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Old 04-09-2010, 17:25   #1
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ASA Training or Unlimited Sailing ?

I have the option of attending the ASA 101 and 103 course or for the same price I can get unlimited sailing for a year, which option should I take? Is getting certified really that important or should I go for unlimited sailing time with no certification?

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Old 04-09-2010, 17:57   #2
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Do you have any prior sailing experience? Would this sailing be instructed, or are you on your own?
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Old 04-09-2010, 18:12   #3
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Hmmm,
Can you give us a little more info?

Any sailing experience before?
If YES, on what?
What is your ultimate goal?

My kids took 101 thru 103 and came out with a fairly good knowledge of boats less than 30’ without self tailing winches and reasonably light loads on the lines. Joined me on a 52’ and we pretty much started from scratch. Their attitude was dangerous with a boat with line loads this large.

Maybe, if you have no prior experience and a patient and knowing individual was your mentor that might be the place to start. This is assuming that they are not going to throw you to the wolves for the first little while.

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Old 05-09-2010, 13:26   #4
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no keelboat experience, some sailing dinghy experience, the goal is to do bareboat chartering in about 6 months to a year.
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Old 05-09-2010, 14:05   #5
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What size of boats will you be exposed to in Unlimited? As mentioned, size of a boat does matter.
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Old 05-09-2010, 14:24   #6
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As Newt and knotnow have pointed out, it's difficult to give advice or an opinion with very limited information.

What type of vessel would you have an unlimited sailing option on? would you be taking this vessel out alone, or would you have a mentor? what type of vessel are you looking to charter in 6 months to a year? What body of water would your unlimited experience be on? What body of water are you looking to charter on?

At this point, with limited information....my thought would be to take the lessons...and then go out and try to crew on other peoples boats..as much as you can.
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Old 05-09-2010, 14:24   #7
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well to be honest my wife and I did both. basic keel boat then unlimited sailing followed by the last two courses then and buying a boat. consider the unlimited sailing as cheaper than buying the first boat that you end up selling far sooner than you can finish pouring all the money into it.

I really think both is not anywhere near as expensive as the first year of owning a boat. If I had to pick I might be more in favor of the training. If the two cost the same then by all means do both. If you can get into 20 to 25 ft keel boats you would be well advised to jump on it. All the dinghy stuff helps you but it also makes you get the very most out of a course.

If your goal is to cruise either charter or ownership this could be the way to the express ticket. If you followed up the basic with the unlimited sailing you could be in great shape.

Also note that while the advanced training helps, you can often still charter if you take a captain for a day or so to check you out. It's the way the companies get around not taking your money and if you had a lot of water time you might just satisfy them as well as have enough confidence to do the rest.

In that way I would take the 1st course plus the unlimited sailing first choice and put off the later courses. You just go into them with more experience PLUS you get to perfect the basics that you really will spend the rest of your sailing career improving. for that reason the better start just seems like the more cost effective solution.

Learn correctly right now and sail a lot right after. Sounds more fun too. You need ways to keep the energy level up there and getting out on a boat on your own is the way that happens. Confidences grows with practice when you start out right. Unlearning bad habits is a lot harder than you think.
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Old 05-09-2010, 16:25   #8
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thanks for all the advice, some more info ...
the unlimited sailing would be on Lake Michigan with a mentor and usually in a group of 6 people on 33 foot boats. I would not be allowed to take the boat out by myself, but I would take the helm and crew as well. The first goal is to get enough experience to charter a boat anywhere in the world, most likely in the bvi or somewhere like that. The second goal is to eventually buy a boat.
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Old 05-09-2010, 16:50   #9
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Hi Jamnet,

Well, based on that, I might take the unlimited sailing with a good mentor; especially if you take advantage of the " unlimited" factor. Also, read everything you can get your hands on.

I don't think it would qualify you to charter anywhere in the world but it's a great start.....

I've never sailed on Lake Michigan, I understand it's big water, However, tides and currents in the worlds oceans..will add an additional learning curve.

Good luck with whatever route you take...Sailing is a lifelong education...
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Old 05-09-2010, 17:58   #10
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Hey Jamnet,

Lake Michigan changes real quickly. If you learn there you can, with a little guidance read the weather patterns in the Caribbean. >Been there done that. <

Your next step might be in the Fl. Keys to learn reefs and shallows; they look different than the lake, kind of.

After all that take a skipper out in the BVI’s and if you’ve learned your lessons well he’ll be impressed and kick you loose.

Just remember ya never stop learning
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Old 29-11-2010, 09:03   #11
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Having been an instructor for a major sailing school and sailed a lot in the Fl. keys and the B.V.I.(as well as lots-a other places),I'd like to point out that "Cruising" courses are designed to teach you to charter a boat in the Caribbean or the Med.or Guam, so it might be a good idea to take a CRUISING course. One warning tho, all the established saililg schools teach the courses way too fast, you learn the material long enough to pass the exam, but forget 90% within a feu months. You should really go sailing on a vessel the size you learned on every week or at least every 2 weeks for a year or more after you finish the course. It would also help to take someone along with you who is an experianced sailor. If you're planing to charter in the B.V.I.,learning in the keys is a bad idea. The water is shalow in the keys and the islands are low. If this is what you are used to,it will confuse the hell out of you when you get to the islands. The water there is deep and the islands are mountainous and your perspective will be all screwed up. Even experianced old time skippers have this happen so as a new sailor you'd really have trouble.
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Old 13-03-2011, 22:38   #12
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Re: ASA Training or Unlimited Sailing ?

My wife and I did a week long liveaboard ASA 101-104 on a 43' Bene in the BVI and after passiing the certification tests at the end of the week chartered a 38' Hunter for another week. Chartering for an additional week was one of the best things we did. It really cemented in the things we'd been taught the previous week. We've chartered at least a week (usually more) every year since, trying to sail a variety of boats in different locations. It's been a blast and very educational. We are coming very close to retiring and buying a boat to live on and sail wherever the tide and wind take us. I guess I'd recommend taking the classes and then chartering as often as possible. If possible take the classes on the size boat you want to charter.

It worked(ing) well for us.

Have a blast - it is sooo worth it.
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Old 13-03-2011, 22:54   #13
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Re: ASA Training or Unlimited Sailing ?

I am doing both. I have had 101 and 103 followed by a club that allows me to go out whenever I can make it to the river(20-27' boats). That has been the best situation for me. This spring, I'll take the 104 and then in the fall, I'll charter a boat in the San Juans. It also helps to spend time reading the books.
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