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What you can do with your ASA sailing credentialsWhat you can do with your ASA sailing credentials Many prospective students ask us why getting certified is so important. Couldn't they pick up the same valuable sailing skills without passing a course and receiving a certificate?...

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Dinghy Sailing vs. Yacht SailingDinghy Sailing vs. Yacht Sailing The kind of boat you choose to sail will define your relationship with the sport as a whole. Like wind and weather conditions, the boat is one part of the entire sailing experience....

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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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Guanabara Bay: A Reminder to Preserve our SeasGuanabara Bay: A Reminder to Preserve our Seas “We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch - we are going back from whence we came.” –John F. Kennedy As sailors,...

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Docking: Or, How You Can Learn to Stop Worrying and Love the MarinaDocking: Or, How You Can Learn to Stop Worrying and... Once, while sailing in the San Juan Islands, I saw something I'll never forget. A powerboater cruised into the dock at high speed with his wife on the stern, line in hand,...

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ASA members unite for a special week in the BVIsASA members unite for a special week in the BVIs Lots 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...

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Four Ways to Get Sailing ExperienceFour Ways to Get Sailing Experience “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! What the wise...

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Combine Sailing Lessons With an International Vacation

Category : Schools

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.

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

Category : American Sailing Association, Schools

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 _MG_7819might 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!

Learn to Sail in San Francisco

Category : Schools

Sailing used to be a pretty exclusive sport. Unless family or close friends sailed regularly, you would likely never have the opportunity to learn yourself. Luckily, picking up sailing at all ages is now easy, safe, and affordable.

Getting your Sailing Education is Easier Than Ever!

Category : Schools

sailing educationA good education combines practical experience with study – and nowhere is that more true than in the world of sailing. As important as it is to understand how a boat works, to learn the terminology, and to grasp the principles of navigation, it’s even more important to get hands-on learning time with the boat on the water.

Until you’ve done it for yourself, there’s no way to really understand what sailing is like. With practice, you get a sense for how the boat moves through the water, whether the sails are trimmed properly, and how to read the conditions. All of this enhances the fun factor, too, taking it from a pleasant day out to a transformative voyage – not only are you sailing from Point A to Point B, you’re also taking on new challenges and growing as a person.

If you want the best sail education available, step one is to find an ASA sailing school near you.

ASA’s curriculum and textbooks set the standard for learning to sail, and each of our affiliated sailing schools adheres to our strict standards. All instructors are certified through our rigorous process and represent the elite of the sail-training field. The ASA curriculum is proven, with over 800,000 sailors certified worldwide, and provides a mix of classroom study with plenty of on-water training. However, this doesn’t mean every school is the same. On the coleapingntrary, each individual school has the freedom to teach to their strengths, to make the best use of the waterways they sail on, and to adapt to serve the needs of their students.

What does that mean for you? It means you have endless options to get exactly the kind of sail education you’re looking for. With over 300 schools in our network worldwide, there’s sure to be one that fits you perfectly.

When deciding which school is best for you, we suggest starting by contacting the schools in your preferred sailing area. Here are some questions you may want to ask:

  • What courses and levels are offered? (Not every ASA school offers every course in the ASA curriculum.)
  • Does the school have any specialties? (Some schools specialize in teaching sailing for couples, or all-female classes. Others have destination courses in the Caribbean and elsewhere. Some are interested in sailboat racing, others are not. Consider what your sailing goals are, and find a school that can help you reach them.)
  • Does their course fit your schedule? (Different schools teach at different paces. Find out what kind of schedule the school offers.)
  • Are you looking for a private class, or would you like to learn with a group?

After discussing your options with a few sailing school representatives, you’ll be able to make an informed decision about which one is right for your sail education.

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.

Upcoming ASA events at the America’s Cup

Category : Schools

ac logo
The America’s Cup, one of the world’s greatest sporting spectacles, and the biggest event in competitive sailing, is underway right now in San Francisco! Check the schedule below to see the upcoming events ASA has going on, and watch this space for updates!

(Are you an ASA school hosting a Bay Area America’s Cup event? Contact us to get it on the schedule.)

To get more information and join any of the events listed below, click here.
ac racing
America’s Cup/ Louis Vuitton Cup Spectator Cruise Dates:

Louis Vuitton Finals
Sunday August 18, 2013

11:30 am – 3:30 pm
$145 per ticket.
Includes California Continental Brunch. Beer, Wine, and Soft Drinks may be purchased aboard.

Red Bull Youth Cup
Sunday September 1, 2013

11:00 am – 2:00 pm
$75 per ticket.
Includes California Continental Brunch. Beer, Wine, and Soft Drinks may be purchased aboard.

America’s Cup
Sunday September 8, 2013
11:30 am 3:30 pm
$195 per ticket.
Includes California Continental Brunch. Beer, Wine, and Soft Drinks may be purchased aboard.

Click here for more info and reservations!

Announcing ASA’s “Sail for Hands” Events In Honor of Our 30th Anniversary

Category : Schools

sail for handsDo you like sailing? Or barbeques? Or how about a nice glass of wine, beer, or rum, after sailing? ASA and its network of schools are hosting fun sailing events this summer and fall that cover all of those categories, and even better, it’s all for a good cause. In celebration of our 30th Anniversary, we’re continuing our work to benefit Hands Across the Sea.

Hands Across the Sea is dedicated to raising the literacy levels of the Caribbean children by shipping new books and school supplies and working with students, principals, teachers and volunteers to create school community borrowing libraries and reading programs across the Eastern Caribbean. Last year, ASA hosted a sweepstakes and raised $18,000!
fun in the sun
When you register for a “Sail for Hands” event, you will pay a registration fee of your choice, with all proceeds going directly to Hands Across the Sea. That money will directly improve the lives of children throughout the Caribbean–and then you get to have a great time!

How to Participate

Contact your local ASA sailing school to see if they’re hosting a “Sail for Hands” event this year. (Are you a school owner? Email ASA’s Marketing Director, Lisa Carrington, to set up an event at your school.)

Why Sailing School Makes Sense

Category : Schools

My first sailing class on the windy, choppy waters of Puget Sound was a Christmas gift, and probably the best one I’ve ever received. I was hooked immediately, but little did I know where sailing would eventually take me: Cape Cod, Mexico, the South Pacific, Europe, and the Caribbean, just to name a few places, and my adventure continues.
the freedom of sailing

Now, with the holidays coming up, we’re all starting to think about what to get for our family and friends this year. Lessons at an ASA sailing school are the gift that keeps on giving–years after the course is over, you’ll still be getting joy and adventure out of what you learned. So if you’re looking for something different to put in the stockings this winter, consider skipping the long lines at the mall, and look up your local sailing school instead!

Here are just a few of the reasons why a sailing school is the best place to learn:

1. Expert Instructors
Maybe you have a very good friend who is a master sailor, owns a boat, and has the time to take you out and teach you everything you need to know. But if that’s not the case, the place to find someone like that is an ASA sailing school! Our instructors are highly trained professionals who have dedicated their lives to sailing, spending countless hours on the water and in the classroom. In order to become an ASA instructor they must offer proof of substantial sailing and teaching experience, and undergo a rigorous Instructor Qualifying Clinic. In other words, only the best make it!

2. Comprehensive Curriculum
There are many books, online tutorials, and videos on how to sail, and some of them are very good. But those alone can’t teach you to sail. On-water experience, combined with study, is critical, as there are some things you can only learn by doing. How does it feel to steer a boat, or haul a line? How does a boat respond to the wind and waves? It’s about more than just getting your sea legs, it’s about really understanding how a sailboat works! And after all, isn’t being on the water the reason you’re doing this in the first place? That brings me to my next point…

3. Skip the Painful (and Expensive) Trial-and-Error

Learning a new skill or hobby is always a process of making mistakes and learning from them. But it shouldn’t be a shot in the dark, which is why sailing lessons from a qualified instructor can save you a lot of time, money, and stress. Sailing can be easy when you’ve had the right preparation and training, but if you’re unprepared it can turn into a frustrating experience. In a worst-case-scenario, it could even be dangerous. Much better to have an expert sailing instructor along to guide you through any uncertain moments. That way you’ll be making your beginner’s mistakes in a safe, constructive environment.

4. Accessibility
Here’s a fun fact: Most people, even avid sailors, don’t own a boat. Your local sailing school, however, DOES own a boat–probably a bunch of them. The best part of all? They’ll let you use it. A huge part of ASA’s mission is making sailing accessible to everyone, so that your education doesn’t end with certification. You don’t need to splash the cash on a brand new Beneteau or Hunter–we do it so you don’t have to. In addition to teaching sailing, many of our schools also operate sailing clubs, racing regattas, and double as charter companies, meaning you can rent their boats for an afternoon, a weekend, or a fortnight, whatever suits you. Once you start taking ASA classes, you’re part of our community, and we’re determined to provide opportunities to practice your skills and enjoy everything sailing has to offer.

5. Fun!
Not only will you be able to share the sport of sailing with your friends and family, at your sailing school you’re sure to meet like-minded people, both students and instructors, and who knows where that will lead? Maybe you’ll put together a team for Saturday night beer can races, or just find a group to go daysailing with. Perhaps you’ll even end up going on a flotilla in some exotic locale? Our instructors lead dozens of them every year, all over the world. (Here’s a list of ASA’s 2013 flotillas, by the way.) Once you start sailing, there’s just no telling where it might take you.

My sailing adventure began as a gift all those years ago. (Thanks Mom & Dad!) Now, are you ready to start yours?

Spotlight on Sailing in New York

Category : Schools

Tsailing liberty statuehe Bronx is up, and the Battery’s down. But in the great state of New York, there’s sailing in every direction. While perhaps not as strongly associated with sailing culture as some of the nearby Eastern seaboard states, New York is actually a huge sailing destination, offering a ton of variety. Just pick the kind of sailing you’re into (Open ocean? Wide bay? Serene rivers and lakes?) and then find an ASA sailing school nearby!