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Old 31-10-2013, 13:46   #1
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ASA versus US Sailing?

We have some sailing places here in bay area that focus on ASA certification like Spinnaker in Redwood City and others like Club Nautique and OCSC in north bay area for sailing training. Which is better certification ASA or US Sailing in terms of international recognition to charter boats overseas in the Caribbean?
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Old 31-10-2013, 14:10   #2
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Re: ASA versus US Sailing?

Any certification will do! I earned several certificates from Annapolis Sailing School, before they converted to ASA training; certifications accepted everywhere. Some charter companies may want you to demonstrate your seamanship skills with an instructor, prior to letting you sail alone on their boat. Take care!

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Old 31-10-2013, 19:31   #3
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Question, if I start with ASA can I switch to US sailing courses or would I need to start all over again? The reason why I ask this is because some places like Spinnaker uses ASA books as do few places in Florida and the Caribbean while others like OCS and Club Nautique use the US Sailing books and certifications. I live much closer to Spinnaker than up north in Berkeley/Alameda.
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Old 31-10-2013, 19:41   #4
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Re: ASA versus US Sailing?

You can test out going between US Sailing and ASA or back.

I suppose it depends on the school but I had three friends attend the ASA 101 class and I was utterly astonished how little of the book they covered. I took the US Sailing classes and found them quite good.
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Old 31-10-2013, 19:45   #5
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Re: ASA versus US Sailing?

If you live much closer to Redwood City, I would say Spinnaker is a no-brainer. I took 101, 103, and 104 there, and then spent a year as a club member, taking advantage of the free day chartering to get some experience as a skipper. That's an excellent way to get some experience that looks good on the resume.

I thought the classes were very good. One thing is that Spinnaker do 101 in two weekends. Some schools will pack it into one weekend, or 101 and 103 in week. Not what you want.

Classes are all very well, but when it really comes together is time spent as a skipper.
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Old 31-10-2013, 19:46   #6
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Re: ASA versus US Sailing?

Good to know. From what I've read online the top rated sailing clubs in the Bay Area namely OCSC and Club Nautique use the US Sailing certification books while Spinnaker uses ASA.
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Old 31-10-2013, 19:54   #7
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Re: ASA versus US Sailing?

Please note that you can challenge any ASA or US Sailing standard. This means that even if, say, 101 was a prerequisite to 103, and they wouldn't accept the US Sailing equivalent, (or vice versa) you do not have to take the whole course. You can just take the test.
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Old 31-10-2013, 19:57   #8
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Re: ASA versus US Sailing?

PS, if you're going to do any course, better do it quick before the winds die. Best time is June when the winds are strongest. They are really dropping off now. This won't make for the easiest time on the water, but it will make for the best experience.
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Old 31-10-2013, 21:33   #9
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Re: ASA versus US Sailing?

Is any credence given to USCG tonnage licenses with sail endorsement?
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Old 31-10-2013, 21:45   #10
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Re: ASA versus US Sailing?

A USCG tonnage license is way beyond ASA or US sailing, as you need sea time, about a year of it to get the lowest CG license. Though oddly enough, there is no practical test. That is there isn't even a can you dock the boat test. Though most that get the CG license are pretty experienced before hand
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Old 01-11-2013, 01:06   #11
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Re: ASA versus US Sailing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkSF View Post
Please note that you can challenge any ASA or US Sailing standard. This means that even if, say, 101 was a prerequisite to 103, and they wouldn't accept the US Sailing equivalent, (or vice versa) you do not have to take the whole course. You can just take the test.
Don't they charge somewhere around $100 to challenge a course? Could get very expensive to change horses midstream.
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Old 01-11-2013, 19:34   #12
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Don't they charge somewhere around $100 to challenge a course? Could get very expensive to change horses midstream.
Charges for an "ASA Challenge" are set by the individual school. A challenge should include both a written exam and an on the water skills evaluation. As a former ASA school owner, I know that by the time you include the ASA fees, instructor time, boat use, the costs add up for conducting a challenge. Because of that we used to charge $250 for a challenge just to cover costs. So, yes, challenging standards can get expensive...especially considering that you would have to challenge all the pre requsite classes too.

The original intent of challenging a standard was to allow students with appropriate experience to complete certifications without taking the full class. This process was established before US Sail got into the sail training business.

The crux of the issue is that ASA does not recognize US Sailing training for "cross certification". ASA does recognize training from some other entities like RYA for cross certification. Cross certification is much simpler, just filling out some forms.

So from a practical perspective, whether you choose US Sail or ASA for your initial classes realistically sets you down that path for the rest of your training.
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Old 01-11-2013, 19:54   #13
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Re: ASA versus US Sailing?

While certification is not a bad thing and I have taken a course myself, I woudlnt' put too much into it - experience and knowledge is far better. If taking a course and getting certified is the best way to get it, then it doesn't really matter which you choose.

I've got the basic keelboat certification and I've captained up to a 58' Catamaran. Experience is far more important.
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Old 05-11-2013, 16:20   #14
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Agree with Maytrix. I hold certifications but charter companies don't inquire. I include them on my resume but don't specify ASA or US Sailing. They are more interested in the experience. Sailing is the easy part compared to experience operating the boat.

Good luck
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Old 05-11-2013, 16:56   #15
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Re training versus experience, my view.

The debate of training vs experience comes up often on threads like this one with most advocating one or the other. My view (as an instructor, instructor evaluator, etc) is that training and experience are highly complementary. Training dramatically reduces your learning curve and facilitates building more experience quickly. Training also fills in the gaps many miss when just building experience on their own.

Case in point.

In my late 20's I had the chance to crew for a guy in his mid 70's on a long offshore run. He had been sailing decades longer than I had been alive. I thought, wow, what a great learning opportunity! Well, as it turned out, the old guy had done decades of mostly just yacht club round the buoys sailing and he was not even very good at that. He had almost no offhsore experience. Even at that young age, I had more sailing skills and knowledge than he because I had aggressively purused every opportunity for training, experience building, and self study that I could find. A few days of storms mid Atlantic confirmed that...he didn't even know how to heave-to.

So, my answer to this debate is "yes"...get as much of both, experience and training, as you can. Which entity you choose for the training is not as important as the quality of the schools and instructors...and following that training up with lots of experience building.
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