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
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
- dozens of docks to practise at
balls everywhere (some in strong currents, some close to shore)
- heavy rain
- 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.