Seeking Sailing Certification
You could say I’m already an experienced sailor since I’ve sailed small dinghies and I’m a kite-boarder. But I decided to get a professional refresher course in sailing as well as get an internationally-recognized certification to “bareboat” charter (rent a boat without a paid captain). So I researched the options around Tampa Bay and found Simple Sailing Charters and Sales in St. Petersburg, FL, as a leader in the industry on the West Coast of Florida. Their American Sailing Association (ASA) class pricing was very competitive, the flexible scheduling options fit my busy work schedule, and their fleet of like-new sailboats is the best! Plus, ASA selected Simple Sailing and Charters as an outstanding ASA school for 2012.
Simple Sailing also has a fleet of Duffy Electric boats for charter for harbor cruises along the St. Petersburg waterfront, Snell Isle, Vinoy Basin, and Bayboro Harbor. Located in downtown St. Petersburg, the sailing classes also opened up the opportunity to explore the St. Petersburg waterfront and downtown area that is home to the Dali Museum, the Chihuly Museum, and hundreds of shops and restaurants catering to the tourists visiting St. Petersburg. So along with my buddy Jerry, also an experienced sailor and former boat owner, we booked the series of American Sailing Association (ASA) classes that would lead to the bareboat charter certification we both wanted. The office manager Deborah was able to match our varying schedules with the right instructor and we were off and running toward the affordable and desired ASA certification on Tampa Bay sailing waters. An added bonus was the option to live aboard the sailboat during the lessons, saving the cost of a hotel room while staying in downtown St. Petersburg.
Our ASA classes
Day one allowed us to get back into the swing of sailing as we tacked and gybed, hove to, and practiced the man-overboard drills. Under the watchful eyes of our instructor, Captain Doran, Jerry and I had a full day of hands-on sailing instruction on Tampa Bay aboard the Hunter 36 “Bella” from the Simple Sailing fleet.
Day two began with our written exams covering a lot of sailing terminology as well as rules of the road and vital safety protocol aboard sailboats. When we finally left the dock it was a great day for sailing. I think we experienced every possible scenario. Sun, wind, rain, storms, and dolphins. Despite the weather, what a great day on the water with a huge family of dolphins escorting us back to port. Awesome!
When the wind was up we again practiced our boat handling, tacking and gybing, sail trim, and the safety procedures in case someone went overboard. Later, when the winds went light, we practiced docking in the Vinoy Basin and anchoring just off the downtown St. Petersburg waterfront so that we were well on our way to becoming more skilled in our sailing techniques.
When we weren’t sailing we took a drive to the nearby Gulf of Mexico beaches in the resort communities of St. Pete Beach and Treasure Island, which opened up a bevy of choices for beachfront restaurants, water sports, and the resort environments of the Tradewinds Resort, the Don Cesar, and the Serata Beach Resort.
The waters of Tampa Bay proved to be the perfect classroom for our sailing classes with Simple Sailing and the downtown waterfront location in St. Petersburg was easy to get to, easy parking, and within walking distance of St. Pete’s ever-expanding downtown resort ambiance. I look forward to starting the next class, ASA 103, next weekend!