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Old 03-12-2022, 11:17   #1
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Best ASA certification schools in the USA

Hello everybody
I'm planning on buying a sailboat, I have experience as crew on costal cruissing and an Atlantic crossing, but want to have some formal training and certification.
What would be a good school in the USA, preferably somewhere like Florida, so i don't have to wait until April or May (I gues California and Florida will have courses since January).
Also, any recomendations for a school in Mexico, that's where I live, and I see there are 3 or 4, but references would be appreciated.
Thank you all very much.
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Old 03-12-2022, 11:38   #2
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Re: Best ASA certification schools in the USA

We had a great instructor and great experience at https://harborsailboats.com/ in San Diego. I think we took the classes in Jan so it was chilly but not too bad if you are prepared. We did 101 and 103 there.

I think a lot depends in the instructor, maybe not so much on the school. We did 104 in Florida and didn't like the instructor at all. Later we met another of their instructors and he was great.

If you haven't already, I'd take a look at the class contents here: https://asa.com/certifications/ and talk to whatever school you pick to see if they'll let you test out of at least 101 and maybe even 103. But maybe worth reading the text books anyway because some questions have to be answered the ASA way
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Old 03-12-2022, 12:25   #3
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Re: Best ASA certification schools in the USA

It's not ASA, but Club Nautique here in SF Bay has classes running now. However, winter can be a bit boring as the winds quiet down, and the travel expenses are likely prohibitive. (One flight may not be bad but getting to Bareboat is going to require at least 5 trips).

Modern Sailing is an ASA school nearby that offers both weekday classes (avoids split weekends) and a 101-103 combo. I don't have experience with them, but that should reduce the travel and they also have classes now.

As leecea says, each instructor is different. I've had (quickly counts on fingers) perhaps 7 over the years.
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Old 03-12-2022, 12:42   #4
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Re: Best ASA certification schools in the USA

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Originally Posted by Ribe16 View Post
Hello everybody
I'm planning on buying a sailboat, I have experience as crew on costal cruissing and an Atlantic crossing, but want to have some formal training and certification.
What would be a good school in the USA, preferably somewhere like Florida, so i don't have to wait until April or May (I gues California and Florida will have courses since January).
Also, any recomendations for a school in Mexico, that's where I live, and I see there are 3 or 4, but references would be appreciated.
Thank you all very much.
I've been out of the USA for almost 20 years so don't have a current USA recommendation for you, but of course you can find schools on the ASA web site at https://asa.com/find-sailing-school/.

The only ASA affiliated school in all of Central America is Belize Sailing Vacations located in Belize City. They mostly conduct training as part of a charter, but do occasionally do group classes also.

See https://belizesailingvacations.com/l...certification/

There is an internal process to evaluate instructors/schools, but unfortunately that information is not published publicly. So public feedback from former students is the only option.



(ASA Instructor/Instructor Evaluator, and former school owner)
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Old 03-12-2022, 14:07   #5
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Re: Best ASA certification schools in the USA

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We had a great instructor and great experience at https://harborsailboats.com/ in San Diego. I think we took the classes in Jan so it was chilly but not too bad if you are prepared. We did 101 and 103 there.

I think a lot depends in the instructor, maybe not so much on the school. We did 104 in Florida and didn't like the instructor at all. Later we met another of their instructors and he was great.

If you haven't already, I'd take a look at the class contents here: https://asa.com/certifications/ and talk to whatever school you pick to see if they'll let you test out of at least 101 and maybe even 103. But maybe worth reading the text books anyway because some questions have to be answered the ASA way
+1
Harbor Sailboats are top notch. Their boats are well maintained… (and actually many new - they just replaced their entire fleet of Catalina 22’s within the last 2 years.) They have a whole fleet of larger charter boats available. 101 is taught on the C22’s (excellent training boat). 103 and up are taught on progressively larger boats. All that I have sailed over many years were in good shape. Instructors have all been good. There are real nice hotels within walking distance, or nice - but not as expensive just off the “Island” - 1.5 miles away. Remember - winter is a relative concept in San Diego. We sail year round, and I can’t count the number of “Winter” days I’ve sailed where it was in the mid-70’s!!
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Old 04-12-2022, 03:56   #6
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Re: Best ASA certification schools in the USA

I did my ASA with sunsail in yampa bay. Very good a few years ago now !!!
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Old 04-12-2022, 05:27   #7
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Re: Best ASA certification schools in the USA

water sailing">Blue water sailing school out of Ft lauderdale Fl and we did the ASA classes in St Thomas Virgan Island. It was a well worth the money.
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Old 04-12-2022, 13:28   #8
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Re: Best ASA certification schools in the USA

I can speak for Club Nautique in San Francisco Bay where I was an instructor for many years. They use Colgate 26s for BK, which are purpose built boats and very responsive. Pete Nemorovski and Paul Church are quality instructors. The only concern with winter classes, as someone else noted, is the weather. It could be raining (we need it) or the wind may be light and variable. Certification is not ASA; it is US Sailing, no practical difference.
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Old 04-12-2022, 15:54   #9
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Re: Best ASA certification schools in the USA

As an alternative, you might consider RYA certification.
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Old 04-12-2022, 16:01   #10
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Re: Best ASA certification schools in the USA

Is it possible in the United States or Mexico? It would be great.
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Old 04-12-2022, 16:18   #11
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Re: Best ASA certification schools in the USA

I can recommend LTD Sailing in Grenada. Not in the US of course but the US schools I looked into didn’t offer as much hands on boat time as LTD and/or not as ideal sailing conditions. We did ASA 101,103, and 104 last February and thought it was a great experience.
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Old 04-12-2022, 17:05   #12
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Re: Best ASA certification schools in the USA

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Is it possible in the United States or Mexico? It would be great.
There are a couple of RYA schools in the US. I don't know anything about them, they just showed up in a web search.
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Old 05-12-2022, 04:51   #13
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Best ASA certification schools in the USA

For Entry level training in my view ASA is better then RYA. BETTER progression . If YM is your goal RYA is the route especially for commercial endorsement
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Old 05-12-2022, 05:29   #14
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Re: Best ASA certification schools in the USA

As Leecea noted, your experience is a combination of the instructor and your attitude. Instructors are normally private contractors that the school allows to teach on their boats, but a good school evaluates their instructors carefully as their reputation is on the line. I've had most of the courses (except passage making) from four different schools and can recommend Blue Water in Ft. Lauderdale and Bahamas (six years ago), but who knows what they are like now.

As far as attitude, I've seen some folks attend these courses thinking they were going on a boat ride or sailing vacation; they did not enjoy the course. It's really a class conducted on a sailboat, and you will be reading and doing practical stuff for at least six or seven hours daily, with or without classmates. If you did not do the pre-reading (highly suggested), you will spend your evenings reading for the test at the end, rather than enjoying that second drink in the cockpit.

As noted above, most schools will allow you to test-out of a certificate for the testing fee (typically $100), and the ASA series has pre-requisites, so you cannot take the 104 course without having passed 101 and 103. If you know how to sail and what to call things, then 101 (largely a vocabulary and beginning sailing course) will bore you to tears and you should definitely test-out. One of the most overlooked courses that is actually self-study with a proctored test is coastal navigation (105), which is the primer on ded reckoning and a quick overview of all navigation.
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Old 05-12-2022, 08:05   #15
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Re: Best ASA certification schools in the USA

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As noted above, most schools will allow you to test-out of a certificate for the testing fee (typically $100), and the ASA series has pre-requisites, so you cannot take the 104 course without having passed 101 and 103. If you know how to sail and what to call things, then 101 (largely a vocabulary and beginning sailing course) will bore you to tears and you should definitely test-out. One of the most overlooked courses that is actually self-study with a proctored test is coastal navigation (105), which is the primer on ded reckoning and a quick overview of all navigation.
I took 103 twice.

After I took 101, I took 103 at a different school, then the only 104 I could find was offered as a 103-104 combined.

I took 105 because it was a prereq for 106, then COVID hit and I never took 106.

I may, someday. It sounds like a very interesting class.
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