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Old 08-08-2019, 18:07   #1
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Question ASA vs Offshore Sailing school

Greetings all,

I have "sailed" hobbycats for years in the past.
I want to be able to rent catamarans in the USVI and I understand I need a license. I don't need or plan to rent in Europe - If someone has made the researches, can they share what is the best school between ASA and Offshore ? And why one and not the other ?

Thank you all.
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Old 12-08-2019, 07:11   #2
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Re: ASA vs Offshore Sailing school

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Originally Posted by saint42 View Post
Greetings all,

I have "sailed" hobbycats for years in the past.
I want to be able to rent catamarans in the USVI and I understand I need a license. I don't need or plan to rent in Europe - If someone has made the researches, can they share what is the best school between ASA and Offshore ? And why one and not the other ?

Thank you all.
To charter boats in the caribbean's i would choose an ASA school.
Offshore sailing is a different animal.
ASA offers many courses specifically focused on futur bareboat skippers.
Any ASA school will offer the same cursus.
Some schools are better then others and that depends on the instructors.

From what I know you do not need a licence to charter a bareboat, you only need to show you have the knowledge to do so.
Some charter companies will ask for more then just a credit card # for proof of competency.
Choose those that actually ask for proof over those who only look for your cash.
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Old 12-08-2019, 08:23   #3
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Re: ASA vs Offshore Sailing school

Flagman101,
Thank you for your answer.
From your experience, in which way Offshore sailing is different ?
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Old 12-08-2019, 08:36   #4
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Re: ASA vs Offshore Sailing school

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Originally Posted by saint42 View Post
Flagman101,
Thank you for your answer.
From your experience, in which way Offshore sailing is different ?

In short offshore is sailing long distances far from land.
More navigational skills are required, weather, waves forecasting.
Honestly if you are just getting into sailing. offshore sailing might be a much too big step I would imagine that those that get into that kind of training already know how to sail inshore and want to learn how to sail across an ocean or long passage.

Not many charter company will let you sail more than a few miles out to sea.

To charter a boat you need to be able identify a good anchorage.
Be able to anchor or take a mooring.
Read charts to plan a route around the rocks
Know how to live aboard and manage a boat for a few days.

Offshore....much different.
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Old 12-08-2019, 17:36   #5
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Re: ASA vs Offshore Sailing school

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Originally Posted by Flagman101 View Post
In short offshore is sailing long distances far from land.

More navigational skills are required, weather, waves forecasting.

Honestly if you are just getting into sailing. offshore sailing might be a much too big step I would imagine that those that get into that kind of training already know how to sail inshore and want to learn how to sail across an ocean or long passage.



Not many charter company will let you sail more than a few miles out to sea.



To charter a boat you need to be able identify a good anchorage.

Be able to anchor or take a mooring.

Read charts to plan a route around the rocks

Know how to live aboard and manage a boat for a few days.



Offshore....much different.
He means this "Offshore", a school founded by the Colgates:

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.off...iling.com/amp/
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Old 13-08-2019, 03:35   #6
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Re: ASA vs Offshore Sailing school

Ok. If you look at the ASA and the offshore school they have similar programs.
It becomes a question of choice.
Some school will be better than others.
Most will be good.
ASA is pretty well recognized internationally.
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Old 13-08-2019, 04:01   #7
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Re: ASA vs Offshore Sailing school

I have found that ASA is more widely recognized than others. Although I suspect that for most charter purposes anything with documentation would suffice. When renting a sailboat privately I have been asked to produce certification or show the verification on ASA website. I do think that more depends on the individual instructor, but look over the syllabus and course descriptions before signing up.
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Old 13-08-2019, 04:51   #8
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Re: ASA vs Offshore Sailing school

The biggest difference between the ASA and Offshore Sailing School is flexibility. There are six OSS locations, four on the Gulf Coast of Florida and two in the British Virgin Islands. On the other hand, ASA has over 200 schools in the US and 126 in other countries, including 11 in the BVIs. You simply have far more choices of location, time and quality with the ASA.

The ASA curriculum ensures that if you take a 101 Basic Sailing class at one school and the 103 Intermediate Sailing at a second school and the 104 Bareboat Chartering class at a third school, the information you learned at each level will correspond to the next level. Of course, these are basic standards and each school will tailor lessons to their area, boats and instructors, but you will be able to build your skills along the way.

Finally, with no disrepect to Steve and Doris Colgate intended, the Offshore Sailing School has taught thousands of people how to sail. The ASA student count is over half a million. The possibility of running into people who were taught at an ASA school is much higher than running into OSS graduates. Because of that, most charter companies are more familiar with the ASA process and quality - for good or ill.
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Old 13-08-2019, 05:23   #9
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Re: ASA vs Offshore Sailing school

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Originally Posted by saint42 View Post
Greetings all,

I have "sailed" hobbycats for years in the past.
I want to be able to rent catamarans in the USVI and I understand I need a license. I don't need or plan to rent in Europe - If someone has made the researches, can they share what is the best school between ASA and Offshore ? And why one and not the other ?

Thank you all.
To clarify, you dont need a "liscence" to charter, but you likely will need proof of relevant training/experience. A "liscence" typically refers to a document for commercial operation. Both ASA and the Colgate's Offshore Sailing School are recreational level training and neither results in a liscence. Both do result in proof of training in the form of a certification. This consists of a physical document (a log book with an official sticker on each course completed) and records in their database. If you do charter in Europe you may need an ICC (International Certificate of Competency) which you can get with either ASA or US Sail certification.

Offshore Sailing School uses the US Sailing curriculum (which mirrors the ASA curriculum). There are many US Sailing schools, but what sets Offshore apart from many other US Sailing or ASA schools is their strong emphasis on quality instruction. Offshore is a first class school which has been in operation long before US Sailing schools existed. I think their affiliation with US Sail was a good move, before that they were an excellent school, but had no widely recognized certification. With their US Sail affiliation you get the best of both.

ASA is a much larger organization with hundreds of schools world wide. In their early years, ASA was rather lax in quality enforcement at their affiliated schools, this resulted in many substandard schools and a less than stellar reputation for ASA training. In more recent years, with Charlie Nobles at the helm, ASA has done much to improve the situation by weeding out many poor quality schools and instructors, significantly improving their materials, and improving their proceses. Its very hard to overcome a tarnished reputation, but ASA has made substantial qualitative improvements. With ASA you are more likely to find a school near you or your prefered venue, but will need to do a bit of vetting to ensure its a good school (many poor quality schools have been eliminated, but some are still better than others). With all the reviews on the Internet these days thats easier to do.

Background: Ive been an ASA instructor since 1994 and am an ASA IE (Instructor Evaluator). Im familiar with Offshore from having been in the industry for many years and I also talked with Steve Colgate once about teaching for them, but never followed thru on that.
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Old 13-08-2019, 05:44   #10
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Re: ASA vs Offshore Sailing school

As someone like you with limited sailing exp. I can only suggest the below based upon my experience. I was talked out of giving my money for the 101, 103 and 104 week long ASA from a certified instructor. His reasoning was that it was way too much to take in and really learn in a weeks time, even with studying before hand. This is due to two reasons; one to pass the tests was a large amount of information and two, a one week course would exhaust us and not provide the best situation to learn key information from. Basically information overload.

So we have the benefit of living in Orlando Florida, and only did the 101. We has since hired him twice to hone the basic skills, and we rent a 22 ft. boat twice a month to practice on. This was done in April. We read constantly, own a 38 foot boat and are still in the learning stage, no where near charting a boat.

That is my experience, I am not here to dissuade you, only provide another view point. In my safe Indian River sailing, not yet the ocean we have made a ton of mistakes and learned from them, luckily never far from land or without boats sailing by offering help. Wish you the best in your plans. We support the ASA, as I have read all the books and they are excellent, we will proceed with them when we are ready. PS, my boat isn't sea worthy yet, we are refitting her to sail and learning all her systems as we go, thats why we rent the small guy, it's large enough right now.
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Old 14-08-2019, 03:53   #11
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Re: ASA vs Offshore Sailing school

You are correct when you say it is a lot to learn in a week.
I teach the equivalent of basic keel boat 101 on a 4 day program and can't see how i could push other courses in there without cutting corners on making sure they understand and retain the extra info.
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Old 14-08-2019, 04:41   #12
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Re: ASA vs Offshore Sailing school

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Originally Posted by nimbex1970 View Post
As someone like you with limited sailing exp. I can only suggest the below based upon my experience. I was talked out of giving my money for the 101, 103 and 104 week long ASA from a certified instructor. His reasoning was that it was way too much to take in and really learn in a weeks time, even with studying before hand. This is due to two reasons; one to pass the tests was a large amount of information and two, a one week course would exhaust us and not provide the best situation to learn key information from. Basically information overload.

So we have the benefit of living in Orlando Florida, and only did the 101. We has since hired him twice to hone the basic skills, and we rent a 22 ft. boat twice a month to practice on. This was done in April. We read constantly, own a 38 foot boat and are still in the learning stage, no where near charting a boat.

That is my experience, I am not here to dissuade you, only provide another view point. In my safe Indian River sailing, not yet the ocean we have made a ton of mistakes and learned from them, luckily never far from land or without boats sailing by offering help. Wish you the best in your plans. We support the ASA, as I have read all the books and they are excellent, we will proceed with them when we are ready. PS, my boat isn't sea worthy yet, we are refitting her to sail and learning all her systems as we go, thats why we rent the small guy, it's large enough right now.
Yes, I agree strongly. Many students want to cram as many classes as possible into a vacation period (esp true for schools in International locations) and there is a financial incentive for the schools to offer that, but it is not the best way to learn. It is a huge amount of training to cram into a week. Ive also talked a few people out of it, but more often than not am unsuccesful.

The more effective way to learn, and the original intent of the curriculum, is to take a class then get lots of time on the water practising those skills. When you are comfortable with those skills then sign up for the next class, repeat. This approach of combining training and hand on expereince is a very effective way to learn and will dramatically shorten the time of your learning curve.

For anyone who insists on doing a week long combination class, pre-class preparation is key. Your school should get all the materials to you well ahead of time. You should read the text for each class and then use the ASA standard for that class as a study guide to review. Repeat for each class. This improves your retention, allows the instructor to focus more on hands in skills during your training, and frees you up from trying to cram during training. Ive had students who did not follow our recommended pre-class preparation suggestions, showed up unprepared, quickly realized...oh crap Im not prepared for this, and spent the entire week cramming in the evenings after a full day of training...while the prepared students not only learned more effectively, but got to take the evenings off. A few have fizzled out after a few days of this and just audited the rest of the training.

The combined class approach is also exhausting for the instructor. However, these combos are so popular that I once taught 3 back-to-back, 21 straight days of teaching. I was exhausted. Not ideal for instructor or student.

If you want to get in multiple classes then the ideal way to do that is during a week or longer charter, but only take a couple of classes such as a 104/114 combo. This leaves you time to enjoy your vacation and to get more hands on experience building time. Its not the least cost option, but is more effective and more enjoyable than a solid week of nothing but training.
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Old 14-08-2019, 06:15   #13
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Re: ASA vs Offshore Sailing school

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Originally Posted by Flagman101 View Post
You are correct when you say it is a lot to learn in a week.
I teach the equivalent of basic keel boat 101 on a 4 day program and can't see how i could push other courses in there without cutting corners on making sure they understand and retain the extra info.
You can get a Pilots License in two weeks of intensive training, I'm quite sure a week would suffice to get someone competent to go sailing for a few days on their own.

from a flight school offering a 14-day PPL course..

"Accelerated flight training is the most demanding training you will ever undergo. The Airlines and Military train this way for a reason…..it works!! Retention of accelerated training is far superior compared to training that is spread out over several months, and saves you money."
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Old 14-08-2019, 09:50   #14
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Re: ASA vs Offshore Sailing school

Would you let a student fresh out of baaic sailing course leave with your boat for a few days?
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Old 15-08-2019, 11:01   #15
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Re: ASA vs Offshore Sailing school

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Would you let a student fresh out of baaic sailing course leave with your boat for a few days?
I don't own a boat. I took US Sailing Basic Cruising (3 days, 2 nights) and the guy teaching the class (owner of the school/charter business) let me take out a Pearson 36 for a week the day after the class ended.

If the school is worth their salt, they should be willing to let you charter after passing the requisite class.

If they won't, you picked the wrong school.
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