Since time immemorial, sailors looking to crew were asked two simple questions: “Can you tie a bowline, and where’s your knife?” Today perhaps we’re a bit more exacting when it comes to choosing who we’ll sail with, but some things never change. A few basic sailing knots are essential for every trip, whether it’s just a jaunt around the lake or an ocean passage.
What sailing knots will you learn in ASA 101, Basic Keelboating?
1. Bowline. (pronounced bo-lin)
This is the granddaddy of them all–a workhorse that never slips or jams, and has been used since ancient times. Your ASA instructor will make sure you have this one down pat, because it’s critical in all sorts of ways on a boat, inlcuding attaching the halyards and sheets to the sails. With a little practice, this knot becomes very easy and quick to tie. Continue reading →
The catamaran is rapidly becoming one of the world’s most popular types of cruising sailboats. For the uninitiated, a catamaran is a boat balanced on two hulls, as opposed to the traditional monohull, and its sleek design
Why the rise in popularity of catamaran sailing? There are a number of reasons. They can feel more spacious, and they don’t heel over with the wind as a monohull does. There’s usually a nice netted area between the hulls to relax and sunbathe in. And on certain points of sail they are much faster than a monohull. (The proof of this is taken to its logical extreme in the AC45 racing catamarans of the America’s Cup series.)
They make great boats for chartering and vacationing because of the ample deck space and stability. On any trip down to the Florida Keys, British Virgin Islands, and throughout the Caribbean, you’ll encounter sun-seekers catamaran sailing in just about every marina and bay…and you’ll probably feel a strong temptation to join them!
However, sailing a catamaran is different from a monohull, and requires its own set of skills and knowledge. They handle differently under power and sail–so it’s crucial to be prepared with catamaran sailing lessons.
What prerequisites do I need? Before completing your Cruising Catamaran cert, you’ll need Basic Keelboat (101), Basic Coastal Cruising (103), and Bareboat Cruising (104). This isn’t a beginning course–this is for people with cruising experience looking to take on the challenge of catamaran sailing.
What will I learn? Everything you need to act as skipper and crew of a 30-50 foot multihull sailboat by day in coastal waters. What does that mean? Well, you’ll learn all the parts of the boat and how to use them, you’ll learn the skills to handle the boat at sea, in heavy weather, and under power. You’ll practice docking the cat, recovering crew overboard, anchoring, and more.
Where can I get the certification? All over the place! More than 20 of our accredited sailing schools offer the ASA 114 cert, and they are spread out across the country and even abroad. Click here and scroll down to the bottom of the page for the complete list!
The wide world of catamaran sailing is waiting for you, and with the ASA cat certification, you’ll be cruising with confidence and in style! So give one of our schools a call, and when you’re anchored and relaxing on deck watching a tropical sunset, you’ll be glad you did.
Sailors often have to patiently wait out the capricious winds, tides, and storms, but there is one sailing ground where the conditions are always perfect: the Internet. ASA offers online sailing lessons to get first-timers, or those who need a refresher, up to speed in advance of an outing on the water!
Of course, getting outside with the wind and waves is always preferable to getting in front of a computer, but ASA’s online sailing lessons can help you prepare for that first trip out, and give you something useful to do when real sailing just isn’t possible! Our online courses are developed by the same expert sailing instructors who create ASA’s internationally recognized certification standards!
Going sailing for the first time can be intimidating. The boat is a foreign environment to most people, full of a lot of strange lingo and unfamiliar equipment. Our e-course, Your First Sail, is designed to kick start your sailing dreams by getting you comfortable with the basic concepts of sailing so that you can feel more confident right off the bat.
Your First Sail is geared especially toward those who have never sailed before, those who have sailed a few times as someone’s guest, those who are getting ready to take a sailing class, and those who just want to be more helpful the next time they’re out on a friend’s boat. It takes about 30-45 minutes to complete, and is full of interactive games, puzzles, and diagrams to keep it fun and help you retain information.
Some of the topics covered include:
What do I wear?
The parts of the boat.
How a sailboat works.
You can get a head start and lay a solid foundation before you ever step foot on a boat! There is no substitute for the hands-on learning of an ASA in-water sailing course, but brushing up on the basics in the comfort of your own home frees you up to get the most out of that experience. That way, you’ll go into it ready to learn and absorb, not intimidated or worrying so much about picking up the vocabulary and fundamental concepts.
After all, the reason many people sail is to experience the rush of freedom and exhilaration that comes from successfully maneuvering the boat on the open water. So take the first step toward that freedom, right here!
On this blog recently we’ve covered what sailing school is like, why you would want to take sailing lessons, and the history of ASA. Now, the question is, how many sailing schools does ASA have, and WHERE ARE THEY?
The answer is: just about everywhere you can find water. (That includes several landlocked states, by the way!) And the more water…the more ASA sailing schools. Want proof? Coastal Living Magazine just published a list of America’s 15 happiest seaside towns, and what do they all have in common? You can find one of our schools in or near every single one, naturally.
If you had to name two states that are really the sailing “capitals” of the United States, it would be hard to go wrong with California and Florida. In Northern California alone, which includes the legendary sailing grounds of the San Francisco Bay, host site of the 2013 America’s Cup, you can find 17 ASA schools. Venture down to sunny SoCal and find another 30 ready to get you out on the water!
As for Florida, you’ll find 40 sailing schools in that great state, stretching from Key Largo, to Miami’s Biscayne Bay, and up to Pensacola on the panhandle. You can learn to sail in the Atlantic Gulf Stream, the eastern Gulf of Mexico, or the northernmost Caribbean.
But what about the rest of the country? Where do the rest of us get to learn to sail? Don’t worry–they aren’t left behind. There are ASA sailing schools in 38 of the 50 states, plus Canada, and we’re expanding all the time. All season long, our sailing students are exploring the Chesapeake Bay, cruising past Ellis Island, sailing the Great Lakes, navigating rivers, and honing their skills in hundreds of other destinations. From the confines of the local lake to the widest oceans, our schools are there.
More than 20 schools in the Caribbean, including the British Virgin Islands, the Bahamas, Puerto Rico, and more.
Asia! 2 schools in China, two in Hong Kong, 3 in Japan, and more in Thailand and Taiwan.
Europe! Israel and Greece, with additional American-based schools teaching courses in the Mediterranean.
Central America, with sailing schools in Mexico, Panama, and Belize.
Wherever you want to go, and however you want to sail, you’ll find an ASA sailing school close at hand and ready to help. So you can shout gybe-ho in Ohio, or learn to trim the “Maine” sheet. Maybe Georgia’s on your mind, or your old Kentucky home. You can go big in Texas, or anchor down in Anchorage. (That’s probably enough cheesy puns to get the message across.) We can’t wait to sail with you!