All posts by Zeke Quezada

5 Spots To Use Your ASA 101 Certification

Not long ago I watched as a pair of newlyweds hired my 12-year-old to teach them how to sail. We were on vacation and my two boys had been zipping across the horizon for over an hour and as they sailed the Hobie Cat back onto the sand the newly married couple negotiated a chartered cruise right on the spot. My son, ever the opportunist, jumped aboard, handed them life vests and explained where the couple would sit. He then had his younger brother give them a gentle push off the shore. Just like that, the couple was on a cruise of the warm waters of the Caribbean with their own private skipper.

I don’t recommend getting on a boat with a 12-year-old that you don’t know.

What you should do is get your own sailing certification. ASA 101 gives you the basic knowledge so that when you are sipping mai tais on a secluded beach and you see a boat for rent you will have the confidence to sail it all on your own.

These are five spots where you will encounter the right amount of wind, the right size boat and the perfect place for you to test out the sailing skills that you gained in ASA 101.

Charles River – Boston
Sit alongside the Charles River in the middle of summer and you’ll see the sailboats darting across from the Longfellow bridge up to the Massachusetts Ave bridge. Community Boating located on the south shore just a few steps from the Hatch Memorial Shell rents boats daily. You can choose from 4-person Cape Cod Keel Mercury and 5-person Rhodes 19 sailboats. Rentals are on a first come first served basis and are available to anyone over the age of 18 with prior sailing experience. Candidates are interviewed by the dock master on duty.

When your sailing day is done make sure to take a walk around the Boston Commons, follow the Freedom Trail or just pop into the Cheers Bar for a selfie at the bar, all are within walking distance to the dock.

Southern California

If you like the ease of setting off within the protected waters of a harbor or marina these spots in Southern California make for an easy day of getting on the water and working your ASA 101 skills. Both offer rentals by the hour and they each are located in protected waters that help you stay focused on keeping your sails full. In San Diego, they also offer larger boats for multi-day cruising for the more experienced sailor who has moved into ASA 103 or ASA 104.

Marina Del Rey

When your sailing day is done in Marina Del Rey venture to the nearby Abbot Kinney neighborhood for posh lunch spots and eclectic shopping options. You can’t miss a stroll through the canals of Venice or a walk along the infamous Venice boardwalk.

San Diego

In San Diego, the Gaslamp quarter is home to a bevy of options that range from romantic dinner spots to high energy gastropubs that feature the regions popular craft beer scene. Also within walking distance from the water is San Diego’s Little Italy that boasts patios alive with diners, plenty of pedestrian-friendly piazzas and Waterfront Park where the view of the bay is almost as good as being on the water.

Turks and Caicos

Push off the sand in Grace Bay and you’ll be hard pressed to keep your eye on the horizon as the clarity of the water creates an optical illusion and you’ll feel like you are sailing along in shallow depths. The shades of blue mixed in with the white sand below make for a feast for the eyes. The wind is dependable and with very little current or swells, the Hobie cats in this area can get moving at an exhilarating speed. All along this tourist corridor, you will find small activities shacks that offer up sailboat rentals by the hour. A few hotels on Grace Bay have their own fleet that are free to use for guests of the hotel. This is not uncommon in the Caribbean from the Bahamas to Barbados.

Lake Champlain Vermont

Your visit to Burlington, Vermont will be enhanced with a few hours on the lake sailing a 23’ Sonar across Burlington Bay. Community Sailing Center rents an assortment of boats from entry level dinghies for one to two people up to 23-foot keelboats for up to six sailors. Summer rentals are popular and they take reservations for their keelboats in 2-hour time slots.

When your sailing day is done you’ll have to visit Church Street Marketplace in downtown Burlington. With what seems like an endless supply of food, shopping and entertainment options the marketplace is great for a full day of window shopping and snacking. Craft beer is popular in these parts and of course Ben & Jerry ‘s got their start nearby.

Florida Keys

Sail the calm waters of the Florida Keys and utilize your ASA 101 talents as you embark on an adventure near Key Largo. They even offer a cottage and sail package where you fill your day with unlimited daysailing and end the night in a beachfront cottage. If you wanted to work on your sailing education they are an ASA school as well.

When your sailing day is done explore the Florida Everglades by kayak or by airboat. You can indulge in conch at one of the many restaurants along the overseas highway or watch the sunset from a beach bar with a view of Pelican Key.

Sailing in San Francisco with Spinnaker Sailing

Spend any time in San Francisco and you’ll be hard-pressed to ignore the Bay. While the sourdough bread bowls and cable cars get a lot of press along with the world-class dining and Golden Gate bridge; the sailing in the Bay is what should attract you to this Northern California city.

Be careful not to leave your heart here and always save time for some on-land diversions.

We asked the sailors at Spinnaker Sailing-San Francisco about their love affair with the city and they were more than eager to tell us why you should be choosing San Francisco as a sailing destination.

Continue reading

How Much Does It Cost to Learn to Sail?

Frankly, there is no way to value the cost of sailing lessons, instead, the best way to consider what you want from a sailing school and how much you will pay is to consider just how much you will get from the school you plan on attending.

The needs of the experienced sailor who owns his or her own boat are far different than the beginner who will need far more instruction.

While price is a factor, what comes in the package is more important. For example, if you consider the time spent on the water versus the time spent in a classroom you might find that paying a little extra will make you a better sailor. You might have a time crunch and need to finish your certification course faster so 2 days is better than 4 days. Each school sets up different parameters for how they get you out on the water safely and well informed. It’s up to you to find the school that best fits your needs.

So how much does it cost to learn how to sail? Take a look at these six examples of what you get for the price of taking ASA 101. The courses all differ slightly but they all get you to the same certification.

The American Sailing Association does not set a price for sailing lessons. The price is dictated by the individual school as they are responsible for following a set curriculum and meeting the standards set forth by ASA.

ASA Certified Sailing School - Black Rock Sailing School, RI
The Price: $977
$899 per person, plus an ASA textbook package (Sailing Made Easy & ASA Logbook) and materials for $29.95, and a required one-time ASA processing fee of $39.00.
Note: Sales tax on books is required, and a $10 shipping fee will be charged for all book packages.

What’s Included: 24 hours of instruction over 3 days

How Many Days: 3 days

How Many Students: 3 students maximum

The Perks: World-class instruction from the only school in New England to consistently receive national recognition from the American Sailing Association. Up to 20% off a Black Rock Sailing Annual Club Membership to practice what you have learned. Learn aboard boats that are young, safe, comfortable and simply the best learning platforms available. Get 10% off two courses and an additional week of practice aboard Harbor 20s if you do a 101/103 combo week. Stay ashore or liveaboard a larger cruising yacht at the docks each night during your classes. Minimum of two people to run classes.

The Price: $750
Includes the textbook, ASA testing fees, and a logbook.

What’s Included: 3 consecutive days, the Basic Sailor Certified covers all materials and skills found in our modular courses; Sailing Fundamentals, Sailing Skills, and Sailing Certification. The certification day fills in any gaps in order to provide you with the complete knowledge and skills to do well on the written and practical tests including advanced nomenclature, sound and light signals, anchoring and mooring.

How Many Days: 3

How Many Students: 3 students maximum

The Perks: In addition to classroom review time, you are provided a practice session with an instructor to help prepare you for the practical exam. Your textbook, Sailing Made Easy, is included in the tuition and will be sent to you upon registration so that you can study before you begin your course. Upon your successful completion of the certification tests, you will receive your ASA logbook to keep track of this and any future certifications.

The Price: $795
Includes textbook, ASA certification, and ASA Membership

What’s Included: 5 hours of shoreside classroom over the 3 days, and 18 hours sailing, plus strategic mid-sail breaks. Supervised practice sails.

How Many Days: 3

How Many Students: 3

The Perks: They will meet any full, 3-day program’s final, out the door price for a learn to sail/ ASA 101 course. “Whenever we can get away with it, we shorten the classroom time and extend the sailing even more.”

The Price: $440 from Jersey City & $490 from Manhattan

What’s Included: Basic Sailing Course. ASA certification is $50 if signed up for in advance and $75 if signed up for on the day of the course.

How Many Days: 2

How Many Students: 4

The Perks: Group discounts. If 2 people sign up using the same registration form, each gets a 5% discount. If 3 sign up, each gets a 10% discount. Four people get a 15% discount! This discount only applies when you sign up using one registration form. Basic Sailing is taught on J/24 sailboats. These are the most popular sailboats in New York Harbor. They are fast and sleek and the water equivalent of a Porsche. By learning to sail on a J/24, you can easily transition to membership in Manhattan Yacht Club and continue sailing on their fleet of boats.

The Price: $796
Textbook and certification are extra

What’s Included: 23 Hours of Instruction, ( only 3 – 4 persons per group class )

How Many Days: 3 to 4 days

How Many Students: 3 – 4

The Perks: One Year Membership in Bluewater’s Bareboat Charter Club. Access to Bareboat Rentals during membership! First Weekday 1/2 Day Rental Free. (within 2 weeks after course)

The Price: $395 Seattle Sailing Club Member. $535 Non-Member price

What’s Included: 3 hours in a classroom; 12 hours on-the-water hands-on instruction.

How Many Days: 2

How Many Students: 4 maximum

The Perks: Members have access to the sailing clubs boats as well as the ability to participate in all club activities.

World Ocean Day

World Oceans Day is held every June 8 to spotlight, celebrate and work to raise awareness about the health of our world ocean.

When seen from space, the earth looks like a giant blue marble. It is said that earth day was created because that picture from space of the tiny sphere known as earth made it obvious that the planet is one. It is not demarcated by political lines and divisions. It is one entity. The oceans make up a large portion of the planet.

With ⅔ of the surface of the earth covered by water, it would seem obvious that we would do what we can to protect it. However, it has taken far too long for the health of the ocean to reach the forefront of importance. For sailors, we utilize the ocean. We enjoy the ocean. The ocean is part of every sailor’s soul.

We have a responsibility to protect it.  

Continue reading

Cruising the Hawaiian Islands

ASA Outstanding Instructor Greg Martin of Sail Hawaii is very familiar with the waters around the Hawaiian Islands and he regularly sails and teaches out of Oahu. Greg has contributed to a three-part story on sailing in Hawaii.

A multi-day sailing adventure in Hawaii starts in Oahu and then takes you across the Kaiwi Channel to the windward neighbor islands of Molokai, Lanai, Maui or possibly the Big Island. Crossing the Kauai channel to the west is a longer blue water passage, but is possible if the conditions are right.

Continue reading

Going Sailing: Summer Sailstice 2019

As if we needed another excuse to go sailing, Summer Sailstice is reason enough to go sailing with everyone you know. Set up as a celebration of sailing, sailboats and everything we love about the lifestyle, Summer Sailstice is a way to get together with the global sailing community.

The summer solstice is June 21, 2019, and that means we have to take advantage of all of that sunlight by going sailing! Summer Sailstice happens on June 22 -23, 2019.

What is Summer Sailstice?

Summer Sailstice was founded in February 2001 by John Arndt, the publisher of Latitude 38, a West Coast sailing publication. Held on the weekend nearest the summer solstice, this global sailing holiday was created as a way to connect the greater global sailing community.

The annual event is free for all participants and rough estimates place participation at 19,000 boats annually. This is up from 200 at its inception. The global sailing community has embraced the idea of sailing together!

Why Summer Sailstice?
When you participate you become part of a larger community of sailors who are part of a global demonstration of sailing. Special events are organized by clubs and individuals. Organizing an event is easy – just follow the instructions on the Summer Sailstice website.

You could also use the GoSailing App that connects sailors with people who love to be on the water. The GO SAILING app helps you find crew or apply to be crew on other skippers’ trips. There are also sailing related social events, seminars, and sailing lessons on the app.

How Do You Participate in Summer Sailstice?
It is as easy as going sailing but this is an opportunity to meet other sailors nearby or to get involved with sailing clubs and organizations around you. The Summer Sailstice website is the hub that helps organize the entire endeavor. You can create your own or join an event on their website and register to win prizes from the Summer Sailstice sponsors. When you create an event the Summer Sailstice website has all the tools ready for you to easily invite new sailors as well as spread the word about your sailing get-together.

Check out the Summer Sailstice website and download the GoSailing App to find an event near you or to create an event.

Let’s go sailing together for Summer Sailstice 2019!

“Ultimately our goal is to create an event celebrating all of our unique ways of sailing that brings all sailors ‘together’, supports ocean health and attracts the attention of the non-sailing world. Think American Thanksgiving – a tradition an incredibly diverse nation all celebrates ‘together’. Summer Sailstice is an opportunity for us all to be grateful and generous with sailing.” – Founder John Arndt

Women On The Water – The Journey of the Arctic Loon

“I have a boat and the time, and I can’t think of any reason not to.” These were the words that started female Sailing Captains Diana Trump and Anne Alberg’s journey to the South Pacific. Diana’s husband Jeff was unable to leave his business for early retirement, but she felt this was her time for the offshore adventure. Jeff supported her in every way including his invaluable technology expertise.

On August 31, 2018, Diana and Anne (an ASA Instructor/USCG Charter Skipper) left Seattle for New Zealand. The journey aboard SV (sailing vessel) Arctic Loon would take 14 months. Arctic Loon is a 45’ 2008 Jeanneau Sun Odyssey DS (Deck Salon) with 3 cabins. Additional crew, both men and women for various legs of the voyage, were selected from Anne’s vast network of ASA graduates, as well as friends/family including Jeff who has joined at various ports along the way and their 23-year-old son Casey and 26-year-old daughter Emma.

Since departing 8 months ago Anne and Diana have traveled 6,591 NM, with another 3,500 NM still to go. They plan to arrive in New Zealand in late October 2019. Their route took them out of Puget Sound and the Straits of Juan de Fuca, cruising offshore coastal waters of Washington, Oregon, California, Baja Mexico, into the Sea of Cortez, down Pacific Mexico, and then departing from Puerto Vallarta on March 23rd for the 2,953 NM / 28-day offshore Pacific Ocean crossing to the Marquesas Islands in French Polynesia.

Arctic Loon, and her crew of 4 women for the recent Pacific Puddle Jump ocean crossing, officially arrived on Saturday, April 20 at their 1st South Pacific anchorage, the stunning island of Fatu Hiva with its majestic cliffs. After their 1st full night’s sleep in 4 weeks, the crew enjoyed spectacular Polynesian-style singing at the Easter Sunday Church service; where the local women dressed in their finest white dresses, many wearing fresh flower crowns and bun decorations. Easter brunch was served at a Marquesan family’s house and the feast included pigs they shot, fish they caught, chicken raised in their yard, rice, papaya salad, and breadfruit, with amazing fresh Pamplemousse juice.

The Dream

Let’s go back to how two women, each with a dream of going offshore to the South Pacific, were inspired and researched, planned, studied, prepared and embarked on this incredible 14-month journey together.

Four years after Diana and Jeff had sold their 30’ Catalina, Diana still wanted to continue to develop her sailing skills. In 2012, she signed up for the American Sailing Association’s 101, 103, 104 weekend courses through San Juan Sailing in Bellingham, WA. Her ASA Instructor for each course was Captain Anne Alberg.

Seeds for Anne’s offshore dream were planted in 1976 when her childhood neighbor Janet and her husband David built an offshore sailboat named Alegria. Over the years as they traveled to remote anchorages around the world, Janet would write letters always asking at the end, “When are you going to join us?” Anne’s dream was fueled by sailing with her older brother Tom and his family, watching offshore cruisers present at local yacht clubs, and her own charters with friends in exotic locations such as Palau, Belize, Thailand and Myanmar.

The Captain

Three specific events led Anne to get her United States Coast Guard (USCG) Captain’s License: A five-week sailing adventure in Northern BC to the remote First Nation Island of Haida Gwaii, a personal development workshop discovery that illuminated that Anne loves people, adventure, teaching, exploring, sailing, sailing, sailing, and her encounter with Jermaine Larson, Director of San Juan Sailing’s ASA School who said, “Why don’t you start teaching sailing for us?”

Luckily Anne had a lifetime of days on the water (USCG requires 360 total days/90 days in the last three years), she took the USCG Captain’s Course and passed three USCG exams. In 2012, as Anne celebrated her 50th Birthday, she began her new career as Captain Anne Alberg. Diana was in Anne’s very first ASA 101 weekend course, and their lifetime friendship was established.

Anne and her friend Marcia joined Diana/Jeff for a charter in Desolation Sound, and in 2014 Captain Anne cruised for 71 days round trip from Seattle to Sitka, AK aboard Diana and Jeff’s new sailboat Arctic Loon.

The Journey

Fast forward five years – after attending the 2017 Seattle Boat Show Coho Ho Ho/Baja Ha Ha/Pacific Puddle Jump Cruising Rally Seminars, Diana sent an email that would change both their lives, “Been doing some thinking! We should sail to the South Pacific. I have a boat and the time and can’t think of any reason not to go. No details at this time, all is open. Let’s talk if you think this might work for you.“ Captain Anne’s email response “What a thought!!! I have nothing on my calendar… Let’s go!”

For the next 19 months, Diana, Jeff and Anne began preparing Arctic Loon (which was already very well prepared for cruising in Alaska) for the South Pacific. Now there were new offshore considerations: install a water maker, solar panels, top down spinnaker, whisker pole, hydrovane, replacing boom vang, replacing mainsail and genoa, and the endless list of spare parts to purchase. Diana and Anne had to learn general maintenance as well as troubleshooting to become as self-sufficient as possible. Read their blog and to discover what maintenance issues they encountered and ultimately mastered. If only video could have recorded the conversations of women working to solve issues on the high sea with no access to the internet for doing research. Thankfully Jeff was able to do research at home and provide needed consultation.

What has been surprising is the reaction to being an all-female offshore cruising boat and not just from other cruising boats. In Mexico and now in French Polynesian, the locals, especially women ask “Where are the husbands?” Big smiles and thumbs up have been the response received upon learning Arctic Loon has a female Captain and an all-female crew.

The Highlights To-Date

Magical memories so far:
Sailing under the Golden Gate Bridge at 7 am sunrise after an intense 6-day offshore passage from Seattle
Being celebrated as an all-women crew
Sailing at night under the full moon, especially when the dolphins would swim alongside shimmering in the bio-luminescence
Developing a “We Can Do” attitude toward endless maintenance issues
Ultimately hanging a stem of 100 bananas proving their successful arrival in the South Pacific!

A favorite quote from an exhausted “Captain Fix-it” Diana: “If something breaks today, it is not getting fixed!”

What is next on Anne and Diana’s South Pacific adventure? They currently have 90-day visas for the Marquesas Islands, the Tuamotus Archipelago, and Society Islands (Tahiti, Moorea, Bora Bora), then will continue on to the Cook Islands, Tonga and ultimately the nine-day offshore passage to New Zealand arriving around October 20th.

Captain Anne Alberg, when not sailing across the Pacific Ocean teaches at San Juan Sailing School in Washington State.

ASA Featured Instructor: Joe Mastrangelo, Veterans Sailing Association

Captain Joe Mastrangelo is the protagonist of an adventure novel. He is larger than life and his stories fill the page with humor and excitement. His passion for the water comes through in how he crafts his tale but his passion for people is evident in what he does. “CJ” as he is known to his friends and students is the lead instructor and founder of Veterans Sailing Association in the Florida Keys. His specialty is teaching other veterans, like himself, the art of sailing. Follow along on his Facebook page and you’ll see he spends a lot of time on the water with Veterans getting them certified and utilizing the ocean as the perfect form of therapy.
Continue reading