we have heard of some people that start their sailing experience without any certification whatsoever and it seems it is actually possible. However we felt it might be of some help to get a document that will convince people that we actually know what we are doing.
There are several programs that offer sailing trainings in a short period of time and these are the ones that we thought would be best:
Zero to Hero. The tile alone is so awesome that I was ready to sign up right then an there. They are based in Phuket Thailand and do their syllabus according to the IYT (International Yacht Training). Cost for the 21 day course is roughly US$ 2800 per person.
The Zero to Hero Courses are fast track courses for complete beginners who want to become either navigators or captain in 12 to 21 days. They say that the Zero to Hero course is designed for new boat owners, aspiring navigators and people who want fast forward teaching. I guess this pretty much hits the nail on the head, but to get the paper that we want you need to complete the 3 week course, which is a long time to be away from work…
what did not fit into our plan is that we had been to Thailand (and Phuket) several times and it was not really on the top of our list to go again. Especially as we would need to use most of our annual holiday time we did want to combine the learning with seeing something new as well.
Another course we heard many good things about is the ‘Fasttrack to Cruising‘, based in Florida or the British Virgin Islands. what appealed to us is that you can get live aboard experience with the course and it seems that many people were very pleased with the teaching. You can apply for a US Sailing Certificate upon completion.
Again, there were a few points against this option. Firstly, we live in the Maldives and Florida is on the other side of the planet. Moreover we just spent a 3 week holiday in Florida and the Bahamas last year (back than we had no idea that we would own a boat 12 months later…), so to come back to this place was no ideal either. Lastly a US oriented certification might not be the ideal thing for us due to our current location in Asia.
So we figured we had to approach this from another perspective: where would we like to go on holidays? From there we would then start our search for a school. after short thought we both thought that Greece would be a nice place. neither of us had been there, we know that there are many nice islands and Mykonos and Santorini had been on our to-do list for some time and of course seeing Athens would be nice as well.
so after a quick google search for ‘sailing certification live aboard Greece’ we quickly found the Athens Sailing Acadamy. While the website looked a bit dodgy we figured we would give it a try. we wrote to them and soon after got a quote for a live aboard sail in course for 1700 Euro per person. the teaching was to American Sailing Association (ASA) standards, but we figured that seeing Greece would be worth going for a US certificate.
We confirmed the quoted rate and agreed to send payment, just to find out that all of a sudden the price changed. when inquiring it was due to some new taxes that were introduced, to which I replied that surely these were not introduced within the past 24 hours since receiving the quote. I then had to read a long story about how the Germans ruined Greece by placing restrictions on Greece and not giving enough money. if I did not want to pay the new price I would go elsewhere. the whole email was written in such an aggressive manner that I did not feel comfortable proceeding, given that I am German myself. So back to the drawing Board.