I took several classes over the last year to fill in my previous experience sailing. As a teen, I got involved in racing lightnings (a class boat for day racing on inland lakes) on Lake Michigan in Chicago. Later I did some sailing on a sailfish on a reservoir in Boulder. About 12 years ago, I took a 25′ sloop out into the ocean from San Diego for an afternoon. While I could handle the boat, I noticed one big difference between my experiences on inland waters versus sailing on the ocean, namely tidal currents.
I tried a couple of times to convince my mate of many years, LaVonne, to charter a boat with me and go on a cruise. She was unconvinced! After some friends got a boat, lived on it while fixing it up and eventually sailing up and down the west coast, I found out about the Victoria Sailing School in Denver. I determined that I was going to do any ocean sailing, I needed to take some classes and get certified. The school offers certifications from the American Sailing Association (ASA).
My first class in the Spring of 2014 was on Coastal Navigation (ASA 105). This was a 9 week course with lots of good stuff that I knew very little about. This class while all classroom involved doing navigation exercises on real marine navigation charts with a 3 hour test at the end of the 9 weeks.
I did a checkout sail with the school so that I could use their boats on local reservoirs. But as it turned out, the instructor said I was too rusty and needed more practice (it had been several years since I had sailed). This was a rude awakening for me so I signed up for the Basic Coastal Cruising class (ASA 103). The requirement for this class was the Basic Keelboat class (ASA 101). After looking over the requirements for this class I felt I could pass the certification test and skip the class itself. The ASA 103 class had 3 classroom sessions and 4 on-the-water practicals in the J-22 and J-30 keelboats. I took both exams at the end of the class and got my certifications.
The next class was the Bareboat Chartering class (ASA 104) which had more classroom time and on-the-water practicals.
After this I took the Docking endorsement (ASA 118) which enabled practical experience docking the J30 along with some classroom time.
I also started the Instructor Qualification Class this spring (ASA 201) but have not completed the requirements.
I finally felt ready and LaVonne agreed. So we embarked on the charter with San Juan Sailing.