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American Sailing Week takes over St. Petersburg

Category : Members

enjoying the catamaranOne of the big sailing summer kick-offs took place June 15th-22nd, 2012, as the Renaissance Vinoy Resort in St. Petersburg, FL became ASA territory. Members and instructors from around the world descended for a week of celebrating the sailing lifestyle–meeting new friends, enjoying the sunshine, and learning from the best!

SAILING

With clinics in the mornings, and open dock times every afternoon, there were no shortage of opportunities to get out and sail on Tampa Bay. The boats ranged from the big Leopard 44 catamaran, to Hunters, Catalinas, and Beneateaus, as small as 27 feet and as large as 45. Members got in some great Crew Overboard and Docking practice (including clinics for ladies only) and plenty of time to just handle the boat and enjoy the water.

SEMINARS

One of the great assets of being an ASA member is learning from the combined experience of our master instructors! The American Sailing Week schedule was packed with seminars on every topic, including:

  • “The Five Step Plan to the Cruising Life”
  • “Basic Line Handling (aka, Develop Your Cowboy Skills)”
  • “Basic Navigation & Cool Tools”
  • And many more!

One of the biggest and most important clinics was on “Safety at Sea,” and covered a broad spectrum of topics, including the different types of emergencies that can occur at sea, how to call for help, and lifesaving techniques, including an inflatable life raft demonstration in the pool. This was a unique chance to try out a life raft and understand how it works BEFORE you need it!
pirate party
Meanwhile, there were “informal seminars” happening all over the place–at breakfast, poolside, and in the cockpit. The chance to pick the brain of an ASA instructor who has spent decades sailing some of the world’s best cruising grounds was not to be missed!

PARTIES

No gathering of sailors would be complete without some great parties. Aside from daily meals shared at the Vinoy’s fine restaurant or in the local St. Petersburg area, many a cutlass was brandished at the ASA Rooftop Pirate Party, with the skyline of St. Petersburg and the waters of Tampa Bay for a backdrop. And the week ended with a grand awards banquet, a chance to say farewell and thanks for the memories…until next year!

Want to join in on the fun, and attend an ASA event? We have flotillas all around the world, including Croatia, Grenada, and the British Virgin Islands coming up later this year! Click here for our full schedule, and hurry, because spots are filling up fast!

Not an ASA member? It’s easy, and quickly pays for itself through the benefits! Click here to join.

Get carried away with sailing books

Category : Equipment

sailor readingMark Twain once said: “The man who does not read books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them.” And so it goes for sailors. In addition to hands-on training and practice, one of the best ways to prepare yourself for life on the water is to read and study great sailing books. So, as an alternative to the rest of the summer reading lists out there, we’ve compiled this one for sailors.

A great place for any aspiring sailor to start is with ASA’s top-of-the-line textbooks, which are expertly written, laid-out, and illustrated with world class photography and diagrams:

Sailing Made Easy (ASA 101–Basic Keelboat Sailing)

Coastal Cruising Made Easy (ASA 103–Basic Coastal Cruising)

These books are included when you register for your sailing class with an ASA affiliated school, and the school will send them to you. Many of our members highly recommend reading the book before you take the class, as it will give you a solid foundation and help you get up to speed once you’re actually on the boat! Your instructor can provide more details.

For the more advanced sailor, classic manuals like Nathaniel Bowditch’s The American Practical Navigator and Chapman Piloting & Seamanship are time-tested and packed with useful information. However, these sailing books are so thorough that they can be a bit overwhelming to the novice.

Don’t forget–there’s more to the sailing lifestyle than practical manuals. There’s also a rich tapestry of lore, culture, and adventure to explore. We’ve compiled a list of some of the great nautical books of all time. These are guaranteed to expand your appreciation for sailing and the open ocean, especially when read under the bimini on a relaxing Caribbean afternoon!

Fiction Books:
The Mutiny on the Bounty Trilogy by Charles Nordhoff & James Norman Hall (first volume 1932)
The Aubrey/Maturin Novels by Patrick O’Brian (series of 20; first volume 1969)
Swallows and Amazons series by Arthur Ransome (series of 12; first volume 1930)
The Horatio Hornblower Novels by C.S. Forester (series of 11; first volume 1937)
Moby-Dick by Herman Melville (1851)
Middle Passage by Charles Johnson (1990)
John Dollar by Marianne Wiggins
The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway (1952)
Jaws by Peter Benchley (1974)
Sounding by Hank Searls (1982)
Mutiny on the Bounty by John Boyne (2008)
A High Wind in Jamaica by Richard Hughes (1929)

Nonfiction Books:
Close to the Wind by Pete Goss (2000)
Blue Latitudes by Tony Horwitz (2002)
Sailing Alone Around the World by Joshua Slocum (1900)
The Last Grain Race by Eric Newby (1956)
The Boat Who Wouldn’t Float by Farley Mowat (1969)
Sea Change by Peter Nichols (1998)
Two Years Before the Mast by Richard Henry Dana (1840)
Ten Degrees of Reckoning by Hester Rumberg (2007)
Looking for a Ship by John McPhee (1990)
Godforsaken Sea: Racing the World’s Most Dangerous Waters by Derek Lundy (1998)

Cruising for the masses – from Sailing Magazine

Category : Schools

ccme coverA review of ASA’s Coastal Cruising Made Easy from the July/August 2012 issue of Sailing Magazine.

Many sports, like swimming or soccer, are relatively easy to learn because there are a few basic moves assembled in the right order. Sailing is like that, too. Learn to trim, steer, tack and jibe, and a fair-weather daysail is pure pleasure.

Sailing may be easy to learn, but it is difficult to master because unlike swimming and soccer the playing conditions change, often unexpectedly. Wind and waves increase or decrease, halyards fail, engines quit, but the sailor must keep sailing. There are no rain delays or timeouts on the water.

Mastery of sailing takes experience and that’s just what the American Sailing Association brings to its new training manual, Coastal Cruising Made Easy. ASA has certified more than 7,500 instructors and can draw on the organization’s vast experience, probably totaling over 75,000 years worth of water time, to educate students.

That much information could fill many volumes on cruising, but Coastal Cruising Made Easy’s three editors and five authors concentrate on common cruising scenarios while addressing questions and concerns daysailors ask on the gentle jump up to coastal cruising. The book is designed to fall between the ASA’s basic keelboat course and its bareboat chartering course.
chapter 4 ccme
The textbook progresses as naturally as the tide with chapter subjects laid out in the same sequence a sailor might follow on a cruise. The first chapter is a tour of the cruising boat, the second is motoring fundamentals, the third is safety and the cruising life, then line handling and sail trim, navigation, and so on, to the final chapter, achieving independence. Independence is planning a cruise: organizing provisions, timing around tides, what personal gear to bring. Independence is arriving safely to a new harbor and securing the boat.

Independence is the magic the authors bring to Coastal Cruising Made Easy. Throughout the book they cast those little tips and tricks that turn a successful sail into a superlative sail. For example, as you enter a new harbor look back occasionally, that way the exit looks familiar on the way out. Another example: If possible, sail on the windward side of a channel so the boat is easier to sail off a grounding. Those small but useful tips can be learned two ways, the hard way, or the Coastal Cruising Made Easy way.

Visual learners will thrive with this book. Outstanding color graphics demonstrate groundings, boat repair, sail trim, weather diagrams, charts, cockpit layout and everything else the editors could think of. Photographs by noted SAILING Magazine Contributing Photographer Billy Black cover nearly every page. His images of sailboats entering crowded anchorages or passing commercial vessels are sharp enough to make any sailor stop and read the accompanying text, learning from the master sailors and master instructors of the ASA, the people who know how to make coastal cruising easy. — Rich Evans

Originally published in Sailing Magazine July/August 2012. Reprinted in its entirety with permission.