Monday, June 4, 2012

Competing Sailing Associations

In a couple posts I mentioned that we needed to take tests to complete our sailing courses.  This isn't really true, we only need to take these tests to prove to others  that we've taken the classes (for things such as daily rentals or bareboat charters).  You can go buy a boat and set sail yourself without any training or licenses (regardless of how foolish it may be to take this approach).  Did I mention it costs money (not included in the class fees) to take the tests? we have a dilemma that makes me wonder if we should take the tests.

There are actually two different sailing associations in the United States.  One is the American Sailing Association (ASA) and the other is US Sailing.  Our current school follows the ASA curriculum. Up until now I hadn't been worried about this since they are the only school in town.  But now that I've been looking into options for continuing our education with a school capable of an oceanic classroom, the tests may or may not be useful.


Both organizations seem to have a similar curriculum.  US Sailing, born from the North American Yacht Racing Union, may have a bit of a racing bias where ASA may be more cruising/recreation oriented...but everything I've seen thus far seems to indicate that they are very, very similar.

Naturally, they do not accept each other's credentials.  Of course, being businesses, each one will allow you to pay their fees to take their tests to "challenge" the need to take their particular version of a course.

I kind of doubt one is technically better than the other but I'm sure elsewhere there is likely a "religious war" raging between the two that is just as heated as the whole Macintosh vs. Windows computer one.  My only concern is that we get a good education and my bet is that there are both good and bad instructors under each organizations flag.

So, my goal now is to find the best school that meets our needs without having to retake classes we have already completed.  If it is a US Sailing school such as Colgate's Offshore Sailing School, then taking the ASA tests just wastes money on a test we will likely need to retake.  So, we may postpone the testing depending on which school we end up going with.

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