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Old 07-06-2009, 06:47   #1
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Best ASA Course for Novice?

I'm interested in taking the ASA sailing course from Blue Water out of Ft. Lauderdale to St. Thomas for the combo 101, 103,104 ASA certification.
I 'm an inexperienced novice (sunflish sailing only), and am concerned about rough open sea sailing vs intracoastal waterway sailing. How is the sail for this course? Any advise or comments?
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Sybil
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Old 14-06-2009, 06:44   #2
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After looking at all the sailing schools we decided on Off-shore.

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Old 14-06-2009, 08:15   #3
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We just did the trip for the second time...we motored 90% of the way. The first time I did it it we motored 60% of the way.

Read the book the 'Thornless Path'. It is a miserable trip unless you have 3 months to pick weather windows. Do it from the Islands back or don't do it. The seas are not bad its just that it is all hard on the wind or dead into the wind. Of the 40,000 offshore miles I have sailed the 1000 miles, Miami to St Thomas were the least pleasant

At your level you would be better doing sevaral smaller trips. If a sailing school tells you it is a good learning trip for beginers then they are being unethical.

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Old 14-06-2009, 10:01   #4
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Originally Posted by Sybil View Post
I'm interested in taking the ASA sailing course from Blue Water out of Ft. Lauderdale to St. Thomas for the combo 101, 103,104 ASA certification.

I 'm an inexperienced novice (sunflish sailing only), and am concerned about rough open sea sailing vs intracoastal waterway sailing. How is the sail for this course? Any advise or comments?
Thanks,
Sybil
Traditionally, members have avoided naming a specific school. When you think about this, it makes sense as most people only have experience with one or two schools so they really have nothing to compare to.

But, with that in mind, let me offer a couple of thoughts on sailing schools. For most schools you're going to be sailing in protected or semi-protected waters. Read that as: You will stay close-ish to shore on the way down to the Keys with possibly a quick jaunt out into gulf from Miami to Ft Lauderdale in order to shorten the trip and give you a taste of what it's like further out. Now, here is the question: will that really make you more confident? I would say no.

Don’t conclude, though, that I think it’s a bad idea to take lessons. I actually think it’s quite a good idea. But as I see it, the purpose of the schools is to first keep you from being a danger to yourself, others and the boat. Hence, most of the classes are on navigation & chart reading, rules of the road & how to dock. Radio, knots and MOB drills, & ships systems are covered somewhat but the skills are (except knots) either perishable or subject to change (a vacuflush is not like a composter is not like a port-a-jon is not like a MSD). With heaving to, tacks and jibes it’s more like familiarization. You might guess that would be a huge deal but when you pause to think, what you didn’t have good weather? Should that stop you from the certification? And, if you were just starting off and had never been on a boat, how fluent do you think you could get in a few days or a week?
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Old 14-06-2009, 10:04   #5
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I did a 10-day set of ASA courses this past March/April on a 50-foot ketch in the US & BVI's rather than on a blue water cruise to or from the Caribbean. Like you, I am likely to be doing a lot more coastal cruising than open water sailing. In addition to 101/103/104, I also did 105 (coastal navigation).

I was about at your level of experience, as well, and this way of doing things worked out perfectly for me.

If you'd like to investigate this option, let me know and I'd be happy to pass along a recommendation.
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Old 15-06-2009, 11:05   #6
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I had never sailed at all last year when I took ASA101/103/104 and then joined a local sailing club and sailed on their breakup Cal 33s. The goal is just to learn the basics and how to be safe and then start doing things that are a little more challenging. Now after 1 year of experience I have a Cal 39 and feel fully capable. I would say that you need to continue your sailing knowledge education after the lessons with books etc to be really to deal with all the stuff that happens (normally seems bigger when they happen that they really are).
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Old 16-06-2009, 06:03   #7
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Thanks for the reply. We have joined a local sailing club and have decided to take the ASA 101/103 course out of St Augustine because of convenience to our home.
I appreciate the input! We hope to pursue sailing as much as work-time allows!
Sybil
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Old 16-06-2009, 06:09   #8
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We have joined a local sailing club and have decided to take the ASA 101/103 course out of St Augustine because of convenience to our home.
We did the same thing (not in FL) when we started. Being able to sail as much as you want at a moments notice is the best way to learn. You need to practice and a club means you don't have to deal with owning a boat just yet. It was the cheapest sailing season we ever had and we learned a whole lot doing it. Enjoy yourselves and sail all you can!
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Old 16-06-2009, 06:27   #9
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Thanks for the reply. Are you familiar with St. Augustine Sailing Enterprises where we will take ASA 101/103? What arr the sailing conditions like in St Augustine?
Thanks,
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