Our ASA 101 Experience: Day 1
August 30, 2016
Brian and I had so much fun at our sailing lessons this summer! We took ASA 101 at the American Sailing Academy and seriously can’t wait to continue this journey. We thought people who were interested in starting to sail might be curious about our experience; ASA offers some great courses to get you feeling confident on the water!
When we got to the marina, we met our instructor Dave. Dave was a great guy, with lots of experience & many stories to tell! The first thing we did was sign some paperwork, and then go through a packet of all the information we would be tested on to pass the course. Since we’d studied, we were very prepared for this part of the class, and it went quickly. Again, I can’t emphasize enough taking the time to review ahead of time. There is a lot of information, and it would be very challenging to learn it all in two days.
After we had finished all the “boring” stuff, it was time to sail!! We pulled out of the slip and motored until we had gone past the swinging bridge. Then it was time to hoist the sails and get to work!! A lot of what we did on the first day was a review of what we’d done in the class we took last summer; just in a bigger boat! … Bigger boats are a lot more fun!!
GOING IN CIRCLES
BRIAN HAVING A BLAST!
You know when you’re learning to drive, and your parents make you go in circles in a parking lot? That’s exactly what we did sailing; big circles in Long Island Sound! One person would be the helmsman behind the wheel, and call out different maneuvers. To pass this portion of the class, you needed to use the proper terms to describe what you were doing, and give appropriate commands to the rest of the “crew.” I felt super cool saying things like “I’m going to head up into a close-haul on port tack,” and legit knew what I was saying.
Then when it was Brian’s turn to be the helmsman, I was the crew, and when he would give commands, I had adjusted the sail’s trim to match what point of sail he wanted to achieve.
Brian is a super-good sailor. So much so that our instructor wanted to challenge him a little bit, and asked if he wanted to try some solo-sailing. Dave and I were still on the boat, but he challenged Brian to tack the boat on his own; acting as both helmsman & crew while the two of us just sat back & watched. Of course, Brian did an excellent job- someday, when it’s just the two of us, I will have no worries going on adventures with him!
JUST A FEW OF MY MANY SAILING FACES:
… Well… No one really went overboard, but practicing this skill is super important. So, to be sure we could handle a man-overboard situation, we practiced with some drills. Since we didn’t want anyone to actually go overboard, we pretended that some crab pots were people who had taken the plunge. We learned the proper way to turn the boat around and safely slow down to a halt (heaving-to) to haul the “person” back into the boat. This was a new skill for me (Brian had done a similar maneuver when we would moor the little sailboat on base… I was always the one to grab the mooring, so I never did it).
This was the most challenging skill for me; I find it a little counter-intuitive. But in the end, I was able to successfully perform it.
THE WRITTEN EXAM
At the end of the first day, we had effectively demonstrated all the skills we needed to pass the class. Our instructor gave us the option of sticking around after the sail was over, to take our written exam. He said that getting both exams out of the way would mean that we could spend our second day in the class having fun & doing some fun sailing. That sounded like a great idea to us; no more drills, just having an adventure! So, we went ahead and took the test; we both felt very, but we had to wait until the next day to find out our scores!
Sailing is so super fun, and the ASA makes it possible for anyone to learn. They have sailing schools all over the country; if you’re interested, check them out & see if there is one near you!
I am a member of the American Sailing Association, but these opinions are solely my own. I am in no way compensated for my review of ASA 101 through the American Sailing Academy.
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Meet Brian & Katie Dahl, a couple living in New England with their dog Molly. Most of the time you can find us working on our home renovation, or cooking up something new in the kitchen, but our favorite thing is having adventures & sailing... read more.