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Old 15-06-2007, 08:32   #1
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Sailing Lessons in Maryland, what school???

Sorry I posted this in another topic area previously but I just found this topic and it is probably more appropriate.

Hi I am new to the forum and not sure if this is exactly the right place to post this.
I am interested in doing some live aboard sailing/cruising lessons over about 5-7 days. About 6 years ago I took the basic small boat weekend class and then a five day/night class on a 37' O'day with Annapolis Sailing School. I never recieved any certifications though.
Since my time on the water has been very limited since then, I would like to take another course, like I mentioned above, live aboard, and about 5-7 days/nights.
I was looking into using Annapolis Sailing School again but also found information on Upper Bay Sailing School in Worton, MD and MD School of Sailing and Seamanship.
Do you have any comments good or bad about these schools or any other recommendations or advice? I live in Warrenton, VA.

thanks for your help,
jon
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Old 15-06-2007, 10:02   #2
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You'll find US Sailing and American Sailing Assoc. affiliated schools offer a certification program that are very similar. The good part is the instructors are certified by the association. Either program would be a good choice as they really are very similar. These certifications are internationally recognized and is the mostly widely offered here in the US.

My best advice is try to meet the instructor that would teach the class. In the end the name of the school means very little and it's the instructor that you'll learn from.

Annapolis Sailing School is considered quite good as well as J World. The Virginia School of Sailing in Deltaville, VA was an ASA school we did check out when we first moved here and I thought they had a nice program. The sailing out of Deltaville would be better than the northern bay and might be a bit closer depending how you like to travel. It's just a nice drive down Hwy 17 from Fredricksburg to Hwy 33.

You can often see advertisements that say you can take the three ASA or US Sailing classes to be bareboat certified in a 5 day course. It's not easy to do that if you have not sailed much before and if you don't go to the class with all the written materials completly understood. It's offered as a liveaboard class in many schools and that is a great way to take it. I think it's best to complete the first course and do some basic sailing first then try the last two courses as a liveaboard course.
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Old 15-06-2007, 11:46   #3
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Paul thank you for your reply and advice.

I guess my goal is to try and do the longest class possible and learn the most while I do it. The certifications are nice but not the main goal for me. I don't have access to a sailboat so I want to maximize my time on the water and experience with this initial course if that makes sense.

I have retained some of the knowledge from my previous courses and been hitting the text books pretty hard as well.I am hoping once I get some good current education and experience down I can charter/rent some boats and practice skills then.

I tried to do a search for the The Virginia School of Sailing, Deltaville, VA (804) 674-6500 www.sail-school.com. There phone number is disconnected and there website leads to nothing. Is there a chance they changed there name or are no longer around?

Thanks again for your help,
jon
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Old 15-06-2007, 11:51   #4
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I met a boat full of MD School of Seamanship students and their instructor when I was in Bermudalast year. The students seemed pleased with what they were learning. I was impressed with the instructor. I have heard good things about that program since.
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Old 15-06-2007, 12:04   #5
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Thank you Auspicious for the information.
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Old 15-06-2007, 15:23   #6
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Quote:
I tried to do a search for the The Virginia School of Sailing, Deltaville, VA (804) 674-6500 www.sail-school.com. There phone number is disconnected and there website leads to nothing. Is there a chance they changed there name or are no longer around?
I noticed that Norton Yacht Sales in Deltaville now has an ASA program they didn't used to have so it my have been made part of them. If they have the same instructors then it would be a good course. The courses out Annapolis are all very good too. It's the instructors that you want not the sponsor. I don't have a list of names however unles you want to do a one week in San Diego as I do have a name for that. It's cheaper than a hotel room for a week would would be!

The Upper Bay courses that are a 3 day liveaboard to Norfolk are both advanced ASA courses. A course like that isn't really what you want because you won't really be doing much. You'll head out in the morning and sail down the bay all day and you won't be practicing the types of things that you would need to master. You would mostly be holding the wheel. It's a fun trip with the right wind though and the fun asspect would be nice. The BVI trips may be more what you want. Most of the BVI courses include more short hops so you have time to practice a lot of the skills you need to master in the ASA 101 and 103 courses. Similarly with the US Sail program. The 3rd course can be combined with the second because it's mostly operations of all the boat systems and equipment. Most of that you can learn on an actual trip better than anything but much can be done at anchor or at a dock too. The first 2 courses are really mostly about making sails work and performing emergency procedures and knowing rules of the road. It's the guts to sailing a boat.

Mostly you want a course that is as hands for you as you can. I would be leary of classes bigger than 4 students per instructor. It's nice to watch others make mistakes and you learn a lot from theirs as well as your own but you really need to perform a lot of tacks, jibs and learn to trim sails as well operate all the equipment aboard. learning to work with a crew or as a crew too.

When my wife and I did the ASA 101 corse we took at at a local lake and it met twice per week for 6 weeks with the last night being the exam. With 4 in the boat and an instructor you had the time to do all the tasks many times and had the instructor to give feedback the whole time. We thejn spent the whole summer sailing similar boats at the same location and then the next season we did the next two ASA courses as a one week live aboard. I think we found we learned enough to be able to then get our own boat and go out on our own and not be worried.

I think if you just want to take a sailing vacation and just be on a boat there are vacation options that can do it better than taking a class. You can still learn a lot but the goal of completing a set of requirements is gone and you cam do as much or as little work as you like. Places down in the BVI's can be set up to do that really well. A small group can do a crewed charter for a reasonable cost and you can go some place where the sailing is just flat out wonderful. The Chesapeake season is almost over for the early sailing season and won't get good again until after Labor Day. Just about 3 weeks left with next week looking great. August isn't great for a whole week.
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Old 15-06-2007, 16:01   #7
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Paul thak you again for your help and insight. I will check out Norton Yacht Sales and see if they are it.

I am thinking through what you have said about course type and will conisder that advice when trying to figure out what to do.

Forgive my ignorance but when you say August isn't good for a week what did you mean? I am assuming you meant the wind and weather isn't conducive to sailing school for a week on the chesepeake??? But you know what they say about assuming

Thanks again Paul,
Jon
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Old 15-06-2007, 16:11   #8
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Late July through August is usually quite hot with sporatic winds. You can get a nice day or two but usually not a whole week unless luck is really with you. Spring and Fall are always cooler with more reliable winds. September through October and early November here at the south end are really nice because the water is still warm. Spring has great winds too but the colder water makes it a bit more chilly. Dressing appropraite can solve the temperatures but nothing can make wind.
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Old 15-06-2007, 20:02   #9
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Well Paul, now you have really turned things upside down for me I was planning to take whatever class I decided on at the end of July

Well I guess I will go back to the drawing board as far as which class to take and when to take it. Seems like most of the schools only offer classes May-Sept, so maybe September will be it.

Thanks again for your time on this, its been very imformative.

thanks,
jon
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Old 18-06-2007, 15:30   #10
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Jon ... If the course certificate isn't important to you, and you are looking for ON THE WATER experience, why not go to one of your local yacht clubs or sailing clubs and volunteer as crew. Just be honest with your potential skipper and they will be more than happy with an enthusiastic person who can follow instructions. I can't think of a quicker or less expensive method of cramming in sailing experience. The only thing you might miss out on (right away) would be anchoring. Get to know some of the folk, and you'll find yourself invited to 'help' deliver a boat, or maybe crew a cruise or partial cruise.
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Old 18-06-2007, 19:51   #11
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S/v Elusive thank you for that advice. I think this is exactly what I will do along with also taking some basic classes.
Living somewhat close to Annapolis( about 2 hours) and the same distance from other parts of the Chesepeake it would seem I have no one but myself to blame if I can't find some boats to crew on.
Thanks again for the advice.

Jon
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