Most sailing schools will gladly teach you on your own vessel.
And get them to take you out of the bay into open water
...preferably on a windy and choppy day.
I took ASA
103 (Coastal Cruising) on a 43' sloop
back in March.
I was dreading our class because the weather
sucked. Day 1, it was blowing 20-25kts, gusting 30+, seas 4-6' with occasional 8+'. We had 2 reefs
in the main and a little bit of headsail out and still making 7 knots. This was a big deal for a fair-weather sailor like me.
What did I learn? Reefing in some gnarly conditions. I learned the boat wasn't going to fall over (I was always very conservative with heeling in the past and would never let the boat heel far before easing the sails
or heading up a bit). I learned how to anticipate the wind
gusts and be ready on the helm
. I got to experience weatherhelm unlike anything I had ever experienced and how to adjust the sails
to minimize it. I learned how to heave-to under these conditions.
The next day was blowing almost as hard, but we were in protected waters so sea was not quite as lumpy. We practiced man-over-board under conditions that might actually exist when someone goes over. The instructor said he had never gotten the opportunity to teach MOB
in those conditions...it was a nearly perfect classroom for us.
It was a fantastic experience that I never would have gotten on my own (I would have stayed tied up at the dock
). Those conditions I was dreading turned out to provide the best education I could have gotten. I now have more confidence in my ability, and the boat, to be able to handle it and get home safely if I end up in those conditions.
Enjoy your new boat
, and happy sailing!