Monday, September 24, 2012

Grades, Practice, and Oops.

We heard back from the sailing school.  I got a 100 and a 95 on the first two tests and my wife got 99 and 91.  Since anything over 80 was passing, I'd say we did rather well.

We've passed our first two classes and are studying for our third but I thought it would be a good idea not to lose those practical skills, so as a last minute idea this past weekend we rented a boat for an afternoon of sailing.

Unlike most of our classes, we again had a reasonable amount of wind.  We did all the usual maneuvers.  At one point I was having some fun doing figure 8's around two of the reservoir center-line buoys.  We even hove-to so we could enjoy our sandwiches for lunch.  It was good to get out and sail again.

Everything went well...until we came in to dock.  Now, I remember in the first class that the instructor said when you get on and off the boat that you have to commit to one or the other.  I was at the helm and my wife was ready with the dock line...but when she stepped onto the dock she was leaning back a bit and fell back so she was half on the boat and half on the dock.  Well, when one doesn't commit to one or the other she found that you are automatically the water.

It took a bit to secure the boat (an unsecured boat seemed especially dangerous with someone in the water around unforgiving docks) and then get her out of the water.  Docks don't have safety stairs and the easiest option was to use a neighboring boats swim platform (we did try using a line on the winch to create a makeshift ladder stair first).  Other than a bruise, the only damage I think was her pride.  She's a trooper though and all is well.

Overall, other than the unanticipated swim, it was a good day.  So, I guess now it is back to studying for our next class.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Talk Like a Sailor

A few days ago was International Talk Like A Pirate day.  Since we started to learn to sail, it has amazed me how much of our vernacular appears to come from the sailing days of old. While going through some of the sailing blogs I read (I hope this is the one I found it on), I just happened to come across a link to a pretty good list of terms and phrases used today that can trace their origins to sailing.  Many of these you would not even expect came from sailing ("devil to pay"...really?).  When you have a little time, take a look at the list:

Hope you find it as interesting as I did.  And who knows, maybe you did talk like a pirate...or at least a sailor....that day.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

We Passed! least I think we did.  Today we received our ASA log books in the mail.  No test scores, no notes, no other communication from the school at all, just the two logs in an envelope.  In the logs are entries for each course and the 101 and 103 entries were signed by the owner of the school and each entry states "Provisional certification for (3) months until seal is affixed".

My understanding is that the official seal (read: sticker) for the log is mailed from the ASA after they receive some sort of report from the school (along with the all important fees to join the ASA and take the tests).  Any bets on if the seals arrive before or after the first issue of the complimentary ASA sailing magazine (that comes with the not-so-complimentary ASA membership)?

I'd really like to know how well we did and what, if any, questions we may have missed.  Hopefully I can get the details from the school.  After all the goal for us here is the education, not the sticker.  When we have our own boat, I doubt it will care if we have a log book with a will only care that we don't sink it (and we don't want that either).

Now to start reading the textbooks for the 104 (Bareboat Cruising)/114 (Cruising Catamaran) combined course we will be taking soon.  Looking forward to that course!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Taking the ASA 101 and ASA 103 Written Exams

Since we finally decided on a school that is affiliated with the American Sailing Association for our next course, we just completed the ASA 101 (Basic Keelboat) and ASA 103 (Basic Coastal Cruising) written exams with our current school.  Now, it's been a little while since I've taken a test and even longer since my wife has so we weren't quite sure what to expect.  Add in that our last classroom lecture was close to 4 months ago and we were a little nervous.

After work we make the trek across town to take the test.  As we're grabbing a quick bite to eat before we start the test we realize that we left the navigation chart we were supposed to bring at home.  This was not starting so well.

The ASA 101 test was a 100 question, multiple choice test and wasn't very difficult. It contained questions on identifying parts of a boat, right of way, knots, basic sail handling and points of sail.  Nothing too technical.  I breezed through the test fairly quickly, only really questioning my answers on a couple of the questions.

The second test, ASA 103, was another 100 questions and they were a little more technical. Buoys and channel markers, safety requirements and equipment, sound signals and lighting, as well as more boat part identification and more questions on knots.  It had a few questions on basic chart markings, but nothing that I think required us to have the chart.  Overall it was more difficult, but I think we did well enough.

Both tests took about 2 hours.  We don't know how we did yet...but I think we both managed passing grades (80% or better).  Hopefully should know pretty soon.

Update: We did get our grades and I posted them in this entry.