We just finished an ASA course in Fort Lauderdale
. Neither of us had any sailing experience, but we did a lot of reading before we started the classes
. The school
had us buy three books: Sailing Fundamentals
by Gary Jobson, Cruising Fundamentals
by Harry Munns, and Multihull Fundamentals
by Rick White and Harry Munns. All three are "Official American Sailing Association Guides" but available from most book sellers. They were part of the cost of our classes
and were sent to us by the sailing school
sailing">Blue Water Sailing School
in Ft. Lauderdale. Even though we took the class together, we each had to pay for our own books and couldn't just get one set and share them. ASA also gives you an "Official International Log Book." We didn't get ours until a day before we actually started the class, which was unfortunate, as it is very specific about what you need to know to pass each test. Try to get a copy of it as soon as you register for the class so you know what to study before you start. It's a small booklet and you'll keep it to record
the classes you take and tests you pass.
In six days, we were instructed and took tests for four classes: Basic Keelboat Sailing 101, Basic Coastal Cruising 103, Bareboat
Chartering 104, and Cruising Catamaran
114. There are other classes you can also take, but those four were enough to do in six days. In fact, it was information overload. I would also recommend some flash cards we purchased. They are called SeaCards
from Doyle Marine
. The box says, "ASA Approved" and that they cover 101 and 103. I got them at West Marine
. We were told to learn six knots and were tested on them: Bowline, Clove Hitch, Sheet Bend, Rolling Hitch, Round Turn and Two Half Hitches, and Figure 8. A good book for this is a small one costing $6.00 called Knots and Splices
by Steve Judkins and Tim Davison. Be sure to practice those knots as you will definitely use them.
We took possession of our Lagoon 420
in August and a few weeks later started the classes. We chose to take it on our own boat and by ourselves, not with 2-4 other students. That was a good choice, although obviously more expensive than sharing the cost with a bigger class.
For the first two tests, 101 and 103, you won't need to know much about navigation
, but you will need to actually plot a course on a chart for the Bareboat
Another excellent book to have before you take the course, and one you'll use later is Reed's Nautical Almanac
. There is a new one published each year and for different areas: East Coast
, West Coast
, and Caribbean
. Most of the book is general information which you'll need to know. It also includes Tides and Currents for areas specific to each book. You can get it online at Reed's Nautical Almanac - Tide charts, Ocean currents maps, NOAA weather radio
or in marine stores or other book stores. Also, The Annapolis Book of Seamanship
is an excellent one to read. It's long, but information in the other three books we were required to read were all included in the Annapolis
Our class was supposed to be six days of sailing, during which we would anchor
out the entire time. Due to working around the hurricanes, we did a three day sail and then came back to Ft. Lauderdale and took three day sails
with a week in between. When you register for your class, they'll be able to tell you the way they run it.
Considering the fact that we started the class with a lot of "book knowledge" but no hands on experience, we feel we have good basic skills now and we know what we have to practice and learn. It was well worth the time and money
If you or your wife have any other questions, feel free to PM me.