ASA 104 Bare Boat Chartering
Friday, Jun 3, 2022 (9:00 am - 9:00 pm)
Saturday, Jun 4, 2022 (8:00 am - 5:00 pm)
Sunday, Jun 5, 2022 (8:00 am - 5:00 pm)
Thomas "Tom" Abbott
A 3 day sail-away course with Afterguard's ASA 104 course helps students earn the certification that vacation charter companies worldwide, and most San Francisco Charter companies, are looking for. It is the certification that makes insurance companies breathe a sigh of relief for new boat owners. The ASA104 course is Fun with a wealth of information, many new skills plus higher level of proficiency of the skills gathered to date. This course is about 30 hours of training - sleep is allowed. If thinking of buying a boat, chartering internationally or living aboard - ASA 104 is a Fun live-aboard learning experience.
ASA requires 1 over-night at anchor with a rotating watch. All stay aboard that night. A 2nd night is at a destination the students choose. They stay, but the teacher may leave and return in the am -- teacher's choice to leave, but the destination is the group's choice. Sail planning choices need to include minimum of 1 week of prior weather watch for the forecasts for the days of the course. Look for wind predictions for strength and direction, tide heights, current directions (these do not start and max at the same times). Time of sunrise and sunset matter too. All influence choices of how far the boat can go and when to leave dock each day for 4-5 hr of sailing per day. Nav skills are needed to plan and are used continously during this course. Can take ASA 105 in advance of 104. Since the menu for the 3 days, destination and distance traveled are students choices - these costs are shared by the students.
Must read the ASA 104 study book Bareboat Cruising Made Easy. Must submit your answers to all quizzes in the study book, no later than 1 week before your course commencement! Be prepared to discuss the quiz questions on the way out to the Bay on the first day or the first evening.
Advise all who regularly contact you, that you will be unavailable till after class, each day. Watch, participate and learn the skills. The skills and knowledge you gain in ASA 104 will serve you well for years and many happy sailing days to follow.
After ASA 104, grads can rent boats for independent sailing charters from Afterguard or most any charter company worldwide. ASA 104 is a guided overnight boating experience and opportunity to go exploring, visit new places and see the world by water.
It's Fun. It's Glamping. Some say its intense. Not sure about that, but there is a lot to this course, so get plenty of rest before the class starts.
The Extra Details:
In the week or two before class starts, get an email from Afterguard with names and contact information of your fellow students and teacher. If it does not come automatically, call and ask for it. As a group, need to check if C-19 adjustments are still in place for desired destination marinas or islands. The student group, with some input from the teacher, decides in advance where they would like to visit for their destination night. Must check with the desired marinas in advance: Do they have room for the 34/35' boat. What is their charge ($10 a night to $80+), current depth of channel -if not dredged recently, where in the entrance channel is it deepest, hours of operation, latest check in time to get a key, services available (showers), what electrical voltage connector is needed -if available at the assigned 'guest' slip, is there fresh water access, restaurant(s) nearby?? Distance traveled might require engine use to make it to a marina before the office closes. If only open M-F, might need a way to get a key in advance or arrange a pick up place and procedure. What VHF channel do they monitor for underway changes in plans. Find out if need to bring cash for the overnight fee and maybe a key deposit.
Fuel replenishment: must refuel before returning the boat. Miles spent motoring will effect refill cost that is shared. Check the weather and distance to ensure the boat can safely sail the plan for the 3 days. ASA 104 is a sailing, not motoring trip. The fuel needed for far destinations and guest-dock visitor fees are decided by the student group when picking anchor and docking destinations, therefore the cost is split by the student group.
Provisioning cost, minimum of 1 meal each - is shared by each taking one meal on fully. Suggest to the group what you'd like to prepare for your meal Choices: dinner anchor night, 2 breakfasts and 1 lunch - 4 max students, 4 meals. Define which meal you want to handle. Suggest what you want to prepare. Get the group OK. Take your assignment(s), then provision for, and prepare that menu item. Have seen fresh caught Salmon, Halibut, steak, hamburgers or Hotdogs grilled on the BBQ or in a pan on the stove. Cereal, yogurt and fruit or Eggs Benedict. This part is fun.
If the instructor leaves, they need to be able to Lyft out and back at $30 or < each way. Check Lyft or other transport costs from the chosen destination to and from our base in Oakland, as part of your pre-sail plan. If the destination location is off the beaten path, yet the instructor agrees to the extra time they will spend commuting, the student group splits the instructor's transport cost for what is > $30 each way. To exit the boat, the teacher needs to be done and on the dock by 5pm. Check with the instructor to see if they want to exit on destination night. With the decision to stay or go = head count. Students can choose a local restaurant and make reservations in advance. In popular places like Sausalito or SF, call ahead to see if open, or if take-out only or if the restaurant has outdoor or indoor service. If eating at the restaurant, suggest getting reservations before the class starts. Option, can go ashore to walk about and visit what is available for next time when chartering independently and choose to eat aboard (picking a chef or chef team who provision and prepare that meal - would turn into a shared effort &expense dinner).
The boats used are 34' / 35'. Occasionnally 45'. Could be either a mono or multi-hull for this course. Mono-hulls have an easier time getting berthing at visited marinas any time of year, but the cat is more comfortable. If a double class, two boats going, will raft up on anchor watch night. Clipper Cove is a calm snug harbor that is great for rafting.
Pack clothes in layers to suit the weather of the class days and something to sleep in that you can go on-deck wearing, if called. Weather sometimes changes the destination to 1st night vs 2nd. Each participant can bring aboard 1 bag for clothes, 1 'sea' bag with sailing gear, a sleeping bag/sheet to line the bag/pillow, small ditty bag with toothbrush etc and towel. Most 34/35' boats have built-in showers, but water on boats is limited. Will top off the water tanks before leaving the docks. We take a potable water hose and a shore power cord to be able to replenish water and heat the water, with more than engine use, at the marina for the night.
For your developing 'Sea Bag': In addition to gloves, hat, windbreaker, croakies for glasses - add a Red light head lamp with a white light option, a simple 'rigging knife' (Davis?), foul weather top and bottoms plus boots (foulies). If no boots, bring 2 pairs of shoes. Bring an inflatable life-vest with harness and a 6' tether. It is time to select and own your own of these essential sailing gear items. Suggest a power pack for electronics.
To provision, need to get information on all participants about allergies and food preferences. Meals are: bring your own sandwich for 1st day lunch. Pick a chef for: 1st dinner. 2nd day Breakfast, lunch. Destination dinner may be eating out or not? If not, might be a group effort. 3rd day breakfast. Last lunch is usually snacks or that famous french dish, Left O'derves. Using emails, that include the instructor and the office in cc, plan workable menus of things to cook aboard (not pre-made/re-heated foods a family member or friend makes). Each student makes one full meal during the trip - so pick which meal(s) you'd like to cook. Suggest what you might make giving your classmates a choice of at least 2 options. Once the menu with chefs' assignments is made - make and share your provisioning list. Check to see: if more than one meal might need common elements. I.E. olive oil, butter, salad greens... Define common item volumes for a needed total. The refrigeration and/or ice boxes have limited space. No coolers - take too much space - hard to stow. Much can be brought aboard as dry storage items - more so than in a heated home. In SF Bay, a boat sits in 52 degree water. Cool might be good enough. Will cook at anchor or at a dock. When aboard and during the class - encourage to plan out the day such as: assemble lunch sandwiches or salad after breakfast, wrap (bring ziplock bags or plastic wrap), then store before getting underway for that day. If something needs marinating, use zip lock bags and put in marinade before you head out for the day. Plastic containers take too much space. Keep in mind that cooking underway makes most who are new to it a bit seasick.
Re: Mal de Mer - Bring ginger snaps, ginger dried fruit, ginger capsules, ginger ale, ginger is a natural anti-nauseate that works. Sea Bands or the watch work great. Medical sea-sick medications are 92% tranquilizers. They dull your brain and vision, give you dry mouth, make you sleepy. Good for passengers, maybe, but not for students learning to skipper a boat. Many have tried. Did not work well for most.
A thorough pre-cruise sheet is used for this course. It takes 1.5-2 hr to get through it. Full boat inventory check. Boat pre-trip load up includes: deciding on which dinghy and outboard engine are going with the boat. Testing and putting them on the boat. Anchor gear check. Galley and head supply check. Can start pre-trip load up on the evening before the course if 2 or more of your class group attend, with others participating via zoom.
As with all Afterguard courses, especially this one, must achieve 100% of the on-the-water skills before being allowed to take the written test. Can take the 100 question exam after cleaning up the boat upon return to home port. Option: if all water skills are accomplished before heading in, can take the test when heading down the estuary once your berth and gear are put together for exit and boat interior is checked by the skipper as good to go. ETA at dock last day is 3pm. If run late, can return for the written exam up to 30 days after the course, but must test at our facility. If do not pass the on-the-water skills, will be re-enrolled for part or all of the course, depending on the instructor's recommendation. If read your book prior to the course, paid attention and fully participated in the course (ignore texts and calls on cells, unless an emergency, till class is over each day) and make effort to learn each skill, then retake is at no cost. If do not pass the skills for lack of any of the above list - the retakes can have a fee, up to 3/4s of the original amount. There is no fee to retake a written. ASA requires 80% but Afterguard requires 85% to rent a boat for Central Bay use (past Bay Bridge) and overnights on SF Bay. Reading the book makes the difference in scores. It becomes a partnering with what the instructor is sharing over the 3 days.
Often asked about alcohol. Walking on docks, getting on and off a boat, or getting into and out of a dinghy if use a mooring, in the dark: takes balance and spatial judgement. Once snug in a slip or on a mooring - all are aboard and the boat is settled - on a mild night, might choose to have 1 beer or 1 glass of wine. Remember: This is a class. Zero hard liquor! No exceptions. Wine and beer are allowed only after class is fully over for the day/evening. Alcohol hits everyone on a boat with double impact due to dehydration from sailing all day. If one is your usual limit - drink half a glass. Marijuana may be legal on land but can get a DUI or the boat can be confiscated by USCG if partaking on the water. Waterways are Federal. Anyone buzzed by any substance, or if mentally fogged with a hangover, during class time will be excused at that dock, or taken to the nearest dock, to find their own way home. Excusing a student at the nearest dock happened three times in 35 years: 1st marijuana, 2nd alcohol, 3rd refused direction wrapping prop in a bad situation. Should have done it 2 other times due to dangerous in-class behavior -- mid 1990's: when I went below, a bad student redirected the driver who immediately went aground; and 2020: a student over-rode the instructor directing the driver into a stall with current sweeping them toward a bridge stanchion. The boat hit the stanchion, glancing off the bow - $12K damage. => new Afterguard policy. Hope to never have to enforce this again, but will do if the safety of the vessel or fellow students is a concern for the instructor/skipper of record. Remember boating is not a democracy - there is only one skipper. Do what they ask and quickly. Their decision holds. If as Skipper, he or she perceive there is a safety issue that can't be corrected with a certain person aboard, the Skipper has full USCG authority to request a passenger or student who refuses to follow direction, to leave the boat immediately. This is of particular concern when intoxication or irresponsible/bad behavior occurs and all normal attempts to get cooperation are unsuccessful. Safety first. A dismissed student will forfeit their fee. The full course cost would again be required IF allowed to reschedule after full review of debrief incident reports written by the instructor and all aboard.
Another view, if a student does not work well with an instructor, before leaving the dock day one or durning the course, either can ask the office for a reschedule or, if two boats are running in tandem for a double ASA 104, to change boat assignment. Again not common, but easy to resolve without any damage, hardship or hard feelings.
Students come to Afterguard for ASA 104 to learn and get certified. The safety of the boat, all aboard and anything the vessel touches or causes is the primary responsibility of all skippers. Having a great time is not the mission, it’s simply what happens when people feel safe, share an adventure, feel empowered by knowledge and practiced skills, gain confidence, become a team while learning what they need for the next step in their goals.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 510-535-1954 if you have any questions.
- Nancy II