Cruising World - - Under Ay - —Elaine Lembo

Thirty-five years, 350 schools world­wide, half a mil­lion “Keel­boat 101” grads. Since 1983, more than 507,000 peo­ple have learned to prop­erly han­dle a 20- to 27-foot sloop-rigged sail­boat dur­ing the day in mod­er­ate con­di­tions via the Amer­i­can Sail­ing As­so­ci­a­tion (asa.com) cur­ricu­lum.

That April 2018 an­nounce­ment from the group tells only a part of the larger suc­cess story. The mul­ti­level ASA cer­ti­fi­ca­tion sys­tem in­cludes text­book study, hands-on ed­u­ca­tion, op­por­tu­ni­ties for ac­tive par­tic­i­pa­tion, and test­ing. In­clud­ing 101, a to­tal of a mil­lion cer­ti­fi­ca­tions have been is­sued to grad­u­ates of course lev­els 103 (Ba­sic Coastal Cruis­ing) and 104 (Bare­boat Cruis­ing), stan­dards that con­vey the abil­ity to sail and charter boats up to 45 feet in length.

As one of sev­eral ed­u­ca­tional op­tions avail­able in the re­cre­ational marine mar­ket to­day, the ASA’S net­work of af­fil­i­ated schools, teach­ers and charter com­pa­nies gives en­thu­si­asts the tools to be­come com­pe­tent, re­peat sailors and char­ter­ers aboard mono­hulls and mul­ti­hulls in do­mes­tic and in­ter­na­tional waters.

Crit­i­cal to the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s long-term vi­a­bil­ity are its 2,000 ded­i­cated in­struc­tors. “Our schools are key driv­ers of is­su­ing more ASA cer­ti­fi­ca­tions be­cause they are lo­cated on the front lines of stu­dent ac­qui­si­tion,” says Char­lie Nobles, ASA ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor. “By il­lus­trat­ing that sail­ing is fun, ex­cit­ing, safe, easy to learn and sur­pris­ingly af­ford­able, our schools will re­main at the core of our busi­ness strat­egy.”

It’s also good for busi­ness over­all, adds Lenny Shabes, ASA founder and chair­man of the board. “Go­ing over the 500,000-cer­ti­fied-sailors mark is also good news for the sail­ing in­dus­try,” he says. “More sailors on the wa­ter sig­nals an in­creased de­mand for boats, sail­ing ap­parel, sail­ing gear and other marine-re­lated prod­ucts and ser­vices.”

The ASA First 22, by Beneteau, is spe­cially de­signed for sail train­ing. The large cock­pit can fit an in­struc­tor and up to four stu­dents, and the hull is stiff and sta­ble.

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