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Getting ASA Sailing Certified

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Description: American Sailing Association (ASA) Certification for Basic Keel Boat (101) and Basic Coastal Cruising (103) with Marina Sailing in Newport Beach, California.

Downside: Boat bites. LOL. No there wasn’t a downside to this experience at all.

How to Get There: Located in the Balboa Marina Upper Lot, Marina Sailing Newport Beach address is 201 East Coast Hwy Newport Beach, CA 92660. Look for the white mini bus in the upper parking lot.

Marina Sailing office Balboa Marina Newport Beach, California

Marina Sailing office Balboa Marina Newport Beach, California

Adventure Details:

For those of you who know me, there is no other place I would rather be than by or on the ocean. I love being out on the water and feeling the tranquility that it brings. I decided two years ago that I wanted to sail, so I found some great friends with similar passions and away we went. Crewing on a yacht is very exciting and leads to lots of adventures on and off the water. I am all for the sense of adventure, so I knew that I needed to add to my skillset the ASA Certification. So what does this do for you? You can charter boats and spread the experience of sailing with your family and friends. Alternatively, you can do what I did and charter a 50-foot yacht in Greece for seven days with friends. Sailing is a wonderful way to see the world. Change your perspective and go sailing.

What to Look for in a Sailing School:

I found Marina Sailing by going to the ASA website and searched for local sailing programs. Marina Sailing has an excellent course called the Complete Sailing Course which enables you to certify for the ASA 101 and ASA 103 for $795. By joining the yacht club, yes I now belong to a yacht club, you can charter boats, go racing, and participate in sailing vacations around the world. So here are the important factors in considering a sailing school:

Recognition by the American Sailing Association and the U.S. Coastguard:Teaching the highest sailing standards is critical to ensure your sailing competence.

Quality and Care of the Boats: This is crucial since you are going to be out on the open water and safety is at a premium. Regularly maintained boats will safeguard your safety on the water.

Friendly and Knowledgeable Staff: This should be a fun experience, but you also need a safe learning environment. The staff should be friendly and supportive throughout your course.

What to Expect in a Sailing Course:

So you may be asking, what exactly does this look like? How much time do I need to commit? Here are some things to expect in your ASA certification course:

Time Commitment: The ASA 101 and 103 will take about 24 hours of instruction both on and off the water. You will also have to study and complete the homework in addition to these hours in order to be successful in passing your certification tests.

 Basic Keel Boat (ASA 101): You will be provided all the ASA teaching materials as part of your course. In ASA 101 you will learn all the parts of the boat and what they do, points of sail, operating the vessel and commands, boating knots, boat safety, tacking, jibing, and basic navigation rules. For the on the water portion of the class, the instructors will walk you through each sailing drill to ensure you understand thoroughly. After successful completion of this part of the course, you can take your ASA 101 certification test.

American Sailing Association sailing course book

American Sailing Association sailing course book

Basic Coastal Cruising (ASA 103): Here you will learn boat systems, docking, man overboard technique, basic coastal navigation, anchoring, and night navigation. The instructors will have a greater expectation of your on the water skills at this point, but will also be there to see that you are successful.

Catatonic, 30 foot Catalina, the boat I did my confidence sail on Balboa Marina Newport Beach, Ca

Catatonic, 30 foot Catalina, the boat I did my confidence sail on Balboa Marina Newport Beach, Ca

Confidence Sails: You will be required to charter two confidence sails before taking the ASA 103 certification exam. The confidence sails are without an instructor onboard, but you will be given a crew of other successful graduates in which you will be the skipper. My first charter was aboard a 30 foot Catalina called Catatonic. We had a great sail even with the 5 foot swells that we encountered.

ASA 103 Certfication Test: After completion of ASA 103 and two confidence sails, you are now able to take this certification test. Upon successful completion, you can now charter boats overnight. Catalina, here we come!

 Sailing is a great responsibility and takes work to get through the course, but I am glad that I did it as it has boosted my confidence as a woman. Marina Sailing made it a perfect experience for me. The instructors (Ken, Ralph, and Heinz) were extremely knowledgeable and patient, but they were fun too! I am sure that I have made friends for life. Be sure to say “Hi” to Charlie, Leslie, and Mariano when you book your lessons and/or charter.

Did you get ASA or RYA certified? What was your experience like? Leave a comment below.

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Michelle Rae

Michelle Rae

Michelle Rae is the creator of The Traveling Vixen, which captures her adventures around the world. Her passion is to inspire others to grow by experiencing and learning new things in the world.