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Old 08-07-2015, 12:39   #1
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ASA 106 Puget Sound

We are landlocked Texans (Amarillo) and are forced to get sailing out of our system by traveling. We have our 104 and would like to do 105 and 106. Our nephew just moved to Olympia and I found Puget Sound Sailing Institute and a weekend long 106 in October. We will be going to the Seattle are in two weeks and plan on swinging by. I would love other opinions on options in that area.
Past sailing in the last few years have been the Keys and Corpus.

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Old 14-07-2015, 03:32   #2
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Re: ASA 106 Puget Sound

Doing 106 in a weekend seems too short to me. Also, I would check out San Juan Sailing up in Bellingham. Great program, beautiful sailing area and well maintained boats.

Of course, if you decide you would rather sail in the Caribbean, check us out!

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Old 26-07-2015, 00:49   #3
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Re: ASA 106 Puget Sound

I am from the area. Puget Sound is a beautiful part of Washington State, extending from Olympia-Tacoma in the south to Bellingham-Blaine, close to the Canadian border. San Juan islands and the Olympic Peninsula are a gem. Of course, Seattle is right in the middle of Puget Sound.

Coming from Texas, the weather in the region may be a bit "wet" for you. In normal years expect 4-5 months of rainy season. Rest of the year it's great. Snow is unusual, hardly falls below 32F, but the moist colder climate in winter can be chilling.

Sailed a bit while studying at UW and later on working in the Bellingham area, living on-board of a small sailboat. Sailors paradise, I would say. Facilities are plenty and reasonable. Try Des Moines and Redondo Beach area, just south of Seattle and Port of Bellingham, just north of Seattle.
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Old 26-07-2015, 08:43   #4
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Re: ASA 106 Puget Sound

Well, even for a wet area, Olympia is one of the wettest. Not this year though as it has been unusually dry the past two years. We are in a drought actually this year. But I would second the recommendation for Bellingham for the sailing school. I don't have any first hand knowledge of the school/program though, but the city and the area are great and the sailing waters far more scenic and popular than south Puget Sound.
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Old 26-07-2015, 09:10   #5
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Re: ASA 106 Puget Sound

We shared a dock with Puget Sound Sailing Institute (Tacoma, Washington) for several years (long time ago so may not be same people but the pictures look the same). They seemed quite competent and to be good instructors. They kept their boats in near perfect condition.

We lived in Tacoma, WA 27-years during 1965 - 2013 and sailed that area (South Puget Sound) several times a week. We kept our boat in Gig Harbor (your class location) for many years. Gig Harbor is one of the most picturesque and pleasant sailing destinations in the country. Great restaurants and bars and lot's of good lodging. You are within a couple miles of open water sailing, narrow difficult channels, and three other bays for anchor practise and docking drills. A near perfect location for ASA 106!

It is a great place to learn coastal cruising because it presents almost any challenge you can imagine - all within 1/2 day sail:

- strong winds
- no winds
- strong currents
- deep anchoring
- shallow anchoring
- narrow and confined anchorages
- big shallow exposed anchorages
- rocks and shoals to navigate around
- hundreds of navigation aids (land and water) to practise with
- heavy commercial boat traffic
- dozens of docks to practise at
- mooring balls everywhere (some in strong currents, some close to shore)
- heavy rain
- fog
- mist
- short days

If you are comfortable sailing in Puget Sound you will be comfortable sailing almost anywhere. Your experience there will duplicate anything you experience elsewhere, except for oceanic swells and painfully hot sunshine.

October can be a lovely month (we were married mid-October on a beautiful sunny day overlooking Tacoma's Commencement Bay) or absolutely horrendous (the Columbus Day storm had 90+ mph winds for much of a day). Fog is a common difficulty for days at a time as is cool damp weather. But, it can also be perfectly clear and warm for a week at a time.

The first half of October will almost certainly be mid to upper 60s during mid-day and upper 40s at night with fog at least 1/3 of the time from mid-night to mid-morning. Winds can be very light for days at a time.

By mid-October; the Pacific storms are starting to get up some momentum and it is common to have several days of strong rain and wind followed by many days of calm, clear, and damp weather.

Later October is almost guaranteed to be wet and windy for days at a time.

We also lived in Bellingham for 7-years and have visited there by boat hundreds of times. B'Ham is where I learned to sail and race sailboats. It is a fantastic venue for sailing instruction. It is more likely to have good sailing wind than Commencement Bay (Tacoma) or the South Puget Sound. However, it is a much longer sail out to the San Juan Islands for anchoring and mooring ball practise. OTH - the San Juan Islands are the most beautiful sailing locale in North America.

Both Tacoma and B'Ham have vibrant downtown areas for your non-sailing entertainment and both have nice and inexpensive lodging within a few miles of the harbor.

Tacoma is a 30-minute drive south of SeaTac airport and B'Ham is two hour drive north (depending on how long it takes to get thru Seattle) from SeaTac. But, there is great train service from SeaTac Airport to King Street Station where you can catch the Amtrak to Bellingham. B'Ham does have a good airport but commercial traffic to the airport is being cut back.

Gig Harbor is across the Tacoma Narrows bridge from Tacoma and is it about another 25-minutes from the SeaTac airport to the Harbor, compared to Tacoma.
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