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Old 11-05-2016, 08:55   #1
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Newbie here, Sailing School Question

Hi everyone! Long time lurker, first time poster here.

My husband and I have recently inquired about taking a 7 day sailing course for ASA 101, 103 and 104. Two of the schools quoted us prices very similar and the third was $2000 more. The third one comes highly recommended but I'm having trouble justifying the drastic difference in cost. All three have great public reviews. How do you know which sailing school to choose? We don't want to waste our money but then again do you get what you pay for? The sailing schools are in Florida so we will also be paying for airfare.

Is it too much to do all three courses in a week? We both catch on to things very quickly and know how to pay attention
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Old 13-05-2016, 09:19   #2
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Re: Newbie here, Sailing School Question

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Originally Posted by TomAndLee View Post
Hi everyone! Long time lurker, first time poster here.

My husband and I have recently inquired about taking a 7 day sailing course for ASA 101, 103 and 104. Two of the schools quoted us prices very similar and the third was $2000 more. The third one comes highly recommended but I'm having trouble justifying the drastic difference in cost. All three have great public reviews. How do you know which sailing school to choose? We don't want to waste our money but then again do you get what you pay for? The sailing schools are in Florida so we will also be paying for airfare.

Is it too much to do all three courses in a week? We both catch on to things very quickly and know how to pay attention
Where are you located? Might be comprehensive programs closer to home.

What are your short-term objectives? Purchase your own boat or charter?

How much sailing will you do after the course?
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Old 13-05-2016, 14:20   #3
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Re: Newbie here, Sailing School Question

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Where are you located? Might be comprehensive programs closer to home.

What are your short-term objectives? Purchase your own boat or charter?

How much sailing will you do after the course?
Hi OldFrog! We are in Texas but didn't really want to take lessons in the gulf here.
We are planning on retiring on a boat and mostly sailing the Caribbean. We don't want to plan any further than that since who knows what the heck will happen. We are 3-5 years from being able to make it happen and will have to rely on chartering up until then after our lessons. We plan on taking at least 2 chartering trips of one week or longer for the next couple years. We still aren't sure if we want a mono or multi either. We just need to get out there and figure it out.

Thank you for replying! I could use all the guidance I can get but am trying to just start with the first thing on the list. Sailing lessons.
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Old 13-05-2016, 18:54   #4
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Re: Newbie here, Sailing School Question

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Thank you for replying! I could use all the guidance I can get but am trying to just start with the first thing on the list. Sailing lessons.
I'm surprised you haven't gotten more general feedback from sailors, instructors, and past students.

The comprehensive programs (101,103,104) throw an awful lot of material at the student(s) in a very short period of time. The combined texts you will study to gain the "knowledge" which you will be tested on are somewhere between 300-400 pages. Some of it is necessarily redundant but it's still a lot to learn.

Seven days and nights on a boat may be enough to meet the ASA recommended prerequisite of 80 hrs prior to taking the 104 course but it may or may not (depending on the instuctor and how many students are on the boat) give you the requisite "skills" to sail safely and proficiently.

Some instructors are advocates of the comprehensive programs; some are not. Some students claim the program adequately prepared them to immediately charter boats and sail safely while others will tell you it was too much too fast. Either way, experience is the best teacher. The more you sail, the more you learn.

My suggestion, for what it's worth, is take the course in the waters in which you will be chartering/sailing while you continue to learn how to sail. Use the money you save by not flying to Florida to charter boats in local waters closer to home while you become more proficient sailors. Once confident in your abilities locally, then go on your annual sojourns to the BVI (or wherever).

Just my 2 cents...
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Old 13-05-2016, 19:11   #5
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Re: Newbie here, Sailing School Question

First... take just the basic course.

Rent some smaller boats and get in some practice building skills.

Maybe buy a cheap 14 to 18 ft "trailer sailer" to do some weekend sailing if you find you are sticking with it. A boat the two of you can get rigged and in the water in about half an hour, sail around for a couple of hours and the haul it home.
You can find appropriate READY TO GO boats appx $1000 to $2000 (I just did)

If you don't go that far... you don't need to bother with the more advanced classes, because you aren't going to like sailing enough for sailing the Caribbean to be your retirement plan.

Mainly RENT bigger boats as you build your experience and you'll find what you like and what you don't, so you'll know what to look for when it comes time to buy something in the "Live aboard" class.
A couple of weekend outings on rented 26 to 30 ft boats will go a long way in educating yourselves as to what you are getting yourselves into with the idea of long term sailing trips.
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Old 13-05-2016, 20:49   #6
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Re: Newbie here, Sailing School Question

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I'm surprised you haven't gotten more general feedback from sailors, instructors, and past students.

The comprehensive programs (101,103,104) throw an awful lot of material at the student(s) in a very short period of time. The combined texts you will study to gain the "knowledge" which you will be tested on are somewhere between 300-400 pages. Some of it is necessarily redundant but it's still a lot to learn....:
Thank you so much! I felt it was quite a bit of info in such a short time but then I read others love the faster pace given the fact they completed all their reading and studying ahead of time.

I was a little surprised by the lack of advice but then again, I'm sure some are tired of hearing our newbie dream questions. Problem is, we are doing it. The decision has been made and we absolutely cannot wait with nothing holding us to land anyway.

I know it would be better on the checkbook to take the lessons in south Texas but there are soooo many obstacles (oil rigs) that it makes me nervous to think about it. But then again, it could make us better. We could always drive down and at least meet some people at a school or two to get a better feel.
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Old 13-05-2016, 20:57   #7
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Re: Newbie here, Sailing School Question

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I know it would be better on the checkbook to take the lessons in south Texas but there are soooo many obstacles (oil rigs) that it makes me nervous to think about it. But then again, it could make us better. We could always drive down and at least meet some people at a school or two to get a better feel.
Good thinking. Remember, you're only going 4-6 knots. The oil rigs could be a great training ground. I'm sure the instructors will want to avoid them just as much as you do!

Nice dream. Save the $$, take lessons in TX, do more sailing. What's not to like?

And welcome.
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Old 13-05-2016, 20:57   #8
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Re: Newbie here, Sailing School Question

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My husband and I have recently inquired about taking a 7 day sailing course for ASA 101, 103 and 104.
Welcome!

My 2 cents aren't worth much, but from someone who has taken a few of these courses, I highly recommend you don't lump those three...

I do recommend taking 101/103 together on an extended liveaboard 4 day trip. It's a great way to get a feel for the boat and it gives you more repetition with the basics.

If you're not able to get more sailing in after the class, (personally I think joining a local race club and signing on with a team is the fast-track to experience), then take the 101/103/104 class. It will rehash the basics, but you won't have to write the test, it gives you more time to liveaboard and practice those basics, and add to your knowledge base with the 104 component.

Key to me is liveaboard... it's a nice way to max time aboard, and many schools offer this for no additional charge. It may seem like a lot of money, but it's not as expensive as chartering and it's a small price to pay compared to buying a s/v and wreaking havoc on your vessel or another because of a lack of knowledge.

Good luck!
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Old 13-05-2016, 21:06   #9
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Re: Newbie here, Sailing School Question

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I know it would be better on the checkbook to take the lessons in south Texas but there are soooo many obstacles (oil rigs) that it makes me nervous to think about it. But then again, it could make us better. We could always drive down and at least meet some people at a school or two to get a better feel.
Sounds like a good idea.

Oil rigs don't move. How do you feel about jet skis, sailboats, power boats, tugs, trawlers, barges, tankers, etc?

Point is, safety is an important element of proficiency and you will need to be able to share the water with all sorts of "obstacles." Not sure learning how to sail exclusively in a "safe zone" helps with that.

Which is better - learning how to drive on back roads or in the city?
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Old 13-05-2016, 22:03   #10
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Re: Newbie here, Sailing School Question

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Welcome!

My 2 cents aren't worth much, but from someone who has taken a few of these courses, I highly recommend you don't lump those three...

Good luck!

Thank you so much! I never thought about taking the classes as you mentioned. Definitely something to think about.
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Old 13-05-2016, 22:08   #11
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Re: Newbie here, Sailing School Question

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Sounds like a good idea.

Oil rigs don't move. How do you feel about jet skis, sailboats, power boats, tugs, trawlers, barges, tankers, etc?

Point is, safety is an important element of proficiency and you will need to be able to share the water with all sorts of "obstacles." Not sure learning how to sail exclusively in a "safe zone" helps with that.

Which is better - learning how to drive on back roads or in the city?
For sure OldFrog! We use to be skydivers and so we are completely aware of safety. We have always said if we aren't going to be safe about it, we won't do it. I think learning down south is the way to go actually. It's driveable in a few hours so we won't feel the need to cram everything in at once. We do have a few years so taking our time to learn right sounds good to me. It's so hard when I am excited about something to slow down but that is exactly what I need to do.

I'm so glad I posted in here. Y'all have given me a few different ways to look at things.
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Old 13-05-2016, 22:45   #12
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Re: Newbie here, Sailing School Question

I can only tell you what worked for us -- we lived in Dallas and as a lark I suggested we go to clear lake and take a sailing class - the admiral laughed and said sure - we went to windward and took the first class - we liked it and then went to southwest florida yacht in port charlotte for 103/4 and then spent 3/4 days on the boat by ourselves

that was a long time ago and by taking them separate it gave us time to learn and reflect - all 3 at one time is too much -

by the way that was in dec 2000 for our first lesson - all the year later we have sailed both sides of carib, crossed the atlantic and now year 4 in the med and headed to the black sea

good luck
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Old 14-05-2016, 02:30   #13
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Re: Newbie here, Sailing School Question

My partner and I did Offshore Sailing School zero to bare boat (ASA 101,2,3,and 4) over an intensive week in Tortolla BVI. Was great but I think it depends on the instructor you get. Neil Divine was ours and he was patient and thorough. We did a private course, just Neil and the two of us so we had an intensive week.
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Old 14-05-2016, 10:49   #14
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Re: Newbie here, Sailing School Question

There are two or three sailing schools right in your backyard on Lake Travis.

Grant from NauticED is based in Austin, you have great resources right in front of you to get started...
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Old 14-05-2016, 11:25   #15
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Re: Newbie here, Sailing School Question

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For sure OldFrog! We use to be skydivers and so we are completely aware of safety.
I'm so glad I posted in here. Y'all have given me a few different ways to look at things.
I used to Sky Dive. It has some value here. When you Sky Dive you typically have about 50 seconds to save your life (much less if your main fails and you have to deploy your reserve). Boats move a lot slower so with the possible exceptions of rigging failure, hull breach, or a fire you generally have much more time to make critical decisions but those decisions need to be second nature. That comes with experience.

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