Category Archives: Instructors

News - ASA Credentials

Latest IQC Graduates

IQC Graduates
Left to right standing are Anal Pal, Alex Athougies, Bob Diamond, Mark Thurber and Darren Gray. Seated are Alexander Ohlgart and John Zolck.

The most recent Instructor Qualification Clinic at Spinnaker Sailing in Redwood City (in the southern part of San Francisco Bay) began last Friday, January 16. Last weekend (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) was the Basic Keelboat Instructor Clinic for the six candidates in shown in the picture above.

The clinic continues another weekend, January 24-25 for BCC and BBC (see complete 2015 IQC Schedule). Mark is continuing to Basic Coastal Cruising on Saturday. Anil and Alexander are continuing all the way through Bareboat Cruising. One more candidate (not in the photo) will be joining us next weekend. Darrell Wooten is already a Basic Coastal Cruising Instructor and will be upgrading to Bareboat Instructor.

If you look closely in the photo you’ll see the shirt Anil is wearing is from ASA St. Martin Flotilla. He’s been a skipper in the Spinnaker flotillas a number of times in Europe and the Caribbean. In April he’s going to be a skipper in our Tahiti flotilla and now as a certified Bareboat instructor.

Alexander is already a German licensed sailor and is the owner of a Beneteau 39 in the Spinnaker fleet. He has also earned his ASA Celestial Navigation certification. Nearly all of the candidates have been sailing and have taken classes at Spinnaker.

Congratulations to all our graduating instructors and good to all those continuing their instructor education.

ASA-Outstanding-Instructor-Dry-Shirt

2014 Outstanding Instructors

ASA’s Outstanding Instructors are selected each year solely as a result of student surveys.  Based on the volume of student feedback received throughout the year, instructors are placed into one of three groups.

The award then goes to the top ten highest average scores in each group.  Considering that there are over two thousand active ASA instructors, this places the Outstanding Instructors in the top 1½% of their peers for quality education as judged by their own customers.

All Outstanding Instructors receive an ASA 1/4 Zip Contrast Collar Dry Shirt including the ASA Logo and moniker “Outstanding Sailing Instructor”, as shown above.

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News - ASA Credentials

2013 Outstanding Instructors

ASA’s Outstanding Instructors are selected each year solely as a result of student surveys. Based on the volume of student feedback received throughout the year, instructors are placed into one of three groups.

The award then goes to the top ten highest average scores in each group.  Considering that there are over two thousand active ASA instructors, this places the Outstanding Instructors in the top 1 ½ % of their peers for quality education as judged by their own customers.

We love our Outstanding Instructors, and so does the crew at Sailor Bags! Special thanks to Sailor Bags for sponsoring this award.

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News - ASA Credentials

2012 Outstanding Instructors

ASA’s Outstanding Instructors are selected each year solely as a result of student surveys.  Based on the volume of student feedback received throughout the year, instructors are placed into one of three groups.

The award then goes to the top ten highest average scores in each group.  Considering that there are over two thousand active ASA instructors, this places the Outstanding Instructors in the top 1½% of their peers for quality education as judged by their own customers.

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News - ASA Credentials

2011 Outstanding Instructors

ASA’s Outstanding Instructors are selected each year solely as a result of student surveys.  Based on the volume of student feedback received throughout the year, instructors are placed into one of three groups.

The award then goes to the top ten highest average scores in each group.  Considering that there are over two thousand active ASA instructors, this places the Outstanding Instructors in the top 1½% of their peers for quality education as judged by their own customers.

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News - ASA Credentials

New discussion forum for ASA instructors on Facebook

asa instructors and membersThe sport and lifestyle of sailing are ever-changing, and ASA instructors, some of the finest sailing teachers in the world, are a great resource to the community and to each other. Now there’s a place online for instructors to quickly and easily talk to each other about strategies, techniques, and the issues of the day.

The brand new ASA Sailing Instructors group on Facebook is the official online meeting place for our qualified instructors. Here you can share documents, including text, articles, photos, and videos. You can also comment on and discuss any topic related to the work or lifestyle of being a sailing instructor.

For example, the first topic of discussion has been Tom Tursi’s article on Overboard Rescue procedures. Click here to contribute your voice to this topic, and to stay abreast of the latest instructor news and chit-chat!

News - ASA Credentials

Seminar for Cruising Couples in Miami

sideways sailingSingle-handers and other brave (but lonely) seafarers tend to get most of the press, but let’s face it, it’s a lot more fun to sail the seas with somebody. Maybe this is something you and your partner have always wanted to do, but the idea of learning everything you need to know leaves you feeling a little bit…sideways.

That’s why ASA is sponsoring the “Cruising Couples” seminar series, presented by Jeff Grossman & Jean Levine of Two Can Sail. They will be holding this immersive, day-long seminar on February 19 at the Miami Boat Show, and it’s a can’t-miss for the couple who has always wanted to charter or cruise together, but needs a bit of advice and encouragement.

Jeff & Jean, along with their crack team of captains, authors, meteorologists, marine surveyors, and ASA instructors, can help you “take the drama out the dream.” The seminar focuses on such varied topics as planning, teamwork, facing your fears, and dealing with nasty weather. The Two Can Sail team has collaborated on a Seminar Companion Guide which each participating couple will receive, in addition to a free pair of tickets to Sunday at the Miami Boat Show. And, equally important, there will be plenty of time for socializing, asking questions, and discussing the topic with the experts and your fellow cruising couples.
green water
These seminars have limited space, and at the time of writing there are ONLY 10 spots for couples remaining! (It is highly recommended that both people attend.) The cost is $275 per couple, but if you’re an ASA member make sure to ask for your $15 discount. If only one person is able to attend, the cost is $150. To register, visit their website here, email them, or call 727-644-7496.

Jeff & Jean will have you “right side up” and fulfilling your sailing dreams!

News - ASA Credentials

2010 Outstanding Instructors

ASA’s Outstanding Instructors are selected each year solely as a result of student surveys.  Based on the volume of student feedback received throughout the year, instructors are placed into one of three groups.

The award then goes to the top ten highest average scores in each group.  Considering that there are over two thousand active ASA instructors, this places the Outstanding Instructors in the top 1½% of their peers for quality education as judged by their own customers.

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News - ASA Credentials

Can You Design a Better Life Jacket?


Ever find yourself fiddling interminably with straps and velcro, or tottering around feeling like the Marshmallow Man from Ghostbusters 2? These may be signs that your life jacket is bulky, uncomfortable, inefficient, and irritating. The Boat U.S. Foundation is offering a $5,000 prize to the person who can make a significant improvement in life jacket design – and we think it would be cool if an ASA member or instructor was the winner.

According to BoatUS, “drownings account for 70% or more of all boating fatalities. Of the people who drown, over 80% were not wearing a life jacket.” They’re interested in changing this statistic by making a life jacket that people actually want to wear, and they’ve identified 4 areas in which they hope to see improvement: Wearability, Reliability, Cost, and Innovation.

Now, ASA members and instructors are people who know a thing or two about safety. A very large part of the sailing lifestyle we all enjoy is avoiding accidents. That’s why we learn the rules of the road, practice man-overboard drills, and wear our life jackets when appropriate (even if we don’t like it). So if this is the kind of project you’d like to sink your teeth into, visit the official competition page to find out more.

You can also check out this SailWorld article on the competition.

If you’re interested, make sure to let us know so that we can keep up to date with your efforts!

News - ASA Credentials

Lessons from American Sailing Week

American Sailing Week, ASA’s annual members’ event, took place on the beaches of Clearwater Beach, Florida, September 10-17. Captain Jean K Levine and Captain Jeff Grossman were the event’s gracious hosts. A week-long party of ASA educators and members with all skill levels, the event is always an excellent and fun place to learn. Member Kerrie Lynn Hartt from Montreal collects some of her favorite lessons taken away the week:

I can’t believe it’s been 1 week since the ASA Sailing Week, and yes its cold here, some 54’F, and I am wearing a winter hat as my body adjusts itself back to the northern climate. So much for getting out my Hobie 14 and sailing, yikes….

I wanted to send my thanks again for a wonderfully interactive, educational and fun sail week. I can honestly say of all the vacations I have taken so far that have had the “all inclusive component,” the ASA sailing week sure beats them all hands down. Also as I reflect on my week’s experiences I wanted to share some “lessons learned” that I retained. I am constantly reminded of the fact that we don’t always know everything and there are ALWAYS new things to learn about sailing, while sailing, and being around like-minded sailors.

Here are some of the key “lessons learned” during my ASA sail week. My thanks to the Captains, instructors and everyone for making my week a memorable one!

1. Captain Bob Morse: For teaching us about rigging and sailing the “Big Fish”, it really was a fun experience. During his “naughty knots” seminar, I learned how to finally remember how to tie a bowline, and, yes, his technique works every time. Thanks also for the reading tip, I will definitely read the book you recommended called “Financial Freedom”…to help me get where I want to be.

2. Captain Dennis Harms: For teaching us about how to stay on course and let the crew trim, which makes it a lot easier on the helmsman. Thanks for your advice and letting us know that certain boats should not cross any ocean, and for pointing out to us that not all boats react the same way in the same conditions. And, yes, there is a “right way to jibe” by ASA standards, and I have video to prove it, Todd was our helmsman that day.

3. Captain Jeff Grossman: He gave great advice on sail instruments and how the better ones do make a difference. Calibrating the depth based on feet from the keel, wow, that makes so much “practical sense” it really should be a standard. Having an iPhone to help fix unexpected last minute rope repairs is a must, otherwise, we would have waited longer than 2 hours before sailing that day!

4. Captain Jean Levine: For showing us that there is a right and wrong way to leave and return to the dock – slip. Keeping the center lines until the very last minute is key and having good communication with both the bow and stern crew is a must. Jumping “on” or “off” the dock is a definite “no, no” and very dangerous. Will have to see what my dad thinks about that huh!! IMPORTANT, never, ever put your hands “through” the helm’s wheel, you could lose it or damage it very unexpectedly – now that’s a keeper. Thanks Jean…..

5. Small boat instructor: Brenda Wempner: “Sailing Made Easy” seminar, thanks for getting me back into small boat sailing! I cannot believe how much fun those little boats are, and dunking, yes please, over and over what a blast that was!! I had so much fun!! I would have never even gone out on a small boat if it wasn’t for you. Thank you, thank you… And I did notice, you really do feel the wind on your face a lot more on a small boat.

6. Captain Dave Amann’s shipmate Pat: for showing me the racing roll technique on the “Big Fish” while racing around “one tree island”, it really made those tacks and jibes faster. Until we meet again. And Captain Dave, thanks for letting us use your Hunter 44. Hope to see you at the races in April, I really can’t wait.

7. “Docking the ins and outs” by Gardner Lloyd at the ASA farewell awards dinner – there are lots of things that can cause us problems when docking, but I like the fact that you recommended that we just wait until the weather is right before making a move. Why struggle when you could just wait. Good common sense to me…thanks for the practical advice.

8. Captain Ken Gibson: Your jolly laughter, enthusiasm, and generosity was greatly appreciated. Hope to sail with you and Cindy again soon.

Thanks to all the wonderful people I met, for sharing your stories, hopes, and sailing dreams with me. Thanks to all the ASA organizers, it was truly the best member’s vacation I have ever attended. Hope to see you all at next year’s event!

For more colorful pictures from American Sailing Week 2010, check out our Flickr stream.