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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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Enter our 30th Anniversary Photo Contest, win prizes!

Category : Social Media

In the month of March, we’re celebrating our 30th anniversary by gathering great sailing photos from our members and fans! If you’ve got a great sailing photo from the last 30 years, we want to see it. Submissions are open through March 30th, and shortly thereafter we’ll begin selecting winners!

Prizes will be awarded in the following categories:

-Best Action Sailing Photo
-Best Photo Depicting the ASA Logo
-Best Sailing Lifestyle Photo

If you’ve got a great sailing photo that doesn’t fit one of those categories, submit it anyway! You never know, we might make a special category just for you!

You can enter your photos by posting them on our Facebook timeline , sending them via Twitter, or by email. Please include a brief description of the photo when you submit it. At the end of March winners will be decided by a combination of popular vote and editorial panel. Now, let’s see what you’ve got!

Read the official terms and conditions here.

Sailing Season 2011 Photo Contest Winners

Category : American Sailing Association, Social Media

After a long hiatus from Facebook photo contests, we’ve returned with a vengeance! This time our theme was “Sailing Season 2011″ — whatever or wherever that means to you! We had photos from all over the US and the Caribbean, showcasing everything from sails glowing white against vast blue skies to the Statue of Liberty in silhouette to parrot skippers (yes, you read that right). And we had A LOT of sunsets. In the end, we also had a clear winner, decided by a vote of our Facebook fans.

FIRST PLACE

This photo, submitted by Melissa Nicholson, was probably chosen as much for its message as for its artistry. Here’s Melissa’s description: “The best part of sailing season 2011 was introducing my granddaughter to sailing.” We at ASA are proud to support and promote young people getting involved in sailing, and by the looks of it, having a great time. Congratulations, Melissa! This photo will appear in the January edition of ASA’s Sailing with Style e-newsletter.

RUNNER UP

Second in the voting was this shot by Black Rock Sailing School, an ASA affiliate in Boston, MA. Their caption: “A very tired mate catches some rest under the dodger in the BVI. Must have been the hike through The Baths.” Another youngster out sailing! We’re sensing a theme here…
runner

EDITOR’S CHOICE AWARD

This is the part where I get to choose my favorite! This was a very tough choice, but it has to go to Cameron Sarik’s photo of the parrot Phoenix taking the helm on the Potomac River. I wonder what level he’s certified to?

Remember, you can find the full gallery of entries here, and there are some great ones that didn’t make it into the top three! We always welcome sailing photos posted to our Facebook page, so come visit us and check out what’s going on. Thanks to everyone who submitted and voted this month! Happy holidays!

A Wild Week of Sea Animal Encounters

Category : American Sailing Association, Social Media

sea lionSometimes you just wonder what they’re putting in the water. Monterey Bay Sailing, an ASA sailing school in Monterey, California, snapped this photo of an unusual passenger aboard one of their boats.  That was just part of what has been a week of animals behaving, not badly exactly, but normally, only with humans in closer proximity than usual. Check out these three videos, all of which are startling and breathtaking in their own way.

First up: Orca whales in the Puget Sound decide to take a closer look at some people standing on shore. Luckily, somebody had their camera rolling.

The world’s whale population wasn’t done by a long shot. Here a surfer is minding her own business when a mighty humpback decides to come up for a snack.

And finally, perhaps the most astonishing animal encounter of them all–a flock of starlings. You must see this video to believe it.

Murmuration from Sophie Windsor Clive on Vimeo.

Remember to keep up with us on Facebook and Twitter for more great videos and photos!

Why Be an ASA Member?

Category : American Sailing Association, Members, Social Media

ASA bahamas flotilla groupWhen you learn to sail with one of our over 300 sailing schools in the United States and around the world, you automatically get a 1 year membership with our Association. Great! But when that year is over, what comes next? Even if you don’t have another sailing course planned for the immediate future, why continue to be an ASA member? The answer comes in three parts:

1. Benefits
At just $39/year (or $69 for two years), an ASA membership often pays for itself the first time you sail with it. Members can get discounts on travel costs, chartering, sailing gear, not to mention a free subscription to SAILING Magazine. For the complete list of member benefits, click here.

2. Community
We’re not just a training program for sailors, we’re a huge network of people who share a passion for the sport and lifestyle. As an ASA member, you’ll have a ton of opportunities to stay connected with the sailing world through our flotillas, events, publications, social media, and more. Our mission is not just to provide the highest quality standard in sailing education, but also to help the sailing community grow and thrive.

3. ASA Is There For You
Your affiliation with ASA and your local sailing school form the backbone of your sailing resume whenever you want to charter a boat, join a racing team, or just borrow somebody’s day-sailer. We’re available to answer your questions, and we have a dedicated Government Liaison who stands up for your rights & interests.

ASA has certified over 835,000 sailors, but we couldn’t exist without our members. So join today and become a part of the most exciting seafaring community in the world!

How Not to Dock Your Boat

Category : American Sailing Association, Safety, Sailboats, Social Media, Standards

If only these people had taken the American Sailing Association’s Docking Endorsement. We’ll teach you everything from the physics of docking to how to step on and off the boat without falling in the water. (Hint #1: Don’t try to jump over the lifelines.)

Most of all, we’ll give you a lot of practice and make sure you feel SAFE and CONFIDENT when leaving the dock and coming back.

Ask your local sailing school about the ASA Docking Endorsement (118). It sure beats the alternative. A few years ago I was on a boat setting sail on a major ocean passage. Our journey had an inauspicious start, however, because as we left the dock we pulled a huge chunk of it off with us! Of course, that was partly the dock’s fault, being old and crumbly, but still… (Oh, and this was way before I ever worked for ASA!)

broken dock

This is a different broken concrete dock, but it gives you the idea.

Winners of the ASA Fan Appreciation Sweepstakes

Category : American Sailing Association, Members, Social Media
Grand Prize Winner Capt. John Enders

Grand Prize Winner Capt. John Enders sails S/V Victoria.

Thousands entered, but only 5 could win.

We’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who participated in our recent Fan Appreciation Sweepstakes on Facebook. It was our way of thanking those of you who have followed us for a long time, as well as bringing in new people with a passion for sailing. Congratulations to the winners, and we hope that everyone continues to enjoy sharing the best of the sailing lifestyle on our Facebook page.

In case you’re not a fan of our Facebook page yet, here’s an idea of why you should be. Every day we post the best videos, photos, and news from the sailing world. You’ll find everything from informative articles on the art of sailing, to interesting historical anniversaries and great seafaring quotes, to stuff that’s just plain fun. We also love seeing your sailing photos and hearing your sea stories. It’s a great place for sailors from all over the world to talk to each other. So join us by clicking “Like” at the top of the page.

Without further ado, here are the winners of the first ever ASA Fan Appreciation Sweepstakes:
ipod touch 8g
GRAND PRIZE – iPod Touch 8G

Captain John Enders, who sails on S/V Victoria out of Anacortes, WA. Capt. Enders had a sense of humor about his win, saying, “This is great news. I haven’t won anything since I was 13 (about a hundred years ago). It was a 45 of Barry Sadler’s ‘Green Beret’ ballad.” Well, he’ll be listening to Bert Sadler in style on his iPod Touch from now on!

OTHER WINNERS:

ASA logo sailcloth cooler by Sailor Bags: John Goebel, who says, “Without my ASA certifications I wouldn’t be as good of a sailor as I am and wouldn’t be out on Santa Monica Bay crewing for races all year long!”

Weems & Plath Navigation Kit: Dan Schertner

ASA Logo T-Shirt: Marte Gutierrez

ASA Logo T-Shirt: Seth Goettelman

Once again, congratulations to all of the winners and a profound thanks from ASA to everyone who entered! Fair winds!

New discussion forum for ASA instructors on Facebook

Category : American Sailing Association, Instructors, Social Media

asa instructors and membersThe sport and lifestyle of sailing are ever-changing, and ASA instructors, some of the finest sailing teachers in the world, are a great resource to the community and to each other. Now there’s a place online for instructors to quickly and easily talk to each other about strategies, techniques, and the issues of the day.

The brand new ASA Sailing Instructors group on Facebook is the official online meeting place for our qualified instructors. Here you can share documents, including text, articles, photos, and videos. You can also comment on and discuss any topic related to the work or lifestyle of being a sailing instructor.

For example, the first topic of discussion has been Tom Tursi’s article on Overboard Rescue procedures. Click here to contribute your voice to this topic, and to stay abreast of the latest instructor news and chit-chat!

America’s Cup Live Coverage, Sailing News, and Your Moment of Zen

Category : American Sailing Association, Sailboats, Social Media

sunset sailboatsSeptember is here and while it’s still high summer at ASA’s headquarters in Marina del Rey, CA, in many places the sailing season is winding down. But that doesn’t mean the good times have to come to an end–and you don’t have to stop living the sailing lifestyle. Here are some cool items to keep you in tune with the world of sailing.

For those who have an interest in the intense, fast, and wild world of America’s Cup racing, it’s easier than ever to keep track of the AC34 World Series. Racing action from Plymouth, England from Sept. 10-18 will be streaming live on the America’s Cup World Series.

Click here to follow.

If you’re wondering how the America’s Cup started and got it’s name, by the way, here’s the dramatic story.
moored boat sunset
In other news, a blogger going by the name Hodgepodgereel has a run-down, with some very artful photographs, of what it’s like to take ASA 101, Basic Keelboating.

A legally blind man is planning to sail solo around the world. His boat is set-up to work with his needs. What do you think? Inspiring, brave, or foolish? Maybe all three? Story.

On the lighter side, Practical Sailor on the art of blue water “cursing.”

Finally, sit back and get into the properly relaxed frame of mind for the weekend with this serene video of the waters at Key West, Florida.

ASA Launches Fan Appreciation Sweepstakes on Facebook

Category : American Sailing Association, Social Media

ipod touchOur fans are the best, and they deserve the best. That’s why ASA is launching our Fan Appreciation Sweepstakes on Facebook, to reward and grow our wonderful and lively community. Whether you’ve been following us for years, or you didn’t even know we had a Facebook page, you can enter for a chance to win our great prizes, including:

TWO GRAND PRIZES:
-Apple iPod Touch 8G
-$250 toward sailing lessons at an ASA sailing school

PLUS PLENTY OF OTHER CHANCES TO WIN:
-Weems & Plath Nav Kit
-Sailcloth Cooler Bag from Sailor Bags
-ASA t-shirts

How do you enter? It’s easy! Just visit our Facebook page and follow the simple instructions. The Sweepstakes is free to enter and there is absolutely no obligation other than “Liking” us on Facebook.

Welcome aboard!

Voyaging with Velella: Home Is Where the Boat Is

Category : American Sailing Association, Members, Sailboats, Schools, Social Media

meghan asa burgeeThis 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.
meghan and prescott