• Mobile App For Android Now Online!

    Download it here. The app is searchable in the Google Play Store under Sailboat Owners.

    Sorry iPhone/iPad users, we are still waiting on Apple. :(

    Click the X in the upper right corner to make this go away

Let’s start a conversation about ASA 101, etc. is it helping or hurting?

Joe

.
Jun 1, 2004
7,111
Catalina 27 Mission Bay, San Diego
If you want to learn to sail, start on dinghies at local schools. Studying stuff online or from books doesn't teach you reaction, balance or motion... when you're in a small boat you feel everything through the tiller and boat's motion.... wind, water, and your actions, get immediate reaction.
Once you've experience those feelings... it will make sense to approach sailing more academically...
 
Nov 8, 2007
1,319
Hunter 27_75-84 Sandusky Harbor Marina, Ohio
First, there is no way a reasonably good sailing course will “hurt” the sport. Is certainly one good way to get started. Another is to find a yacht club, and hang out there. Volunteer to crew in races. Offer to help Out in any way you can.

My Dad and I learned to sail by building a little Moth scow, reading a book, then taking the boat out to a local lake and turning it over until we learned to sail it. I turned down the chance to “frostbite” with a college room-mate on Long Island Sound in the winter. That was stupid, because Pete turned out to be the college national champ dinghy sailor his senior year. I learned about keel boats, jibs, and spinnakers taking my wife out on Narragansett Bay in Rhodes 19’s when I was in Navy OCS in Newport. At the same time, the Navy was teaching me docking, piloting, and navigation.. I really learned the finer points of sailing racing a Sunfish in the Key West Naval Sailing Association over the 2+ years I was stationed there. When we bought Lady Lillie in 2000, I paid an ASA instructor for a day of tutoring that focused on safety and systems/checklists, since I already knew how to set and trim a sail. I am still learning to improve my skills mostly from this site, and by reviewing things that happen cruising in Lady Lillie with the Admiral, my wonderful wife, who has been with me since the Moth.

The key is that I loved sailing the Moth, then I took advantage of opportunities that came my way. Still wish that sloth hadn’t kept me away from frost-biting with Pete, though!
 
Jan 19, 2010
605
Catalina 34 Casco Bay
IMO.... The first class that anyone takes should be a general boating course. LEARN the rules of the road first. Understanding what a power squadron teaches will help you anticipate what a power boater might do. Boiled down, sailboats are powerboats when motoring ( into or out of mooring fields, marinas or a lack of wind). Once edified on the Rules of the Road, the sailing courses will fall into place..
 
Nov 8, 2010
11,046
Beneteau First 36.7 & 260 Minneapolis MN & Bayfield WI
I mostly skimmed earlier replies, lots of good thoughts there. I might duplicate some of them.

I look at sailing (skill wise) as a cross somewhere between driving a car and flying plane. There are skills that have to mastered if you want to be proficient at it, enjoy it, and keep yourself and others safe. Developing skills any activity is done by a combination of knowledge and practice, takes time and is muli-layered. Somethings you simply cannot learn until you have MASTERED a more fundamental skill

Thats why a simply attending a weekend long class could never make you proficient. But it CAN be a solid baseline for more learning. I got that baseline years ago sailing with my parents and family friends. If that is not available to a person, classes are a great way to go.

But I put zero value in someone having a class certification. Its your resume that matters.
 
  • Like
Likes: BigEasy
Sep 15, 2016
498
Catalina 22 Minnesota
There are skills that have to mastered if you want to be proficient at it, enjoy it, and keep yourself and others safe.

Thats why a simply attending a weekend long class could never make you proficient. But it CAN be a solid baseline for more learning. I got that baseline years ago sailing with my parents and family friends. If that is not available to a person, classes are a great way to go.

But I put zero value in someone having a class certification. Its your resume that matters.

I completely agree with your about the classes helping and not putting to much weight in certification. I have worked in the Maritime industry and served under some captains that just leave me shaking my head and also worked under some who leave me in awe of their skills. It is certainly experience that counts which is why the push for more paper cirts (ASA or others) has me wondering if its good or bad.

So on the flip side @Jackdaw since you are part of one of the leading clubs in our part of the country what is your club seeing? Do you see new sailors come with an ASA class or two before buying a boat? Or do you see more people wanting to serve as crew to get some experience before making the call for classes?
 
Feb 26, 2004
21,219
Catalina 34 224 Maple Bay, BC, Canada
I forgot (won't be the first time, but it was pretty long ago: 1983). We bought our first sailboat on SF Bay, an almost new Catalina 22. We did take lessons, four of them. Three on other boats --- 25, 27 & 30 feet. The last one was on OUR boat, and in traditional SF winds. We learned a lot and felt exhilarated on that last sail with a lot more confidence in both ourselves and our boat.
One of the best lessons you can have is one on YOUR boat, if you have one.
Thanks for reminding me. :beer:

Thing is: learning is a process, like almost everything else in life.
 
Last edited:
Nov 8, 2010
11,046
Beneteau First 36.7 & 260 Minneapolis MN & Bayfield WI
I completely agree with your about the classes helping and not putting to much weight in certification. I have worked in the Maritime industry and served under some captains that just leave me shaking my head and also worked under some who leave me in awe of their skills. It is certainly experience that counts which is why the push for more paper cirts (ASA or others) has me wondering if its good or bad.

So on the flip side @Jackdaw since you are part of one of the leading clubs in our part of the country what is your club seeing? Do you see new sailors come with an ASA class or two before buying a boat? Or do you see more people wanting to serve as crew to get some experience before making the call for classes?
Regarding a 'push' for more certs; I really don't see that, except for perhaps emails from the ASA!

I'm guessing that 90% of the the people that do the ASA 1xx series are boat-less people that want to charter. What the brochure does not tell them is really what they are getting is more akin to a driver's 'learners permit', which you must have before actually driving a car (during the day, no highways) with an adult sitting next to you. Building hours, you can't cheat that. And the charter companies require hours.

At both WYC and the AIS, racing is the focus so most owners have a fair amount of experience. Our adjacent community sailing center (Wayzaya Sailing) offers USsailing affiliated instruction, but I know of maybe 2 owners that have done that.

Now with our rapidly growing j70 fleet, there are several new owners who are in way over their heads. First boat for many of them. Some of them don't drive, and some of them shouldn't. But thats a different story!
 
Feb 26, 2004
21,219
Catalina 34 224 Maple Bay, BC, Canada
there are several new owners who are in way over their heads. First boat for many of them. Some of them don't drive, and some of them shouldn't. But thats a different story!
Ah, would love to see some of your quality videos on those guys! :beer: + popcorn to follow...:biggrin::biggrin::biggrin:
 
Nov 8, 2010
11,046
Beneteau First 36.7 & 260 Minneapolis MN & Bayfield WI
Ah, would love to see some of your quality videos on those guys! :beer: + popcorn to follow...:biggrin::biggrin::biggrin:
Sadly no video, but we saw (and heard) this one. Breezy day. J70 downwind gets hit with a puff; driver does not react in time, rounds up and T-bones an upwind Capri 25 with the sprit out! It when right into the cockpit; taking out a winch, a genoa car, stanchion etc.

tbone.jpg
 
Sep 15, 2016
498
Catalina 22 Minnesota
I'm guessing that 90% of the the people that do the ASA 1xx series are boat-less people that want to charter. What the brochure does not tell them is really what they are getting is more akin to a driver's 'learners permit', which you must have before actually driving a car (during the day, no highways) with an adult sitting next to you. Building hours, you can't cheat that. And the charter companies require hours.

That right there about sums up this conversation. Seems that on this forum the consensus is that training is good but nothing will trump experience. Interesting though how my impressions of push for ASA were a bit off. Glad to know many are still joining the sport.

It would be interesting to start a whole different thread about those who are trained but still make mistakes but that's a topic for another day. For this conversation let me finish my part by sharing the video below. This vessel is 165 feet long 5 stories including lower engine and restrooms below the water line and the deck on top. It has a licenced and well trained captain but even the best have their bad days.

Side note this is at least the 3rd time this has happened to this same vessel to my knowledge and each time was a failure in the ability to take the vessel out of gear due to an electronics failure between the wheel house and the engine room. Technology is great until it fails at the most inopportune moments regardless if the vessel is sail or power. Thanks again to everyone for your thoughts.

 
Jan 7, 2014
145
Beneteau 45F5 51551 Port Jefferson
:plus: This.

I don’t think there’s a one size fits all approach to learning sailing. Some people have learned fine in different ways without classes. Some people have taken classes and speak highly of them.

I bought my first boat, an '87 Ericson 32-3, seven years ago. I had never sailed anything more than a sunfish once or twice before that. The PO gave me and my teenage boys a few lessons and off we went. I always, and still do, have a healthy respect for safety. Sure we made mistakes but I never went out in conditions that were beyond my skill set. I always told myself I don't even know what I don't know. We joined a yacht club, started racing (and placing) and cruising and moved on to a bigger boat. I read books, searched the internet ans watched youtube videos and I continue to do that to refine my skills. My wife and I just got back from a 7 day cruise of the Long Island Sound, to Martha's Vineyard and back. I watched the weather, I know my engine, carried spares, and charted the next days route every night. I am not saying the ASA courses are not needed and I do plan on taking one some day but everyone learns differently.