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Old 06-04-2014, 10:13   #1
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Learning from "ground zero"

I hope this is the right forum to put this on....

I guess I'm looking for some moral support more than anything.

I have no sailing experience. So, I'm learning to sail at ground zero. I'm 47, (and, btw.. it took me a minute to remember exactly how old I am!)

My husband and I are in the same place, neither of us have sailed and we both are very excited about learning. We do have some classes scheduled. We have an intro to sailing class next month.. then we are doing a week long "live-a-board" class to get our 101,103,104,114 certifications. That will be in September.

All sounds good, right? Well.. here's the problem. I'm really struggling with the book work. I have 4 ASA manuals to get through, I've been working on them on and off for a few months, and I'm not even through the first book. I read.. study it... give it a week or two to settle in... go back and re read.. then try to take a quiz on the materials.. BOMB! go back, and reread. I'm not a stupid person... but this is really a struggle to learn.

As many say... it's like learning a whole new language. I'm starting to worry that I won't learn everything I need to for our week long class...

How did you all learn to sail? am I going about learning to sail the wrong way? can you give me some advice?
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Old 06-04-2014, 10:28   #2
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Re: Learning from "ground zero"

And like learning a new language, a lot more of it will make sense once you put it into context.

The things you need to memorize are the vocabulary and the rules of the road. Even those will make more sense with practice, but you will do yourselves a world of wonder by focusing on those two things, for now.

Here is a site you might find useful: Learn to Sail Vacations | West Coast Sailing in San Diego
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Old 06-04-2014, 10:51   #3
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Re: Learning from "ground zero"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Greenhand View Post

Here is a site you might find useful: Learn to Sail Vacations | West Coast Sailing in San Diego
AHHHH... a glossary!! Thank you!

btw.. regarding the 'rules of the road'. my ASA book only delves into a handful of them. is there an official "rule book"?
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Old 06-04-2014, 10:53   #4
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Re: Learning from "ground zero"

Welcome

I applaud your decision to study the books well in advance of the on-board course. There will be too much to learn on the boat to have to worry about memorizing the texts at night in order to pass the subsequent written exams.

If you have been studying as much as you say, you may know more than you think. Take this simple ASA online e course and see how you do. The written exams are certainly more comprehensive but this little course might help build you confidence:

Online Sailing Course - Your First Sail from American Sailing Association

Personally I studied very, very hard for all the certification exams but after taking the exams would say I studied for harder exams than what they were. You only need 80% to pass but you still need 80%.

If you were given an ASA log book as part of your study materials, it contains all the questions you will need to be able to answer for the written exams in the Sailing Knowledge sections for each certification level. If you weren't given a log book then I suggest you order one from ASA and use it as a study guide. If you can answer all the questions in the Knowledge Sections you will do fine; actually you will do excellent! Remember you only need 80% to pass. Relax....

Good luck and happy sailing.
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Old 06-04-2014, 11:19   #5
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Re: Learning from "ground zero"

scarlet -- well it does not say where you are from -- but we started in year 2000 at age 55 and 53 with our 1st sailing lesson -- and yes it is a new language --
HOWEVER -- i think you are biting off a bit more than you can absorb in taking all the courses at one time -- there is a lot of information and after awhile it just gets overwhelming and you will just not get it -- overload simple overload
if you can do 101 then wait a month or so and take the rest it will begin to make sense

we had never been on a sailboat until we took 101 in dec 2000 then in march 2001 did the others and it worked -- we grasped what was trying to be taught to us and had a basis of understanding for the 103 and beyond classes

as info we took the 103 and beyond course in march 2001 chartered a couple of times bought our first and only boat - a new jeanneau ds40 in 2003 -- learned to sail in biscayne bay and in 2007 got rid of our dirt and cut the dock lines and have been out ever since -- east coast of the usa and all the bahamas twice, mexico to colombia to jamaica to trinidad to antigua to azores to portugal and now in tunisia --

good luck but try and break up the courses a bit - you will learn a lot more
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Old 06-04-2014, 13:56   #6
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Re: Learning from "ground zero"

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldFrog75 View Post

Online Sailing Course - Your First Sail from American Sailing Association

Personally I studied very, very hard for all the certification exams but after taking the exams would say I studied for harder exams than what they were. You only need 80% to pass but you still need 80%.

If you were given an ASA log book as part of your study materials, it contains all the questions you will need to be able to answer for the written exams in the Sailing Knowledge sections for each certification level. If you weren't given a log book then I suggest you order one from ASA and use it as a study guide. If you can answer all the questions in the Knowledge Sections you will do fine; actually you will do excellent! Remember you only need 80% to pass. Relax....

Good luck and happy sailing.
Thanks for the heads up about the quiz.. I went out and took it and actually did really well. as for the logbook. I'm a bit confused.... I didn't find one on the ASA site.. but I was able to find some on Amazon.. But it didn't look like it was a knowledge book.. it was literally a "log book" to record your sails... Am I missing something?
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Old 06-04-2014, 14:00   #7
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Re: Learning from "ground zero"

Chuckr, we are from St. Louis. we are kind of "land locked" here. there are a couple "sailing lakes".. but they are both about 100 miles away... so.. not really convenient. Our sailing experience is mostly going to come from chartering...

btw.. I'm very impressed. You all have done really well. I wish we could retire when my husband turns 55... But, he's got to wait out his Air Force Medical insurance plan... We won't be able to take off.. till he is 60 . But that gives us plenty of time to learn...
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Old 06-04-2014, 14:22   #8
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Re: Learning from "ground zero"

Quote:
Originally Posted by scarlet View Post
Thanks for the heads up about the quiz.. I went out and took it and actually did really well. as for the logbook. I'm a bit confused.... I didn't find one on the ASA site.. but I was able to find some on Amazon.. But it didn't look like it was a knowledge book.. it was literally a "log book" to record your sails... Am I missing something?
There is an ASA "Official Certification Log Book" where you put your certification stickers after passing the various course levels and your instructor signs and dates that you passed. I was given one by the school along with my study texts when I signed up for classes. I don't see it on the ASA website for some reason but if you call ASA I think they will probably send you one, unless you have to become a member of ASA first in which case they will send you one after you join.

In the interim you can go to this web page and select the appropriate highlighted course standard (eg ASA 101 Basic Keel Boat) and it will take you to the appropriate study guide:

Advanced Sail Training Courses - Endorsements from American Sailing Association

The Knowledge sections are what you need to learn to pass the written exams. The Skills sections are what your instructor(s) sign off on.

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Old 06-04-2014, 14:39   #9
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Re: Learning from "ground zero"

I'm with Chuckr, It sounds a bit as though you are trying to learn to run before you know how to walk. (Or trying to learn algebra before you know your 3 times table).

A lot of the later material will only make sense once you have absorbed the earlier information and have put it in context through practical experience.
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Old 06-04-2014, 14:51   #10
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Re: Learning from "ground zero"

Don't get discouraged. And remember that the courses are for your knowledge - not because someone is going to ask you later - which courses have you taken and passed - let me see the prof!

I've had 1 formal course. I'm almost 40 and have been sailing since I was somewhere around 10 - maybe earlier.. can't remember The formal course came two summers since some friends wanted to get some training and we thought it would be fun to go. It was the basic Keel Boat course. Prior to taking this course, I had chartered numerous times with boats being as large as 47' Catamaran. So while formal training is never a bad thing, I wouldn't stress over it too much. You learn a lot as you go and things will make more sense once you are on a boat.
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Old 06-04-2014, 15:26   #11
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Re: Learning from "ground zero"

Scarlet, as one woman to another: Get yourself a small trailerable sailboat, RIGHT NOW! :-) Don't worry so much about the silly books. This is a hands-on activity. Books only take you so far. You'll be better prepared for the tests than 90% of your classmates anyway, I can tell.

Seriously, get that little boat, and day-sail the heck out of it on whatever lake or pond is near you, all summer long. Don't worry about "sailing" lakes; we are talking small boat here -- even a pond will do. Then when you do that week-long course, you will get something out of it. And besides, it will be really fun and get you psyched. Or you'll hate it (but almost nobody does) and go RVing or something when you retire.

This is how my best cruising friends from my 2 years in the Caribbean in the 90s got into it. At work, they were asking people to take a layoff/buyout and he came home one day with a copy of Cruising World and asked her "what do you think?" They were living in Denver and knew zero about sailing. They bought the trailerable sailboat and learned on a local lake. They liked it (of course!) and took buyouts, went to Florida, found a boat, bought it, hired a captain to go with them to the Bahamas and back for a week or two. After that trip, they fixed some stuff, provisioned, and headed out. I met them in Chub Cay the second week of my 2 years out there. We never officially traveled together (neither of us are buddy-boaters), but shared many anchorages. They stayed out 5 years to my 2, went back to work, then retired a couple of years ago for real. They are in the Bahamas right now and I can't wait to share an anchorage with them again.

Get the little boat and start learning to sail. You have talked about six figure boats in your future. Invest a low 4 figure amount (or less, but a decent trailer is important so don't go too low!) and get yourselves out on the water NOW! This summer! Now!

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Old 06-04-2014, 15:42   #12
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I'll go a step further... Get a sailing dinghy! I'm not much on formal classes, but I know they are great for some. BUT! if you get a laser, or any silly small sailboat, you can TOTALY screw up and the damage is zero. Once you understand how to "make it go" on a little easy boat, it all just scales up. The way a sail makes a boat go is the same on a 12 footer as a 50 footer.

But as you've gathered, regardless of how, only TIME under sail will really make you a sailor. After a while (shorter than you think) you'll intuitively know what the boat is doing and why. Please don't buy into and grand picture of sailing being hard. Sailing is EASY!
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Old 06-04-2014, 15:47   #13
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Re: Learning from "ground zero"

Beth.. you have me PUMPED!!! I'll start looking. we have this small lake near us.. sort of a kayak lake... that should do, I think...

btw.. it is AWSOME to see another woman around here... not many of us..
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Old 06-04-2014, 15:50   #14
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Scarlet... is Rend Lake nearby? There are a lot of small boat sailors there.
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Old 06-04-2014, 20:25   #15
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Re: Learning from "ground zero"

Rend Lake is about 2 hours away.. There is a closer lake... Lake Carlyse.. which is about 90 minutes away... Still a bit far for regular sailing... But doable...
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