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~ A Cut Above ~

 

Basic Keelboat Sailing (ASA101)

Learn the fundamentals of sailing keel boats of 32 feet including sail theory, terminology, repetitive practice, safety, basic chart work, Rules of the Road, man overboard drills, intensive boat docking practice and instruction; USCG Requirements and much more. Four-day course including theory and practical exercises aboard the boat. Students successfully completing this course will receive ASA certification. No previous experience required. Live aboard during the course. Courses conducted in Chesapeake Bay and Caribbean. 

Sailors with adequate previous experience can challenge the ASA101 Standards, if they are taking the ASA 103 level course, by passing a written examination and demonstrating hands-on skills during the ASA103 course.

 

Basic Coastal Cruising (ASA103)

Learn the fundamentals of coastal cruising an auxiliary sailing yacht during daylight hours. Subjects include Rules of the Road, required equipment, engines and troubleshooting, weather observations, heavy weather, basic navigation, intensive boat docking practice and instruction and much more. Four-day course including theory and practical exercises aboard the boat. Students successfully completing this course and mastering the ASA103 Standards can receive ASA 103 certification and will have the skills necessary to independently coastal cruise boats  to 32 feet in length during the day in moderate winds and seas. Live aboard during the course. Courses conducted in Chesapeake Bay and Caribbean.

 

Docking Techniques Certification (ASA118)

Docking a large cruising boat safely and without damage can be a daunting task especially when the wind blows 20 knots. Bow sprits and marriages are often broken or severely damaged in the process. We've designed a hands-on docking practice program on Island Packet 32 foot cruising yachts to help all sailors, whether experienced or beginner, to learn the best methods for docking. Student successfully completing the course and mastering the ASA118 Standards can receive the ASA118 Docking Endorsement certification.

 

Bareboat Charter Certification (ASA104)

Learn additional requirements for coastal cruising of auxiliary sailing yachts during daylight hours and earn Bareboat Charter Certification. Subjects include cruise planning, living aboard, basic weather forecasting, Rules of the Road, boating etiquette, safety equipment, chart reading and use, extensive practice of on board skills, cruising to "foreign" ports (see below) and much more. Five full days and four nights required. Students successfully completing this course and mastering the ASA104 Standards can  receive ASA 104 certification and will have the skills necessary to independently coastal cruise boats of this type. Live aboard during the course.

 

Locations for ASA101, 103 & 104 Courses

St Thomas, USVI: Beginning to Intermediate Sailing Courses on a luxurious Island Packet 440 sailing yacht; live aboard classes with five or fewer students plus the instructor for eight days. Two levels of ASA Certification (ASA101 & 103 or ASA103 & 104) available for qualified students. All of our Instructors are USCG licensed captains and ASA certified instructors who also teach in our Rock Hall courses from May to October.  

Our yachts are docked at American Yacht Harbor on St Thomas. Students arrive on the day prior to the first class day and settle in to the yacht and Island Life. On the first class day we plan the specific destinations for the week and the meal menu, shop for food and drink provisions, and begin our class lessons. We plan for all breakfast and lunch meals plus four dinner meals aboard the yacht and four dinner meals ashore at restaurants. Refer to our typical itinerary for a description of this week of Caribbean sailing.

Rock Hall, MD on Chesapeake Bay: Basic Sailing, ASA101 and Basic Coastal Cruising, ASA103 are each four-day live aboard courses on an Island Packet 32 ft yacht. Learn to operate a 30+ foot cruising sailboat in protected waters during daylight. These live-aboard courses are conducted from May through October. Our boats are at Lankford Bay Marina on the Chester River with a swimming pool and great shower facilities. The boats come back to the dock every night, so food is not included in the course fee. Most students eat out at night at the dozen or more restaurants in Rock Hall or Chestertown, but you are welcome to cook on board. Our Island Packets have dockside A/C with heat, a fully equipped galley, dodger, bimini, roller furling genoa and much more. ASA testing and certification are included. Completion of the ASA101 & 103 will give you the skills for chartering of boats up to 30 feet in protected waters during daylight hours. Come the evening before your course starting date and sleep aboard to be refreshed and ready to start the next morning.  

Chesapeake Bay: Bareboat Certification, ASA104 courses are conducted on Island Packet 32 to 45 foot sailing yachts to various ports and anchorages in Chesapeake Bay. Some cruises start and finish near Rock Hall at Lankford Bay Marina on the Chester River; others sail the length of Chesapeake Bay between Rock Hall and Norfolk a distance of 140 miles. Ports of call for the Rock Hall centered cruises often include Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, Annapolis, St. Michael’s, Oxford, West River, Magothy River or Tilghman Island. All breakfasts and lunches and 3 or 4 dinners are provided onboard, and 1 or 2 dinners are eaten ashore during ashore stops.

 

Coastal Navigation (ASA105)

Lectures and practical exercises are conducted during three full days of online class time with a live instructor and augmented by home study. Subjects include chart reading and interpretation, government publications, navigation instruments, use of tide and current tables, plotting of bearings, fixes, running fixes, dead reckoning, drift, set and much more. Students successfully completing this course and mastering the ASA105 Standards can  receive ASA certification and will possess the theory and knowledge to make meaningful use of coastal navigation and plotting information. No previous courses required. Practical experience in applying these methods is gained on our cruising courses in particular ASA 104 & 106 described elsewhere on this page. 

This certification may also be completed through our Home Study program or, for experienced navigators, by challenging the ASA Exam.

 

Advanced Coastal Cruising (ASA106)

Learn procedures and preparation requirements for advanced coastal cruising aboard an Island Packet IP440 cruising yacht for daylight and night time operation. Subjects include sail and rig theory, practice for day, night and heavy weather, seamanship, engineering, troubleshooting, safety, weather monitoring and interpretation and more. Students will demonstrate various skills including trip planning, navigation, helmsmanship, man overboard rescue, anchoring and more. One-day preparation seminar aboard the yacht prior to departure plus a seven day cruise as follows:

  • DELMARVA Circumnavigation starting from our marina in Rock Hall at, up Chesapeake Bay, down Delaware Bay, offshore in the Atlantic to Norfolk and back up Chesapeake Bay to our marina.

Students successfully completing this course and mastering the ASA106 Standards can earn ASA certification and will acquire the skills and knowledge necessary to independently coastal cruise in yachts of this type during day and night in a variety of weather conditions. Live aboard during the course.

 

Celestial Navigation (ASA107)

An essential skill for the serious offshore sailor. Lectures and practical exercises are conducted during three full days of online class time with a live instructor and augmented by home study. Learn celestial navigation and how it applies to position fixing on the earth's surface; use of sextant, nautical almanacs, tables, charts, plotting sheets and other instruments; procedures for taking sun, moon, planet and star sights plus noon sights and Polaris sights; methods for reducing celestial sights to a usable form and integrating this information with DR position, visual bearings, current and wind effects, radar readings and electronic fixes. Students successfully completing this course and mastering the ASA107 Standards can receive ASA certification and will have the skills and knowledge necessary to navigate offshore using celestial methods and techniques. The practical skills of taking reliable shots on a rolling, pitching boat at sea are developed during our ocean training cruises as described below. Course is conducted in a live online webinar.

This certification may also be completed through our Home Study program or, for experienced navigators, by challenging the ASA Exam.

 

Offshore Passagemaking (ASA108)

For the experienced sailor looking for serious offshore sailing with a professional crew on a solid, blue water 51 foot sailing yacht. Each yacht is skippered by a highly experienced, USCG Licensed Ocean Master plus an experienced First Mate and four student crewmembers. A two-day intensive offshore preparation seminar is conducted onboard the yacht prior to departure and we depart for sea on the third day. Celestial navigation is the primary offshore navigation used during the passage, and you'll be able to actively participate in this method; so bring your sextant and come prepared to learn the fine points of successful navigation at sea. Also participate actively in weather analysis and route decision strategies, watchkeeping and underway operation of the yacht. Experience ocean passagemaking during day and night sailing and in heavy weather sailing conditions. Cruise destinations include:

  • Florida to Bermuda in May, 800 miles

  • Bermuda to Long Island Sound in June; 650 miles

Read the reports of our previous cruises to learn more of what we do and how we do it during our offshore passage preparation seminars conducted aboard the yacht prior to these exciting ocean sailing cruises. During the last twelve years as an offshore sailing school we've completed over 250 advanced training cruises of between 400 and 1500 miles each, and offer an excellent learning opportunity to anyone aspiring to experience serious blue water sailing conditions. Our offshore sailing preparation and at-sea experience includes essential knowledge for anyone planning to prepare for an adventure sailing their own blue water yacht.

ASA 108 level Certification is available to students completing the course prerequisites, mastering the ASA108 Standards, and writing acceptable essays covering specified examination topics.


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