Learning To Sail

If you know me you probably know how much I adore being on the water. A lake…the ocean…in a pool. I live for warm afternoons floating on a boat with the sun shining down. The love of the water runs deep…my grandpa and my uncle also have this deep affinity for it as well. Growing up my grandparents had a cabin cruiser that they would take to Catalina on the weekends. Little 18 month old me would happily stand in my playpen on board all weekend as a tiny first mate. My uncle had everything from a ski boat when I was little to jet skis and sailboats in my teens and I couldn’t get enough anytime I was lucky enough to be around them. Sailing for me was always about the relaxation of tanning on the bow while my uncle did all the work…I literally had never touched a piece of equipment on a sailboat! After he passed away last year I made a goal of learning to sail and my sweet fiancé gifted me sailing lessons for my birthday.

Santa Barbara is home to one of the most incredible sailing centers that was established in 1967. They have charters, fun events and offer American Sailing Association courses on their fleet. I booked the ASA 101 (Basic Keelboat Sailing) which is described as perfect for becoming a day sailor. Like most courses, 101 is a prerequisite for the more advanced courses and is designed for someone who has little to no experience sailing. The course is 3 full days and I was provided a book to read/study before my classes began. As I have shared my experience on Instagram I have had so many people ask about the classes, what to expect, etc. I figured the best way to share everything was right here while answering all of your questions.

How long is the course?

The course is 3 days. Day 1 & 2 are 10am to 4pm and Day 3 is 9am to 5:30pm.

Do I need to have some experience before?

No! It is one of the best aspects of the course in my book, anyone can learn by reading the material before the classes begins and then get the practical experience during the 3 days.

What does each day look like?

Day 1 starts with some classroom time and introduction followed by time learning how to prep the boat for the day (J boat 24′). After lunch (an hour) it’s time for the first sail. Depending on how many people are in your class you will get an opportunity to work a jib sheet, take the tiller, or just sit back and relax for a few.

Day 2 begins with a quick review before heading out in a Catalina Capri 22′ for the morning. Lunch and then more time on the water back in the J-24 practicing man overboard drills and reefing the sails.

Day 3 starts with a 100 question test (you need 80% or better to pass) followed by a few hours of sailing with an instructor before heading out with your class for a solo sail.

What happens after that?

You are ready to sail! If you choose to book the sailing package that includes a membership to the Sailing Center you will have 12 hours of sail time on a Capri 22 to use. I would highly encourage you to find a sailing buddy either a classmate or someone else you know with experience to use the hours with. While sailing is incredibly fun and enjoyable it is also a sport and on a boat this size, not an individual sport!

Do I need to know how to tie knots?

You don’t need to know how before the class but you will 100% learn and need to know how to sail. It’s amazing how often you are using them!

Can I do the class with a friend or significant other?

Yes, you can book with someone but here is my take after being in a class with a married couple: DON’T! I really believe that each of you will get more out of the course individually.

If you have any other questions or just want to know more about my experience please feel free to email me!

Happy Sails!

XO, Niki

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