The ASA member’s event aboard the spectacular Arabella in the British Virgin Island got off to a great start. 34 sailors from all over the country boarded the beautiful 165′ Arabella at village Cay in Roadtown Tortola. In the expert hands of Captain John Eginton and first mate Brad sailed to White bay in Jost Van Dyke. It is the home of mesmerizing turquoise waters, white sand beaches and the famous Soggy Dollar bar (credited with inventing the pain killer rum drink). After dinner aboard many went ashore in Great Harbor to experience the famous Foxy’s bar. More adventures to come as the week unfolds. See our gallery of pictures…
There are still a few cabins available from January 18th to 24th, 2015 aboard the luxurious megayacht Arabella! Don’t miss out on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to explore the British Virgin Islands, the best cruising grounds in the world. Arabella is a 157-foot yacht with top-notch features such as teak decks, a jacuzzi, a cushioned sun deck, and a covered aft veranda. There’s no better way to navigate the turquoise seas and consistent winds of the Caribbean. See you there!
Learn more: www.arabellavacations.com/asa/
Booking and information: firstname.lastname@example.org or 310/822-7171 Ext. 30
Lots of people sail the British Virgin Islands every year, but not many get to do it in quite the same style as the 2014 ASA Member’s Event, which took place March 1-8. For a week, our members were treated to an island cruise aboard the luxury yacht Arabella–a 156 foot sailing schooner, complete with 3 masts, 8 sails, a jacuzzi, and 20 guest cabins. Formerly owned by Top Gun star Kelly McGillis, Arabella is a seafaring masterpiece.
As the flagship of ASA affiliate Manhattan Sailing School, Arabella combines the beauty of hands-on sailing with the luxury of a mega-yacht. Through the course of the week, we not only got to enjoy the islands, but were also treated to workshops and master classes led by ASA instructors and Arabella crewmembers. Read on to hear the highlights, and stay tuned to ASA social media, as there may be more opportunities to sail on Arabella in the future!
Leaving Road Town, Tortola, Arabella sailed up to the Baths for the first Caribbean snorkel and swim of the trip. After a dip and some lunch, she sailed downwind to Marina Cay where we went ashore and took a hike up to the top of the island, which affords stunning views over the Sir Francis Drake Channel.
After breakfast on Monday, the crew weighed anchor and sailed for North Sound, home of the famous Bitter End Yacht Club. There they spent a “play day,” with all of Arabella’s considerable complement of water toys available for use. Between kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, snorkeling, swimming, relaxing under a palm tree with a book, and lounging at the Bitter End, there was no shortage of fun to be had. The time at Bitter End was capped off on Tuesday night with the obligatory Pirate Party!
Cooper Island and Jost Van Dyke
Sailing out of North Sound in the morning, Arabella made for Cooper Island, passing the Dog Islands on the way. After lunch and a stop ashore at the Cooper Island Beach Club, we sailed on for Soper’s Hole, where we spent the night. (The Caribbean is home to some of the best place-names in the world, by the way.) Onboard, we were able to experiment with Arabella’s state-of-the-art joystick helm, take advantage of the jacuzzi, and fine-tune our conch-blowing skills.
The next day took Arabella to the famous island of Jost Van Dyke, where we engaged in the Caribbean tradition of having the tender drop everyone off away from the beach and swim to shore. This is how you get your “soggy dollars” for the notorious Soggy Dollar Bar, inventor of the Painkiller cocktail. After an afternoon at the Soggy Dollar, the nighttime belonged to Foxy’s, perhaps the most famous of Caribbean bars.
Due to the previous day’s “festivities,” Friday got off to a leisurely start. Eventually Arabella made her way to the Bight in Norman Island, which has world-class snorkeling, and is also excellent for kayaking and small boat sailing. Dinner that evening was served on board Arabella, in her glorious salon that can seat 48 people. Then it was onshore for one more infamous Caribbean bar, Willie T’s. This floating “food & grog” establishment is known for all kinds of shenanigans, but you know what they say – what happens in the Bight stays in the Bight.
Unfortunately, all things must come to an end, and so on Saturday it was back to Road Town and time to say goodbye. After a spectacular week on board a spectacular boat and in a spectacular setting, the only thing left to do was start plotting how we could do it all again!
One of the big sailing summer kick-offs took place June 15th-22nd, 2012, as the Renaissance Vinoy Resort in St. Petersburg, FL became ASA territory. Members and instructors from around the world descended for a week of celebrating the sailing lifestyle–meeting new friends, enjoying the sunshine, and learning from the best!
With clinics in the mornings, and open dock times every afternoon, there were no shortage of opportunities to get out and sail on Tampa Bay. The boats ranged from the big Leopard 44 catamaran, to Hunters, Catalinas, and Beneateaus, as small as 27 feet and as large as 45. Members got in some great Crew Overboard and Docking practice (including clinics for ladies only) and plenty of time to just handle the boat and enjoy the water.
One of the great assets of being an ASA member is learning from the combined experience of our master instructors! The American Sailing Week schedule was packed with seminars on every topic, including:
- “The Five Step Plan to the Cruising Life”
- “Basic Line Handling (aka, Develop Your Cowboy Skills)”
- “Basic Navigation & Cool Tools”
- And many more!
One of the biggest and most important clinics was on “Safety at Sea,” and covered a broad spectrum of topics, including the different types of emergencies that can occur at sea, how to call for help, and lifesaving techniques, including an inflatable life raft demonstration in the pool. This was a unique chance to try out a life raft and understand how it works BEFORE you need it!
Meanwhile, there were “informal seminars” happening all over the place–at breakfast, poolside, and in the cockpit. The chance to pick the brain of an ASA instructor who has spent decades sailing some of the world’s best cruising grounds was not to be missed!
No gathering of sailors would be complete without some great parties. Aside from daily meals shared at the Vinoy’s fine restaurant or in the local St. Petersburg area, many a cutlass was brandished at the ASA Rooftop Pirate Party, with the skyline of St. Petersburg and the waters of Tampa Bay for a backdrop. And the week ended with a grand awards banquet, a chance to say farewell and thanks for the memories…until next year!
Want to join in on the fun, and attend an ASA event? We have flotillas all around the world, including Croatia, Grenada, and the British Virgin Islands coming up later this year! Click here for our full schedule, and hurry, because spots are filling up fast!
Not an ASA member? It’s easy, and quickly pays for itself through the benefits! Click here to join.
A wise man or woman once said, knowledge is power. Nowhere is this truer than in sailing, where the more you learn, the more worlds of sailing fun are opened up to you.
Like most things in life, the key to success is a good education. Courses from an ASA sailing school are designed to be thorough and enjoyable, and to leave you feeling confident on the boat. Each level expands your comfort zone, beginning with basic boat handling and continuing with coastal cruising and eventually offshore, blue-water sailing! How far you go depends on your goals and dreams as a sailor.
Often the biggest obstacle a new sailor has to overcome is not the weather or the waves, but the feeling of being overwhelmed and not sure of themselves. The more training you have, and the more time you spend on the water, the more your confidence will grow.
Take the example of Karen, who put off learning to sail for years due to uncertainty about her ability, instead telling herself she would do it “someday.” But, Karen says, she realized that “someday may never come, and if I was going to do the things I wanted to do then now was the time. Tomorrow was no guarantee. So I contacted an ASA school in Panama City Beach, FL and signed up for my lessons.”
Karen continues: “Where do I begin to explain what sailing has done for me? When I was sailing, I didn’t think about anything or anyone. No problems, no work, just me and the boat and the water and wind and all of mother nature. I felt one with the boat. I felt like I was home! It put a smile in my heart and on my face. I always want to sail, there is so much to learn and do, I will never be bored.”
Karen told me that getting a quality sailing education “completely changed [her] attitude about life.” She has plans to continue taking ASA courses and is only having more fun as she learns. Stories like these are the reason we do what we do. One of the best things about these courses is that they can be fantastic sailing adventures in themselves. Many of our schools are located in, or teach classes in, the Caribbean and other exotic locales. That means you could combine a wonderful tropical vacation with a chance to make huge strides in your sailing skills! Learn to sail near you, or look at our list of schools outside the U.S. to find out more.
If you want to learn to sail the right way, and have a great time doing it, ASA courses are for you. You can even get started online, with our instructive and fun e-course, Your First Sail. We can’t wait to see you out there on the water!
Attention ASA members – big news! We’re partnering with Harris Connect to produce our first ever Member Publication, complete with photographs, sailing stories, members profiles, and more. Harris will be contacting you with an invitation to participate, so be on the lookout for that. Here are more details:
When you learn to sail with one of our over 300 sailing schools in the United States and around the world, you automatically get a 1 year membership with our Association. Great! But when that year is over, what comes next? Even if you don’t have another sailing course planned for the immediate future, why continue to be an ASA member? The answer comes in three parts:
At just $39/year (or $69 for two years), an ASA membership often pays for itself the first time you sail with it. Members can get discounts on travel costs, chartering, sailing gear, not to mention a free subscription to SAILING Magazine. For the complete list of member benefits, click here.
We’re not just a training program for sailors, we’re a huge network of people who share a passion for the sport and lifestyle. As an ASA member, you’ll have a ton of opportunities to stay connected with the sailing world through our flotillas, events, publications, social media, and more. Our mission is not just to provide the highest quality standard in sailing education, but also to help the sailing community grow and thrive.
3. ASA Is There For You
Your affiliation with ASA and your local sailing school form the backbone of your sailing resume whenever you want to charter a boat, join a racing team, or just borrow somebody’s day-sailer. We’re available to answer your questions, and we have a dedicated Government Liaison who stands up for your rights & interests.
ASA has certified over 835,000 sailors, but we couldn’t exist without our members. So join today and become a part of the most exciting seafaring community in the world!
This is a special guest blog by Captain Jean de Keyser, who led ASA’s 2011 Croatia flotillas and operates Gulfcoast Sailing School, an ASA affiliate in Punta Gorda, FL.
On August 26 crew members from all over the U.S.A. gathered in the Trogir Palace Hotel located just outside of the stunningly beautiful medieval city of Trogir, Croatia.
A spread of Dalmatian specialties consisting of cured ham, local cheeses, salads, wines and delicious bread awaited them during this initial meeting of the first week’s ASA flotilla, the first of many delicious Croatian meals to be had.
ASA members from Florida, California, Connecticut, Oklahoma and Maryland had traveled all the way to this historic part of Europe for some great sailing fun along the Croatian coast on four yachts. Captain Jean De Keyser and First Mate and wife, Mila, gave the sailors their first briefing on what they could expect during this trip and provided lots of interesting information about the itinerary, local islands, marina facilities, docking, administrative procedures in each port and on provisioning during the week.
At around 12:00PM the following day, we made our way to Marina Kastela, a very large and modern charter base where several charter companies operate from. As most charters in Croatia start and end on a Saturday, the base was swarming with people from all over Europe and the U.S. It was like a marine version of the Towers of Babylon where, without a doubt, well over twenty languages could be heard.
The first yachts started leaving the marina at 3:30PM and headed for our first stop, the village of Milna on the island of Brac (pronounced Brasj). Upon our arrival at Milna, our skippers and their crews got their first taste of the Croatian version of Mediterranean mooring. The fact that one of the dockhands of the Milna marina was not very diplomatic made for some tense moments, but Capt. Jean advised the skippers to relax and ignore his yelling, and soon all four yachts were safely ensconced in their berths for the night.
At 6:00 the following morning, we were roused from our deep sleep by the bells of the church across from the basin. After breakfast, a short chart briefing and once we had recovered our boat papers, we set sail for our next destination, the island of Vis.
During the Cold War, when Tito was the communist dictator of Yugoslavia, this island was off-limit to foreigners and non-residents of the island. It was a secret military base and its mountains have countless tunnels in which the armed forces could hide in case of an invasion. Sailing along the coastline of Vis, one can still see many bunkers from where Tito’s forces could lob artillery shells on any would-be invader.
After about four hours of sailing we entered Rogacic Bay and anchored in front of the abandoned submarine base which was featured in the James Bond movie, The World Is Not Enough. Everyone went for a swim or motored with the dinghies inside the submarine tunnel. The waters there are so clear you could see an octopus swim at the bottom.
We had lunch on board of our yachts. Our lunch typically consists of bread, cheese, “prosciut” ham, a salad of lettuce, tomatoes (they are super delicious here!), mozzarella and basil with olive oil and vinegar; all this, of course, generously accompanied by the delicious local wines.
After another refreshing swim, we headed for the port of Luka Vis and, another short sail later, docked across the harbor from the ancient little abbey.
One of the highlights of this itinerary is the dinner in a vineyard, high in the mountains of Vis.
Years ago, we discovered this family owned restaurant where they serve the most unbelievable lamb dish, prepared under the so-called Peka bell. Imagine…. generous portions of lamb, potatoes and tomatoes cooked in a dish covered by a bell on top of which hot ashes are piled. After two hours of slow cooking the food is served, accompanied with lots of bread to soak up the juices and with bottles and bottles of the wines produced in that same vineyard. Bise(Bee-Zay), the owner of this place had us also sample other local delights, like carpaccio of sardines, a variety of cheeses and fried zucchini flowers. Let us not forget the various homemade brandies!
Monday morning the “blue cave” on the island of Bisevo was waiting for us. We had a few hours of exhilarating sailing ahead of us and, one after the other, all boats anchored in the cove of the blue cave.
Suddenly, this 40’ yacht with a Polish flag entered the cove under full power and looking for a place to drop the hook. He decided to try his anchoring skills quite close to our boat which allowed us to see that the skipper was buck naked………. Not a pretty sight. Fortunately he anchored a bit further away and donned a speedo. Still not a pretty sight…….
Soon the dinghies were dropped in the water and we made our way to the blue cave and, of course, we had to swim in the electric blue waters. A magical experience!
Tuesday morning saw us heading towards the island of Hvar. We had some fairly decent winds when leaving, but soon the water became glassy calm and we had to leave a larger carbon footprint behind us. That afternoon the wind picked up again and we tacked our way up the channel while playing chicken to see how close we could get to the cliffs on either side of the channel before shouting “Hard A-lee!”
That night in the glamorous city of Hvar, which has become one of the places for the glitterati to be seen in Europe, we had an evening happy hour onboard Lejla, the ASA yacht of Dr. Kevin from Oklahoma. While enjoying a good drink and some appetizers, we saw this guy walking the docks looking for a doctor. One of his friends had dislocated his shoulder. Fortunately for this friend, we had Dr. Steve from Orlando in our flotilla. Apart from being an experienced sailor, he is a skilled orthopedic surgeon and in no time he reset the shoulder of this young man. Quite a crowd was swarming all over the place when he performed his healing wonder and he got quite a loud applause when the bone popped back in its joint. If he had been a bullfighter in Spain, they would probably have given him the two ears…..
The week was now in full swing and on Wednesday morning we motor-sailed to Korcula. Legend has it this adorable city was the birthplace of Marco Polo. You can still visit his house and climb the attached tower from where you have an impressive view of the city and the surrounding area. Of course, the nearby Marco Polo gift shop will gladly sell you souvenirs bearing his name and likeness. Wandering through the narrow streets you realize that you are walking on cobble stones that are centuries old. If only these walls could speak but, fortunately for me, some of them have been remodeled to accommodate ice cream and gelato shops. Civilization and progress are beautiful things indeed.
Sunrise brought us into our last sailing day of Friday and we sailed our way back to Marina Kastela with a stop in Milna where the skippers got to practice the “Diesel Dance” or “Fuel Waltz”. Before heading back to the marina, all yachts must be refueled and, as there are not that many refueling docks available, skippers must get in line and have to keep a watchful eye on the surrounding yachts while maintaining their position. This requires some deft maneuvering and it results in a few tense moments but, in the end, all of our boats got refueled.
Three of the yachts’ crews opted not to return to Marina Kastela that night. Capt. Dr. Kevin and Capt. Dr. Steve decided to spend a last night in Milna. The boat crewed by ASA’s very own Brenda Wempner and her shipmates decided to head for one of the marinas in Trogir but the lead boat, Ana B, needed to be back in Marina Kastela that night. On the way back, we had a nice last and refreshing swim in a cove outside Milna.
All ASA chartered yachts were in Marina Kastela in time for the check-out on Saturday morning and, before we knew it, the first ASA flotilla week of this year was over. Effusive good byes later all crew members prepared to travel back to the U.S. Only the ASA crew on SV Larisa and Capt. Jean with First Mate Mila stayed on for the second week flotilla.
This has been a wonderful week and we got to know some very special sailors whom we now call Friends. We do hope to sail with them again at some point.
Stay tuned for Part 2!
Thousands entered, but only 5 could win.
We’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who participated in our recent Fan Appreciation Sweepstakes on Facebook. It was our way of thanking those of you who have followed us for a long time, as well as bringing in new people with a passion for sailing. Congratulations to the winners, and we hope that everyone continues to enjoy sharing the best of the sailing lifestyle on our Facebook page.
In case you’re not a fan of our Facebook page yet, here’s an idea of why you should be. Every day we post the best videos, photos, and news from the sailing world. You’ll find everything from informative articles on the art of sailing, to interesting historical anniversaries and great seafaring quotes, to stuff that’s just plain fun. We also love seeing your sailing photos and hearing your sea stories. It’s a great place for sailors from all over the world to talk to each other. So join us by clicking “Like” at the top of the page.
Without further ado, here are the winners of the first ever ASA Fan Appreciation Sweepstakes:
GRAND PRIZE – iPod Touch 8G
Captain John Enders, who sails on S/V Victoria out of Anacortes, WA. Capt. Enders had a sense of humor about his win, saying, “This is great news. I haven’t won anything since I was 13 (about a hundred years ago). It was a 45 of Barry Sadler’s ‘Green Beret’ ballad.” Well, he’ll be listening to Bert Sadler in style on his iPod Touch from now on!
ASA logo sailcloth cooler by Sailor Bags: John Goebel, who says, “Without my ASA certifications I wouldn’t be as good of a sailor as I am and wouldn’t be out on Santa Monica Bay crewing for races all year long!”
Weems & Plath Navigation Kit: Dan Schertner
ASA Logo T-Shirt: Marte Gutierrez
ASA Logo T-Shirt: Seth Goettelman
Once again, congratulations to all of the winners and a profound thanks from ASA to everyone who entered! Fair winds!
Stepping aboard a sailboat for the first time takes courage. The new sailor is entering a floating world where there are new rules, and even, in some cases, a new language. What happens when someone asks you to ease the main sheet, or calls out “helms-a-lee?” Well, you don’t have to be unprepared when that moment comes! Before you hit the water, you can begin to learn to sail online.
The American Sailing Association is taking its dedication to quality sailing education to a new level, launching its eLearning system and the brand new course, Your First Sail.
Who is this course for?
If any one of the following describes you, this course is for you!
- I have never been sailing.
- I’ve been sailing a couple of times as someone’s guest, but I couldn’t tell you the difference between a close tack and a broad reach.
- I’m not interested in taking a sailing class at this time, but I would like to know enough to be helpful on a sailboat.
- I’ve enrolled in a basic sailing class, but I’d like to get a solid head start before my first on-the-water lesson.
After completing this course, you’ll understand how a sailboat works, the common commands used to steer one and some basic sailing terminology. You’ll not only get the most out of your time on the water, but also be able to actively participate in the magic of sailing!
The course is a primer for ASA 101 (Basic Keelboat Sailing), covering topics such as the parts of a boat, wind direction, points of sail, and more. It even addresses what to wear and how to board the boat! Despite its thoroughness, this self-paced course only takes around 30-45 minutes to complete, and is full of interactive diagrams, videos, and pictures to keep the learning fun.
The course has only been live for a couple of days, but rave reviews are already coming in:
“It was extremely informative and I really enjoyed it. I was very impressed with the eCourse; every detail flowed together smoothly. I now feel that the next time I go out with friends sailing I can participate and help now that I know the basics. I learned a great deal in a relatively short time, for a basic course I feel it was GREAT!! Thank you for the opportunity to further my boating education and I look forward to sailing with my friends!” -T.W.
So don’t let yourself or anyone you know miss out on a lifetime of enjoyment in the sport of sailing. Check out Your First Sail, and when you take that first courageous step onto a boat, you’ll be doing it with confidence. Click here to get started!