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Hands Across the Sea Caribbean Getaway SweepstakesHands Across the Sea Caribbean Getaway Sweepstakes Win a caribbean bareboat charter or tropical vacation... and help improve the lives of children in the Caribbean! Join the ASA/Hands Across the Sea Caribbean Getaway...

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ASA Unveils Innovative TextbookASA Unveils Innovative Textbook ASA's brand new textbook, Bareboat Cruising Made Easy, has just been released to national acclaim. The updated manual of ASA’s bareboat cruising standard is designed to...

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Combine Sailing Lessons With an International VacationCombine Sailing Lessons With an International Vacation 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...

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Sailing is a Great Way to Spend Quality Time with your FamilySailing is a Great Way to Spend Quality Time with your... Whether you have a six-year-old son or a sixteen-year-old daughter, sailing is a wonderful bonding experience that everyone in the family will enjoy. Next time you suggest...

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When it Comes to Your Sailing Education, You're the Boss!When it Comes to Your Sailing Education, You're the... 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...

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ASA in Croatia: Medieval Mysteries This is a story about ASA's 2012 Croatia Flotilla. For more info on upcoming ASA sailing flotillas, click here. Sailors (and tourists of all kinds) have beaten a well-worn...

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ASA partners with NASA: “We will sail the Sea of Tranquility by 2020″

Category : Standards

For Immediate Release – April 1, 2014

Following the recent announcement of worldwide partnerships with leading boat manufacturer Beneteau and peer-to-peer marketplace Boatbound, the American Sailing Association (ASA) is proud to embark on its latest alliance.

In a press conference at Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA, the ASA and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) launched a new strategic partnership to increase awareness of sailing opportunities on the moon, vowing to establish a thriving lunar sailing community by 2020.

moon

An artist’s rendering of the scintillating scenery that awaits sailors on the moon.

“For too long, recreational sailing on the moon has been all but impossible for the average American,” said NASA director Charles Bolden. “Fears regarding high cost, out-of-the-way location, or lack of breathable air may have made consumers reluctant, but we want to remind them that this is still their closest orbital body! Our multi-stage collaboration will change the perception of moonsailing as an elitist sport available only to those with advanced astrophysics degrees.”

The initial phase of the project will see Titan rockets transport ASA-certified sailing instructors to the lunar surface, where they will establish sailing schools in the Sea of Serenity and Bay of Rainbows, with further expansion planned for the Lake of Time and the Sea of Fecundity. Offshore Passagemaking courses will be held in the Ocean of Storms, weather permitting.

“The sailing conditions will be different from what we’re used to here on Earth,” said ASA Online Communications Director Ben Miller. “For instance, instead of flotation devices, sailors will wear weighted vests. And with no atmosphere, wind, or water, the moon presents an intriguing navigational challenge to mariners.”

nasa

Our team works around the clock to find the algorithm for maximum fun!

ASA will develop a lunar curriculum to supplement its existing courses, bringing the same Earthly standard of excellence to the field of extraterrestrial voyaging. A new textbook, Moonsailing Made Easy, will be accompanied by pamphlets such as “Understanding Solar Flares” and “I’m Afraid I Can’t Do That, Dave: Using Your Onboard Systems.”

Certifications offered will include “Anchoring in Zero G,” “Basic Thruster Repair,” and “Introduction to Flag-Planting.”

FindMyCharter.com, the official charter partner of ASA, will offer a variety of attractive vacation packages, including a 7-day crewed charter on the Sea of Vapors, shore excursions to the towering Mons Hadley, and day sails in the Lake of Sorrow. All charters are available in Premium (Sunlight) or Budget (Darkness).

“Forget the crowded anchorages of Earth, and let the warm, radioactive solar breeze wash over you,” says Miller. “There truly is nothing like a sailing charter vacation. Relax with that special someone and enjoy a vacuum-sealed refreshment, or bring the whole family on an adventure of exploration. What better place for your next getaway than a cold, distant rock, utterly devoid of life?”

A kickoff event featuring Jimmy Buffett is planned for Cape Canaveral on April 1, 2020.

ASA members unite for a special week in the BVIs

Category : Members

arabellaLots of people sail the British Virgin Islands every year, but not many get to do it in quite the same style as the 2014 ASA Member’s Event, which took place March 1-8. For a week, our members were treated to an island cruise aboard the luxury yacht Arabella–a 156 foot sailing schooner, complete with 3 masts, 8 sails, a jacuzzi, and 20 guest cabins. Formerly owned by Top Gun star Kelly McGillis, Arabella is a seafaring masterpiece.

As the flagship of ASA affiliate Manhattan Sailing School, Arabella combines the beauty of hands-on sailing with the luxury of a mega-yacht. Through the course of the week, we not only got to enjoy the islands, but were also treated to workshops and master classes led by ASA instructors and Arabella crewmembers. Read on to hear the highlights, and stay tuned to ASA social media, as there may be more opportunities to sail on Arabella in the future!

supDeparture and First Stops

Leaving Road Town, Tortola, Arabella sailed up to the Baths for the first Caribbean snorkel and swim of the trip. After a dip and some lunch, she sailed downwind to Marina Cay where we went ashore and took a hike up to the top of the island, which affords stunning views over the Sir Francis Drake Channel.

After breakfast on Monday, the crew weighed anchor and sailed for North Sound, home of the famous Bitter End Yacht Club. There they spent a “play day,” with all of Arabella’s considerable complement of water toys available for use. Between kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, snorkeling, swimming, relaxing under a palm tree with a book, and lounging at the Bitter End, there was no shortage of fun to be had. The time at Bitter End was capped off on Tuesday night with the obligatory Pirate Party!

Cooper Island and Jost Van Dyke

Sailing out of North Sound in the morning, Arabella made for Cooper Island, passing the Dog Islands on the way. After lunch and a stop ashore at the Cooper Island Beach Club, we sailed on for Soper’s Hole, where we spent the night. (The Caribbean is home to some of the best place-names in the world, by the way.) Onboard, we were able to experiment with Arabella’s state-of-the-art joystick helm, take advantage of the jacuzzi, and fine-tune our conch-blowing skills.

The next day took Arabella to the famous island of Jost Van Dyke, where we engaged in the Caribbean tradition of having the tender drop everyone off away from the beach and swim to shore. This is how you get your “soggy dollars” for the notorious Soggy Dollar Bar, inventor of the Painkiller cocktail. After an afternoon at the Soggy Dollar, the nighttime belonged to Foxy’s, perhaps the most famous of Caribbean bars.

bowspritNorman Island and Home Again

Due to the previous day’s “festivities,” Friday got off to a leisurely start. Eventually Arabella made her way to the Bight in Norman Island, which has world-class snorkeling, and is also excellent for kayaking and small boat sailing. Dinner that evening was served on board Arabella, in her glorious salon that can seat 48 people. Then it was onshore for one more infamous Caribbean bar, Willie T’s. This floating “food & grog” establishment is known for all kinds of shenanigans, but you know what they say – what happens in the Bight stays in the Bight.

Unfortunately, all things must come to an end, and so on Saturday it was back to Road Town and time to say goodbye. After a spectacular week on board a spectacular boat and in a spectacular setting, the only thing left to do was start plotting how we could do it all again!

Keep up to date with the latest ASA news on our Facebook page so that you can join us!

Four Ways to Get Sailing Experience

Category : Schools

“You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.”
― Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

sailing experienceWhat the wise poet demonstrated about life itself is equally true in sailing: When it comes to where, when, and how you get sailing experience, it’s entirely up to you. The options are more various and appealing now than ever before. Whether you want to become intimately familiar with your local waterways close to home, or seek out fair weather and relaxation in the tropics, or anything in between, those choices are available to you.

Most people who enjoy sailing don’t own boats. That should not stop you from participating in the sport, improving your skills, and exploring new places. We’ll run down some of the ways you can gain sailing experience here, even if you don’t own a boat:

1. Take a sailing course at your local ASA school. Find a school here, and get in touch to see what courses they’re offering. If you’re new to sailing, you’ll start with ASA 101. If you’ve already got some sailing chops, you might be interested in higher level courses. Either way, you’ll be out sailing on your local body of water with expert ASA instructors.

open sea2. Take a “destination” sailing course through ASA. Many of our schools are either located in, or teach periodic courses in, exotic locales. They can be found throughout the Caribbean, from Puerto Rico to the BVIs and down to Central America, and in numerous other countries around the world. Contact your local school to see if they have destination courses, or look at at the ASA schools based outside of the US.

3. Go on a skippered or bareboat charter. If you’ve taken courses through ASA 104 (Bareboat Cruising), you’re likely excited about the prospect of chartering. This is a great way to get the cruising experience you can’t get close to home. On a skippered or bareboat charter, you live aboard the boat, sail it from place to place, and practice skills such as mooring and anchoring that you might not use in your local marina. Not to mention, it’s a fantastic vacation. To learn more about charters and book yours, visit Find My Charter, ASA’s official charter partner.

4. Practice your sailing skills with a local club or school. Many ASA schools also run sailing clubs, host races, and have boat rental or timeshare programs. When you don’t own a boat and you need access to one, your sailing school is often a great resource. Stay in touch and let us help you keep your skills sharp.

From Landlubber to Old Salt: Beginner Sailing Tips

Category : Schools

studying with coconutSailing season is almost upon us, and that means a lot of people will get their first chance to go out on the water. Here are some beginner sailing tips for making sure you have a safe, fun, and successful voyage.

1. Pick a day with favorable conditions and dress appropriately. Depending on your area, good conditions come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Generally, you want fairly calm seas and lighter rather than stronger winds. Sunshine and 0% chance of precipitation is a plus! Remember that it is often windier and cooler out on the water than it is on shore, so dress appropriately.

2. Have the right boat. When you’re learning, a smaller, more responsive boat makes it easier to understand the dynamics of sailing. ASA 101 courses are taught on 22′ keelboats, which are bigger and sturdier than a dinghy, but small enough that you can really feel the forces of wind and water acting on the boat.

3. Be aware of the boom. The boom is the big, heavy bar at the foot of the mainsail. It swings across the boat whenever you tack or gybe, and you really don’t want it to hit you. It can injure you and even knock you overboard, but it’s easy to avoid as long as you’re paying attention. Whenever you hear talk of tacking or gybing, make sure you’re down in the cockpit, well out of the way. Experienced sailors also know how to control the movement of the boom, mainly by “sheeting in” when preparing for a tack or gybe, as allowing it to move freely causes unnecessary wear on the boat. By a combination of common sense safety and good sail-handling, you can ensure that there’s no danger or unpleasantness.

sails up!4. Go with someone who knows what they’re doing. We recommend an ASA instructor. An experienced, trained teacher of sailing will make a world of difference–the difference between a frustrating, unfulfilling experience, and a safe, fun, highly educational experience.

5. Know some basic sailing terms before you go. (We’ve previously covered important sailing terms here.) Learning basic terms such as “tack” and “gybe,” the difference between port and starboard, and the points of sail, is recommended. This will make it easier for you to contribute to sailing the vessel. Once you’re safely back at the dock you can expand your nautical vocabulary to include key phrases such as “beer,” “rum,” and “more beer and rum, please.”

If you do these five things, you’re setting yourself up to have a great time sailing, whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned plougher of the high seas. The best way to combine them all into one experience is to sign up for an ASA sailing course at one of our 300 schools nationwide. Find a sailing school near you here.