top of page

ASA 101 Basic Keelboat Sailing


About The Course

This is sailing 101, no prior experience required! The goal of the course is to take a student with no prior sailing experience to a level where they feel comfortable sailing a 20 to 28 foot sailboat as skipper (sailor in charge) in favorable conditions.

This three day course runs from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm each day. We start each day in the classroom, spending about two hours of lecture where we incorporate video, whiteboard diagrams and sailboat models to explain the fundamentals of sailing and to teach skills that we will be practicing on the water.


We typically break for lunch from 11:45 am to 12:30 pm and then the rest of the day is spent sailing our Colgate 26 (our 26 foot sailboat designed specifically for sailing instruction) practicing all of the necessary skills and maneuvers to competently sail a keelboat of this size. This means you will be spending at minimum 4 and half hours a day sailing and practicing maneuvers!

At the end of the course there is a brief examination and each student receives a logbook and the American Sailing 101 Basic Keelboat Certification.

ASA 101 - Basic Keelboat

Three days, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm


Topics Covered in ASA 101


Parts of the Boat and Terminology

We begin the course by learning the new language of sailing and sailboat parts. We go through the sailboat from stem to stern as well as learning directions, parts of the sail and maneuvering terminology.


Sail Theory

One of our most important topics is "sail theory"; how a sail works and the physics behind it. We explore the topic of lift, attached flow and wing theory as well as pivot points and centers of effort.


US Coast Guard Navigation Rules and Regulations

Day three focuses on the legal and safety aspects of sailing a keelboat. We cover federally required safety equipment, rules of the road, light and sound signals and aids to navigation.


Basic Sailing and Safety Maneuvers

Throughout the course we practice sailing at all angles to the wind and refining our sail trim. On day 2 and 3 we practice Crew Overboard Recoveries and Heaving To.


Sailing Strategy and Windshifts

Once we have a full sailing day under our belts we go back to the classroom and work through the idea of sailing strategy; how to get from point A to point B most efficiently using windshifts to our advantage and accurately judging laylines.


And more!

Throughout the course we cover diverse topics such as sailing knots, rigging, approaching a mooring under sail, sailing by the lee and so much more!

Officially keelboat sailing certified thanks to Skippers Forrest and Kathy! Ever since moving to Boston, has been a dream of mine to learn how to sail and be a confident sailer on large monohulls. First Reef sailing provided an excellent experience through their ASA 101 course, which I highly recommend to anyone looking to learn how to sail.

- Victoria Carette

bottom of page