top of page

Boston ASA 101
Basic Keelboat Course




3 Days

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 3 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 an official American Sailing logbook and the American Sailing 101 Basic Keelboat Certification.

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

Topics Included 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

And more!

Throughout the course we cover a myriad of additional topics such as sailing knots, rigging, approaching a mooring under sail, sailing by the lee and much more. We teach far and above the basic required ASA 101 curiculum.

For a full list of all of the concepts and skills required to achieve the ASA 101 - Basic Keelboat Sailing certification please visit the official ASA 101 certification page at

Still wondering what it means to be "ASA Certified?"






Read more about the mission of the American Sailing Association and what it means to be certified and why it matters in our blog post, "Understanding ASA Certification: What it is, How to Get it and Why it Matters".

Frequently Asked Questions

What does ASA 101 get you?

ASA 101 certification grants you basic sailing skills and a strong understanding of safety practices. It enables you to skipper (operate as captain) a sailboat in familiar waters, giving you the confidence to navigate and control the boat effectively.

How many days is ASA 101?

ASA 101 courses are usually conducted over 2-3 days. This time frame allows for a balanced combination of classroom learning and on-water training, giving you the opportunity to apply theoretical knowledge in practical scenarios.

Can you skip ASA 101?

While we do offer an ASA Challenge to test out of the course, skipping ASA 101 is not recommended. ASA 101 provides crucial foundational knowledge for safe and confident sailing. It covers fundamental concepts that are essential for understanding sailing principles and operating a sailboat properly.

bottom of page