Actually, US Sailing courses and ASA are pretty much the same....US sailing courses were originally copied from ASA, way back when. The main differences would be on how a particular school
handles the instruction. There are several good ones that would offer the ASA courses that you need in the BVI, which would include water
and Tortola Sailing School
, and also Affordable Sailing, among others. To be totally transparent, I operate a Leopard 45 catamaran
in the BVI and have taught for all three schools, either on my boat or one of theirs, and they all do a good job.
But there are some things for you to consider. A well done course is pretty intensive and it is absolutely imperative for all to have done the reading in advance. ASA 101 is Basic Keelboat... be suspicious if the school suggests you do this on a cat, which is not a basic keelboat!
Depending upon how many courses you want to take, there may not be much time for other things, which begs the question of whether the entire group are planning on doing this (maybe some not for certification), or whether this is being planned as a part time add-on to a charter cruise
? Because, if it's the latter, there are going to be some differing priorities and resulting conflicts and unhappiness. Some people try to do the entire "bareboat" syllabus (101, 103, 104) in a week, but that is really pushing it, if you want quality instruction that will "stick".
Here's my suggestion: 1) discuss this entire thing with the group, and get commitment from everyone. 2) get the group to take 101 at home, before the cruise
. 3) take 103 and 104 in the BVI. This is totally doable and should be quite enjoyable. Particularly if you could add a day, you might even be able to squeeze in 114, which is Catamaran
Cruising and basically 104 done on a cat. 104 and 114 can be done concurrently.
Finally, do not let yourself be talked into starting and returning to St. Thomas. This seems like an attractive option, because the airfares are usually quite a bit less, but coming and going from St. Thomas to the places you want to visit in the BVI just takes way too long, all of which will be subtracted from the time you need for the courses, etc. And January should have you in the Virgin Islands
at the height of the "Christmas Winds", otherwise known as the reinforced trades, which make the upwind trek to the BVI just that much more unpleasant and time-consuming. If you fly into the USVI, plan on taking a ferry
to Tortola, and start your cruise there. Don't forget this!
If you fly into Tortola, logistically the best though not the cheapest option, try Cape Air or Seaborne from San Juan
, Puerto Rico
, to which many airlines fly. A number of them "code share" with Cape and Seaborne, so you can check your baggage all the way through.
Good luck with this.....let me know if I can help.