than a swing.

After Sunday I don't know how much desire I have to go out in the ocean anymore.  The swell was awesome, even if a bit rough at times, but the inlet was too much for me to handle in my boat.  Going out was okay, but the waves coming back in are a lot even for a power boat, so I think I'm going to stick more with ICW sailing until I get a bigger boat with a bigger motor to more safely navigate the inlet.  This greatly reduces times I can sail at the beach, because unless I'm on a beam reach type wind, it's just not a lot of fun to force your crew to move every 3 to 5 minutes to either tack or jibe.  I still want to sail at the beach, but this moves me more to being able to easily trailer the boat.  The lake that I sail most is average depth of 15-20 feet, and is only 5-6 ft deep until about 40 yards off shore (thus extremely shallow boat ramps, impossible to launch wing keel).

I'll store the dinghy under the beach house with the mooring cover on it, and the new boat either in my driveway beside my garage, or in a warehouse owned by the company I work for.

I'm 75% sure I'm going to join the sailing club at Lake Waccamaw, NC.  Their dues are $250 per year with $250 initiation, and $15/yr mooring ball fee.  I could leave the boat rigged and covered at the lake and just go trailer it from there when I want to sail at the beach (the lake is on the way to the beach)

 

Choices so far have been (in order of preference)

Catalina Capri 22

Catalina Capri 18 (would like to know more about cockpit size of this boat vs. the standard Catalina 22 'non capri'.....I know Capri 18 cockpit is 6'10" but don't know about C22)

Catalina 22

Catalina 22 Sport (way out of my price range)

Hunter 216 or 212

Hunter 23.5 (know next to nothing about this boat)

 

A little more information than you asked for, huh??? lol

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31 minutes ago, DialedN_07 said:

Yes and no. (I don't mind my threads going off topic, I like forums because I can actually ask questions specific to me and get real answers instead of reading about someone else's situation and trying to fit their square peg into a round hole).

There is no logical way to bring the boat from the canal into the back yard.  The pitch is too steep, and the ground level too high.  I'd put tremendous strain on the bow trying to winch it up, then even when I got it up, how can I get it off the lift onto the trailer? It just won't work.  It's only 2 NM from the house to the bridge, so I just have to sail or motor sail down there and back every time.  I did leave the boat tied to the dock overnight two weekends ago, and there was absolutely zero growth on the hull after I pulled it out.

So I've basically decided that I'm going to have to get a swing keel for my next boat.  The intricacies of launching a wing in low tide, or at the closest lake to me (impossible) are very difficult.  I've heard first hand that you must launch only at high tide at the beach and also have a trailer extension, or it WILL NOT work with anything other than a swing.

After Sunday I don't know how much desire I have to go out in the ocean anymore.  The swell was awesome, even if a bit rough at times, but the inlet was too much for me to handle in my boat.  Going out was okay, but the waves coming back in are a lot even for a power boat, so I think I'm going to stick more with ICW sailing until I get a bigger boat with a bigger motor to more safely navigate the inlet.  This greatly reduces times I can sail at the beach, because unless I'm on a beam reach type wind, it's just not a lot of fun to force your crew to move every 3 to 5 minutes to either tack or jibe.  I still want to sail at the beach, but this moves me more to being able to easily trailer the boat.  The lake that I sail most is average depth of 15-20 feet, and is only 5-6 ft deep until about 40 yards off shore (thus extremely shallow boat ramps, impossible to launch wing keel).

I'll store the dinghy under the beach house with the mooring cover on it, and the new boat either in my driveway beside my garage, or in a warehouse owned by the company I work for.

I'm 75% sure I'm going to join the sailing club at Lake Waccamaw, NC.  Their dues are $250 per year with $250 initiation, and $15/yr mooring ball fee.  I could leave the boat rigged and covered at the lake and just go trailer it from there when I want to sail at the beach (the lake is on the way to the beach)

 

Choices so far have been (in order of preference)

Catalina Capri 22

Catalina Capri 18 (would like to know more about cockpit size of this boat vs. the standard Catalina 22 'non capri'.....I know Capri 18 cockpit is 6'10" but don't know about C22)

Catalina 22

Catalina 22 Sport (way out of my price range)

Hunter 216 or 212

Hunter 23.5 (know next to nothing about this boat)

 

A little more information than you asked for, huh??? lol

I'm not familiar with the inlet. They can get nasty though. Timing is everything.

Is it unreasonable to surf launch it thus avoiding the inlet? It has a kick-up rudder correct?

It is a lot of information, but why not. It's  the beauty of forums.

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Just now, OutofOffice said:

I'm not familiar with the inlet. They can get nasty though. Timing is everything.

Is it unreasonable to surf launch it thus avoiding the inlet? It has a kick-up rudder correct?

Unreasonable, no.  Practical, no.

We are about 3.5 blocks from the beach and public beach access.  Although city code allows for non-motorized boats to park temporarily on the beach, there is very soft sand, and I'd have to not only build/buy a large tire rig to get the boat on and off.  I'd have to slide it off the trailer and onto this contraption, then pull it (by myself) to the beach through deep soft sand.

If I want to sail in the ocean that much, I'll just brave the waves and try to learn a little bit more about tides and currents between now and then to try and anticipate the best time to get back in.

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17 minutes ago, DialedN_07 said:

Unreasonable, no.  Practical, no.

We are about 3.5 blocks from the beach and public beach access.  Although city code allows for non-motorized boats to park temporarily on the beach, there is very soft sand, and I'd have to not only build/buy a large tire rig to get the boat on and off.  I'd have to slide it off the trailer and onto this contraption, then pull it (by myself) to the beach through deep soft sand.

If I want to sail in the ocean that much, I'll just brave the waves and try to learn a little bit more about tides and currents between now and then to try and anticipate the best time to get back in.

Gotcha. Yeah, that sounds like a pain.

My beaches are hard packed and we often launch through the surf. Not sure there’s anything more fun than playing in the breakers with an old laser.

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On 7/24/2018 at 9:58 AM, DialedN_07 said:

I've been mostly single handed sailing for about a month and a half now.  We are looking to get a bigger boat current (American 14.6), but I'm pumping the brakes a little bit and starting to think about getting some seat time on other boats and maybe taking some classes and getting first hand experience on a few different boats before making a semi-permanent decision with thousands of dollars.

With that being said, there is a sailing school 30 minutes from our beach place that offers a wide array of ASA courses.  In a 10 minute phone conversation with the owner, it seems like a good fit for general knowledge of what I'm wanting to do while sailing, and is conducted in the ICW and also semi-close to shore out in the Atlantic.

Any experience with the ASA courses?  I've already taken the basic boaters safety class (which I'm not required to do in my state at my age) but I think ASA is going to be much more comprehensive and specific to sailing, but I'm curious as to the value that others have gained from these courses.  I don't plan on buying a huge boat and doing charters, but for the knowledge gained, am thinking about a multi-year plan where I take 2 courses per year and just start at 101 and work my way up from there.

Is there a better strategy to gaining seat time and knowledge? Any other recommendations or things to look out for?

My initial plan is to take the "expedited" 1 day ASA 101 class, and then gauge my learning and experiences from there.

Thanks for any feedback.

I'll answer before reading through this entire thread.  For my money, the courses are worth it.  You should learn something in every course, even if it's a more efficient way to do something you already know.

I've taken 103, 104 and 105 (tested out 101, since I had taken US Sailing's version), and it certainly has helped with bareboat chartering.  I live in the landlocked midwest, and while I keep a small boat on a nearby impoundment lake, it's not the same as sailing/motoring/docking a 38' boat on the Baltic Sea.  The courses have given me the knowledge and enough experience to feel mostly comfortable about doing that first bareboat charter.  They (charters) get easier after that.

So, do the 101.  If you're interested in bareboat chartering (which is kind of ASA's trajectory of courses), you may be interested in the other courses as well.  You will have something to point to for your insurance company, if nothing else.

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On 7/30/2018 at 1:55 PM, bplipschitz said:

I'll answer before reading through this entire thread.  For my money, the courses are worth it.  You should learn something in every course, even if it's a more efficient way to do something you already know.

I've taken 103, 104 and 105 (tested out 101, since I had taken US Sailing's version), and it certainly has helped with bareboat chartering.  I live in the landlocked midwest, and while I keep a small boat on a nearby impoundment lake, it's not the same as sailing/motoring/docking a 38' boat on the Baltic Sea.  The courses have given me the knowledge and enough experience to feel mostly comfortable about doing that first bareboat charter.  They (charters) get easier after that.

So, do the 101.  If you're interested in bareboat chartering (which is kind of ASA's trajectory of courses), you may be interested in the other courses as well.  You will have something to point to for your insurance company, if nothing else.

I think your experience is exactly what I'm trying to accomplish.  Potentially test out of 101 then go up from there.  My only problem with testing out is that there is no instruction.  Not that I feel I need the instruction on those basics, but I like watching other people do things so I can either adjust my approach, or build a new hybrid to improve my previous method.

I'm getting a new boat so I'm just going to sail this year and then look for the courses first of 2019

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12 hours ago, DialedN_07 said:

I think your experience is exactly what I'm trying to accomplish.  Potentially test out of 101 then go up from there.  My only problem with testing out is that there is no instruction.  Not that I feel I need the instruction on those basics, but I like watching other people do things so I can either adjust my approach, or build a new hybrid to improve my previous method.

I'm getting a new boat so I'm just going to sail this year and then look for the courses first of 2019

To clarify my experience, I took US Sailing's Basic Keelboat course, which is why I tested out of ASA 101.  Either basic course will teach you the fundamentals, some of the correct ways of doing things and hopefully help you develop good habits.

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So glad to see this topic as I was declined to charter a boat due to no certificate.  Forty years of doing pretty well racing doesn't cut it.

I admit I haven't gone completely through this thread, so forgive me if already addressed, but which course(s) is (are) most beneficial?

Just looked up cost to learn on a J24 in Dallas over two weekends, and it's $700.  Wow!  Is that price pretty standard?

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Just now, True North said:

So glad to see this topic as I was declined to charter a boat due to no certificate.  Forty years of doing pretty well racing doesn't cut it.

I admit I haven't gone completely through this thread, so forgive me if already addressed, but which course(s) is (are) most beneficial?

Just looked up cost to learn on a J24 in Dallas over two weekends, and it's $700.  Wow!  Is that price pretty standard?

You're going to want to get to atleast ASA 104, but 101 and 103 are required prerequisite courses to take the 104.  Start at this link, and take a read through the descriptions.  The ASA website is actually very well laid out and I think does a pretty good job of explaining what you need to know and what you'll be tested on.

https://asa.com/certifications/asa-101-basic-keelboat-sailing/ 

Lifted from the ASA website:

ASA 101, Basic Keelboat Sailing

Able to skipper a sloop-rigged keelboat of approximately 20 to 27 feet in length by day in light to moderate winds (up to 15 knots) and sea conditions. Knowledge of 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. Auxiliary power operation is not required.

ASA 103, Basic Coastal Cruising

Able to skipper a sloop-rigged auxiliary powered (inboard or outboard engine) keelboat of approximately 25 to 35 feet length by day in moderate winds (up to 20 knots) and sea conditions. Knowledge of cruising sailboat terminology, basic boat systems, auxiliary engine operation, docking procedures, intermediate sail trim, navigation rules, basic coastal navigation, anchoring, weather interpretation, safety and seamanship.

ASA 104, Bareboat Cruising

Able to skipper a sloop-rigged, auxiliary powered keelboat of approximately 30 to 45 feet in length during a multi-day cruise upon inland or coastal waters in moderate to heavy winds (up to 30 knots) and sea conditions. Knowledge of provisioning, galley operations, boat systems, auxiliary engine operation, routine maintenance procedures, advanced sail trim, coastal navigation including basic chart plotting and GPS operation, multiple-anchor mooring, docking, health & safety, emergency operations, weather interpretation, and dinghy/tender operation.

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Veteran Sailing in Key Largo offers free ASA 101 course to veterans.  Joe who teaches course is a Navy Seal and requires a good deal of competency to pass each task.  Students who don't complete in the two scheduled days can be rescheduled.  You have to provide your book, transportation, food and lodging.  Highly recommended.

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Hi, tagging on to this topic. Is there any reason to choose ASA over US Sailing certificates?  Or vice versa?  Thanks.

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