Basic Cruising (ASA 103)

Course Info

Our Basic Cruising certification package is intended for those with a US Sailing Basic Keelboat certification or equivalent skills. This course is designed specifically to prepare you to skipper a sailboat in the challenging conditions peculiar to San Francisco Bay. It is as challenging and rewarding a course as we offer.

As in Basic Keelboat, we limit the classes to three students and one instructor per boat, the smallest student to instructor ratio you'll find in any commercial sailing school. The curriculum consists of 34 hours of instruction (41 hours in the week-long option), including the three-hour Navigation II and Seamanship II study halls.


Using a "tiller-steered" boat is important to your education

We choose to use tiller steered boats for both Basic Keelboat and Basic Cruising courses because it is the best way to become a well-rounded sailor. Our commitment is to teach sailing in the best way to assure our students develop the confidence and confidence to handle any yacht. Traditionally sailors have always started learning to steer with a tiller before moving on to learning wheel steering on larger boats. A tiller gives a sailor instant feedback with every movement of the rudder. Learning to feel and read the force at play on a boat as it moves through the water is much easier with a tiller due to instant feedback. Steering properly and keeping the boat in balance and trim becomes a natural instinct that once learned is never forgotten. Moving on to wheel steering boats is very easy, but the accomplished sailor will still feel comfortable aboard anything from a sailing dingy or a tender with an outboard engine to a large racing yacht with a tiller or a wheel.


Successful completion prepares you to:

  • Skipper boats under 30-feet in challenging locations such as San Francisco Bay.
  • Move into the Bareboat Cruising (BBC) level of US Sailing's certification system.
  • We recommend that before taking BBC, you gain as much experience as possible by chartering or sailing your own boat.

Good to know:

  • Our three-to-one student-to-instructor ratio provides you with the smallest class size in the country.
  • Our Basic Cruising course is the most comprehensive and challenging in the US. We fully expect all of our students to require additional coaching and practice after their first two weekends. We provide as many coaching sessions as you need to fully 'own' all the necessary skills for being a competent cruising sailor on San Francisco Bay and around the country. These three-hour sailing sessions are targeted to your level to ensure you make as much progress as possible each time you come back. Most graduates need an average of four reviews before they certify. That's an additional 12 hours of training on us!
  • If you're taking the weekend format, the two weekends don't have to be consecutive, however it's wise to take them as close together as possible.
  • At the point you and your instructor feel your skills are where we promised they would be, we have you take a practical evaluation to be sure we have completely done our job. Like the reviews, practical evaluations can be done multiple times without charge under our guarantee.

This course prepares you to take the following courses: Spinnaker 101A, Night Sailing, Advanced Basic Cruising, Bareboat Cruising, and Coastal Navigation. However, we strongly recommend that before starting more training you develop these new skills by sailing your own boat or chartering.