Do I Need ASA 101?

Did you know that you don’t really need any certificates, licenses, or any real training to buy a boat and sail it off into the sunset?


It’s true, you don’t.


We give you this information in confidence, knowing that you won’t do that — please. Commanding a sailboat untrained is a notoriously bad idea, the outcome of which is rife with injury and thousand-dollar bills gone with the wind.



Do You Need ASA 101?


There are a few popular misconceptions about ASA:

  • Once you take the courses you’ll be rewarded with some government-approved license that states you’re a good sailor.

  • You can’t bareboat charter without being ASA certified.

  • ASA lowers your boat insurance premiums.


None of these statements are true, and thought of them can make sailing feel unattainable; as though there’s a bureaucratic checklist you need to complete before you can get out there and learn. With caution in mind, it's liberating to know there’s more than one way you can learn to sail.


By no means are we suggesting ASA doesn’t make good sailors, they absolutely can. But not everyone learns the same, and while there’s no doubt that classroom time has its place, a lot of people learn better with a more hands-on teaching approach. For many, the extensive vocabulary tests can be a bore.


At Cruisers Academy, we don’t offer ASA-101. Our “Intro to Sailing” course (CA-1) was designed to be as engaging as it is informative, with the majority of its curriculum dedicated to time spent on the Catalina 22. Whether you’re a soon-to-be sailor that has never set foot on a boat, or an intermediate sailor looking to deepen your knowledge, we recommend you start with CA-1.


How Is CA-1 Different From ASA 101?


Taken directly from the American Sailing Association’s website :


“Learn to skipper a 20' - 27' sloop-rigged keelboat by day, in light to moderate winds and sea conditions. Learn basic sailing terminology, parts and functions, helm commands, basic sail trim, points of sail, buoyage, seamanship and safety including basic navigation rules to avoid collisions and hazards.”


At face value, the two courses are similar in that they both accomplish the goal of teaching beginners how to sail. However, the CA-1 course covers all of that and more by implementing the 4-day class format. CA-1 students can spend the time needed to get a true handle on sailing fundamentals, as well as learn components included in ASA 103 and even some theory knowledge from ASA 104. Our captains together have sailed over 150,000 miles — that experience doesn't go unnoticed, and is seamlessly translated into the course.



Here’s what you’ll learn in Cruisers Academy’s 4-day sailing course:

  • Weather basics

  • Sailing theory

  • The essential crew roles

  • Navigation

  • Teamwork makes the dream work

  • What the ropes actually do

  • Basic Docking

  • Basic Anchoring

  • Knots 101

  • Sailboat safety

  • A whole bunch more


Learn to Sail Lake Tahoe WIth Cruisers Academy


If you want to hear more about Cruisers Academy’s “Intro to Sailing” course, check out what Google user SirEagle has to say about it:


“I just completed the 4 day CA1 class and it was amazing. I came from out-of-state to take the class and it exceeded all my expectations. Brady and Blue are excellent instructors. The course design is both instructional and hands-on training, which affords participants the opportunity to apply what's learned in class each day with practical experience on the sailboat. Easy to understand learning materials were provided prior to the start of the class and Blue and Brady created a learning environment that encouraged questions, team camaraderie, and fun. Lake Tahoe is a beautiful place to sail. I'm looking forward to the CA2 class when it's available. I would encourage anyone who is interested in learning to sail to look into attending classes at Cruisers Academy.”