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~ A Cut Above ~



We received this letter from Bob Bamford, who took an eight day ASA 103/104 course with us in Chesapeake Bay in June 2009


Hi Rita

Thank you for the exciting and enlightening courses last week. I learned much more than I anticipated. Steve was an excellent instructor and teacher. Not only did he instruct us thoroughly on the course objectives but continued to teach throughout other experiences such as watching other boats drag at anchor during a rather windy evening on the Rhode River. Also, placing a cup of coffee near shipmate’s elbows is likely to lead to swabbing the sole. Steve continued to encourage us to expand our 'situational awareness', which included my first (and last) experience of soft shell crab. It wasn't the taste but rather the aesthetics that did not appeal. I like my crabmeat in cakes much better. 

I was amazed at how Steve was able to almost magically create many problem situations. Some examples include: the motor of Acadame seeming to break down requiring us toreturn to home port and transfer all our 'stuff' onto Scholarship (part of the regular fitness regime); the gale force winds that buffeted us about as we neared the Magothy River; the gale force winds that caused our ship to heal some 15 to 20 degrees during our 104 exam 
(I was in the middle of a problem and continued to work on it while holding my nav equipment from falling to the sole); and the piece de resistance, the innovative new Navigation process that I have never before seen, the Probability Inquiry into the Geospatial Position process, P.I.G. for short using a sophisticated mathematical involving dice, a frying pan and higher level addition handled with great expertise by my fellow student JB. Perhaps this process is part of the Celestial Navigation Course. I'm looking forward to Tom's explanation.

I would recommend these courses to anyone. I thoroughly enjoyed all aspects of the courses including the somewhat inclement weather as well as those magnificent winds that pulled and pushed us along in the magical rhythms of nature. I have much to learn and will be signing up for the 107 course this winter and the 106 course next August.

The course was a blast, the teacher a master, and my fellow student an inspiration.

Thanks for a wonderful experience.

Bob Bamford


After we completed our 200th Advanced Coastal and Ocean Training cruises, Bob wrote the following additional note:


As a recent graduate of the 103/104/105 courses I want to congratulate all of you at the School for reaching this milestone. Although I had taken several courses in the past at other schools and owned my own sailboat, a CS 34 for a few years, it wasn't until I had taken your courses that much of my previous experiences began to make sense, my successes and mistakes. After a period of cooling down after taking the courses, I am still extremely impressed with the complete process of signing up for the courses, the teaching and materials and the enthusiasm encouragement of all the staff to support my success. I feel much more competent as a sailor now, not only in learning an enormous amount of theory and hands on experience but also in coming to realize more of what I don't yet know. I am looking forward to taking the rest of your courses within the next couple of years.  

Thank you all for a wonderful learning experience and, again, congratulations on your success. I am not surprised. 

Bob Bamford

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