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Old 12-07-2012, 06:58   #1
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Experience vs Courses

I have taken ASA 101 (Basic Keelboat Sailing) and ASA 103 (Basic Coastal Cruising), plus logged hours and hours on a J-22 along with 2-3 day trips on several boats >30'. Is another class, such as ASA 104, in order or a bareboat trip with a couple more experienced sailors? I'm not 100% sure I even need ASA 104 - I'm very handy having built home additions including plumbing and electrical and have rebuilt small engines. Seems to me now I need time on larger boats docking, mooring, and sailing under different conditions. Advice?
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Old 12-07-2012, 07:16   #2
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Re: Experience vs Courses

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Jwh2ohouse.
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Old 12-07-2012, 07:17   #3
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Re: Experience vs Courses

Welcome aboard!

Book learning is all good and a great reference to fall back on! But getting out there in many situations and boats is the final learning experience. It all comes down to what you want to do with that experience to know how far to advance with the courses.

But navigation and reading charts should be a basic course. Then celestial is good to have off shore.
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Old 12-07-2012, 07:18   #4
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Many thanks!
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Old 12-07-2012, 07:20   #5
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I just finished the entire Master and Commander series and the navigation abilities prior to radio, LORAN, and GPS is fascinating to me. I'd prefer to take one of the courses offered aboard but not sure I can afford the several thousand that takes yet.
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Old 12-07-2012, 07:28   #6
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Should I take ASA 105 Coastal Navigation? I've found an online/phone course available for $225. Also, is ASA a good standard? It seems that one you start courses on one standard you're pretty much committed to that standard.
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Old 12-07-2012, 07:34   #7
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Re: Experience vs Courses

Where are you?
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Old 12-07-2012, 07:35   #8
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Re: Experience vs Courses

Personally, I don't like online courses. One looses the inner action of a class room environment. There's a lot to be picked up amongst others who can share their experience, just like here on the CF.
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Old 12-07-2012, 07:54   #9
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Charlotte, NC. I travel during the week about 50% of the time in SC, NC, and VA.
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Old 12-07-2012, 12:32   #10
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Re: Experience vs Courses

I have no idea what the US courses involve, but at a guess, the first one involves explaining that the pointy end goes forward and the stick thing is where the sails go etc (and useful for that)......after that it is variations and getting time onboard, as you have already identified - how you go about that is entirely down to what works for you. Personally I would go with your bareboat charter option with the couple of more experianced people and then decide whether more courses have merit. As I said, no knowledge of the US courses but I suspect that folks selling courses will happily sell you courses until the cows come home (ASA 3027?!).

IMO the biggie (and where a course is easiest if starting from zero) is on navigation (the chart & compass end - not Celestial). If not already covered in your first two courses I would definately go for that. But in addition to more time on the water, however acheived.
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Old 26-09-2012, 21:32   #11
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I'm inclined to agree with delmarrey: all other things being equal, most people will probably get more out of a face-to-face classroom environment than distance learning.

I would also note that you can purchase a couple of good text books and a practice chart or two for a lot less than $225 ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jwh2ohouse
Also, is ASA a good standard?
I don't have personal experience of the ASA programme, but I haven't heard anything bad about it. I suspect that it is probably not significantly better or worse than the alternatives (the skills taught and examined are fairly generic, it's generally just a matter of what the organization chooses to emphasize).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jwh2ohouse
It seems that once you start courses on one standard you're pretty much committed to that standard.
You might be surprised. ASA, US Sailing et al. are in business, and that means attracting new students (aka customers) as well as retaining existing ones. And at the end of the day their respective standards are all unofficial and purely voluntary. I suspect that most instructors / evaluators would be prepared to grant you at least a certain amount of credit for your previous ASA qualifications, for the purpose of meeting the prerequisites of higher level courses.
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Old 26-09-2012, 21:42   #12
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Re: Experience vs Courses

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Originally Posted by Jwh2ohouse View Post
I have taken ASA 101 (Basic Keelboat Sailing) and ASA 103 (Basic Coastal Cruising), plus logged hours and hours on a J-22 along with 2-3 day trips on several boats >30'. Is another class, such as ASA 104, in order or a bareboat trip with a couple more experienced sailors? I'm not 100% sure I even need ASA 104 - I'm very handy having built home additions including plumbing and electrical and have rebuilt small engines. Seems to me now I need time on larger boats docking, mooring, and sailing under different conditions. Advice?

You can't learn it all from classes. Do you own a boat? If not, with your experience in maintenance, you would be a valuable addition on any boat. I would suggest that you crew on every kind and size of boat you can come across.

But I'm going to point out something else I've learned, and that is that experience gathered as crew is different than experience gathered skippering one's own boat. If you don't own a boat, that will skew what you learn some. If you own your own boat and sail only on it, that will skew what you learn some.

I love sailing my boat but I actively seek chances to crew on other people's boats as well.
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Old 26-09-2012, 22:15   #13
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Re: Experience vs Courses

An intermediate step between crewing and owning is chartering. That will give the experience of being in charge of a vessel. Some of the maintenance can be left to the charter company. Chartering will give you an opportunity to determine what you like / wish / need in a boat.

I have never owned a boat. I did my first sailing as crew on a race boat, then in flotilla and bare boat chartering. I continued to do some crewing on race boats, from round the buoys to offshore. As an instructor I sail other people's boats.

Learning with an instructor allows your to gain from their experience. In the end what matters is helm time. Get some between courses.
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Old 26-09-2012, 23:14   #14
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Re: Experience vs Courses

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jwh2ohouse View Post
...
Is another class, such as ASA 104, in order or a bareboat trip with a couple more experienced sailors? I'm not 100% sure I even need ASA 104
...
Seems to me now I need time on larger boats docking, mooring, and sailing under different conditions. Advice?
well, docking and mooring and sailing under various conditions for 40ish foot boats are part of the bareboat class, so if you need that as you say, the class is one way to get it.

i liked taking the bareboat class, and feel way more comfortable motoring a big boat around a harbor, docking, mooring, springing off, and a bunch of other stuff like radar usage, nav, various anchoring techniques... i highly recommend it. if nothing else, it's a few days sailing and going over skills - fun stuff.

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Old 26-09-2012, 23:21   #15
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Re: Experience vs Courses

As one who didn't have the courses.....except for navigation........I think it's an excellent idea to take all you can. But if it helps to give you perspective......you're a lot more qualified than I was when I bought my first boat (Catalina 27).

Time on the water. However you want to get it.
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