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 board games and the kids roll their eyes, try something new that you’ll delight in as well. The adventure-seeker in your family will be drawn to exploring new coastlines and traveling the world. The risk-taker will love the prospect of heavy-wind sailing through relentless seas. The artist will be inspired by the boat’s beautiful lines and the ocean’s ever-changing shades of blue and green. The athlete will catch sight of a fierce catamaran or laser and yearn to try it out. Even the indoor kid with an affinity for physics will find joy in understanding how everything works. Sailing really is for everyone.
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!
“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, we are inextricably linked to the ocean. On the most basic level, we need it to practice the sport we love. Even more importantly, we need a healthy ocean. Not just for the sake of our passion, but for the sake of our planet and the generations to come. Recent reports from Guanabara Bay, Rio de Janeiro’s 2016 Olympic Sailing venue, bring to light the contamination of our seas and its influence on even the most highly regarded regattas.
Rio’s first official test event at Guanabara Bay will take place in less than three months, and it is still dangerously polluted. Most visibly, dead animals, tires, couches, and other large discarded items litter the bay. If left as-is, the debris will be more than an eyesore; it will likely alter the race results as well. If a boat collided with a partially submerged object, it would surely affect the outcome of the race in such a competitive fleet. Likewise, even small plastic bags can slow boats and inhibit steering by wrapping around blades. Appallingly, this isn’t the worst part of sailing in the bay. Almost seventy percent of Rio’s untreated sewage goes directly into the ocean, and Guanbara Bay’s sewage levels are consistently over the legal limit, which is much more lenient in Brazil than in the United States. Contact with this extremely contaminated water can cause Hepatitis A, cholera, dysentery and a multitude of other diseases. Sailors will without a doubt be exposed to the harmful water while competing, causing a worldwide outcry for more water testing and a change of venue. International sailors have referred to the sailing site as an open sewer, and even Brazilian sailors have spoken out in condemnation of Brazil’s inability to make good on promises for clearer and cleaner water for the 2016 games. For more information, check out this Guanabara Bay footage.
The buzz surrounding Guanabara Bay applies to more than just Olympians. It serves as a reminder to us all that we cannot reverse the damage our species has done to the ocean. It would take over a decade to significantly decrease Guanbara Bay’s pollution, and the wildlife and pure quality of water will never return. Imagine sailing through miles of murky water filled with debris. Instead of enjoying the smell of the ocean and the occasional salty spray, you cower away from the diseased water. There is no sea life in sight. A world without clean, healthy seas is a world without sailing the way we know and love it today. We are lucky enough to have the biggest playing field in the world, and it is our job to make sure it remains untainted.
Here are 10 easy ways you can help: Save the Ocean
Sources: USA Today, NY Times, National Geographic
We’re leaving no stone unturned in the search for the best photos depicting the bareboat cruising lifestyle, and we want our members & fans to be in on the fun! We have room for one outstanding photo on the front cover and several photos on the back cover. Do you have a fantastic charter photo that you’d like to see grace BCME? Then send it our way, and you never know what could happen!
Should your photo be chosen for the front or back cover, you’ll receive photo credit, a free copy of the book, and your work will be immortalized on a book that thousands and thousands of sailors will use!
Some guidelines to keep in mind:
- Vertical shots preferred (horizontal may work, though)
- Should depict the fun lifestyle of bareboat chartering
- Should feature a sailboat
- People having fun in the shot strongly preferred
- You must own the photo or have the right to give it to us (See official rules below for details)
- High resolution, preferably portrait size (Minimum 2 MB file size)
If you have a great chartering photo that fits this description, it could be the one we’re looking for.
Two ways to submit:
Email your photo to bmiller AT asa DOT com.
About the books:
ASA’s series of instructional sailing books set the industry standard. The series begins with Sailing Made Easy, the accompanying text to our ASA 101 Basic Sailing course, and continues with Coastal Cruising Made Easy, which addresses more advanced navigation and sailing skills from ASA 103. These books were called “best in class” by Sailing Magazine and are some of the most popular sailing guides on the market.
Bareboat Cruising Made Easy will accompany ASA 104, one of our most in-demand courses. ASA 104 is the Bareboat Cruising certification level, a credential that is recognized around the world and allows you to skipper your own charter boat. For many sailors, a bareboat charter in the Caribbean or Mediterranean is the ultimate sailing goal, and ASA 104 is a big step toward making it happen.
How to enter: Post a photo on the American Sailing Association’s Facebook timeline with a brief description. Or, email your photo to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Multiple submissions are allowed.
By submitting a photograph to ASA for the purpose of the cover photo search for Bareboat Cruising Made Easy, you agree to the following:
In consideration of my engagement as a model and/or photographer I do hereby voluntarily authorize and give permission to THE AMERICAN SAILING ASSOCIATION to the exclusive use of: photographs, video and digital reproductions in any form of my person or personal property. In submitting my photography, I certify that I have the right to grant, and do grant, THE AMERICAN SAILING ASSOCIATION permission to reproduce and use it in perpetuity.
They will be used for the promotion of THE AMERICAN SAILING ASSOCIATION and FINDMYCHARTER.COM. Uses include, but are not limited to: books, ads, brochures, publications, media broadcasts, the ASA website, and educational materials.
Through entering the ASA 30th Anniversary Photo Contest, I hereby grant, release and assign to THE AMERICAN SAILING ASSOCIATION any and all claims of right whatsoever in and to all photographs or printed materials of the undersigned.
I hereby give all clearances, copyright and otherwise, for use of my likeness and the likeness of any person depicted in the photograph submitted, in ASA promotional materials. I expressly release and indemnify AMERICAN SAILING ASSOCIATION and its officers, employees, agents and designees from any and all claims known and unknown arising out of or in any way connected with the above granted uses and representations.
Join us to help improve the lives of children in the Caribbean, and you could win a 6-night stay at Conde Nast award-winning Rosalie Bay Resort in beautiful Dominica, complete with round-trip air travel from San Juan, Puerto Rico to Dominica on Seaborne Airlines. Entries close at midnight, November 30, 2013.
Dominica, in the Eastern Caribbean, is an island of stunning natural beauty, home to great sailing, swimming, hiking, and diving. At the eco-boutique Rosalie Bay Resort, you’ll find yourself in a picturesque sanctuary blending nature with chic amenities.
ASA is partnering with Rosalie Bay Resort and Seaborne Airlines to support the mission of Hands Across the Sea, a non-profit organization dedicated to raising literacy levels in the Caribbean. When you donate to Hands Across the Sea through this page you’ll not only be automatically entered in our Grand Prize sweepstakes, you’ll be helping Hands provide much-needed books and literacy tools to children throughout the Caribbean. ASA will match all donations of $30 or more, up to a total of $1,000, in honor of its 30th anniversary year.
In addition to our Grand Prize winner, five entrants will win high-quality posters of the movie All Is Lost featuring Robert Redford and signed by director J.C. Chandor. The top three supporters (by amount of donation) will be given a beautiful marine-themed, gallery-quality handmade platter from Salt Marsh Pottery as a token of our appreciation.
About the Rosalie Bay Resort
Named the No. 2 resort in the Caribbean in the Condé Nast Traveler 2013 Readers’ Choice Awards, Rosalie Bay is an eco-boutique and wellness resort nestled in the foothills of the Morne Trois Pitons where the Rosalie River meets the black sand beaches of the Atlantic Ocean. Rosalie Bay is a pioneer in its environmental efforts with the largest wind turbine in the region and founding Dominica’s sea turtle conservation program.
The hand-built sanctuary seamlessly blends into its 22-acre surroundings with 28 spacious rooms and suites, waterfront spa, wellness program and organic cuisine. Stunning natural beauty and modern touches work in perfect harmony to create a vacation that is simply magical.
Guest post from Sailors for the Sea.
By:Hilary Wiech, Communications Manager and Annie Brett, Program Director
Renewable energy is a hot and sometimes controversial topic on land, but within the sailing world wind generators can sometimes be seen as old news.
It may seem silly to talk about renewable energy in the sailing world – aren’t sailboats powered by the wind after all? But look a little more closely, and for each sailboat on the water, there are a slew of energy consuming generators, outboards and batteries making sure we can get from point A to B. With climate change an increasingly pressing concern for the oceans and the environment, reducing our use of fossil fuels is critical. That being said, some of the best arguments for alternative energy sources are purely practical.
The cruising community, for instance, has long embraced renewable energy as a way to reduce costs and help make long passages possible on small amounts of diesel fuel. Solar panels and wind generators are almost ubiquitous on live-aboards, allowing cruisers to maintain battery banks while far away from traditional energy sources. Pictured at left is ASA instructor Yoh Aoki’s Zen 24 yacht, which makes us of a variety of renewable power sources.
Here at Sailors for the Sea we have noticed a big increase in the use of renewable energy with racing sailors as well. More efficient and cost-effective technologies mean that many of the same benefits the cruising community has long understood are now workable for racers. Whether switching a race committee boat to biodiesel or sailing around the world without a drop of diesel, race organizers are looking towards alternative energy sources. The America’s Cup, The Atlantic Cup, and the Vendee Globe are three regattas that are each taking a different approach to reducing their environmental footprint with the use of alternative energy.
America’s Cup – Alternative Energy supporting a large regatta venue
Race organizers at the America’s Cup have taken a strong stance on sustainability with a commitment to running every event in accordance to our Clean Regattas certification criteria and helping us create a stringent Platinum Level certification. The on-shore footprint of the America’s Cup is very large, with multiple venues scattered throughout the city of San Francisco and an anticipated hundreds of thousands of visitors during the three months of racing. Race organizers have committed to holding a carbon neutral event, and to achieve this they will utilize renewable energy in different ways:
- Solar Panels: Past America’s Cup World Series events have seen organizers turn to solar power for some of their energy needs. Security lights powered by solar panels will reduce electrical use for a light that needs to be very bright and on 12 hours a day. Solar panels will cover the top of the sound stage and will generate enough power to boom the announcer’s voices over the large crowds.
- Biodiesel: When The America’s Cup is unable to use shore power, and the use of generators are necessary using biodiesel will help reduce their fossil fuel usage and emissions.
Atlantic Cup – Renewable technologies for short distance and inshore racing
The Atlantic Cup, a regatta currently being run for its third year, has always received Gold level Clean Regattas certification. Race organizers require that every team use a form of alternative energy and through their sponsors assist teams with making the switch.
- Hydro-generators: Many boats in the Class 40 circuit use hydro-generators to charge their batteries. Much like an upside-down wind generator, they have become popular in recent years as their increasing efficiency and reduced drag means they barely affect a boat’s speed. (Watch video below)
- Solar Panels: Many boats are equipped with solar panels to charge their batteries.
Bio-diesel: When the engines must be run (hopefully only to and from dock) race organizers supply biodiesel for each boat.
Want to see more about renewable energy in the Atlantic Cup? Click here to view on Youtube.
Vendee Globe – Around the world with no fossil fuel
The Vendee Globe is a grueling solo round the world race from west to east via the three major capes -Good Hope, Leeuwin, and the Horn. In years past, about half the fleet does not make it across the finish line. For many years, racers have relied on some form of renewable energy to make it all the way around the world, typically a combination of solar panels and diesel fuel used to keep their batteries charged. However, this year one sailor set out with the goal of completing the race without using a single drop of diesel. Javier Sanso onTeam ACCIONA created a 100 percent ecopowered boat built to compete with the best in class.
- A combination of solar panels, wind generators, and hydro generators were used onboard to charge batteries.
- An electrical engine, a first in the history of the race, was used in place of a standard diesel engine. Team ACCIONA has to ask for the race rules to be changed to allow for the electrical engine, opening possibilities for the future.
If Sanso had completed the race, he would have been the first to do so without using fossil fuels. Unfortunately his keel broke and the boat flipped with approximately ¼ of the race left. For more information on Javier Sanso’s eco-friendly campaign watch the video below and read The New York Times article “In Race Around World, Boat Relies on the Power of Wind, Water and Sun.”
See more about renewable energy use in the Vendee Globe Race. Click here to view on Youtube.
There are many sailing books on the market, but if you read them all you’d never have time to actually, you know, go sailing. This blog will give you the 411 on the books ASA offers so you can decide if they’re right for you. (Spoiler: If you want to go sailing for fun, they are.)
First, a little history. The grandfather of sailing textbooks is Nathaniel Bowditch’s massive 1802 doorstop The American Practical Navigator, whose comprehensive chapters cover not only piloting, dead reckoning, and seamanship, but also such obscure topics as “Geodesy and Datums in Navigation,” “Hydrography,” and “Ice Navigation.” Worthy subjects all, but perhaps not of the foremost importance to the average modern-day sailor.
If you discover that the subtleties of navigation and seamanship are your life’s passions, then you will certainly want to dig into Bowditch, along with Chapman Piloting & Seamanship and Dutton’s Nautical Navigation, spending many happy hours in the hammock with a rum and coke reading about azimuths and depth sounders. All kidding aside, most people who are trying to balance a love of sailing with family, friends, work, and the rest of life just don’t have time to read and absorb thousands of pages.
That’s where we come in. Those pioneering works laid the foundation for ASA’s sailing books, which distill the wisdom of the ages into a manageable format designed to get you on the water safely, confidently, and quickly. Our full color displays, diagrams, and photos portray the concepts visually, while the writing, by some of the top sailing writers in the business, is accessible and clear. We take the mystery and uncertainty out of sailing by showing you exactly how a sailboat works, how it interacts with wind and water, and how you, the captain, take charge of it all.
WHO’S IT FOR?
Everyone. Beginners, those who need a refresher, or the grizzled salt who wants to have it handy as a reference. Sailing Made Easy is our keystone sailing textbook, covering all the basics you need to know to safely skipper a medium-sized keelboat (20-30 feet). It is the companion to ASA 101, our introductory course, which thousands of people take at our sailing schools around the world each year.
All the fundamentals of sailing. This includes the parts of a boat, what to bring with you when you sail, how you make the boat move, how you get it to and from the dock, and how to avoid hitting anything (including, but not limited to, other boats, underwater hazards, and the land). Beyond that, it also discusses the finer points of trimming your sails, slowing down and speeding up, and anchoring and mooring, among other things. Quite simply, this book sets the industry standard, which is why Sail Magazine named it “best in class.”
WHO’S IT FOR?
Those who are familiar with the material in Sailing Made Easy, and are ready to deepen their knowledge and expand their sailing horizons a bit. This book accompanies ASA 103 – Coastal Cruising, a crucial link in the ASA curriculum from basic daysailing to cruising and chartering in exotic locations.
This book builds on the skills you’ve learned in Sailing Made Easy, now heading a bit further out from shore. You’ll learn about tides and currents, weather forecasting, more advanced seamanship skills, among other things. The book is water-resistant and organized into two page “spreads,” with each spread covering a single topic, which makes it useful not just at home but out on the water, too.
Buy Coastal Cruising Made Easy here.
WHO’S IT FOR?
Those who have gotten comfortable sailing coastally and want to serve as their own bareboat charter captains. In other words, if you want to go on a sailing vacation in the British Virgin Islands, the Mediterranean, the Pacific Northwest, or anywhere else, this is the book you need. It accompanies the extremely popular ASA 104 – Bareboat Cruising.
Not only are the sailing skills covered that you’ll need to cruise for a week or two through paradise, but also the practical knowledge of how a bareboat charter works. We offer instruction on how to prepare your charter boat before leaving, the “rules of the road” at sea, and operating vital equipment such as the VHF radio. Sail Magazine says, “Everything needed to make the first weeklong liveaboard cruise in safety and comfort is here.”
Literarily speaking, aquatic travel for recreation began in 1857 with Henry David Thoreau’s Canoeing in Wilderness. Common sense dictates that he was hardly the first to cast off with no grander purpose in mind, but the pastime was undoubtedly new—a primitive luxury afforded by the vast, sparsely populated American landscape.
Sailing strictly for sport, by contrast, was some two centuries old by the publishing of Thoreau’s piece. The Dutch began racing their yaghtschip early in the seventeenth century, and initiated what could be coined the inception of international maritime competition a few decades later when they bestowed one of their vessels to Charles II of England.
Yet while the seed of tradition may have been planted in the mid-1600s, the day upon which it took its strongest roots was the 3rd of May, 1851. On this date, Commodore John Cox Stevens of the New York Yacht Club launched a 101 foot schooner named America en route to England to participate in the annual Isle of Wight regatta. Ten weeks later they emerged victorious, having defeated the next closest opponent by a full 18 minutes. The prize bequeathed upon them that day, a cookie cutter ornate sterling silver ewer purchased and donated for the race by the 1st Marquess of Anglesey, since dubbed the America’s Cup, remains the oldest active trophy in any sport.
Thoreau wrote first on the subject of traveling by water for personal gratification. What followed next may have been attributable somewhat to his influence, but more likely was rather a product of the era—a natural and inevitable progression. Other writers followed suit, and a romantic ideal was born. Bodies of water of every shape and size transformed to modes of transport for pleasure seekers, and by century’s end a new industry had come into existence: cruising.
In accordance with the spirit of the times, the first recreational sea cruise set sail in January of 1891. In less than a decade, the practice was so popular that the fledgling industry shifted from using off-duty ocean liners and freighters to designing purpose-built vessels uniquely suited to the task. While international sport sailing began its Renaissance in 1870 with the first challenge of the cup won by Commodore Stevens’ crew, cruising began hers in the late 1970s. Both are still going strong. Cruising has attained status as a seminal vacation destination for couples, families, business retreats, or virtually anybody with at least a few days and a few hundred dollars to spare. Sailing, meanwhile, found a global television audience of over 250 million in 2012 and even garnered an Emmy.
ENTER THE 2013 AMERICA’S CUP. For 125 years, beginning with the first challenge in 1870, every defense but one was held in the United States. Since the San Diego Yacht Club’s 0-5 loss to the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron in 1995, however, the event which bears this country’s name has been held abroad. 2010’s defeat of Ernesto Bertarelli’s international mercenary squad Alinghi by the Golden Gate Yacht Club brought the event back home, to be hosted for the first time ever in San Francisco.
If one were to recount the truly iconic bodies of water in this country, the main contenders are obvious—the mighty Mississippi and its mouth in the Louisiana delta; the Great Lakes and Niagara Falls; the Yellowstone crossing the volcanic plateau of northeast Wyoming and its resultant geyser basin; Utah’s inland sea, the Great Salt Lake… San Francisco Bay belongs on this list — ecologically important as a haven for Dungeness crab, salmon, and waterfowl; historically important as the western terminus of the First Transcontinental Railroad and as the location of Angel Island, the Ellis Island of the Pacific, as well as Alcatraz; architecturally important as the home of the Golden Gate Bridge and Bay Bridge; and geographically important as the entryway for the third, fourth, and eighth largest cities in California, to say nothing of its close proximity to Yosemite National Park and the lynchpins of Northern California wine country: Napa, Sonoma, and Paso Robles.
If the aforementioned alone was not enough to qualify the Bay as a fortuitous choice for the America’s Cup, consider this: the region’s geography and climate provides a near steady 15-25 knot wind from the west/northwest, while the five large islands serve as a barrier from larger swells. As sailing conditions go, the Bay’s are hard to beat.
For up to date information on the America’s Cup, check out the official website at: www.americascup.com/
One of San Francisco Bay’s many functions is that of a cruise ship terminal. Due to regulations requiring most large cruise ships to visit at least one foreign port on each itinerary, San Francisco isn’t as common a stop as Seattle to the north or San Diego and Long Beach to the south. Because it doesn’t fit tidily into a week-long itinerary to Alaska or the Mexican Riviera, it functions largely as the feature point of the repositioning cruises that serve as the bookends to the May-September Alaska season.
Itinerary planners at Celebrity Cruises, spotting the unique opportunity to position a ship in harbor for a day at the races, made an adjustment to their annual fall wine cruise, docking their flagship Solstice at Pier 39 for the America’s Cup’s fifth race on September 15. Historically speaking, day five is a good day to be around—in the last 50 years, the Cup has been decided by the fifth race over 40% of the time. Geographically speaking, Pier 39 is a good place to be around—the best views of the race are a half mile west at the Hyde Street Pier and Van Ness Avenue, and the race concludes a half mile east at Pier 29.
Keeping with the essence of the uniqueness of this opportunity, American Sailing Association has elected to make this cruise a cornerstone of our 30th Anniversary celebration. In years past we’ve organized group outings, presenting our members with a forum to meet and share experiences with fellow sailing enthusiasts from around the world. This is a special landmark year for us, and accordingly, this year’s outing commemorates that landmark by taking advantage of the exceptional chance to observe the masters of our craft in their definitive hour.
The cruise begins in Seattle on the afternoon of September 13, ending in San Diego on the 23rd. If you’re also a wine enthusiast, you’ll be happy to know that the voyage’s normally scheduled wine theme will largely remain intact, with opportunities to visit vineyards at most ports of call, as well as an extensive onboard wine program. For culinary buffs, the Solstice boasts no less than ten dining venues. The ship also features a spa, a Monte Carlo-inspired casino, a hot glass blowing show, an extensive library, onboard lectures and classes, and even an outdoor lawn with live grass for picnicking and croquet.
Limited space is available, so if you’d like to join our group for this special celebration, please contact our group travel expert: Nathan Mason, Montrose Travel. (800) 301-9673, ext. 521 / (818) 553-3220 Direct. Email: email@example.com.
On this momentous date, the Twelfth of December, Two-Thousand and Twelve, also known as 12/12/12, we want to count down 12 reasons why we love sailing! Please feel free to add your own in the comments.
Without further ado, here we go, in no particular order.
Twelve Things We Love About Sailing
1. The history and tradition.
When you go sailing, you’re continuing a tradition more than 3,000 years old. Sailing and sailboats are some of the most important inventions in human history, and have been pivotal in migration, trade, warfare, and enjoyment. Today we mainly focus on the latter!
2. The sense of pride and achievement that comes with learning to sail.
There really is nothing like the feeling of becoming the master of your own boat. Whether it’s a 22 foot keelboat on a local lake, or a massive ocean cruiser, skippering a boat is a great achievement.
3. Giving orders. (Politely.)
Gone are the days of cruel old barnacle-covered captains (well, maybe not completely). But giving and following orders, even in a casual setting, is still important and can be a lot of fun. You get to use salty sailing terminology, practice clear communication, and get a tremendous feeling of satisfaction when everyone does their part and a tack or gybe comes off perfectly.
4. All the great books and movies about sailing.
From Moby-Dick to Master and Commander, sailing has given a lot to the culture. We previously ran down some of the best sailing books on this blog, so check that out!
5. Feeling the boat accelerate when you get your sail trim just right.
Some call this “getting in the groove,” or finding the “sweet spot.” You feel the motion of the boat level out, the speed picks up, and you’re cruising along smoothly. Maybe we’ll just call it the “sweet groove.”
6. Good company.
Many of the world’s problems have been solved by sailors talking late into the night in the cockpit–unfortunately, they never seem to remember those solutions in the morning. But that’s no matter–a sailing trip is one of the best bonding experiences ever, bringing friends and family closer, and turning perfect strangers into lifelong pals.
On the other hand, sailing is also great for the opportunity to spend some time alone. Leave the noise, confusion, and stress of the world behind for a few hours, a few days, or a few weeks, and experience the freedom of solitude.
8. Flotillas and sailing vacations.
Seeing new places is a huge part of the attraction of sailing. As your sailing skills improve, you’ll have more and more confidence and opportunity to explore new places, including all of the amazing ASA flotilla destinations around the world.
9. The community.
Sailors and cruisers are a close-knit bunch. They share the good times, and help each other out in times of need. ASA is extremely proud to be a part of the sailing community with our 300 schools and huge membership.
10. The tropical islands.
You know exactly what we’re talking about: The BVIs. St. Martin and the Antilles. Tahiti, Moorea, Bora Bora. The Whitsundays. This is a list that could go on and on! Bottom line is that beaches, warm water, snorkeling, and tropical drinks go hand-in-hand with sailing.
11. Finding places with ZERO cell phone reception.
Sure, these days you can still get 5 bars in the middle of the ocean sometimes. But sailing is one of the few ways left to truly disconnect from the pace of life for a little while and let your mind wander in the relative peace and quiet of the wind and waves.
Let’s say you’re a novice to sailing and you’re curious to give it a try. Where do you start? How can you get a taste of the sailing lifestyle, and what are you getting yourself into? Here’s a secret: You don’t have to buy a boat. You don’t need grand plans to sail around the world. You definitely don’t need to spend a lot of money. All you need is a little time and the willingness to give it a shot.
Luckily, getting new sailors started is one of ASA’s specialties. You can ease your way in without even leaving the home, plunge straight into an exotic sailing adventure, or try something in-between. Whatever your style, here are five ways you can begin to live the dream.
1. Complete our free eLearn course, “Your First Sail.”
It only takes about 30-45 minutes, and covers all the basics for a new sailor or anyone looking to brush up. You’ll learn sailing terms, the parts of the boat, basic safety skills, and even what to wear and bring with you. This is great preparation for a first sailing lesson, and will also make you a better guest aboard someone else’s boat. Try it for free here.
2. Attend an On-Water Clinic at a boat show.
ASA exhibits at boat shows around the country, and now offers a variety of on-water clinics so you can go sailing at the show! There are courses for all levels, from first-timers to seasoned cruisers. You’ll learn sailing skills straight out of the ASA curriculum, taught by our certified instructors. Check with your local boat show to see if we’ll be there!
3. Sailing School Open House
Many of our sailing schools host “Open House” events periodically where you can get to know the instructors and the boats, and sometimes even go sailing for free. It’s an easy, low-stakes way to see what sailing is all about. Find your nearest ASA sailing school and contact them to see if there are any open house events scheduled.
4. Take an introductory ASA sailing course.
This is where the REAL learning begins. Sign up for ASA 101, Basic Keelboat Sailing, and get ready to become a confident small boat skipper. You’ll learn everything you need to have a great time as a casual sailor, and have the option of continuing through our courses to become an expert. Once again, just contact your local sailing school to get started!
5. Join an ASA Flotilla.
This is for those who want to start their sailing lives with a bang! ASA flotillas take place all over the world each year. Some of our favorite repeat destinations include the Caribbean, the San Juan Islands, Greece, Croatia, and Tahiti. And you don’t have to be a hardened sailor to go! Each boat will have a qualified skipper on board, and the trip will be led by an ASA instructor who is an expert in the local waters. Check out our flotilla schedule for 2013 here!