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Old 23-03-2008, 14:38   #1
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Catamarans - To School or Not to School ?

Hi everyone!

Excited to be here. Will be searching and learning from the Ol' salts
on the forum. My hubbie and I have been traveling in the "Land Yacht"
for a few years. Ready to trade it in and go to sea!

Both of us have have plenty of power boating experience and have sailed sun fish and hobies. Want to move onto something a lot bigger and spend retirement in the Caribbean. Need to refresh our navigation skills and I'm looking at Sailing Schools in Florida. Are we better off to just go the ASA route or find a Capt'n that would be willing to take us out (and crew) on weekends and such? Sailing Club a great idea!

If we take the ASA classes, should we combine 101/103 and then charter and sail before taking the more advanced classes such as Coastal Nav and Bareboating? Thanks Guys.

Sara "Wind-Lass"
(706) 835-9783
mrsgoodcash@gmail.com
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Old 23-03-2008, 15:13   #2
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Hello, Sara, and welcome to the Forum.

We have some members with a lot of experience with sailing training programs, so I'll leave it to them to give you some feedback.

You'll be happy with your plan to retire in the Caribbean. I can speak from experience on that one!
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Old 23-03-2008, 16:41   #3
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Some suggestions:
  • Get your Coastal Navigation ASAP. Knowing how to navigate is probably more important than knowing sail trim.
  • Charter a few boats and compare them to help you decide what features you consider most desirable.
  • Use an instructor, rather than a captain. Instructors are experienced in working with inexperienced students. Many experienced sailors are not good teachers because everything now comes naturally to them. Instructors follow standards that ensure a comprehensive set of lessons.
  • If you have boating experience combining courses is a good idea.
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Old 23-03-2008, 20:00   #4
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Agree with JD, School s/b the route - US SailingAssoc is another option .......won't take that long and you can even mix different locations ie; Caribbean in if you like
Get Started Sailing!
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Old 24-03-2008, 10:46   #5
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Question Beginners ASA Class versus a Combo?

Thank you so much for your comments! I appreciate the difference
between an "instructor" vs a "captain". Married to "Mr. knowitall" LOL

We recently spoke to the Branch Manager at an ASA school in North Florida. She personally didn't know much about the Classes and directed
me to the official ASA website. They do offer a 101/103/and 114 Combo
combining basic sailing, coastal nav, and bareboating. A week long class.
Is this too much to cram in a week? Or should we do 101/103 charter
for experience and then do the 114?

Your comments are Greatly Appreciated! Oh and Hud, I'm jealous -
Nevis is a terrific little island. We also LOVE Dominica and plan to
drop anchor there and spend time drinking Kubuli and meeting up with friends. Thanks everyone for all your input.

Sara - "Wind-Lass"
(706) 835-9783
mrsgoodcash@gmail.com
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Old 24-03-2008, 12:21   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wind-lass View Post
They do offer a 101/103/and 114 Combo
combining basic sailing, coastal nav, and bareboating. A week long class.
Is this too much to cram in a week? Or should we do 101/103 charter
for experience and then do the 114?
114 is the catamaran course. It's easy; if you've done the other three on a catamaran, 114 is more or less automatic. You won't need to devote more than one full day to it.

104 is bareboat. I think 101/103/104 is too much to do in one week if you want to really learn the material the way it is meant to be taught. I'm not saying you shouldn't do it; if you're a motivated and independent-minded learner, take the class, then get a lot more sailing experience on your own. Just don't fool yourself into thinking that the moment you get signed off, you've really learned the material. Someone who does the same material in 2 weeks or even 10 days is much closer to being truly ready to charter bareboat.
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Old 24-03-2008, 12:43   #7
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Spread a Little

WL - Since you have power exp & small sail exp, you are not starting from scratch but to do it right especially given your long term goals, don't try to cram it too tight...........

Interview a few schools/instructors, lay out your goals & available time. Based in their comments & your impressions of the school, staff, response to your needs/goals and cost...........you can make a decision.

Since it's two of You, it maybe possible to arrange a custom training deal to accomplish all your goals over a period of time. Although some schools prefer to split couples up.

Agree with Sparohok in general.
I would also say that taking your courses thru bareboat on monohulls maybe a good idea, so that you really get a feel the boat responding to all your inputs. Then the catamaran course will just be focused on the differences and unique tips.
Chartering - absolutely..........and you can also test different brands/models before you purchase along the way.

A few schools that advertise a lot & seem to have a following:
Sailing Schools, Catamaran Sailing Schools, Sailing Vacations, Sailing Lessons

Blue Water Sailing School, ASA Bareboat Certifications, Offshore Sailing, Navigation & Seamanship

Florida Sailing Cruising and Trawler School Learn to sail vacations, boat handling lessons on sailboats, trawlers and powerboats.

Good Luck.........and have fun learning.
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Old 24-03-2008, 12:46   #8
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Aloha Sara,
Welcome aboard! I think the sailing schools and courses are a great idea. If you are going to do a combo then do the whole thing all at once. Get as much bang as you can for your buck. You'll be able to learn a lot and I'm certain you'll pass. You can always pick up a book and do refresher at your leisure once you are introduced to the principles.
Kind Regards,
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Old 25-03-2008, 10:40   #9
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pirate Great "Tack"

Hey Guys,

This has been a big help. I was concerned about taking combo classes and trying to cram too much in a week's worth of classes.

The idea of learning on mono-hulls vs cats very interesting. Although
we've been Cat fans from day 1, it would give us the ability to sail
either boat. Learn the pros and cons of how monos handle vs cats.

We've looked at a lot of Cats: Leopard, Maine Cat, Manta, FPajot, Australian and South African. We fell in love with the Maine Cat, have
taken a tour of the boat. Also have spoken at length with Dick Vermillion
designer/owner, and his Captains at a couple of boat shows.

Our goal will be to charter the MaineCat (and a few others) to learn the Feel of the boat and see if it fits. I'M REALLY EXCITED. Thanks for all of your comments, I know I've come to the right place! I'll let you know
how we do in Class!

Sara "Wind-Lass"
mrsgoodcash@gmail.com
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Old 25-03-2008, 10:59   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wind-lass View Post
Thank you so much for your comments! I appreciate the difference
between an "instructor" vs a "captain". Married to "Mr. knowitall" LOL

We recently spoke to the Branch Manager at an ASA school in North Florida. She personally didn't know much about the Classes and directed
me to the official ASA website. They do offer a 101/103/and 114 Combo
combining basic sailing, coastal nav, and bareboating. A week long class.
Is this too much to cram in a week? Or should we do 101/103 charter
for experience and then do the 114?

Your comments are Greatly Appreciated! Oh and Hud, I'm jealous -
Nevis is a terrific little island. We also LOVE Dominica and plan to
drop anchor there and spend time drinking Kubuli and meeting up with friends. Thanks everyone for all your input.

Sara - "Wind-Lass"
(706) 835-9783
mrsgoodcash@gmail.com
Having taught sailing in the past for a sailing school in the SF Bay Area, I think it is too much. It takes time to absorb it all and doing that much in that short of a time is no different than cramming for a final exam. You simply don't retain as much knowledge.
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Old 19-04-2008, 11:33   #11
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I just got back from a week-long class in the Virgin Islands that combined 101, 103, 104 and 114. It was a lot to do in one week. It was harder on the other folks in some regards as I had taken the CG Boater Safety course twice over the last few years and a Nav class put on by my boat club. I had less sailing knowlege (ok, about zero) but had the book stuff down pretty well. I learned a lot but certainly not enough to go out and charter a 45' cat tomorrow. :-)

What I'd like to do either later this fall or next spring is take a crewed charter with an instructional focus. I'm glad I got the certifications done but now I'd like to focus more on practice rather than theory.

Gail

PS you can see the photos of my trip at 2008 Sailing class and vacation to the Virgin Islands
I took way too many.
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Old 19-04-2008, 14:42   #12
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Nice to hear you're excited about a MaineCat. They're comfy, simple to sail (I singlehand routinely) and will spoil you from ever wanting anything else.

The concept of 'learning' a cat vs monohull is mostly irrelevant in my opinion. If you learn on a monohull, you'll be well equipped (and ready for) a multihull. Monohulls tend to 'talk' to you more and may be better for learning. (they heel, sails flutter and flap and are quicker to tell you how they 'feel' like with weather helm, etc) Learn your basics on them, then prepare to enjoy what you learn on your (Maine) cat. ;-)
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Old 30-04-2008, 17:04   #13
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Hey everyone, just got back from sailing school. To David, Chuteman and Jack, you were right. Took 3 days to get through 101. Don't think we could have jammed more than that in a week and kept our sanity. Gale force winds on day 1. How exciting is that? My hubbie kept saying, "You think we're gonna go out in this?"
Sailed out on a sloop, Cal25 - and by day 3 we were both really comfortable sailing around St. Augustine. Ended the day watching dolphins jump in the air with their catch in the bay. Awesome!

Oh and Chesley, have I got questions for you!
Gosh, we fell in love with the MaineCat. Passed a 30' MeCat in the intracoastal around Ponte Vedra. Was really surprised to see her - even more surprised when we met her captain two days later! Helped one of our kids move and needed to beg a corkscrew for adult beverages. Neighbors were entertaining the Captain and his wife! What a hoot. Guess its just the 'law of attraction'.

Again, I can't thank you all enough for your input. Next step? Think we need to join a sailing club, and get some practice. Keep up our skills and study navigation. Its been 20 years since my nav classes, still have chapmans. Any good texts you recommend to get me back in the swing? They didn't have GPS in '82!

Love and Light,
Sara - "Wind-lass"
mrsgoodcash@gmail.com
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Old 30-04-2008, 21:10   #14
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WL: Congrats on your success & building that solid foundation. You are right, more water time will help hone & keep those skills sharp.
Think I've seen a few sailing "clubs" attached to sailing schools. What general area in FL are You looking?
Now that you got the basics in place & even got to test them in big winds, it will be natural to build upon them.
When you are sitting on your boat, you will look back on the training as time / $$$ well spent.
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Old 30-04-2008, 22:24   #15
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That's great Sara! Joining a sailing club with a good teaching staff and a wide variety of boats to learn in I think is the best way to go in your situation.

Keep plugging away at the courses and when the staff feels you are ready to do your own bareboat charter, then give yourselves a big pat on the back!
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