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Old 02-07-2019, 09:14   #1
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Building sailing experience

Looking for advice on weeklong sailing courses on the West Coast of the US.

I have taken ASA 101-104 and done a week-long bareboat charter in the BVI's with just myself and my wife onboard. During that bareboat charter I came to realize that I simply needed more experience to feel comfortable. Especially with docking / anchoring and sailing in weather.

I live in interior Alaska. (Approximately 400 miles to the coast) I'm hoping to find something like a week-long course on the west coast of the US. I'm more concerned about gaining experience where i'm lacking than gaining specific ASA certifications.

I've seen San Juan sailing out of Bellingham offers 7 and 10 day courses but they have limited availability. Does anyone know of any other weeklong or so courses that could offer what i'm looking for? Or maybe I just need to pursue a different route to gain experience. (Buying my own boat isn't practical at the moment)

Thanks in advance
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Old 02-07-2019, 10:48   #2
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Re: Building sailing experience

Hi Steve, I don't know of any courses like that near me hear in SoCal but you might check out this link to Lat. 38:
and check their ads and crew wanted section. What I'd recommend is that someone here on CF, who knows a good delivery skipper on the west coast, can get you in touch with him/her. (I know a good one but he's retired from delivering) Then if you can get on a delivery from north to south (which is less demanding than south to north), during the summer or fall, that could be a good way to get some sea time and really learn a lot. To me that would be much smarter than trying to sign on with an owner looking for crew, unless you REALLY know the qualifications of the skipper or owner and you know the boat is in really good shape. (It is just as important, if not more important, for potential crew to interview a skipper. And a good skipper will want to interview you too, and an experienced skipper will probably be able to tell in less than two minutes if you are a good candidate.) Do you know how prone you are to sea-sickness? Are you the type that stays calm in the face of adversity or discomfort? those are two good certifications to have Good luck to you!

Welcome aboard, by the way.
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Old 02-07-2019, 11:19   #3
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Re: Building sailing experience

Thanks for the reply Don, you bring alot of good points across and thanks for the welcome (I've been lurking these posts for years). I was looking for a weeklong course rather than a delivery simply because I assumed doing a delivery would be streamlined more towards getting boat from A to B, meaning not alot of sail / course changes and limited anchoring docking practice. I have also been wary about joining a private owner for delivery due to the great unknown of boat condition / skipper experience like you mentioned. I have not experienced sea sickness yet in my sailing experience or while offshore fishing in Alaska but i'm not saying I would be immune to it.

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Old 02-07-2019, 11:32   #4
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Re: Building sailing experience

Experience requires time at it, and you are 400 miles away. You say that you have/can handle a bareboat charter. How about one in which you and your wife concentrate on practice? Docking, anchoring, coming about, changing sails, short leg navigation? That's what we did with our own boat when I was about 40 years rusty and my wife had never bee off shore. Most rental places have a skipper to check out new renters, as well.

Think about the navy and submarines full of 19 year-old sailors who can kill everyone on boat with a mistake. What does the skipper do? Drill, drill, drill.
Never let anything mechanical know that you are in a hurry.
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Old 02-07-2019, 11:35   #5
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Re: Building sailing experience

Are there any lakes you can sail on in your vicinity, or maybe a 400 mile drive is not outrageous for a few days sailing on the ocean.

A small trailer-sailer might be worth considering, perhaps not as the only form of experience, but it is a valuable one.
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Old 02-07-2019, 11:40   #6
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Re: Building sailing experience

I've been looking at Newport Beach Sailing in Newport Beach, CA. That's on the coast, but a lot further south. I reached out to them about a 7 day course for my entire family and they have seemed great so far. They're the only ones so far, that have been willing to let my entire family live on the boat for the week. I can't vouch for their credibility, but might be worth looking into.
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Old 02-07-2019, 11:49   #7
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Re: Building sailing experience

Thanks for the replies. Salt to Sea, I'm going to look into that course.

I have a small 14' sailing dinghy that I take to the local lakes here but i'm just looking for more time handling a bigger boat especially with anchoring / docking.

I signed up for some ASA docking cert classes in Seattle earlier this year but they canceled on me last minute so I was left with last minute cancellations of airfare and hotels which costs me a few hundred dollars. I'm still considering looking for another offering of this course.
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Old 02-07-2019, 12:45   #8
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Re: Building sailing experience

Get a small boat that you can move on the car roof and go sailing EVERY WEEKEND (every weekend when the lake is not frozen, that is). A Laser can be trucked on the roof of any car and has a folding mast. Easy.

In the winter get an old dn iceboat, fix it and keep on sailing.

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enc, sail, sailing

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