I will be reviewing the ASA school selection and training with the ASA 101 program. If you haven’t read up a little bit on how I pick the ASA course, please read up on my Sailing 101 blog. ASA 101 is the first of the many series of classes that you may participate in. Below are four of the most popular classes which you make consider signing up for.
Researching the ASA Schools
So I searched the asa.com website and found a link https://asa.com/find-sailing-school/ to help me search for a school closes to where I live. Below are the schools which responded to my inquiries within Marina Del Rey, California location.
- Bluewater Sailing – https://www.bluewatersailing.com
- Marina Sailing – https://www.marinasailing.com
- Blue Pacific Yachting – https://bluepacificboating.com/classes/sailing-classes/
- Naos Yachts – https://naosyachts.com/sailboats/school/group-lessons
Criteria for selecting a school
Criteria for Selecting the school
- Budget is a priority
- Review of the school
- Maintenance of the boat
- The instructors
- Location of the Training
I ended up selecting the three schools below and did a comparison matrix of the different programs. Below is the pricing of the classes as of March 2020.
Which ASA School did I choose?
I ended up selecting Naos Yacht as I have a friend who uses their chartering program called Sailtime and he was impressed with how new and well-maintained their boats were. The other thing was that I was not required to be a member as I would rather not join a school and be forced into some membership. In the terms of the cost, Naos Yachts has the best value for the money. You also get a free charter which you can choose anytime after the class is completed.
The class consists of two 8 hours days on a Saturday and Sunday. I asked a bunch of the schools if they can break up into two Saturdays, and the only one which allows that is Marina Sailing. The two days consist mostly of spending an average of 6-8 hours per day on the water and it can be quite physical. The last 2 hours of Sunday will be used to take the written examination for your certification.
ASA 101 is one of their first basic class for an inexperienced sailor.
For the ASA 101 class, you will need the first book in their series, which is the ASA Sailing Made Easy.
Some of the schools do not provide the book and you will need to purchase them online through Amazon or Google Books. You may also get them used from ebay.com.
You will need this book to prepare yourself for the class and also to help you answer the questions for the examination.
For the class, we got to use a two month old brand new Beneteau Oceanis 30.1 sailboat.
My class had four students and an instructor. Two of the students had no experience at all on a boat and the third student had some experience as he own a small recreational sport catamaran. One of the students actually came all the way from Phoenix, Arizona, and the other from Ventura, California just to take a class with this school.
We had a great instructor by the name of Harmut and he had a ton of years of experience as a sailor. I believe he is originally from Germany but has been living in the US for a long time. He mentioned that he also teaches the same course with other schools and it looked like there is a small pool of instructors which are shared amongst all the other schools.
What do I need to bring for the class?
- Lots of water as you will be on the water for at least 6 hours before returning back to the dock.
- Lunch as you be eating on the boat.
- Gloves. I would highly recommend getting one as you will be physically pulling the line (sheet).
- Non-Skid white sole shoes. I found this shoe to be great on the boat as it did not skid. I saw a few people had issues with their shoes. Note that they prefer you to have a white sole shoe so that it does stain the boat with black skid marks.
- Hat. The bigger the better and you will need one with some sort of string attached to your chin or it will end up on the ocean.
- Sunscreen. You will need lots of it as I got sunburnt on my first day. Yuck!!! and Ouch!!!
- Medication for seasickness if you are not sure. I didn’t take any but i had ginger in my water just in case.
- Lastly, Have fun!!!!
The Log Book
Naos Yacht also provided us the ASA Certification Log Book which is used to track our certification and also to record the sailing destinations. I noticed not all the instructors practice the requirement to log the sailing hours.
THE CLASS – DAY 1 of 2
- We spent some amount of time on boating safety.
- Learned how to check
- The engine oil
- The coolant and we found out that we were low in the coolant
- As for this Beneteau, the engine compartment is right below the stairs
3. How to use the head aka toilet
First thing you learn is that everything which goes into the head has to come from your body only.
All toilet paper will need to go to a paper bag.
Yes. it does sound gross but it’s a necessity as you do not want to clog the head.
Learn how to manual pump the head
4. Next we check for the bilge to see if the automatic bilge is working
5. Check the Rigging
6. Check the Sail and the sheets
7. Turn on the engine and make sure there is water coming out of the exhaust on the side of the boat.
8. We spent quite a bit of time learning how to dock the boat as you can see below from the Tracklink log.
9. We spent the rest of the day out in the Santa Monica Bay learning how to sail
THE CLASS – DAY 2 of 2
Today we repeated the docking procedures and then we spent a lot of time on learning the Man Over Board (MOB) technique. We spent a lot of the time on the Figure 8 rescue technique as you can see from the bottom of the picture.
The Certification Exam
- What do I need to study?
Most of the exam questions are actually available at the end of each chapter in the Sailing Made Easy book.
- How many questions?
There are about 100 multiple choice questions and you need only 80 to pass the exam
- How long is the exam?
It’s about 1 hour long but the instructor will give you more time if needed.
Examination Study Help
- Try ASA online course for free https://asa.com/free-online-sailing-course/
- ASA has provided some study help guide which you can review on https://asa.com/certifications/asa-101-basic-keelboat-sailing/
- Try their Youtube videos
4. Learn How to Knot – https://asa.com/knots-made-easy-videos/
5. Docking Made Easy – https://asa.com/docking-made-easy-videos/
- Upon passing the on the water training and written exam, you will be mailed your ASA 101 sticker and a letter congratulating you on the first step to becoming a sailor.
- Don’t forget to update your ASA Certification Logbook with your profile information and place your sticker on page 13.
- The next course in this series is to take the ASA 103 Basic Coastal Cruising Certification. Check out my ASA 103 Blog
- As I mentioned earlier, I will also be taking my class with NauticEd also, Check out my NauticEd Small Keelboat Skipper blog