American Sailing Association
Press Releases

ASA releases its latest book, Sailing Made Easy | Zac Sunderland's Record-Breaking Solo Circumnavigation| West Coast National Meeting | Moratorium on New ASA Schools

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Visually Engaging, Easy-to-Understand Book Sets New Standard in Sailing Education


LOS ANGELES – March 16, 2010 – The American Sailing Association (ASA) has announced the release of its latest book, Sailing Made Easy, a highly visual, easy-to-read teaching tool for would-be sailors with little or no prior exposure to the sport. Sailing Made Easy will serve as the new official textbook for the ASA’s Basic Keelboat Sailing Standard course, ASA 101.

Setting a new standard for sailing education materials, Sailing Made Easy was written by a team of expert sailing instructors with more than 150 years of combined sailing experience. It was co-edited by Peter Isler, world famous America’s Cup winning navigator and commentator, and Jeremy McGeary, a 30-year veteran sailing writer and editor. The text closely mirrors the customary sequence in which beginning students are introduced to the theory of sailing, the boat in which they will learn, and the skills they will acquire.

“With its high-quality, detailed illustrations and easy-to-understand sailing lexicon, we expect Sailing Made Easy to help more people discover the joys of sailing,” said Charlie Nobles, executive director of the ASA. “As the leading authority on U.S. sailing instruction, we believe that this is the source book for anyone who is serious about this exciting sport and lifestyle.”

Published in full color and containing world-class sailing photography from photojournalist Bob Grieser, Sailing Made Easy is both a valuable reference book and an attractive “coffee table” read. Other features include a water-resistant cover, an easy-to-follow layout of two-page “spreads” throughout the book that allows for each topic to be covered in entirety without page-flipping, and an extensive glossary of sailing terms in the back. The basic sailing guide also provides Web references to address key sailing issues, such as federal and state boating regulations, as well as sources of weather information.

Sailing Made Easy is the first of two books to replace a single book in use since 1984 for instruction in two different course levels, ASA 101 and 103. With the new book, the ASA will offer one text for each of its seven primary levels of student certification. Updated content reflects advances in sailboat engineering and sailing techniques over nearly three decades.

Sailing Made Easy is currently available for purchase on the ASA Web site ( or by calling the association at 310-822-7171. It will also soon be sold in retail book stores and marine stores. The retail price is $24.95, with discounts given to ASA members, instructors and schools. The new book corresponding to ASA 103, Cruising Made Easy, will be released in the fourth quarter of 2010.

About the American Sailing Association (ASA)
Driven by a clear need for uniform teaching standards and increased access to sailing activities, the American Sailing Association (ASA) has been the leader in U.S. sailing education for nearly three decades. The association has grown to include an international network of more than 300 professionally accredited sailing schools. More than 293,000 students have learned to sail through ASA schools and clubs since 1983. The ASA has strategic partnerships with the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and was instrumental in establishing national education standards through its work on the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators’ Education Committee. The ASA has also consulted with the Department of Transportation and the National Parks Service.

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American Sailing Association Participates, Puts Into Context 17 Year-Old Zac Sunderland's Record-Breaking Solo Sail Around The World


ASA Notes Specifics and Trials & Tribulations of Such an Expedition, Benefits to Sailing Community

Marina Del Rey, Calif, July 16, 2009 — The American Sailing Association (ASA), the nation’s largest sailing association, estimates that fewer than 250 people in contemporary history have been known to “circumnavigate the globe via sailboat, solo.” Nearly three times as many individuals have succeeded in reaching the top of Mt. Everest.

On July 16th, 17 year-old Zac Sunderland of Thousand Oaks, Calif. returned to Marina del Rey to set two world records – as the youngest person to circumnavigate the globe by himself by sailboat, and as the first person to have ever set this record under the age of 18.  The American Sailing Association has officially certified these records at Sunderland’s return.

Sunderland, who left Marina del Rey when he was 16 years old, has encountered experiences and conditions in the past year that few people are in position to appreciate or to comprehend, first-hand.

“Imagine starting this trip at age 16 and doing this alone,” said Charlie Nobles, executive director of the American Sailing Association (ASA). “Consider the patience this voyage entails – people don’t realize that much of the time, you are travelling at a speed under three miles per hour. At times, the wind literally stops – it can be hours, days or weeks until the wind returns and the boat can get moving again. The patience, knowledge and fortitude required for such a journey is immeasurable. And, it’s beyond unusual to find those qualities in someone Zac’s age – this is an age group we associate with all things instantaneous – texting, tweeting at a mile per second.”

“We applaud Zac not only for his great achievement, but also for the attention he brings to the sport of sailing,” Nobles continued. “Learning to sail unlocks the world for those who participate – many of our Affiliates have entirely changed their lifestyles since learning to sail. We say ‘turn your passion into your lifestyle.’ “

The ASA is one of the participating sponsors of Zac Sunderland’s voyage.

Facts at a Glance From the ASA: Context About Solo Circumnavigation and Its Challenges
Some solo circumnavigators make their voyages with limited stops and others make their trip without touching land at all. Zac has made limited stops in his journey.

Challenges / Dangers / Inconveniences:

Falling Overboard: With choppy waters, lessened visibility at night and day-to-day sailing life, it’s always a possibility. On solo circumnavigation, there’s no one to bail you out.
Equipment Failure:
   • The failure of the sail or the rigging can considerably slow or cripple a boat.
   • If the “autohelm” fails, the sailor can go off course while he/she sleeps, eats or takes a break.
• Little or no wind: In many places in the world, the wind diminishes or stops altogether. As a result, the speed of the vessel can drop to about 1 mph or stop entirely. This can continue for days or for more than a week.
Extreme weather: Too much wind and high seas – can damage the boat, especially sails or rigging and can require going without sleep for days to manage/fight the conditions.
Sleep deprivation: In managing the conditions brought on by severe weather, the sailor must take full control of the sailboat – and as a result, may go without sleep for the duration of the bad weather – sometimes, for days.
Injury: Sailing is a physical sport and there is ample opportunity for self-injury while sailing solo – for example, while climbing rigging to make repairs. Also, in high winds or high seas, equipment can be thrown around and the boom can swing at you, hitting you suddenly.
Heat and dehydration: In some parts of the world, the route will encounter extreme temperatures. The sailor is surrounded by water that reflects the sun’s intense rays – dehydration is an ever-present risk.
Pirates: Can be a real risk/consideration in certain parts of the world. Many carry automatic weapons. Zach did encounter pirates on his journey.
Other vessels: A 30-foot boat is no match for an ocean tanker moving at 3-4 times the speed of a small sailboat. You always have to be on the lookout for large vessels that may not see you. And remember, there’s no “night watchman” to stand watch while the solo sailor sleeps.
Navigation error: It’s possible to not always be on top of your “true position.” This can lead to sudden trouble - particularly in cases where land masses with rock may appear quite suddenly – the masses may be hidden above water and collide with/damage the boat under the water.
Serious medical conditions: If you are injured or have a life-threatening medical emergency while you are alone at sea, it could be hours or days before help can arrive.
No showering: A smaller sail boat cannot carry enough fresh water to facilitate showering – so the sailor cleans off by swimming in the ocean, which leaves an ever-present coating of salt.
Boredom/Patience: At their top speed, small, single-hulled sailboats travel at 6-7 mph. Their average speed is 1-2 mph, which isn’t much faster than walking. As a result, it takes weeks or months to cross a major ocean.

Highlights: Circumnavigation Records, Precedents

The Fastest to Circle the Globe:

Record Established on January 20, 2008 – Francis Joyon (France) is the record-holder for the fastest time to sail around the world solo. Shaving nearly two weeks off the time of the previous record holder, Joyon completed his journey in 57 days, 13 hours, 34 minutes, 6 seconds. He departed from/returned to the French city of Brest – looping under South Africa, Australia and Chile along his travels. His craft was a 29-meter, 9-ton, three-hulled boat (trimaran IDEC II). Joyon had also established a previous “fastest” record in 2004, when he became the first man to sail around the world solo in less than 80 days (72 days, 22 hours).

The Youngest to Circle the Globe:

17 year-old Zach Sunderland will become the youngest person to circumnavigate the globe solo by boat when he returns to Marina del Rey, Calif. in early July 2009.  He will also become the first person to have set this record under the age of 18.  His craft - “Intrepid” - is a 36-foot, single-hulled sailboat.

• Zac breaks the previous record, set by Australian David Dicks.  In November 1996, Dicks - at the age of 18 - became the youngest person to circumnavigate the globe solo.  His journey took approximately 9 months.

In-Progress Young Solo Circumnavigators:

• 17 year-old Briton Mike Perham is currently at sea. He left Portsmouth, England on November 15, 2008.

Early Circumnavigation Precedents:

First Expedition to Circumnavigate the Globe – Journey lasted from 1519 to 1522: Ferdinand Magellan’s expedition became the first expedition to circumnavigate the globe (at the request of the Spanish crown). Magellan was killed en route. His second in command, Elcano, completed the journey in 1522.

First to Circumnavigate the Globe “Solo” - Journey lasted from 1895 to 1898: On April 24, 1895, at the age of 51, Captain Joshua Slocum departed Boston in his tiny sloop Spray and sailed around the world single-handed, a passage of 46,000 miles, returning to Newport, Rhode Island on June 27, 1898, the first person to do so. He wrote the classic book, entitled “Sailing Alone Around the World.”

First Solo Non-Stop Circumnavigation of the GlobeJourney lasted from 1968-1969: Achieved by Robin Knox-Johnston.

About the American Sailing Association (ASA)
A proud sponsor of Zac Sunderland’s expedition, the Marina del Rey, Calif.-based American Sailing Association (ASA) is the largest U.S. sailing association. Established 26 years ago, the ASA encompasses an international network of 300 sailing schools in the U.S., Europe, Japan, Central America, Taiwan and China. To date, the ASA has certified more than one quarter of a million students to sail and more than 7,000 instructors to teach. More than 85% of professional sailing schools in the U.S. are ASA Affiliates. The mission of the organization is to teach people to sail safely and to bring the life enhancing benefits of sailing to the public. The ASA encourages sailing enthusiasts to ‘turn your passion into your lifestyle.’

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Media Contact: Susan O’Reilly
Kenton Smith Advertising & PR
Tel: 407-856-6680 Ext. 220

American Sailing Association to Host West Coast National Meeting
in Marina Del Rey from Nov 9-11, 2007

MARINA DEL REY (Aug. 27, 2007) – World-renowned sailor Yoh Aoki, the first Japanese sailor to circumnavigate the globe, will be the keynote speaker at the American Sailing Association’s West Coast National Meeting from Nov. 9-11, 2007 at the Santa Monica Windjammers Yacht Club.

Aoki was just 22 when he sailed a 21-foot boat around the world alone, in a voyage that took three years and two months. While today’s sailors can rely upon the modern technology of GPS systems and satellite phones, Aoki used only a sextant to calculate his position on the water. Today, Aoki is an ASA-affliated instructor and owner of the Aoki Sailing School in Japan.

Owners of ASA-affiliated sailing schools, ASA-certified sailing instructors, sailors and representatives will attend the three-day ASA West Coast Meeting, which will focus on teaching best practices that promote safety and high quality in sailing education. More than 270 professionally accredited schools worldwide are affiliated with ASA, which has established levels of expertise for the operation of sailboats and defined the skills and knowledge required for certification at each level. ASA produces educational courses, training manuals and exams and manages certification programs for sailing students and instructors.

Two new American Sailing Association endorsement courses will make their world debut at the West Coast national meeting. Starpath Navigation founder David Burch will speak about a new ASA weather course, while Captain Tom Tursi, founder and owner of the Maryland School of Sailing, will demonstrate the new ASA Docking Endorsement course.

Well-known experts in several facets of sailing, including weather, navigation, technology, advertising, public relations and web-based marketing, will speak at the ASA West Coast National Meeting, including:

John Connolly and Paul Miller, two nationally recognized experts on crew overboard recovery methods, will hold on-the-water demonstrations and testing to share their knowledge and experience of the best crew overboard recovery methods testing.

Richard Wesson, a leading software developer in the sailing industry, will discuss how to use technology to improve office efficiency for sailing schools and charter companies.

Wanda Kenton Smith, president of Kenton Smith Advertising & Public Relations, an award-winning and leading marine agency, will discuss effective and innovative marketing, public relations and web promotional techniques for sailing school owners.

American Sailing Association Executive Director Charles Nobles said ASA meetings bring together ASA-affiliated sailing school owners and instructors from throughout the West Coast region for a mix of lecture-style seminars and on-thewater practice teaching exercises demonstrating the best methods for teaching children and adults.

“These meetings are a great opportunity for us to continue to work with our ASAaffiliated sailing school instructors to introduce them to new weather and radar courses and to give them strong, easily implemented ideas for building their sailing schools,” said Nobles. “Plus, our members enjoy the chance to meet and learn from one another.”

Nobles said the ASA East Coast National Meeting will be held in Jacksonville, FL, from Jan 18-20, 2008 at the Rudder Club of Jacksonville.

About The American Sailing Association

The American Sailing Association has been the leading authority on sailing instruction and sailing schools in the United States for two decades. With more than 270 professionally accredited schools affiliated with ASA worldwide, the organization has certified more than 232,500 sailing students and nearly 7,000 professional sailing instructors. ASA membership represents 85% of the viable professional sailing schools in the U.S. For further information, contact the American Sailing Association at

For further information, contact the American Sailing Association at Editor’s Note: High-resolution photograph of ASA keynote speaker Yoh Aoki is available.



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Media Contact: Susan O’Reilly
Kenton Smith Advertising & PR
Tel: 407-856-6680 Ext. 220

Focus on Enhanced Quality Control Leads American Sailing Association to
Enact First-Time Moratorium on New ASA Schools

LOS ANGELES – (June 8, 2007) — As part of an enhanced focus on quality control, the American Sailing Association (ASA) will no longer accept applications for new sailing schools, beginning Sept. 15, 2007. For the first time in its 24-year history, ASA is enacting a moratorium on accepting applications for new sailing schools within the United States for at least one year. The moratorium is part of a dedicated effort to continue to improve quality at the 270 professionally accredited sailing schools currently affiliated with ASA worldwide.

ASA’s six-member board of directors unanimously made the moratorium decision at a recent meeting in Marina Del Rey, CA. During this minimum one-year moratorium, ASA will continue to certify instructors and students at schools affiliated with ASA. Schools already accredited with ASA before the Sept. 15 deadline will not be affected.

“We take seriously our mission to continue to improve quality control among our existing schools,” said ASA Executive Director Charlie Nobles. “This moratorium will provide important time to concentrate our efforts on enacting a comprehensive new program of quality control initiatives. By not bringing in new affiliates after September 15, our organization’s staff and resources will be available to fully support these quality control goals.”

ASA’s new online certification system will provide a key component of ASA’s new quality control efforts. The system streamlines the process for instructors to gain certifications for their students. Instead of submitting multiple pages of time-consuming paperwork via mail or fax, ASA’s new online system allows instructors to file qualifying paperwork online.

“Our new system also quickens the time it takes for students to receive their ASA certifications to only a few days after an instructor has submitted the request to ASA online,” said Nobles, who spearheaded the project in collaboration with the ASA board of directors.

 Lewis Melton, owner of Let’s Go Sailing, an ASA-affiliated school in Seabrook on Clear Lake in Galveston Bay, Texas, says the new online system has saved him postage and time. Previously, Melton said he was required to mail in tests from students to ASA headquarters; now he files everything for his students online. “It’s a lot quicker and easier than the previous system,” he said.

Bob Diamond, director of Spinnaker Sailing, an ASA-affiliated school in Redwood, City, CA, in San Francisco Bay, says ASA’s new online system is really easy to use. “I use it and I like it,” he says. “Everything is instant.” He says that he can quickly check on a student’s status and confirm that they’ve earned their ASA certification. Sometimes, he invites students to watch him on the computer as he enters the ASA online database and instantly confirms their certification.

The new system forms the cornerstone of the new quality control system by allowing ASA to e-mail every graduating sailing student a comprehensive customer survey questionnaire. Once completed, the forms are e-mailed back to ASA, allowing staff to identify in real time any practices that do not conform to the organization’s rigorous standards. 

According to Nobles, “The online student feedback system is a substantial improvement over the paper questionnaires students must mail back to the ASA. It will improve both the participation rate among students and the depth of the information gathered. Should we detect a potential problem area, we follow-up with a phone call to any school that merits concern to discuss the situation.”

Nobles urges sailors interested in establishing an ASA-affiliated school to submit their applications before the September 15 moratorium deadline. He said exceptions to the moratorium may be made for applicants starting a school in an area that is underserved and has no other sailing schools nearby or for schools located outside the United States. 

About The American Sailing Association

The American Sailing Association has been the leading authority on sailing instruction and sailing schools in the United States for two decades. With more than 270 professionally accredited schools affiliated with ASA worldwide, the organization has certified more than 232,500 sailing students and nearly 7,000 professional sailing instructors. ASA membership represents 85% of the viable professional sailing schools in the U.S.

ASA is a leader in setting uniform educational teaching standards for sailing schools in America and, increasingly, around the world. The American Sailing Association is the leading body for keelboat certification in the United States. ASA has established a strategic partnership with the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary, and has also consulted with the U.S. Department of Transportation and the National Parks Service.

For further information, contact the American Sailing Association at