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Old 04-12-2006, 00:10   #1
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Sailing Training

As a kid I went to sailing school and got the whitesail, bronzesail, silversail levels from the Canadian Yachting Association.

Now, as an adult (sort of, I'm 21) I am interested in learning about sailing bigger boats.

Before buying a boat, I'd like to enrol in some courses to learn some of the theory and skills about sailing. My question for those more experienced than I, is that I've done research and found a wide variety of sailing associations/organizations that have different training levels etc. Which of these is considered the most respected?

As a scuba diver, I learned to dive under padi and became a divemaster. I've heard the term yachtmaster thrown around in some of the different associations. I really want to learn as much as I can and attain something similar to what I did as a scuba diver.

Thanks in advance!

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Old 04-12-2006, 11:24   #2
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Aloha Kevin,
I've found that nearly all the organizations you may join have their own term for the top level of qualification. When I was involved in the U. S. Naval Sailing Association out of Annapolis it was "Master Skipper." I gained that qualification by going through a succession of qualifications and proving that I could race large sailing vessels at sea.
The ASA and US Sailing have different terms and qualifications as I'm certain the associations in Canada do.
Find an organization that you're happy with and then learn what is necessary for their top level certification and go for it.
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Old 04-12-2006, 16:14   #3
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ASA and US Sail in the US are pretty close to the same thing. They issue certificates for each course completed. Some are more hands on and many are more technical and hands on both. I've been through quite a few of the ASA courses and the one thing about both organizations is that the instructors are certified to teach what they teach. The idea is you get the same course taught properly no matter what.

One nice thing about these groups is you can take any course any place they offer it provided you have completed the prerequisites. So you take a course near home, and a course in the BVI and do some off shore stuff in Florida. Combined with a vacation it's nice. My wife and I took a live aboard session at an ASA school in San Diego and the cost of the course was less than a downtown hotel in San Diego would cost and we stayed on the boat.

If you can, always try to meet the instructor or at least have a conversation with them. Some instructors are just better than others and some you may get along with better than others.

Some places will offer say the first three ASA course as a two week blitz. Unless you really have a lot behind you already I doubt you can actually complete them that fast. It does take a lot of practice to get so you really know the material and can perform the skills required. They all require a lot of book learning especially the navigation parts.
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Old 04-12-2006, 16:57   #4
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Kevin, You do not say what area you are in. We have a few folks that used the Annapolis Sailing School and were very pleased. Have not kept up with them but they had several locations along the east coast. Talk to anyone you are considering and ask lots of questions. Find one what feels right with the type of experience you would like to get. Go with the one that has the right answers and takes the time with you to answer them rather then sell you a weekend. That is the important thing. Whatever certification they issue will be basically a fuzzy. The fact is that it won't get you much more than a little conversation. The charter companies will accept almost anything and for on the water work, experience is more important that any certification. Look for the ASA certification or others as a plus but not a guarantee. Good luck and have fun.
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