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Old 20-11-2012, 16:43   #16
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Re: How best to grow as a sailor

Many opinions here.
My recommendation is always to at least start with a basic sailing class. Once you've gotten the safety aspects and sail handling learned then all else falls in a little easier. After that experience you can determine if you'd like to continue classes or read about it then practice on your own vessel.
Sailing clubs are always lots of fun but more social than learning experience unless they offer inexpensive courses.
Good luck on whatever approach you consider.
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Old 20-11-2012, 16:50   #17
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Re: How best to grow as a sailor

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Education + Experience = Good Foundation.

I've been an ASA Instructor since 1994 and here are my suggestions:

Take 1 or 2 classes at a time and then build experience based upon those classes until the skills become second hand to you. Then, sign up for the next class. I think the curriculum of ASA 101-103-104-105+106 provides you with very good training foundation. But, it is more effective if you build experience between each class.

Also, consider incorporating training into your first couple of charters. This is a great way to learn, enjoy a charter, and build experience all at the same time. Also, you will have an instructor/captain aboard to coach you through your charter. This is one of my favorite ways to teach, because it does not have the time management pressure of a group class and you can incorporate the training easily into a normal charter routine. This works particularly well for classes like 104 and 106.

Choose your School/Instructor carefully. Unfortunately, they are not all the same (although ASA has made much progress in recent years).

The advantage of formal training is that it will dramatically shorten your learning curve and it fills in gaps that you might miss with just experience building alone.

And, there are lots of great ways to build experience: volunteer to crew (both racing and cruising), read everything you can get your hands-on, join a sailing club, buy a small boat....

Finally, even after you have completed all of the above, keep pushing the envelope. The knowledge domain of sailing is huge -- there is ALWAYS more to learn.
Totally agree that the ASA progam is a good one. Have used several ASA crew for my deliveries and even got one crew certified on ASA 106 from Cabo to LA This April. Sail Sail Sail on as many different boat types as you can. Smaller the better at first. Some of the best adult sailors were once dinghy sailors! ... Cheers!
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Old 20-11-2012, 16:56   #18
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Re: How best to grow as a sailor

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Hi all. What is the best way to grow as a sailor and learn enough to be able to do bare boat charters? I've got a 5 year plan to save up and buy a cruising catamaran (or maybe a mono) for the family and I to sail around Florida and the Bahamas in the summers between school. I have been looking at ASA sailing schools and wondering if they are worth the cost to learn to sail. I've got some sailing experience, I took a sailing trip with a friend in college and I'm confident I could get sails up and hold a proper heading as well as do some basic navigation but I am not confident in my ability to handle large sees or bad weather should the need arise. I'm a pretty quick study and a real hands on type but really don't have any connections to the world of sailing anymore which is why the ASA schools are so appealing. So what is the best way to learn? Schools? Hang out at the docks and volunteer to crew?

Tom
Try to get aboard a delivery or two. Flight and food paid. Shorter at first then multi overnight boat moves. 24/7 schooling! I met one crew from Seattle here on CF and he will join the crew of 4 of a 90' Fife design Gaff Cutter. S/Y Bloodhound, Puerto Vallarta to Marina Del Rey begining December. If you would like to try that sometime, email me earthakat at msn dot com. I will send my c/v and references. Plus when we get home look for Seattle guy to post a good or bad review...just sayin'...
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Old 20-11-2012, 20:15   #19
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Re: How best to grow as a sailor

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Originally Posted by Tscott8201 View Post
Hi all. What is the best way to grow as a sailor and learn enough to be able to do bare boat charters? I've got a 5 year plan to save up and buy a cruising catamaran (or maybe a mono) for the family and I to sail around Florida and the Bahamas in the summers between school. I have been looking at ASA sailing schools and wondering if they are worth the cost to learn to sail. I've got some sailing experience, I took a sailing trip with a friend in college and I'm confident I could get sails up and hold a proper heading as well as do some basic navigation but I am not confident in my ability to handle large sees or bad weather should the need arise. I'm a pretty quick study and a real hands on type but really don't have any connections to the world of sailing anymore which is why the ASA schools are so appealing. So what is the best way to learn? Schools? Hang out at the docks and volunteer to crew?

Tom
ASA is more expensive than some other methods of learning, but it also is more comprehensive. You can start with 101, then make the decision yourself whether the other classes are worth the investment - and you don't need to take them all in a row. You can take a class here and there as your interests and experiences grow.

ASA classes are also available in a huge variety of forums, from permanent land classrooms to liveaboard charters. I did the latter. Though costly, it was a great way to learn from experienced liveaboards as well as skilled sailors, and a great way to experience a type of boat in a specific environment.

Though I felt my charter/class was expensive, I probably saved the cost of that class purely from the "don't do's" that I learned
- Don't buy a monohull (my partner hated it, and I hated it the deep draft)
- Don't get behind the tides when you need to get to a port with a shallow channel
- Don't try to use a kayak as a dinghy (not for regular use, anyway)
- Don't go to sea without Midol and Tampons
- Don't get in a hurry, especially while docking, anchoring, etc
- Don't let little things go

If I look at it that way, the actual education was darned close to free! Oh, plus I learned a bit about operating a charter.
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Old 21-11-2012, 03:05   #20
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Re: How best to grow as a sailor

Crew on deliveries to the sort of places on the types of boat you currently anticipate acquiring down the line.

You will either be encouraged or discouraged, but you'll learn, stand watches, get your sea legs and understand why tethers are your friends.
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Old 21-11-2012, 04:49   #21
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Re: How best to grow as a sailor

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tscott8201 View Post
Hi all. What is the best way to grow as a sailor and learn enough to be able to do bare boat charters? I've got a 5 year plan to save up and buy a cruising catamaran (or maybe a mono) for the family and I to sail around Florida and the Bahamas in the summers between school. I have been looking at ASA sailing schools and wondering if they are worth the cost to learn to sail. I've got some sailing experience, I took a sailing trip with a friend in college and I'm confident I could get sails up and hold a proper heading as well as do some basic navigation but I am not confident in my ability to handle large sees or bad weather should the need arise. I'm a pretty quick study and a real hands on type but really don't have any connections to the world of sailing anymore which is why the ASA schools are so appealing. So what is the best way to learn? Schools? Hang out at the docks and volunteer to crew?

Tom
Race on OPBs (other peoples boats). There is a mass of things to learn and you will never stop. Racing is a great way to hone your skills quickly. Even if its just twilight racing, you will learn a lot. The larger the variety of boats you can sail on the better.
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Old 21-11-2012, 05:49   #22
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Re: How best to grow as a sailor

Small inexpensive boats are cluttering yards and garages everywhere; get one that is ready to go and get out on a relatively protected body of water every chance you get.
Read, and try out all that you do. Much can be learned about the water while simply "messing about".Push the envelope somewhat and learn from your mistakes.When you have learned to control your craft, racing is a fine way to learn quickly .Any club will be full of members willing to give advice to a new bee,some actually know (and practice) what they are talking about.
Try to get a boat that is common for your area, that way there will be others in which you can easily bond and pick their brains.
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Old 21-11-2012, 11:59   #23
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Re: How best to grow as a sailor

Formal classes are required for bareboat chartering?

Others here can clear this up but I don't think chartering businesses will let folks without some sort of sailing instruction background do a bareboat charter. Or, does a chartering company just give a test?

kind regards,
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Old 21-11-2012, 15:12   #24
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Re: How best to grow as a sailor

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Originally Posted by SkiprJohn View Post
Formal classes are required for bareboat chartering?

Others here can clear this up but I don't think chartering businesses will let folks without some sort of sailing instruction background do a bareboat charter. Or, does a chartering company just give a test?

kind regards,
No classes required the times I chartered, about 35 years ago in FL, 25 years ago in the VI and again in FL about 15 years ago when I was cleared to take the boat to the Bahamas. Never had a formal class in my life.

The first charter in FL I was approved based on an interview by the charter company. Same in the VI. The last time we chartered a Hunter in FL they sent me about a ten page test to complete and send back. It had questions on weather, navigation, boat handling, etc.

Can't say if requirements are differen other places. From reports I've read about charter crews in the Med I think they might hand out boats to anyone that is qualified to right a check.
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Old 21-11-2012, 16:06   #25
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Re: How best to grow as a sailor

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Originally Posted by SkiprJohn View Post
Formal classes are required for bareboat chartering?

Others here can clear this up but I don't think chartering businesses will let folks without some sort of sailing instruction background do a bareboat charter. Or, does a chartering company just give a test?

kind regards,
Been in the Charter industry in one form or another for many years.

Whether to charter a boat to an individual is TOTALLY the call of the charter company. No training, licensing, experience, test, check out, or anything is legally required in most popular Caribbean venues.

Also, it is not the charter company's boat, they are managing the boat for a private owner...who is far far away. The charter company's motivation is to book charter revenue. As a result, charter companies can, and do, charter boats to people who are very much not qualified. Just watch the circus at any popular charter venue and you will see plenty of people operating (or attempting to operate) boats who should not be.

In all fairness, some charter companies/venues are better than others and are more stringent, but I have seen plenty of totally clueless, and skill-less, people aboard bareboat charter vessels.
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Old 21-11-2012, 16:38   #26
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Re: How best to grow as a sailor

Capt Jeff has some good suggestions... let me add mine from a few decades at sea. Get a job aboard a commercial vessel that works all year long, good weather, bad weather, scary shitless weather and sea conditions for a few years then decide if that is the life for you. I took seamanship courses to get a better berth back in the 60's and 70's but quit after attaining a 100 ton license because who wants to drive more than 100 tons.
Once the sea is in your blood, you will stay with her through thick and thin... she is a tough mistress to live with but better the devil you know that that you don't. Cities scare me, ocean and wilderness not so much. Good character builder and you meet a higher quality of folks aboard than you do ashore.
Now retired after nearly 60 years on the water and feel my life has been richer for being out there than hiding in some cold water flat shoreside. I heard that 84% of folks now live in urban areas... ever seen rats in a cage? I have in Singapore and watched them eventually eat each other... not my kind of life. i now live in rural Nevada with my cats and my guns and am quite content.
The best way to grow as a sailor is to commit to the life and don't be deterred... stay with it even when it gets rough. You won't be sorry. Phil
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Old 21-11-2012, 17:08   #27
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Re: How best to grow as a sailor

I don't know much about ASA or charters but the best way to learn sail or prepare yourself for sailing is to go sailing. Get a small boat if you dont have one and go sailing. I learned on a small Oday daysailor and it has made the move up to my Alberg easy. Things happen slower on larger boats, although with more force. Because I know what to expect I can plan and time most events. Good luck in your adventure!
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