I really believe in learning as much as possible about sailing, seamanship, coastal navigation
and piloting, marine weather
, signal lights an day shapes, etc. The list never seems to end. There is so much to learn, that most of us old salts are still learning. We will never know it all. Impossible.
35 or more years ago, long before ASA came on the scene, I joined a sailing club that required you to take lessons. The instruction and instructors were excellent. The courses were organized and comprehensive.
It was no nonsense and demanding.
Basic lessons: 3 lessons total 9 hours, plus a written test.
Those lessons were on 30 foot vessels that included departing the docks
under sail, and docking
under sail. No engine
running. The attitude was that you should be able to sail a sailing vessel in most any conditions, or situation.
If you passed the written, you went in to the
3 lessons, 3 hrs each...9 hours. plus the written
then more on boat systems, attending an In depth
systems class, that included emergencies and fire fighting.
The above were in very busy Newport
Harbor, Ca., lots of traffic, and right of way rules as well as collision
30 foot check ride: 3 hrs, on board, Single
Handing. Instructor on board
grading your performance. Rig vessel, including tying in a reef, systems checks, stowing gear
, departing under sail, everything that you learned in basic , Intermediate and systems classes. Return to docks, docking under sail single
handed, handling the helm
, main sheet, and dock
Of course docking under power, bow and stern first, As well.
Advanced lessons, up to 45 foot vessels at sea.
4 each, 6 hr lessons. ( 24 hrs total ) Anchoring
methods, man overboard
at sea, reefing and sail changes ( before roller snarlers ), fog
procedures and nav by depth
soundings, before GPS
, night sailing, etc. Plus everything that you all ready had learned.
Plus passing the written.
Alas, you are not done...
Coastal Piloting and navigation
: 18 hrs class room. Pass that long written.
Then you had to work your way up from the 30 footers and increase your area of cruising, and different harbors. Build sea time.
: After so much time coastal sailing, you had to go on a Catalina
Flotilla Certification cruise
, with other vessels, and one or two instructor boats. Three days, with some rum
and jimmy buffet time ashore tossed in.
This is just a small part of the training, but you learned and became proficient or you did not qualify to take the boats out. Our fleet ranged on
up to 55 foot sailing vessels, and then we added on the motor
40 to 55 feet and you had to go thru additional power boat safety
courses, on board and class room.
Our instructors were USCG Licensed masters ( 100) tons. ( 720 days documented sea time to sit for that license
The point being, I do believe in getting professional instruction, and I know that I am in the minority . Also, I have great respect for other sailors like the experts who post on this cruisng forum. Their wealth of knowledge is amazing. As far as I am aware, there is no other forum like this.
That is a huge unforgiving mother ocean, and we all need to put as much
in our favor as possible, and never treat her with indifference.
With all of that said, it still comes down to the individual, and their
personal sailing professionalism, abilities, good sea sense, and overall good attitude.
As to the original question, you do not need to go thru an ASA
. It may get you some recognition in some of the charter companies, but you still have to fill out those resumes. And prove your ability to skipper
Fair winds and following seas.