One of the most important parts of beginning your sailing education is finding the right sailing school. Every individual has different strengths, weaknesses, needs, and ideal learning methods. Likewise, every sailing school has different instructors, courses, boats, and teaching methods. Even a school’s location can affect your sailing education. For example, learning to sail in San Francisco Bay’s heavy winds might scare one student and motivate another. Here at ASA, we want to provide every sailor with a sailing education that conforms to their needs and inspires them to continue sailing. We know this for sure: you know yourself, and we know sailing. So it’s up to you to determine where you will be happiest and learn the most.
Aside from perusing each sailing school’s website, the best way you can determine what school is the best fit is by calling them. It might seem a little old fashioned to the younger generation, but by talking to a human being you will be able to get all your questions answered and get a real feel for the school. You are essentially interviewing each school for the opportunity to teach you how to sail. That’s one of the huge benefits of learning to sail with ASA… We have so many schools that you always have a choice!
Here are some tips for how to effectively interview a sailing school:
- Ask what courses are offered. This is the most important piece of information!
- Ask about specialty courses. Some schools have destination courses, courses for couples, all-female courses, racing courses, and many others.
- See if the school offers courses at times that fit into your schedule.
- Ask about private classes and group lessons. Which do they recommend and why?
- Ask about instructors. Some people learn best from peers, others from older mentors, and some don’t have a preference. Figure out which category you fall into and find an instructor who will help you grow as a sailor!
- Inquire about the student demographic. Are they similar to you? Does it matter to you?
- Take note of how the person on the other end of the line reacts to your questions. Are you looking for a basic, clear sailing education or a carefree, fun one? Their tone of voice can tell you a lot about how the school operates and what instructors, students, and administrators are like.
- If you’re still stuck between a few schools and can’t make up your mind, visit them!