You'll want to start with ASA-101, Basic Keelboat!
A normal path for a beginner includes:
- Attend the Basic Keelboat course. The class description is here. The price and schedule are here. There are a couple of ways to save some money. If you know you are going to take multiple classes, check for the current 3-class package price. If you have a flexible schedule, email (staff@TradewindsSailing.com) or call (510-232-7999) to get added to our mailing list. We send out a weekly update and will offer good discounts on short-notice spots we'd like to fill!
- Practice. Go sailing 5 to 10 times, practicing the skills you learned in BKB. When you signed up for BKB, we sent a confirmation that also includes a practice skills checklist.
- Continue taking classes with plenty of practice time in between. Even if you already paid for BKB, ask about converting to a three-class package if you've decided to continue. We'll often give you the current 3-class package price and deduct what you already paid for BKB.
If you have sailing experience or have taken classes elsewhere, it is possible to join the club by performing a "Challenge-In". This will take most of a day. We will spend the time teaching you how Tradewinds members check boats in and out, covering some Tradewinds-specific procedures and policies, and verifying your skills at the level you'd like to join. If you do not already have certifications, you will also have to take the written tests from ASA.
The cost for the Challenge-In is $2000 if you do not have ASA certifications or $1000 if you already have them. This includes the cost of the boat & instructor for the day, books, and certifications (if needed). You must have certifications to be a club member at the Skipper or Fleet levels.
We recommend challenging course levels only if you are going to challenge 103 or higher. If you are only planning on challenging 101, it is more cost effective to take the class, especially if you purchase a 3-class package. Even if some of the material is review for you, these are three valuable days on the water with one of our awesome instructors, and you are bound to learn something new! You can review the standards for each level on the ASA website.
Once you have joined the club, you'll need to start attending checkouts on all of the boats you are qualified to sail. You have to attend a checkout on each boat before you'll be able to reserve it and sail it. Checkouts are approximately 2 hours, are free, and are scheduled several times per week. We use the two hours to familiarize you with the boat systems and operation and perform some maneuvering drills. This ensures that when you take a boat on your own, you know how everything works and can have a fun, safe day on the water.
We also recommend reading our FAQs page & downloading the current club manual to familiarize yourself with the way our club works.