A few months ago I decided it was time for me to take a sailing course.  I did a quick search, knowing I wanted something ASA Certified.  The options can be overwhelming!  Did I want a package deal in an exotic location?  Did I want a bare-bones course close to home?  Or maybe something in the enormous in-between?

We have owned and used our boat for 2 years now - why do I even need a course?  We have settled nicely into our "roles" on board - a little too nicely.  I am at the helm when we are leaving from and returning to the dock.  He tends to raise the sails - and even does most of the sail work.  We rotate who's at the helm underway.  I do a lot of the navigation.  We both track weather.  I know basic terminology like port and starboard, tacking, etc.  I have a very basic knowledge of points of sail and kind of what to do in each of them.  I can get our boat from Point A to Point B. But we both still hesitate.  We still discuss if/when we should tack.  Or whether it's time to reef the sail (I know, I know.  If we're asking, it's already past time!)

I want to know more.  I want to know what to do in any given situation - without thinking about it.  I want it to be second nature.  That will mostly come with time/practice.  But I also want to know that I'm starting with the correct building blocks.  I don't want to really get into this and then have to un-learn bad habits.  I want a strong, correct knowledge base to build on. A stable foundation for everything that is to come - and there is so much to come!

What was my decision?  ASA 101 is the first step.  It's $550 for the course - that's 2 1/2 full days of sailing, plus the books and certification test.  I live within 2 hours of a top ranked school, so I didn't need to fly anywhere.  I did need a hotel for 3 nights.  (I use Expedia for most of our travel - and I had points, so the Best Western Plus that is only 20 minutes away only cost $90 for the whole weekend! SCORE!) I pretty much live on a boat - so I still have cold feet about spending the money to learn things I could eventually figure out for free.  But the learning curve is steep, and I want it to be a more efficient process.  I also want to do it alone.  This sailing thing is largely my doing. I'm not "along for the ride." I want to be able to single-hand our beast.

I've done it.  After teaching a water aerobics class, a round of last-minute speed packing, and an hour hanging out at the county courthouse with my landlord hat on, I loaded up and headed south!  I made it to my hotel in Brunswick, GA yesterday afternoon (much nicer than I expected).  The evening was spent catching up with a close friend on St. Simon's Island.  In about an hour, I will head off to Morning Star Marina to get started via the Dunbar Yachts Sailing School.  I don't have any clue how I'm going to feel after taking this 3 day course (that starts in 1.5 hours!). Is it going to be worth the money?  I don't know yet.  I feel like I know the basics, but there's always more to learn.  Will I become addicted and knock out the whole series of courses?  That's a real possibility - I do love learning.  But the local place only offers the first two certs in the series.  It pretty much all hinges on how I feel after this first course.  I will let you know how it goes - but first I have to go navigate the free breakfast buffet!

Ready for Part Two? Find it here.


  1. Ooh, I like the start to this story! Can't wait to hear more.

    1. Writing on the next post each evening after class. Will have the run-down soon! :D

  2. Making her husband stay home and install counter tops,

    1. Pretty exciting that I get to head home from class to a fancy "new" galley! :) You will practically be a galley expert by the time I get home. Just think - now I can handle the sailing while YOU are in the shiny new galley making the food.


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