Start Sailing (learn-to-sail/ASA 101)

Over 50 Years of our family giving you more of what you go to sailing school for!SM

Start Sailing,SM our learn-to-sail course (ASA 101), has been refined during a family history of over 50 years and two sailing schools into a fun, efficient machine that makes solid new sailors.  It’s done in smaller groups than other schools, and with much more time on the water.  You’ll get more than just an introduction to sailing – you’ll be able to skipper!  Yes: you’ll be ready to take the boat out without us, and we’ll prove it to you with 2 post-course practice sails without an instructor on board!

Don’t have a clue?  Want a free preview?  We’ll do that for you!  Contact us to discuss taking you out for a quick sail so you can see what sailing, and learning how, are all about.  No sales pitch; just sailing.

Want the sneak preview NOW?  Here’s a post on what it’s like to learn to sail, especially with us, but applicable to many schools.

It’s not hard to learn to sail at our ASA sailing school and club. Enjoy a safe outdoor activity in a private or small group setting.  Take our fun, full Start Sailing SM   course (Basic Keelboat/ASA 101): get more time on the tiller, and learn how to sail right the first time!  You’ll be ready to join a sailing club… and we have one.  Skip the NY Harbor and Manhattan sailing school crowds, and become a real skipper!

Start SailingSM  is the most comprehensive – AND fun – learn to sail course at any price.  Go from mere Sketcher-bearer to Skipper in three full, honest days, each mostly on the water with an instructor and with a max of only 3 students per boat.  Then, we prove it with post-course practice sails under our supervision.  That’s four days worth of sailing in five visits, and the practice days are super flexible – just another way we we give you more.

It’s simple: sailing is a sport learned by doing –  not hearing about it, or reading about it.  We give you much more time on the water, and with smaller groups (3 versus 4), much more time on the tiller – the single most important part of your learning experience.  Want to learn to drive?  Only way is to actually do it!  (First lesson: the ’tiller’ is the steering stick.) 

We give you very brief shoreside sessions that introduce the sailing concepts before going out and doing them.  You can’t do this meaningfully in two days of sailing, as too many schools try to do – including some schools that claim their courses are 3 days long when they only give you 2.  You don’t need to spend hours in the classroom doing nothing but listening to an instructor, especially after work in the evening.  Most people don’t learn well that way.  They learn by doing and watching it be done.

What do some of our competitors think 3 days means?  One thinks it’s a long drawn-out classroom session or two at night, with no on-water, real-life context, followed by two  days on the water.  Another thinks it means two days of instruction, and then a day of practice sailing (without a proper way to supervise).  By their definitions, guess that means we give you FOUR days!

As well as giving you the time you need, we also give you…

  • better sailing waters: reliable sea breezes and room to roam, without commercial traffic, strong currents, and thunderstorms. 
  • better boats: highly suited to teaching, and inducted into the American Sailboat Hall of Fame.
  • better methods: more sailing time, and our exclusive Obstacle CourseSM training system
  • better instructors: fun, patient, and not teaching out of a book or to a test

Want to learn more about how we are better able to teach you how to sail?  See our methodology page, including a link to videos of our students in action on our exclusive Obstacle Course!SM

Classrooms are for college.  Your ‘classroom’ for sailing is your boat, and ours is the best we’ve ever used in our family’s history of sailing schools and teaching.  (We’ve introduced several to sailing instruction and tried others.)  You’ll learn on an Ensign, which was inducted into the American Sailboat Hall of Fame for good reasons: excellent performance, safe, stable, and roomy.  Designed by one of the pre-eminent naval architects, Carl Alberg, it’s a boat that’s not only survived the test of time, but still thriving with large fleets that day sail and race. 

By the end of the third day, we expect you to be able to singlehand around our signature Obstacle CourseSM (which you’ll have spent plenty of fun effective time learning on already).  To prove we did our job, we send you out with another student or two on half-day practice sails (2 or 3) that you schedule later after you’ve finished the full 3-day course.  An instructor supervises, coaching by radio or chase boat, but you sail without her/him.  Then you’re truly certifiable, speaking of which…

Certification: ASA 101, Basic Keelboat (learn to sail).  It’s included in your tuition, not an add-on extra.

Prerequisites: you’ll need to pay us, of course, but that’s about it.  No prior experience required!  Many students have a little, and the rest of you have zero.  It’s all good.

Schedules: a variety of types to fit your busy schedule…

  • Weekend Plus: 3 weekend days – usually 1 weekend plus the following Saturday.
  • 3 Sundays: typically consecutive.
  • Weekday Getaway: 3 weekdays, typically 2x the first week with day 3 the following, but very flexible.  Scheduled on demand (see more below).

Want to see exact dates?  Here is our core schedule for the season for those who like to pre-plan.  (Other schedules are set up based on demand.)

Schedule (Start Sailing/101)
Schedule (Start Cruising/103):
Schedule (Start Bareboating/104)
Schedule (Start Navigating/105)

All schedules give you more time on the water.  We only do about 4 hours of shoreside classroom over the 3 days, so you can spend more time sailing the boat (around 16-18 hours), plus strategic mid-sail breaks so we have your brains and not your bladders.  Whenever we can get away with it, we shorten the classroom time and extend the sailing even more.  (Almost all other schools give you less than three days of real on-water instruction, and add a fourth student to each boat.)

Tuition: $795, with price matching (see details below).


  • the full 3-day course (duh)
  • your supervised practice sails scheduled later
  • text book and log book
  • ASA 101 certification (good for life) & mandatory 1st year membership (renewal optional)

(Okay, we don’t include lunch – but we’ll go eat and BS with you and maybe go over some charts.)

Have plenty of experience, and really need a refresher?   Just need the ‘piece of paper’ (certification)?  Contact us to discuss whether the full course makes sense for you or if a private lesson or “challenge” will do.

Price matching policy:

We’ll meet any full, 3-day program’s final, out the door price for a learn to sail/101 course.  We’ll split the difference with anything less (2 days, 2 days plus a practice day or evening of classroom, etc).  See more on our scheduling/enrolling page.

Want to see those dates again for this or any other course?  Here’s our core schedule for the season (to which we add custom schedules on demand)…

Schedule (Start Sailing/101)
Schedule (Start Cruising/103):
Schedule (Start Bareboating/104)
Schedule (Start Navigating/105)

Ready to do this?  See our scheduling/enrolling page to just sign up securely right there.  (You can also just check dates, or see our terms and conditions.)

Questions first?  We love to chat.  Contact us.