Last week ASA held its first ever regional Asian Affiliate & Instructors meeting in Shenzhen, China. Over two dozen ASA Instructors and Affiliate representatives attended representing ASA sailing schools across mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Continue reading →
Vacations are for rejuvenation and exploration, right? So why not one-up all the normal resort-goers and take sailing lessons at your vacation destination this summer! Sailing can be both relaxing and adventurous, so it’s the perfect sport to pick up on your next trip. Besides, who wouldn’t want to learn how to sail in the Caribbean or the Mediterranean? Many popular vacation destinations have nearly ideal sailing conditions, so there’s nothing standing in your way. Continue reading →
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 →
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!
A wise man or woman once said, knowledge is power. Nowhere is this truer than in sailing, where the more you learn, the more worlds of sailing fun are opened up to you.
Like most things in life, the key to success is a good education. Courses from an ASA sailing school are designed to be thorough and enjoyable, and to leave you feeling confident on the boat. Each level expands your comfort zone, beginning with basic boat handling and continuing with coastal cruising and eventually offshore, blue-water sailing! How far you go depends on your goals and dreams as a sailor.
Often the biggest obstacle a new sailor has to overcome is not the weather or the waves, but the feeling of being overwhelmed and not sure of themselves. The more training you have, and the more time you spend on the water, the more your confidence will grow.
Take the example of Karen, who put off learning to sail for years due to uncertainty about her ability, instead telling herself she would do it “someday.” But, Karen says, she realized that “someday may never come, and if I was going to do the things I wanted to do then now was the time. Tomorrow was no guarantee. So I contacted an ASA school in Panama City Beach, FL and signed up for my lessons.”
Karen continues: “Where do I begin to explain what sailing has done for me? When I was sailing, I didn’t think about anything or anyone. No problems, no work, just me and the boat and the water and wind and all of mother nature. I felt one with the boat. I felt like I was home! It put a smile in my heart and on my face. I always want to sail, there is so much to learn and do, I will never be bored.”
Karen told me that getting a quality sailing education “completely changed [her] attitude about life.” She has plans to continue taking ASA courses and is only having more fun as she learns. Stories like these are the reason we do what we do. One of the best things about these courses is that they can be fantastic sailing adventures in themselves. Many of our schools are located in, or teach classes in, the Caribbean and other exotic locales. That means you could combine a wonderful tropical vacation with a chance to make huge strides in your sailing skills! Learn to sail near you, or look at our list of schools outside the U.S. to find out more.
If you want to learn to sail the right way, and have a great time doing it, ASA courses are for you. You can even get started online, with our instructive and fun e-course, Your First Sail. We can’t wait to see you out there on the water!
This is the final installment in the “Voyaging with Velella” series by ASA writer-at-large Meghan Harvey. Meghan, her husband Prescott, and their cat Nessie have been cruising for the last 8 months in Mexico and the Pacific Northwest.
I find it rather fitting that we should “swallow the hook” in a place called Portland. The Land Where Boats Come to Port.
The moment I stepped onto the dock in Portland, Oregon, it hit me that we were finally home. These were the docks I would walk over and over again on my way to work, these were the showers that I would use every day, this
would be my neighborhood.
No sooner had I gotten halfway up the dock towards shore than, BAM, I almost ran into a little wooden sign hanging over an ASA sailing school. If I didn’t feel like I was home before, now I surely did, with ASA right down the dock from us! Passion Yachts ASA Sailing School has a darling on-the-dock classroom, with a wall of windows overlooking their fleet of Hunters and other small sailboats tied up outside. I made a mental note to go introduce myself. . . after showering.
First, we had plans with some people we’d been introduced to through friends of a friend. Upon shaking hands and exchanging names, they informed us that they already knew all about us. They’d been following Velella’s voyage on
this very blog for months! They have a 20-footer tied up just down the island from us, and we made plans to go sailing together soon.
The next day, we were headed out to the library (one of the very first things I like to do in a new city), and we had yet another ASA run-in. This time literally. We brushed shoulders with a very familiar-looking woman, but sometimes it’s hard to place people, having met them over thousands of miles of docks over the last couple years. We spun around when she said “HEY!” and recognized her voice immediately—it was one of the Croatia Flotilla 2010 participants, Diane! We said, “What are you doing here?!” and she told us that Passion Yachts ASA School was where she sailed out of every Wednesday night. Having met this woman on the other side of the planet, I couldn’t believe how small ASA made our world feel!
The cruising sailor’s range is limitless, but at the same time our communities are very small. I can read the Pacific sailing rags now (such as 48 North and Latitude 38) and identify half of the writers by boat name. I used to not believe sailors when, parting ways, they’d say “I’m sure we’ll run into each other again someday, in some remote anchorage in the world!”
But we’ve had way too many of those small-world sailing experiences now to deny that it’s absolutely true.
Flying my ASA burgee all up and down the coasts started conversations that started friendships. We received invitations to stay at ASA sailors’ homes, and we even received wedding gifts from ASA members we’d met only briefly.
Within the sailing world, ASA’s community reaches wider and wider every day. With a network like that, I rather feel like it doesn’t matter where you are at all—home is where the boats are. . . and where the boats are, there is ASA.
Meghan, Prescott, and Nessie are settling in to home in Portland for the time being, but they’re already talking about when they’ll be able to set off cruising again.
ASA regularly makes the rounds of the nation’s premier boat shows. Recently you may have encountered us in Annapolis or St. Petersburg, where we’ve had booths staffed with folks from ASA headquarters, volunteer instructors enthusiastic about sharing their knowledge of the sailing lifestyle, and a wealth of materials available about our schools and sailing opportunities.
Boat shows are places where sailors gather to geek out over the latest boat designs and cool gadgets, yes, but also a good spot for prospective boat owners or those just learning to sail to go for more information. So if you’ve been pondering taking the plunge into the world of sailing, which can be overwhelming for a newcomer, a boat show is a great place to catch up with us. ASA’s mission is to make this lifestyle available and accessible to everyone and to make sure sailors trained by an ASA school have confidence and knowledge out on the water.
With that in mind, here are some upcoming shows where you can find us: