Over the summer we posted on our Facebook page a side-by-side photo of “Spyke” and “Chanty”. “Spyke” is owned by Capt Dan, our longtime sailing school instructor and “Chanty” is owned by Glen, our fleet manager.
In the comments, Gerald wrote:
I did my 101/103 course last year with captain Dan. Excellent instructor, and excellent guy! Very knowledgeable. I bought my first boat, Jeanneau 349 and sail Lake St Clair. Just got back from a 4 day trip to Lake Huron and back. Thanks Captain Dan!
Of course, we had to learn more…
Before your 101/103 course, what kind of sailing experience (if any) did you have?
My previous sailing experience was an ASA 101 course I took in Lake St Clair. (yes, I did 101 twice). It was a Saturday/Sunday course, and I learned a lot. Prior to this, my only sailing experience was lots and lots of reading about sailing. I probably read 6 to 10 books before taking my first course. Having said all that, I have a lot of experience power boating. I was attracted to sailing by wanting to expand my nautical lifestyle, and do more destination boating.
Why did you decide to take the 101/103?
First, I wanted to continue my education with sailing. Second, at the time, I had been shopping for sailboats, but still hadn’t bought one yet, and wanted to keep my skills sharp. I wanted to try a “new body of water”, so being in Grand Traverse Bay was very exciting to me. My wife received a last minute offer to fill a weekend, and the price was VERY fair. Also, I loved the idea of sleeping on the sailboat, instead of getting a hotel.
What has been one of your biggest learning experiences of being a boat owner?
My biggest learning experience is that every boat is different. The ASA course training is excellent for learning to sail, but experience with “your” boat is a lesson you’re constantly learning. Another lesson is that it helps to be handy. Having confidence that you can fix something on your boat, or trusting in the training you’ve received in the courses will go a long way.
What lessons/advise from Capt Dan do you find yourself using often while sailing your own boat?
A ton! Anchoring, man overboard procedures, sail trim, sail shape, and more. During my course, I was a little worried that I was either asking too many questions, or over thinking things. We would talk about topics that were outside the course material as well. He was very knowledgeable, and I’m grateful, because I am passing the knowledge to my sons.
What made you decide to purchase a Jeaneau?
I was definitely not looking for a Jeanneau. I originally thought they were out of my league, until this 349 went on the market. Having kids at ages of 14 and 10, the fold down transom was a big plus. The dual helms really open up the cockpit for more space and people. Once we toured the boat, and looked more at the manufacturer, it was an easy decision.