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Beginning Sailors

ASA 101 students at Bluewater Sailing, Marina Del Rey

ASA 101 Basic Keelboat Certification at Bluewater Sailing

All Outdoors

1. All Outdoors

Classes begin with wind awareness and learning to think on a boat. You’ll begin to build the critical mindset needed for safe and enjoyable boating.

ASA 101

2. All On Sailboats

Instructors lead you to the dock, provide clear demonstrations, then you’ll start sailing! The basics are covered in fun, well designed, and easy to learn sessions. 

All Hands On

3. All Hands On

All learning requires practice. The time you invest makes the entire process more valuable and enjoyable. You’ll build skills through a process of discovery.

Then Practice!

4. Then Practice!

Your instructor is your mentor. Santa Monica Bay is your classroom. Head out of the marina and enjoy the super fun experience of learning to sail!

Start Your Sailing Journey Here

ASA 101 - Basic Keelboat Sailing

Our Basic Keelboat course is all new this season. We have structured the full certification course into two weekends, allowing you to schedule the course conveniently. We’ve also expanded the curriculum to further support what we’ve always emphasized – more time with an instructor, more time on the water to practice individual skills, and encouraging sailing as often as possible. Our new training programs change how you will learn to sail.

Other Waypoints in Your Basic Keelboat Sailing Education

EZ Crew

Unique to Bluewater, these are opportunities to sail with other learners in our community. The skipper is a student with more experience. The crew members are other students in the BK sequence. Each is four hours and can be repeated as often as you like. Crewing with students who are focused on the “art of sailing” propels the learning experience. These practice sessions are not instructor led, but opportunities to learn with other students. Everyone participating is a student and the conversation aboard is about sailing.

FAST Class

The FAST class (Fun Awesome Sailing Time!) will provide you with additional techniques to advance your on-the-water awareness and capabilities, as well as providing you with a unique opportunity to work on the specific skills. For some students, sail trim may be something they would like to understand better. For others, more practice reefing the main sail and head sail would be helpful. Still others, may just need a little more time at the helm to dial in their skills at steering.

Why You'll Be a Better Sailor with Bluewater Sailing

Captain's Corner

Captain Elliot shares Bluewater Sailing’s approach on learning to sail in times when being in a rush may not be the fastest way to get you where you want to go.

90% of your training at Bluewater is on-the-water. You'll build confidence there, step by step.

Welcome to Bluewater Sailing! If you love being outdoors, exploring new places, hiking or bike rides, encountering wild life, or just love relaxing with friends, sailing is for you. For over 40 years we’ve helped students discover the magic of sailing, and witnessed lives transformed in the process. We’re thrilled you’re here!

The American Sailing Association’s (ASA) core curriculum includes three classes: Basic Keelboat (101), Basic Coastal Cruising (103), and Bareboat Cruising (104). The core curriculum is designed to take a student with no prior experience to a level where they can safely charter a boat for a sailing holiday.

When you start out learning to sail it may be a challenge to define how long it should take to progress from the beginning to being comfortable sailing a big boat. And it can be even more difficult to discern when different schools offer different timelines – some extremely accelerated. (Like comparing “Apples to Oranges.”)

Our view at Bluewater is straightforward, by applying rigorous teaching methodologies honed over decades, and incorporating extensive practice into the curriculum, you’ll have unique opportunities to learn good habits, you’ll develop a more rewarding relationship with the sport, and you’ll be prepared to rent a boat anywhere in the world, or own a boat, or race, or just relax with friends. Our program is designed to help you accomplish much more with what you learn – to get you where you want to go.

Underway in the BVI!

Extensive on-the-water instruction is at the heart of everything we do.

While the ASA core curriculum is complete when presented carefully, the key recommendation is to sail approximately 20 hours immediately after and in between each of the three core classes. We at Bluewater Sailing are proud to meet and exceed these ASA recommendations.

You may find other schools bundling multiple levels of classes into one resort-type combination course, but you won’t find that here at Bluewater. It is our experience that rushing through certifications doesn’t automatically make you a good sailor.

You'll receive a bigger reward for your time, effort, and investment with Bluewater Sailing.

There are many items in the core curriculum that are subtle and take time to integrate into your own practice. For example, strong “skippering” skills, much like good organizational skills, or leadership skills, are more subjective and take time to develop. Our approach supports taking that time.

In the process, far from emerging with just beginning boat handling skills, you’ll be prepared to be a good skipper by providing better communication skills and a keen sense of the boat in an ever changing ocean. Our goal is not to just certify you as a boater, but to instill a life-long love of sailing.

Bluewater's decades of experience on the water and rigorous teaching methodologies enables you to go further with what you learn.

Once you’ve experienced the beauty of the open ocean, and you can be yourself on the water, you’ll know that you’re ready for the next level of courses. We’ll teach you in increments that allow you to learn at your own pace. Each session will be more valuable than the last because as you progress you’ll see through new eyes, you’ll be more prepared. You’ll be more in love with sailing. “Sailing changed my life,” is what we hear from our students.

Based on this approach, our students receive a bigger reward for their time, effort, and investment. Essentially, it is during the practice after each class where you learn to sail and achieve your goals. You’ll be sailing more often, you’ll be a better sailor, you’ll be more confident on the water, and you’ll have more fun. The course is just the beginning.

Done right, you’ll have life long memories from your time on the water and you’ll find something new about yourself being a sailor. See you out there.

Fair winds.