Sailing School FAQ’s

Why Should I attend a Sailing School?
It’s the best way to learn. It greatly sharpens the learning curve by exposing you to situations that most sailors avoid.  When learning informally from a friend or family member, chances are they only sail when the weather is nice or maybe got lucky when things didn’t go as planned.  Informal instruction can require years and years before you might actually learn the proper techniques.  If you’ve ever had a bad experience sailing, chances are it could have easily been avoided.  Formal training, like the ASA courses, accelerate your learning by teaching you the correct methods the first time.   Additionally, bringing the family along is a great idea.  You’ll learn the same techniques and learn how to properly handle situations together without the panic or chaos!

I already know how to sail.
Most people have been on a sailboat of some kind. Whether a beach cat at your parent’s summer cottage, a sunfish at your friends or a bigger boat you were a guest on. There is more to sailing than just “sailing”. All of your experiences are good to have. But taking it to the next level and learning navigation, rules of the road, sail plan theory, safety at sea are just a few of the skills and information that make you a competent and confident sailor and skipper.  Sailing is one thing but when is the last time you “hove to” in heavy weather?  Or recovered a man over board under sail in under 4 minutes?

What if the weather is bad during the course?

We will not sail in “dangerous conditions” determined by the Instructor (lightening, thunder, very high winds…).  But in Northern Michigan, the weather changes constantly.  Ten-day forecasts are pretty much just for entertainment because a forecast for rain is only taken seriously if it’s actually raining!  Your class will involve a combination of on-the-water exercises, classroom review and on-board-below-deck review while anchored or dockside.  The instructors can pick and choose what to teach on a particular day to maximize the best weather and try to get you out of the elements when the weather isn’t so good.  Keep in mind, our goal is to make you a competent sailor.  Learning the techniques in windy, rainy conditions will simply make everything else seem like a piece of cake!

What is included with the cost of the class?
Everything. The only thing you will be responsible for is your food. Provisioning is easily done at our facility with ample stores and specialty stores very close by. Lodging is never an issue because you stay on the boat. We have shore side facilities for showering and a number of great restaurants very close by for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Who is ASA and what does the certification mean to me?  
Charter companies and Sailing Organizations recognize the ASA.  The American Sailing Association (ASA) has been in existence since 1983. We feel ASA offers the best all around learn to sail program available. Here are a few facts regarding ASA.

1. Over 270 professional sailing schools use the ASA system worldwide.
2. ASA has certified over 7,000 professional sailing instructors.
3. ASA has certified over 300,000 students.
4. ASA has had a functioning, nationwide keelboat program since 1983.
5. ASA certification is recognized by major charter boat companies as well as other ASA facilities around the world.

Will I be able to charter in the Caribbean after I take the class?
No charter company is going to give you the key to the fleet unless you have some history with them or another reputable charter company. Taking the ASA classes and progressing through the upper level classes give you and the charter companies you want to charter from, peace of mind, the training and experience they look for. It also depends on the size of the boat you are looking to charter. Do not expect to be given a 45′ vessel if you have experience on a 30′ vessel. All charter operators will look favorably on experience in a sailing school with ASA certification but charter companies all have their own requirements.

What physical requirements are required for the classes?
Mobility and range of motion are two key physical attributes to have. During your classes, you will be moving around, getting on and off of the boat, reaching for and stepping over gear and lines. It’s a sailboat. There is more to it than a powerboat. It’s difficult for us to judge what will and will not be ideal for you to have a good time and learn how to sail at the same time. The physical attributes have in the past made it a challenge for some people. If you have any questions as to your physical capabilities, please call us so we can discuss it with you personally.

Are my children able to attend classes with us?
Yes and we have had many families attend our sailing classes together with their children. A couple of key considerations are to be addressed. Attention span during the class. We’ve found that children under the age of 15 generally do not seem as interested to learn to sail as their parents. There are exceptions to every situation. If you are taking the class with other people you do not know, be considerate to your fellow classmates before you make the decision to enroll your child. If they have a genuine interest in learning to sail with you and they will be able to be a part of the class the entire time, by all means bring them. Sailing is one of the best family activities to get your kids involved with.

What is there to do after the class?
Plenty. Many of the best reasons to attend sailing classes in Traverse City is because of Traverse City. Our facility is far enough away to concentrate but close enough to bike or even walk to the downtown district. Abundant shops, restaurants, art galleries, parks, theaters, night clubs and just the scenery are just a few of the reasons to come to Traverse City to learn to sail. You might even have a chance to see the new Frontier League Traverse City Beach Bums play a ballgame.

Of course there is always some studying to do as well.

“Kristen was very patient and informative. She answered all our questions and is one of the reasons that we chose Bay Breeze. Capt. Dan Spyhalski was a patient man and an excellent teacher. He was the perfect mix of knowledge and fun. He made the class a memorable experience.”
Matt & Stacy K.