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Old 25-10-2012, 23:13   #1
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ASA Vs "Old Salts"

What is the consensus, if any, on experienced sailors taking ASA courses? I mean, ASA was founded in the early 70s but there are still those kicking around who's sailing experience predates ASA.

I am all for always learning but am uncertain that ASA could teach me beyond recurrency. Heck I held my 1st USCG rating when ASA was still in it's infancy and certainly not widespread.

This is NOT about me per se. My point is what advantage gained from enrolling in any ASA course? Of course, this is not to be implied as a "knock" on ASA.

As for formal training, my first class was through USCG auxillary when I was in my pre-teens.
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Old 25-10-2012, 23:28   #2
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Re: ASA Vs "old salts"

I've worked as an ASA instructor and I'm always surprised at material that I thought I knew. Big differences as well in the basic "here's what a winch is" stuff versus "here's how you can judge distance off a fixed point"; there is a pretty wide spread to the curriculum.

Their 107 class teaches celestial navigation; I highly doubt a lot of "salty" folks could really tell you how longitude is related to time if you pressed them.

Nothing beats experience of course, but you can fast track that experience by learning good habits early on.

My $0.02, anyway. I'd honestly take everyone of their classes if I could. Just a time and money thing.
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Old 25-10-2012, 23:41   #3
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Re: ASA Vs "old salts"

Rebel Heart, thank you for the response. Will you please explain what you meant by "I highly doubt a lot of "salty" folks could really tell you how longitude is related to time if you pressed them."? To me, that is the basic. Mariners had been in pursuit of that for centuries hence the need for accurate chronometers. At least pick a better example of what ASA could bring to the table for experienced sailors.
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Old 25-10-2012, 23:43   #4
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Re: ASA Vs "old salts"

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Their 107 class teaches celestial navigation; I highly doubt a lot of "salty" folks could really tell you how longitude is related to time if you pressed them.

ng.
Oh come on. I don't know celestial nav at all, but everyone knows that longitude is a direct function of the difference between local noon and UTC. That part, at least, is not rocket science and I think all sailors (nearly) understand it, at least, all sailors who have ever spent much time out of sight of land.
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Old 25-10-2012, 23:48   #5
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Re: ASA Vs "old salts"

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Rebel Heart, thank you for the response. Will you please explain what you meant by "I highly doubt a lot of "salty" folks could really tell you how longitude is related to time if you pressed them."? To me, that is the basic. Mariners had been in pursuit of that for centuries hence the need for accurate chronometers. At least pick a better example of what ASA could bring to the table for experienced sailors.
Well, I guess I mean of the sailors I know there are a lot of basics missing. You see the discussions on here a lot. I know guys who don't even have compasses anymore because they just use the GPS. So whether it's the sun traveling through a degree every four minutes (if memory serves) or the pivot point of a vessel in reverse vs one going forward, there are just a lot of basics that I don't think people know about.

I took my 100 ton captain's exam which requires you to have something like 720 days of sea time. There are a couple idiots in there that were chopping fish their entire sea career but for the most part it's well qualified mariners. Even with that, we all learned a lot of stuff.

Just tons to know about the sea. Navigation, piloting, sailing, rigging, warping, anchoring, rules of the road, communications, radar, weather, celestial, etc. Hard to imagine anyone is an ace at all of them for every ship class, which is really what formal instruction is there to do: provide you with the facts and methods that you can then start building experience with.

Like if you picked up Bowditch and started reading you're not going to get more than a dozen pages in (or less) before you stumble across something you didn't know or had forgotten.
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Old 25-10-2012, 23:50   #6
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Re: ASA Vs "old salts"

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Oh come on. I don't know celestial nav at all, but everyone knows that longitude is a direct function of the difference between local noon and UTC. That part, at least, is not rocket science and I think all sailors (nearly) understand it, at least, all sailors who have ever spent much time out of sight of land.
I wish you were right man. I think maybe two guys in my 100 ton class knew that. A few of them had never even touched a paper chart before.
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Old 26-10-2012, 00:05   #7
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Re: ASA Vs "old salts"

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II'd honestly take everyone of their classes if I could. Just a time and money thing.
I have toyed with that idea. But I wonder what value is it for me to take their classes. Would I be rolling my eyes as the instructor "taught" me this or that? As I have said, I am all for learning, I place high value on knowledge and to gain that knowledge is a wonderful thing. But what is ASA really going to teach me? This doesn't mean I am adverse to ASA nor recurrent training. But I do want to see value for the trade of my money for their instruction.

I am not a "GPS sailor" although I understand it's another useful tool. What can ASA bring to me? What value in return for my money beyond recurrent training in a controlled environment?
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Old 26-10-2012, 00:16   #8
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Re: ASA Vs "old salts"

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Originally Posted by Richard5 View Post
What is the consensus, if any, on experienced sailors taking ASA courses? I mean, ASA was founded in the early 70s but there are still those kicking around who's sailing experience predates ASA.

I am all for always learning but am uncertain that ASA could teach me beyond recurrency. Heck I held my 1st USCG rating when ASA was still in it's infancy and certainly not widespread.

This is NOT about me per se. My point is what advantage gained from enrolling in any ASA course? Of course, this is not to be implied as a "knock" on ASA.

As for formal training, my first class was through USCG auxillary when I was in my pre-teens.
Based on your posts I don't think ASA can teach you anything.

Why are you asking?

I have taken basic sailing courses - One has to go in with an attitude that the instructor is proficient. If one goes in with an attitude that the instructor, who doesn't have as much salt in their veins, can't teach them, then no learning is possible.

I have sat through lectures in my field of work and in 4 hours picked up only one thing new or innovative - Good news! I picked up something new or innovative!
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Old 26-10-2012, 00:47   #9
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Re: ASA Vs "old salts"

Ex-Calif, I admit I am somewhat jaded. When it's my money on the table I demand value. Yes, that value is commensurate to what I think it's worth. My time is free but by God I best walk out with more than one new thing. I appreciate learning one new thing but that would be a high price to pay. Is it worth it? is what it boils down to.

Recently I sent my girl to an ASA101 course. I read the online course description, she talked to the instructor before enrolling. Even for this inexperienced student it was a waste of time. It was an intro boat ride for $175. I didn't say a word but let her speak, she was very dismayed with the whole shebang. Even I was taken in by the course description. I did call the school to ask after a course syallbus to which none of the two persons professed any knowledge thereof.

Yes I am jaded. My reason for asking is because I still entertain the idea that ASA could impart new knowledge to me. As I have said, I am all for gaining knowledge. I hardly ever think I know enough about anything and welcome new ideas.
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Old 26-10-2012, 00:56   #10
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Re: ASA Vs "old salts"

I agree with Ex-Calif; it is the prospective student's attitude which is the metric. Without being defensive I recognize I may have that attitude which is not conducive to learning. Yet in the acknowledgement is begat the desire to make the corrective action, ie, to check one's attitude. In my endeavors I have found even the wet-behind-the-ears instructor has something of value to impart to the student. And rather than make them work for their pay, it is best to partner with the instructor even if one thinks them "unworthy". It is afterall about respect.
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Old 26-10-2012, 01:28   #11
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Re: ASA Vs "old salts"

Richard

I seems to me that you would need to look pretty hard at yourself and what areas of sailing you think you might need brushing up in (you as in universal "you"). I am a Yachtmaster Ocean and have sailed for a number of years. One of my duties at the moment is to plan/write/teach sailing courses for our members. I'm constantly amazed at how many things I "know" but then have to look up. This is true for almost everyone.

An example would be celestial navigation. Yes I "know" how to do this. Yes I even practice on occasion, but when I had to write the damn course, I was back reading my textbooks and anything else I could get hold of. Why? Well, I just don't practice enough for it to be second nature.

I've just had a thread here entitled "Docking in Heavy Weather". I really needed advice on how to dock the damn boat in gale force winds (well cross winds between poles at any rate). Again, because I just don't do it enough to have a firm technique.

This would the same for everyone. I know a lot of "old salts" that would benefit by taking some classes. But they won't because they don't need that knowledge at the moment
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Old 26-10-2012, 02:05   #12
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Re: ASA Vs "old salts"

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Richard

I seems to me that you would need to look pretty hard at yourself and what areas of sailing you think you might need brushing up in (you as in universal "you"). I am a Yachtmaster Ocean and have sailed for a number of years. One of my duties at the moment is to plan/write/teach sailing courses for our members. I'm constantly amazed at how many things I "know" but then have to look up. This is true for almost everyone.

An example would be celestial navigation. Yes I "know" how to do this. Yes I even practice on occasion, but when I had to write the damn course, I was back reading my textbooks and anything else I could get hold of. Why? Well, I just don't practice enough for it to be second nature.

I've just had a thread here entitled "Docking in Heavy Weather". I really needed advice on how to dock the damn boat in gale force winds (well cross winds between poles at any rate). Again, because I just don't do it enough to have a firm technique.

This would the same for everyone. I know a lot of "old salts" that would benefit by taking some classes. But they won't because they don't need that knowledge at the moment
Aristotle said that the beginning of wisdom is when you start to grasp how little you know . . .
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Old 26-10-2012, 02:19   #13
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Re: ASA Vs "Old Salts"

Dockhead

BAsed on that I should be sitting in a white robe at a cave mouth dispensing wisdom. I would also have solved all the worlds problems LOL

I'm damn sure I know almost nothing. And if you doubt that statement - just ask my wife - she'll confirm it LOL
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Old 26-10-2012, 02:40   #14
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Re: ASA Vs "Old Salts"

probably a better anology would be how many experianced car drivers with 15 or more years driving,could pass a written and practical european driving test!

i know i couldn't without putting in some serious study,and getting rid of some bad habits.

by the same token my insurance is 1/8th of what a new drivers would be,so experiance must count for something,even if technically we shouldn't be on the road!
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Old 26-10-2012, 03:13   #15
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Re: ASA Vs "old salts"

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Aristotle said that the beginning of wisdom is when you start to grasp how little you know . . .
Aristotle also said, We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is a process not an event.

Carsten, I still have college text books. They are dead weight unless referred to from time to time. And I do read them. As a voracious reader and sponge of knowledge I read even my Boy Scout and Sea Sout handbooks. I agree with you that no matter the level of expertise it is good to revisit even the basics. This is my interpretation of the above quote from Aristotle.

I am yet undecided if ASA will help me to that end. I'd rather answer that question before the expenditure of several thousand clams.

I should add that one reason I am thinking of ASA is because next year I will be buying my next boat. My USCG certs are expired and I am thinking of how to lower the premiums for insurance beyond basic hull.

Gents, thank you for your replies.
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