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Boston ASA 104 Bareboat Cruising Course




4 Days

About the Course

Prerequisite: ASA 103 - Basic Cruising

ASA 104 Bareboat Cruising is our first “live-aboard” course where students board our training boat on Thursday morning and spend the next four days and three nights sailing up and down the coast, anchoring or mooring in a different harbor each night.

The goal of the course is to provide the skills and real world knowledge to the students so that they can safely and competently plan and sail a multi-day voyage in a cruising sailboat from 36 to 45 feet in length!

Even though we are spending the majority of the time onboard we still follow a similar format to ASA 101 and ASA 103 where we spend a couple hours each morning doing a classroom lecture followed by a long sailing session in the afternoon. We typically depart East Boston on Thursday afternoon and spend the next three days sailing between Scituate, Salem/Marblehead and the Boston Harbor islands depending on conditions. This is as real world experience as it gets!

On the final day there is a written examination and upon completion, students receive an American Sailing 104 Bareboat Cruising Certification. (ASA 104 certification is equivalent to the International Certificate of Proficiency that is required in order to bareboat anywhere in the Mediterranean! Learn more about the International Certificate of Proficiency here.)

Read more about our courses and what to expect on our Frequently Asked Questions page.


Topics Covered in ASA 104 - Bareboat Cruising

Provisioning and Preparation

How do we calculate our drinking water requirements vs. our general freshwater requirements for a 7 day Caribbean charter? In ASA 104 we cover this, how to provision your boat efficiently, common tips and tricks when cooking aboard, as well as different types of refrigeration and galley stoves.

Fuel Consumption and Planning

Learn how to determine your vessel's "Burn Rate" while correctly calculating usable fuel capacity. From there we calculate motoring range in nautical miles and maximum engine hours. We also discuss the rule of thirds and how to properly plan refueling stops when passagemaking.

Entering a Foreign Port

What do you need when entering a foreign country onboard a sailboat? How does the process typical work? These are common questions when passagemaking or bareboat chartering. We go through all of the documentation required as well as all of the flags needed when entering foreign waters and how to use them. Learn the step by step process of checking into common charter ports such as the British Virgin Islands and Bermuda.

Advanced Sail Trim

Now that we are sailing 50+ nautical miles, we want to refine our sailing technique in an effort to make our passagemaking maximally efficient. Up until now we have been focusing on "Angle of attack" in terms of sailtrim, now we move on to more advanced concepts such as "draft" and "twist" as well as the sail controls needed to use them. Learn how to set up a cruising boat for different wind and sea conditions.

Compass Fixes and Dead Reckoning

In ASA 103 - Basic Cruising we focus on "visual navigation", the most common day to day form of navigating. In ASA 104 - Bareboat Cruising we start acquiring fixes, or measuring our exact location, using hand bearing compasses and the chart. We then take our fixes and extrapolate our position along a course line using "Dead Reckoning". Learn why sailors keep a log when sailing offshore even with modern navigation technology.

Yacht Systems and Troubleshooting

Many sailors at this level still find the idea of troubleshooting engine issues daunting as they don't have a concrete understanding of how marine diesel engines work. We spend an entire day's lecture going through each major system of the engine, how it works, most common problems and how to troubleshoot them. Don't be intimidated! This is not a technical course, our goal is to provide a basic understanding of what we can fix as cruising sailors and what we need to call a professional mechanic for. We also cover the electrical, fresh water and head system in this course.

And more!

We teach far beyond the basic ASA 104 curriculum and cover many more topics such as, seasickness, advanced docking techniques, tides and currents, advanced emergencies, advanced anchoring, dinghy operations, weather and fog and much more!


Frequently Asked Questions

What is ASA level 104?

ASA Level 104 refers to the Bareboat Cruising certification offered by the American Sailing Association (ASA). It signifies a higher level of proficiency in sailing, navigation, and boat handling, allowing individuals to operate a sailboat independently for multi-day cruises.

How long does it take to get ASA 104?

The time required to obtain ASA 104 certification can vary based on individual aptitude, prior experience, and the specific sailing school's curriculum. Generally, it involves a multi-day course that includes both theoretical instruction and practical sailing experience. Depending on the intensity of the course, it may take a few days to a week or more to complete.

What is ASA 104 equivalent to?

ASA 104 is equivalent to the Bareboat Cruising certification. This certification indicates that a sailor has gained the skills and knowledge necessary to confidently charter and sail a larger keelboat or sailboat, typically in coastal and nearshore waters, without the presence of an instructor or captain on board.

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