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Sailing schooling

Aug 3, 2012
2,517
Performance Cruising Telstar 28 302 Watkins Glen
Also, I would say do not take courses til you have a boat to sail when you are done with the courses. Otherwise, your learning will stagnate. I would guess most of us came up through dinghys and small boats where we could learn the balance and effects of trim by the seats of our pants.
 
Jan 19, 2010
6,665
Hunter 26 Lake Martin AL
Also, I would say do not take courses til you have a boat to sail when you are done with the courses. Otherwise, your learning will stagnate. I would guess most of us came up through dinghys and small boats where we could learn the balance and effects of trim by the seats of our pants.
:plus:
 
May 17, 2004
1,951
Other Catalina 30 Tucson, AZ
Hey Don...
In 1978 I tried to 'teach' myself out of a nasty slice on the golf course.
In 1979 I bought SV Intuition!
I don't slice anymore, except onions that is.
Now I sail.
:cowbell::laugh:
ggrizzard: I had the same problem with a hook. I over compensated and it turned into a slice because I didn't know how to correct the problem. If I did I wouldn't hook/slice. My wife suggested I visit the golf pro, which I did. He watched me hit 5 balls and corrected the problem plus a couple of other bad habits I was developing -- best time/money I ever spent.
 
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Jan 2, 2017
510
O'Day 322 Lake Pleasant
I’m a big fan of ASA 101, 103 & 104. To quote Donald Rumsfeld, “There are things we do not know we don't know.” Those courses help a lot with that.
 
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Aug 30, 2018
62
SouthCoast 26 The Boat Denver CO
I feel I wasn't quite clear in the first post.

We do have a boat:https://forums.sailboatowners.com/index.php?threads/south-coast-26-build-and-sailing-trip-thread.193446/
And we have been learning the joys of boat ownership and sailing as much as we can.

I do not expect a school to be a miracle shot in the arm of knowledge and be able to walk out of the class like I have lived aboard since I was a small child and sailed the 7 seas my entire life. I went to school to be a automotive technician. I did not leave that school a master technician (well, technically I did since I passed all my ASE tests before I left). I am a firm believer in the rule of 10,000. That being if you want to be at a solid journeyman skill level knocking on the door of master you need at 10,000 hours of hands on doing that thing before you really get to that point. I tell that to the technicians I hire at my shop who are apprentices, you have book knowledge but you need the hands on to back that up and re-enforce that knowledge. 10,000 hours equates to just under 5 years of 40 hr work weeks. I am not looking for a shot in the arm to get me there. Just more knowledge base to help grow us.

And maybe in a decade or two from now I will post a pic of me sailing a ship in high seas calmly drinking a cup of coffee and not spilling a drop.
 
Jan 11, 2014
4,150
Sabre 362 113 Fair Haven, NY
I feel I wasn't quite clear in the first post.

We do have a boat:https://forums.sailboatowners.com/index.php?threads/south-coast-26-build-and-sailing-trip-thread.193446/
And we have been learning the joys of boat ownership and sailing as much as we can.

I do not expect a school to be a miracle shot in the arm of knowledge and be able to walk out of the class like I have lived aboard since I was a small child and sailed the 7 seas my entire life. I went to school to be a automotive technician. I did not leave that school a master technician (well, technically I did since I passed all my ASE tests before I left). I am a firm believer in the rule of 10,000. That being if you want to be at a solid journeyman skill level knocking on the door of master you need at 10,000 hours of hands on doing that thing before you really get to that point. I tell that to the technicians I hire at my shop who are apprentices, you have book knowledge but you need the hands on to back that up and re-enforce that knowledge. 10,000 hours equates to just under 5 years of 40 hr work weeks. I am not looking for a shot in the arm to get me there. Just more knowledge base to help grow us.

And maybe in a decade or two from now I will post a pic of me sailing a ship in high seas calmly drinking a cup of coffee and not spilling a drop.
Over the past couple of years I have been spending some time with fresh out of the box school psychologists who are technically competent, but have not learned how to be a psychologist in a large school district, much as when you began your career as a Master Technician. Sailing is similar.

Time spent on the tiller will lead you to questions. Then go find the answers to those questions, ask more experienced sailors, read, watch videos, post questions here. Thinking about a cruising life style? Start with some weekend trips, make your best guess about what to bring and then ask the questions that will inevitably arise. Join a sailing club and listen to the stories, there is a wealth of knowledge there. Read first person books about cruising, watch YouTube videos.

When learning anything, distributed practice over time is the most effective way of learning and retaining. Three or four day scripted sailing courses are like cramming for a final exam, the student is flooded with information and little of it is retained.

An important life skill is knowing how one learns. Some folks need highly structured learning environments, others take a more experiential approach (please forgive the educator speak). We know a lot about learning and retention. When learning is meaningful we remember, when learning is connected to prior knowledge it is remembered, when learning occurs in short segments over long time frames it is remembered. Sailing 1 hour a week for 10 weeks will teach you more and you will remember more than sailing 4 hours a day for 5 days. The human brain can learn a lot, when delivered in small doses over time, not so much with large doses of information in a short period of time.

Start asking questions and seeking answers. The more you own your own learning, the wider and deeper your knowledge will become.
 
May 17, 2004
1,951
Other Catalina 30 Tucson, AZ
After many years of driving and racing jet boats I decided to get back into sailing and bought a MacGregor 22 at Lake Havasu, AZ. The first thing that happened was I realized I didn't know how to sail it. When I returned to So Ca I sought out the toughest sailing school I could find. It wasn't easy and took some time. I visited schools, talked to instructors and students. I settled on Newport sailing School in Newport Beach, Ca (unfortunately they're no longer in business - the owner died). I took every class they offered. Then came final exam day. There were 3 check out instructors - 2 would have passed me. I picked the toughest instructor - he was a tough old bird from Norway who had spent his life on boats. I picked him because a man 'has to know his limitations". Boat handling, docking etc went off without a hitch. Then came the sailing exam. After 10 minutes he told me I had no idea what I was doing and was just guessing, which I was and he failed me. I then hired him to teach me how to sail on my boat. He "turned the lights on" for me and provided me with a foundation to build on.

Just because someone calls themselves a sailing instructor doesn't mean they are good at it. There are good instructors and bad ones just like with everything in life.The trick is to find one that it a good communicator and has the knowledge to back it up

One charter company/sailing school I worked with in So Ca had contacted me to help with a problem they were having -- students were beating the crap out of their boats and breaking stuff. My first recommendation was to improve the quality of their teaching. Their emphasis was to get students into charter as quickly as possible because it's a business and that's where the money is. This charter company was one I had rejected as a school years before because the manager told me that after 4 lessons I be qualified to take a 30' boat to Catalina -- sure I would in his dreams!! Anyway, my seminars reduced their damage to near zero. Then the manager decided I should speed things up even though they were making money on the seminar and "on the water" sessions. That was my last day with them.
 
Nov 30, 2015
1,166
Hunter 1978 H30 Cherubini Treman Marina, Ithaca, NY
I rarely believe everything that I read on the internet, but I think that this link to the NauticEd blog may provide some secondary insight into the relationship between certification factories and Bareboat charter companies. I truly believe that NauticEd has the advantage over ASA certs, where someone wants a family/friends vacation on a big boat in the Caribbean.

http://www.nauticed.org/sailing-blog/what-is-the-biggest-lie-in-sailing/

Do any of you folks have a preference to offer a recommendation to @tmleadr03 ?:cool:
 
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Nov 8, 2010
10,586
Beneteau First 36.7 & 260 Minneapolis MN & Bayfield WI
No one has mentioned the Coast Guard courses. The Coast Guard offers a wide range of courses that cover a huge range of subjects, many you will not need unless you plan to become a professional. There is the so called 6 pack certification that gives you license to carry 6 paying customers. Quite sure that will also give you the required documentation to rent charter boats, but I have never chartered so I don't know first hand.
USCG certs (like the 6-pax) will usually not work as qualification for charters and the like because (perversely) there is ZERO assessed practical skill. You can get one, and nobody has seen you sail, dock, gybe or do a MOB retrieval.
 
Nov 8, 2010
10,586
Beneteau First 36.7 & 260 Minneapolis MN & Bayfield WI
I rarely believe everything that I read on the internet, but I think that this link to the NauticEd blog may provide some secondary insight into the relationship between certification factories and Bareboat charter companies. I truly believe that NauticEd has the advantage of ASA certs, where someone wants a family/friends vacation on a big boat in the Caribbean.

http://www.nauticed.org/sailing-blog/what-is-the-biggest-lie-in-sailing/

Do any of you folks have a preference to offer a recommendation to @tmleadr03 ?:cool:
I got my RYA Day Skipper and ICC through NauticEd. Because I charter in Greece and also sail world-wide, it was an excellent option for me. Their on-line learning site is very good, as was the RYA evaluator they lined up and brought over the the USA to do the eval. I did a writeup on my blog here.

http://rarerarebird.blogspot.com/2017/03/getting-international-certificate-of.html
 
Oct 30, 2017
153
Catalina c 27 Long Monday Lake Pueblo
TeamLeadr03,

I am in a similar boat (so to speak), we have a catalina 27 on lake pueblo, I feel that I have learned a lot in the last year and a half of ownership. (last year I sailed over 70 days)

my wife and I are booked for a private liveaboard lesson down in the Keys this winter. When I called we talked to the instructor, I told here that I was not concerned with the certifications as such. What I wanted out of the lesson was to focus on things that we do not get to deal with on a lake in Colorado.
Docking... we do it every weekend and 95% of the time do it with style, but I still want to work on it with a bigger boat.
Tacking and gybing... being lake sailors in Colorado I imagine we doing it more than most. I feel great here but am open to input always. But not necessarily where I want to focus.
Reefing... yeah it is nothing for our lake to have winds in the 20-30's, we hit over 100 earlier this year (luckily no one was out) but we reef all the time.
we anchor out in the lake... but with out currents it is just wind that we have to worry about (well and other boaters)

We really want to focus on the things we don't know (as was posted earlier, sometimes you don't know what you don't know), As well as things we cannot do on the lake.

Now I am not in anyway insinuating that I know all I can on a lake. But my point was that we don't want the focus to be the certifications but the knowledge that will make the wife and myself better sailors.

We still read the books for 101 and 103 Nothing new in either of those, 104 was more informative. If certification works fine, but not the focus for me.



If you ever want to sail pueblo let me know (it's kinda a secret spot here in Colorado)
 
Jan 11, 2014
4,150
Sabre 362 113 Fair Haven, NY
He who knows not and knows not that he knows not is a fool; avoid him.
He who knows not and knows that he knows not is a student; teach him.
He who knows and knows not that he knows is asleep; wake him.
He who knows and knows that he knows is a wise man; follow him.


From http://www.xenodochy.org/ex/quotes/knowsnot.html


The NauticEd programs look promising. They are reasonably priced, focus on theory, and allow the student to test out of a level. The blog post cited earlier also suggests that these folks have spent some time with educators and learning how people learn.
 
Jan 19, 2010
6,665
Hunter 26 Lake Martin AL
He who knows not and knows not that he knows not is a fool; avoid him.
He who knows not and knows that he knows not is a student; teach him.
He who knows and knows not that he knows is asleep; wake him.
He who knows and knows that he knows is a wise man; follow him.


From http://www.xenodochy.org/ex/quotes/knowsnot.html


The NauticEd programs look promising. They are reasonably priced, focus on theory, and allow the student to test out of a level. The blog post cited earlier also suggests that these folks have spent some time with educators and learning how people learn.
There is a nautical tongue twister thread open right now... this would be a good one to add.
 
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Jun 4, 2009
3,232
Pearson 530 Admiralty Bay, Bequia SVG
[QUOTE="Don Guillette, post: 1547338, member: 74293

Here's the problem with learning to sail a boat over 30' by yourself. There are 8 sail trim controls for the main and 6 for the jib and they all have to work together for 100% efficiency. Then there's trim sequence and the sail trim adjustment changes for each point of sail and wind condition and much more. Anyone who tells the average beginner sailor he can learn all this stuff by themselves is talking through his or her hat.[/QUOTE]
I don't know many people who have actually "learned to sail" on the boat you describe above. I think learning to sail is best done in a dinghy, the simplest boat one can find. My wife's first-ever sail was Newport to Bermuda and we sailed a 53 footer together for a number of years before I borrowed a dink from the Bequia Youth Sailing Center and turned her loose, with me in the Zodiac.
She had done plenty of overnight watches and trimmed every sail on the 53 footer, but she wasn't in that dink for 2 minutes before she turned it over! One more capsize and she was fine, but every youth sailing operation I'm aware of uses boats like Omnis to begin the process. It's easy enough to learn to pull strings and things, but until one sails something under 16 feet or so, it's just a matter of mechanics, not feel. I believe all the world's best sailors learned their craft in very small boats. If one wants to learn racing tactics, then IMO, crewing is better than schooling.
 
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Jun 29, 2014
335
S2 7.3 Fond du Lac
It's easy enough to learn to pull strings and things, but until one sails something under 16 feet or so, it's just a matter of mechanics, not feel.
This is so true. In my experience Dingy sailors seem to have a feel for what the boat is going to do, even on larger boats. Folks who have only sailed larger keel boats tend to sail by rote (if that happens, then I do this, etc..)instead of feel, which by no means make them incompetent, they just have a different approach.
 
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Jun 21, 2004
1,234
Beneteau 343 Slidell, LA
[QUOTE="dlochner, post: 1547538, member: 123499"
The NauticEd programs look promising. They are reasonably priced, focus on theory, and allow the student to test out of a level.[/QUOTE]

I have taken a few nautic Ed courses online just for the hell of it. They are not bad if you’ve got sailing experience; otherwise you may as well buy a how to book and read it . Nautic Ed teaches theory; however, they do not teach how to apply it as there is no on water component....that’s a big problem for beginners. On the other hand, ASA courses not only present the theoretical aspects of sailing they also have you apply those concepts on a boat and good instructors make you repeat the on water experiences until you get it right. Does that make you a proficient sailor; absolutely not. However, ASA is far superior to taking an online course. ASA provides a decent foundation to expand your knowledge & gain experience under the guidance of qualified coaches. Profiency is the result of mastering theory and lots of time at the helm. For those of you who are negative about formal courses that provide certification, would you advocate that teenagers teach themselves to drive, individuals teach themselves to fly, scuba dive, etc? Of course not; and, sailing is no different. There are too many on the water who have taught themselves to sail, power boat, jet ski, etc who don’t have a clue about rules of the road, boating courtesy, and how to handle a boat proficiently. Boating Education including theory & practical on water experiences make for smarter and more competent boaters. Those individuals who have the desire & inspiration to expand their knowledge and experience over a lifetime are the ones who become real mariners.
 
Jan 11, 2014
4,150
Sabre 362 113 Fair Haven, NY
For those of you who are negative about formal courses that provide certification, would you advocate that teenagers teach themselves to drive, individuals teach themselves to fly, scuba dive, etc? Of course not; and, sailing is no different. There are too many on the water who have taught themselves to sail, power boat, jet ski, etc who don’t have a clue about rules of the road, boating courtesy, and how to handle a boat proficiently. Boating Education including theory & practical on water experiences make for smarter and more competent boaters. Those individuals who have the desire & inspiration to expand their knowledge and experience over a lifetime are the ones who become real mariners.
So, you haven't driven around Boston lately, have you? I don't think any one there took a Driver's Ed course or bothered with learning the rules of the road. Turn signals? Totally optional. Speed limits? Just guidelines to ignore. :(

Seriously though, learning to sail from a book or on one's own could be an extremely frustrating process. Whether the instruction comes from a friend or from a sailing school matters less than getting off on the right tack.

My main objection to the Certification courses stems not from an objection to formal coursework, rather it is the marketing hype that goes along with the programs. The word certified implies meeting some accepted standard established by a third party. The USDA has established standards for Certified Organic foods, state education departments establish certification standards for teachers and other educational professions, boating safety courses required by states must meet certain standards established by the state.

So, what does an ASA 101 certification mean? Let's look at their website:

Earning an ASA certification will become one of your prized accomplishments. Not only does it evidence your new sailing ability to the world, it gives you the confidence to maximize your experience. Visit an ASA school to learn more about how a friendly professional ASA certified instructor can help you accomplish your dreams.
The first 2 sentences are just puffery, basically it says you get nothing in return for your hard earned money, except a certificate to hang on an ego wall. The last sentence is telling, essentially it says give us your money to get a certification that we developed and is taught by people we certified, who paid us money to get certified to get a job taking your money to earn a certification that we developed based on the standards we developed to sell you a piece of paper. ASA sets the standards for itself and profits from selling a piece of paper that is meaningful only because ASA says it is meaningful. That is a scam.

Contrast the ASA business model with US Sailing's certification model. US Sailing sets standards for different courses and levels and sell related instructional materials, however, most if not all US Sailing instructional programs are run by yacht clubs and other local organizations. US Sailing derives no profit from teaching sailing and handing out self-certified certificates. US Sailing provides a third party certification program for schools run by other organizations, while they set the standards, US Sailing does not directly profit from setting those standards.

I've already been accused of getting on a soapbox, so I should probably step down off the soapbox I"m on now. :)

If you are a person who learns best in classroom or under the tutelage of an instructor, then find a good instructor or take a class from an organization where profit is not the motive. Local sailing clubs and organizations like the Power Squadron and USCG Auxiliary offer courses. Or take a course that leads to a meaningful certificate from an independent third party from an honest for profit business, like NauticEd or the the Colgate Schools. At its core ASA is a self-dealing profit making business selling misleading pieces of paper.