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Old 24-04-2014, 06:53   #16
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Re: fast track to sailing ~ how fast?>

My wife does have some experience sailing from years ago on the gr8 lakes, but , we would both go to a course together before we chartered "solo".
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Old 14-05-2014, 13:10   #17
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Re: fast track to sailing ~ how fast?>

So I leave for "school" in 2 days.
Any words of advice from people that have taken a week long course (or just those with an opinion...) - must packs, don't forgets or other thoughts.
Heading for the desert to the sea...
Pretty darn excited!
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Old 14-05-2014, 14:10   #18
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Re: fast track to sailing ~ how fast?>

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Originally Posted by riderjuan View Post
So I leave for "school" in 2 days.
Any words of advice from people that have taken a week long course (or just those with an opinion...) - must packs, don't forgets or other thoughts.
Heading for the desert to the sea...
Pretty darn excited!
read the books ahead of time, be sure you ask questions and make sure they show you how to do things (you should have a list)

remember it is up to you to learn, don't just assume they will teach it to you otherwise
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Old 14-05-2014, 14:22   #19
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Re: fast track to sailing ~ how fast?>

Quote:
Originally Posted by riderjuan View Post
So I leave for "school" in 2 days.
Any words of advice from people that have taken a week long course (or just those with an opinion...) - must packs, don't forgets or other thoughts.
Heading for the desert to the sea...
Pretty darn excited!
Will you be living on the boat? If so don't use a suitcase or any hard case packing. Bring a duffel bag or foldable backpack or similar.

If warm where you're going bring plenty of quick dry shorts, t-shirts, some long sleeve sun protection, sun screen. If someplace that might be buggy take repellent.

If a chance of rain take weather gear">foul weather gear.

Take a good knife with a shackle tool and spike or better a Leatherman type tool.

What sailorboy said. Read all the books. A lot of it may not make sense and might not stick but when you get there and go hands on the light bulb will light up.

Try to learn all the basic terminology; port/starboard, fore/aft, head/tack/clew on the sail, etc.

Try to learn the names of the main ropes but don't call them ropes, they are lines, sheets, halyards, etc. Rope is what you buy at the store before you put it on the boat and attach it to something. This is just a trick that old sailors use to confuse the new guys but play along.

Don't forget to have fun.
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Old 14-05-2014, 14:24   #20
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Re: fast track to sailing ~ how fast?>

Read...?
Hmmm.

Thanks, I'll read.
All I have is questions!
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Old 14-05-2014, 14:51   #21
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Re: fast track to sailing ~ how fast?>

I don't think you mentioned whether there is an ASA or USS certification at the end of your training.

Hopefully there is in which case studying the texts provided would be important.

If not, then take lots of notes you can refer back to later on.

Have fun and good luck.
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Old 14-05-2014, 15:01   #22
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Re: fast track to sailing ~ how fast?>

ASA,
I'll take notes, although it's seems and odd but nice classroom~
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Old 14-05-2014, 15:06   #23
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Re: fast track to sailing ~ how fast?>

notes? you never will read those notes again that is what the books are for
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Old 14-05-2014, 15:23   #24
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Re: fast track to sailing ~ how fast?>

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notes? you never will read those notes again that is what the books are for
The notes suggestion was an alternative to a non-certification program without texts.
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Old 14-05-2014, 18:44   #25
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Re: fast track to sailing ~ how fast?>

For me taking a lot of pictures was a better substitute for notes. Which way did I wind the sheet around the winch, what did the reefing system actually look like, what did the thruhull look like when I replaced the speed impeller (under supervision)...

Learning to sail in one–two weeks a year stints made for a lot of forgetting/misremembering. The pictures always gave me a trigger for knowledge I had stuffed in the back crevices of my mind.

As for prep, just remember to to have a bit of alone time to mull it over before you leave. You spend so much time doing, sometimes you forget to ask what if...
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Old 14-05-2014, 18:59   #26
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Re: fast track to sailing ~ how fast?>

If you have access to a computer go to the ASA website for their certification standards:

Advanced Sail Training Courses - Endorsements from American Sailing Association

Click whichever course you are taking 101, 103, or 104 and it will give you a summary of all the things you need to know to pass the written exam(s)

Plenty of topics there for questions while the instructor(s) are teaching you how to sail the boat.
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Old 18-05-2014, 10:07   #27
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Re: fast track to sailing ~ how fast?>

Well, I am uniquely qualified to help you, because I took the very course you are probably taking - the live aboard "Fast Track to Cruising" at Bluewater Sailing School in Ft Lauderdale.

I had a highly unusual perspective - I expected to prefer power boating, but wanted to give sailing a shot, and I wanted to see if the live aboard lifestyle was for me. The only way to live aboard a large powerboat while learning would have cost $5,000+ instead of the $2,100 of the sailing school, so sailing school is a relative bargain.

There were four individual male students, which is unusual; more normally there are two couples. As a result of the promise of private sleeping accommodations, we got a 51' boat, which at first sounded like a privilege, but it wound up that about half of us, including me, had significant trouble with the physical effort of turning the winches and operating the boat.

I would definitely second the suggestion, already given here, that you take your wife along. Both you and she will need to learn the boat, and two minds are likely to absorb more information than one.

To get the most out of the class, you definitely need to absorb the contents of the first book, which teaches you basic sailing. There are a lot of arcane terms to learn, and the more you learn in advance, the better off you are. The material in the other two volumes is, at least for me, much easier to learn and so if you are short on time, concentrate on the first volume and you will be fine during the course.

Our class was quite interesting. We all got along very well. We had an entrepreneur who was in the process of selling his business so he could go sailing. We had an about to retire entrepreneur who wanted to move up to chartering larger boats. We had a Chilean who wanted to start up his own sailing school in his native country and wanted to learn the English boating terms so he could teach them.

The Chilean was, understandably, an expert sailor.

I was lousy at sailing - didn't like cranking winches, found heeling uncomfortable, but loved being out on the water. So I look forward to a power boating life, just as I'd expected. The instructor was accommodating and let me go on the helm during the longest power parts of the cruise, during which I had a blast.

So here is my assessment of the training.

The first entrepreneur had extensive sailing experience and was young and vigorous, in his mid-40s. He will do fine, but the course was far from his only experience.

The other entrepreneur was older, had some sailing experience. If given a charter boat, I would expect him to goof up a lot but muddle through.

I probably would have been able to take out a boat in calm waters without actually destroying it. Hopefully.

I did not think the course focused enough on power handling skills and docking. He let each of us dock the boat exactly once, under his direct supervision. He pretty much told us what to do and we did it. I am not sure if any of us (other than the Chilean) could dock a similar boat competently today. Hopefully we could dock it without actually destroying it, because we were always told to go slow. But it seems unlikely we could do a particularly good or neat job, or do it under difficult conditions.

Because I was unable to do a lot of the needed winch cranking, I did not pass the on the water course and did not get a certification. Since I'm powerboat bound, that wasn't of much concern to me. What I wanted was on the water experience at a fair price, and I got it.

The other three people passed certification and can, in theory, now bareboat charter.

I should mention that, ironically enough, I got a better grade on the written test than any of the others. If you remember your test taking skills from school, the tests are pretty easy. The best sailor got the worst grades due to his poor English knowledge, and the worst sailor - me! - got the best grades. Pretty funny.

In summary, I would say the course is well worth taking. You will learn a lot. I think the course is slightly oversold in that most people should get considerably more experience than offered in the course before captaining their own sailboat. Our older entrepreneur still had trouble tying a bowline at the end of the course. Even our younger entrepreneur wasn't quite able to dock the boat under power at the end of the course. He did fine when he tried again, but that might give you an idea of how shaky the knowledge we attained was.

I think the total crew - all four of us - absorbed enough sailing knowledge to charter a boat together, but I'm not sure if we learned enough individually to charter a boat alone.

If we had capable crew, we could probably have all captained a boat successfully, in calm conditions. But as a head of a family, I'd say more experience would be needed.

But it's an excellent start, and i think it's a good way to determine whether sailing is really for you ... this is a hobby many people dream about and few succeed in.

One important fact is that this is NOT a vacation. A couple of the days, especially the one where we did basically nothing but tack and jibe, were physically exhausting even to the strapping younger folk. For what it's worth, you are probably going to want a vacation after your vacation.

On the other hand, it's quite a bargain. $2,100 paid for the whole trip, including all my meals and expenses. The young entrepreneur paid for our two meals out, and the restaurant we went to was so cheap I could have done the same if I'd wanted to. Those who drank in the evenings paid under $20 for alcohol, but that was the only extra fee. So look forward to spending essentially nothing other than your course fee and whatever tip you want to give the instructor.

So in conclusion, if you want to learn how to sail with little experience, I recommend the course. I think if I wanted to be a real sailor I would have taken ASA 101 separately, on a smaller boat, and then taken a live aboard course separately. It was sufficiently rigorous and strenuous that it's something I'm glad I did, but wouldn't want to repeat.

Hope that helps.

David
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Old 07-06-2014, 15:29   #28
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Re: fast track to sailing ~ how fast?>

Sailing School –well, I went with few real preconceptions. I had asked quite a few questions but answers were all over the board. After a week, I now understand why. While the information should and most likely is relatively consistent, the group plays a giant part in how and at what pace the information is delivered.
My group was funky ~ not bad, just funky. No real sailing experience, and varied back grounds. No couples, 3 solo – 2 guys and a gal.
Day one – we show up, our instructor is down with food poisoning – she perseveres and delivers a great week, despite feeling crappy and being asked more questions than I believe I have ever heard. All three of us are successful in the class, passing both the written and skills portions. Shockingly I actually feel like I could jump on a 40ish foot boat and successful sail in moderate winds. I went in very intimidated by the rigging and lines – I’ve never met a sailor that did not come off as perfectionist, and I am no perfectionist. I came away pretty comfortable in how things work.
I should give a shout out to my instructor Molly – as I said she did a great job.
BWSS came off as pros, it was super fun week that I’ll never forget.
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