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.

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