Times Spent Outdoors: Priceless!

Just Skip It

The Urge To Be One's Own Skipper Is Growing

Since the 1990s the number of students enrolling in sailing schools has more than doubled. The number of schools accredited by the largest certification organization American Sailing Association (ASA), based in California, has close to 200 schools. This recent boom has turned the mom-and-pop sailing instruction business into an industry. It's also creating a smart new way of sailing without all the hassles of boat ownership.

A sailboat, it is often said, is a hole in the water into which one pours money. A used 20-foot sloop can cost $15,000, while a new 32-foot sailboat can run upwards of $110,000. Then there are the ever present maintenance and issues of storage.

In fact, more often than not, the owner becomes committed to sailing from a single port. ASA sailing certification courses, however, free their students from many of these costs and limitations. That's because ASA's certification standards are universally accepted all over the United States and in many other countries.

The rental option is especially popular with sailors who love to travel and try waters in different locations. With an ASA sailing certification, you could live in Phoenix and sail Lake Pleasant while taking vacation charters in San Diego's Mission Bay, Sea of Cortez, and Catalina Island!

Freedom and flexibility are the name of the game these days. It is seldom said that people who charter are doing so because they can't afford to buy a boat but rather that they are too smart to own. With personal vacation time getting shorter and shorter, chartering offers a hassle free way to spend time on-the-water with family and friends.

Certification costs can start as low as $375 for two days of learn-to-sail. Most learn-to-sail courses are offered on a simple 22-27-foot keelboat with mainsail and jib. Keelboats are dry and stable. They do not capsize.

Here in Arizona we are fortunate to have several good lakes for learning to sail. And example in Phoenix is at Lake Pleasant. "The Sailboat Shop" offers both learn-to-sail (ASA 101) and the basic cruising (ASA 103) certification courses year around - both private and group lessons depending on your availability.

Lake Pleasant is just a 30-minute drive north from downtown Phoenix. The gentle winds of the lake make it a perfect location to start your sailing adventure. There is ample parking and the lake is surrounded by beautiful cactus filled mountains.


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