Originally Posted by contrail
Furthermore,taking all four classes
on a cat avoids learning
all about heeling, what it it, how it feels, what it means and how to deal with it. If you don't learn this, you are nevertheless certified to do something you have never done and may get very unnerved by. I teach 103,104,105, 106 and 114 on a cat, but never 101. It isn't honest to do so. And Montanan, I would suggest that very few cannot distinguish between a keelboat and a cat.
The title of ASA
101 is specific and straightforward as is the description of the goals of the course as written by ASA
: "ASA 101, Basic Keelboat Sailing. Able to skipper a sloop-rigged keelboat of approximately 20 to 27 feet in length
by day in light to moderate winds (up to 15 knots) and sea conditions. Knowledge of basic sailing terminology, parts
and functions, helm
commands, basic sail trim, points of sail, buoyage, seamanship and safety
including basic navigation
rules to avoid collisions and hazards. Auxiliary power
operation is not required."
IMHO, ASA 101 is an initial step too far. I strongly advocate to first learn on a small single
, is the best way to initially learn the basics so as to gain an intimate feeling for the effects of wind
strength, gusts, waves and current
. With a truly small boat
, you [the only person onboard] become the necessary counterweight and trim weight. Then advancing to a modestly larger, yet small two sailed boat
[e.g., a 13 to 16 feet sloop], perhaps with the accompaniment of a companion / crewmate [maybe even someone with some experience] or even an instructor provides for understanding of trimming two sails
and their interactiveness again whereby one is operating a keelboat but not a heavily weighted keel
. And advancing to sail configurations which can be adjusted to size [reefing] and further trim is a yet a further step in the learning
curve. Then advancing to mid-size boats, say 20 to 30 feet, like ASA 101, wherein the keel
configuration has significant weight such that body weight position is of modest consequence is a solid progression, yet it is at this sizing that one really learns that one does not desire to be knocked down, capsized or turtled and one learns to back off of the aggressiveness. The first time you fall onto a hardpoint on the leeward side of boat because the boat heeled too far to allow you to remain on the highside is when you have pounded into you the need to reef early and often. In my experience when the beam of a boat exceeds your height, the joy and fun of a knockdown or of capsizing tends to diminish exponentially with the measure of the beam, basic physics entails such harsh reality as the acceleration of gravity is 9.8 m/s^2. And inevitably one learns the hard way that there are numerous things on a larger craft that don't do well when considerable water
is entrained into the hull
by being laid over for a spell. Whereas, turtling a multihull
, even a simple HobieCat, now that becomes a serious task to resolve and one that can be beyond even experienced sailors and thus endangering.
I think sailors should desire to have experience and knowledge from sailing a wide variety of hulls and rigging
types as each has their own nuances, but the fundamentals remain the same. I learned the greatest amount sailing the simplest boats, e.g., the El Toro, Sailfish and Sunfish. I know a lot of sailors who have lots of experience in a single
type of boat [i.e., called a "their boat"] but little to no experience in the wealth of variety of other kinds. There being loads of persons who haven't ventured from monohulls, or Bermuda
style, albeit that type has its solid merits. And condomarans also have their merits. As to advancing to completion of the ASA courses, if so inclined, I would recommend pursuing such with a variety of boats, and yes by definition ASA 101 should be a sloop-rigged keelboat of approximately 20 to 27 feet in length. Learning the nuances of other than a permanent keel [keelboat], is a further useful advancement in knowledge and skill.
Then there is the whole matter of initially learning how to utilize auxiliary power
, first with a single propeller
, then dual engines, then with bow thrusters and then with bow and stern thrusters. And the learning of navigating a course beyond one's sight or in the dark or storms, etc.
And some desire to learn to race
, to each their own. I have long since moved away from racing
sailboats and regained the pleasure once I departed such.