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! 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.
They say there is more than one way to skin a cat, and though they’re not referring to catamarans, the phrase still applies to sailing. There is more than one way to learn to do anything–so why do you need to take ASA sailing lessons? The answer is: You’ve got to learn somehow, so you may as well learn from the best.
Some people are lucky enough to be raised on the water, and for them sailing comes as naturally as breathing. (Many of those people grow up to become ASA instructors, by the way.) For the rest of us, who weren’t so fortunate, a helping hand is needed and professional sailing lessons make the difference.
We don’t believe that sailing has to be hard–that’s why our books are called Sailing Made Easy and Coastal Cruising Made Easy. But it is an artform, and to be a good sailor you need good training, just as writers, painters, and athletes require instruction and practice to reach their potential.
ASA sailing lessons are designed to establish confidence through a strong understanding of the fundamentals of sailing, starting with the basics: Understanding how the parts of the boat work, how to use the wind, how to steer, tie knots, and deal comfortably with problems that arise. From that strong platform of skills, you can go anywhere: For example, bareboat chartering in the tropics (ASA 104), or sailing out of sight of land with Offshore Passagemaking (ASA 108).
There are other ways to learn these skills. You could happen to have a friend who is a great sailor, and has the spare time to teach you the ropes. You could teach yourself through trial and error (we strongly do not recommend this method), and some local clubs give lessons, although these certifications are unlikely to be recognized by charter companies or boat rentals.
We simply feel that none of these options offers what ASA does: expert instruction, a feeling of confidence, and membership in an association that supports you in the sailing lifestyle through benefits, events, flotillas, camaraderie, and more.
To see ASA lessons in action, watch this video of Bareboat Charter students sailing on our recent St. Martin flotilla. You’ll notice the instructor calmly coaching his students through the maneuvers–that comes from years of experience teaching the ASA curriculum. No panic, drama, or stress! Instead, the learning environment, even on the windy Caribbean Sea, is conducive to skillbuilding and retention.
(If you can’t see the video, click this link.)
If you want to know more about what sailing lessons are like at our over 300 sailing schools around the world, click here.
At this year’s Strictly Sail Miami boat show, ASA partnered with Discover Sailing to offer free on-the-water sailing lessons. Taught by our world-class ASA instructors, these clinics on scenic Biscayne Bay introduced new sailors to the basics of seamanship. For those with more experience, we had a taste of ASA’s broad curriculum, with Advanced Cruising Seminars and Catamaran Cruising Seminars.
The weather was great, and we capped it off with a lifeboat demonstration by Switlik and a VIP Member Party on the docks. This was one boat show we won’t soon forget! To see more pictures from the show, visit us on Flickr.
Here’s what one of our instructors had to say afterward:
I think the program is great, introducing prospective new sailors to an on-water experience, as well as giving more seasoned sailors the opportunity to sharpen their skills while attending their local boat show. All of the captains were total pros, delivering top notch training while making sure everyone had FUN. As my teaching schedule allowed me time to also help out at the Discover Sailing Booth, I had the opportunity to ‘interview’ many of the returning guests, and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive.
If you missed out on the Miami show, don’t worry, there will be more opportunities. We’ll be doing a similar program at Strictly Sail Pacific in Oakland, CA this April! Stay tuned to ASA Social Media for details!
Here’s a video of two of our boats leaving for a free lesson in Miami. You can even hear our instructors doing a bit of teaching…