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Sailing in the bay towards the Bay Bridge and San Francisco

ASA 101
Basic Keelboat Sailing

Learning to sail seriously starts with ASA 101.

Learn to skipper a 20' - 27' sloop-rigged keelboat in light to moderate winds and sea conditions. Get familiar with basic sailing terminology, parts and functions, helm commands, sail trim, points of sail, buoyage, seamanship and safety including basic navigation rules to avoid collisions and hazards.

1 Evening, 2 Full Days

Member pricing: $820

Non Member: $985

ASA 101 is a perfect place to start formal training for those with some sailing experience. If you've never sailed before please consider our Learn to sail BK1 class.

What's Included

Find a date that works for you

Need a different date? Give us a call (510) 535-1954

Before the Course

Purchase the ASA 101 textbook. Available at our office (hardcopy) or on ASA website (as ebook or hardcopy).

Read the book and complete the quizzes throughout to prepare you for the course and the terminology used. 

What to expect

Schedule and Crew:

  • Meet at Afterguard Sailing Academy, 1285 Embarcadero (Oakland CA 94606)

  • This is a three-day Weekend Course, Friday 6pm-8pm lecture. Saturday-Sunday 9:30am to 4:30pm Class spent mostly on the boat on the water sailing. (Weekday schedule can be arranged for the lecture after sailing the first day.)

  • The written exam is at the end the 2nd day on the water. Must pass the hands-on skills before being allowed to take the written test.

  • The course max is four students per boat with 1 instructor

What Boats are Used:

In this ASA Course, you will be learning to sail on one of our Ranger 23s unless there is special need for a larger vessel. We have 5 Ranger 23's with outboard enginers and 2 Cal 2-25s with inboard engines.

What to wear:

  • Layers! Look up the weather for that weekend or weekday series. Dress in layers according to the weather predictions. Vests are a good under/over layer. Use a base layer per the weather and add to it up to a wind-breaker. If raining - bring a waterproof over layer for top and bottom.

  • Footwear: Soft soled shoes for traction on the deck. Non-marking required or will be scrubbing decks of black marks dark soles leave behind. No bare-feet, open toed or flip-flops. Broken toes are painful and your responsibility. This is a sincere warning.

  • Headware: Recommend a brimmed hat with a keeper that will not blow off your head, for your time on the water. If cold - bring a warm hat or perhaps a warm ear covering headband.

  • Hands: Garden gloves with rubberized palms and without finger tips are a plus. If cold warm gloves as well.

What else to bring:

  • Bring a lunch for both Saturday and Sunday, including water or other liquids to stay hydrated. If you bring a refillable bottle, please make sure you take it with you at the end of your course. Next to sunglasses, they are the most popular item in our Lost&Found pile!

  • Always bring sunscreen, chapstick and sunglasses. Keepers for glasses and hats can save you lots of money.

Additional info:

There are bathrooms at our facility and on the boats. Please make sure to check in with your teacher about how to use the 'head 'on the boat, before leaving the docks!

​When You Complete this Course:

Passing this course allows you to rent/charter the boats from our fleet  for sailing in the Oakland Estuary. ASA 103 is required to sail outside the Estuary in open Bay waters. ASA 101 international certification certifies the sailor is prepared for protected waters for vessels 25' and under on light to moderate winds and flat seas. In San Francisco Bay waters, the only place near our fleet that fits that definition is the Oakland Estuary.

ASA 101 - Course Description

This is the first American Sailing Association certification level as a multi-day course, ASA 101-Basic Keelboat Sailing. You will “Learn to skipper a 23' - 26' sloop-rigged keelboat by day, in light to moderate winds and sea conditions, as a Skipper.  Your mission is to read your book before arrival for the evening lecture, to get the most out of your class and to achieve needed score on the written test at completion of the course. The terms in the book are needed for communication aboard a boat. Your teacher will help to get your hands on the items discussed in the book section on Terms for basic sailing, including boat parts and how boats function. How to take a helm, what the skipper (day-leader) means when using the commands, how to aid operation of the boat including: basic sail trim, what are 'points of sail', the signposts you will see on the waterways called IALA-B lateral Buoy system and much more. Learn about seamanship and how to turn a boat around quickly and nearly stop if something falls or is seen in the water or if someone is found or falls into the water that needs to be pulled aboard. For more details on what you learn in this course go to —

Find a date that works for you

Great course for an introduction into sailing in the bay!

This was the perfect way to become comfortable with sailing. By the end of the course I was confident in all the terminology and functions of the boat and understood how to make adjustments to the sail. I look forward to more time on the water with Afterguard!

Hannah R. (ASA 101 course July 2023) 

What's covered in the ASA 101?



Basic Sailing Terminology

1. Describe and identify the following sailboat parts and their functions:


  • Hull | Deck | Transom | Keel | Mast | Boom | Gooseneck | Bow | Stern | Helm / Tiller /Wheel | Rudder | Cockpit

  • Cabin | Standing Rigging | Shroud | Spreader | Chainplate | Headstay / Forestay | Backstay | Stanchion | Lifeline

  • Pulpit | Winch | Cleat | Block | Fairlead | Fender | Docklines


2. Identify and describe the functions of the following sails, sail parts and sail controls:


  • Mainsail | Jib / Genoa | Head | Tack | Clew | Foot | Luff | Leech | Downhaul / Cunningham | Batten | Batten Pocket | Bolt Rope

  • Hank | Running Rigging | Halyard | Mainsheet | Jibsheets | Boom Topping Lift | Boom Vang | Telltale | Outhaul | Traveler

  • Shackle | Roller Furler


3. Define the following terms:


  • Port | Starboard | Forward | Aft | Beam | Ahead | Astern | Abeam | Windward | Leeward | Draft | Freeboard | Heel

  • Weather helm | Skipper | Helmsman | Crew


Maneuvers & Points of Sail

4. Explain and identify using diagrams the following maneuvers, points of sail, and other terms:


  • Head-to-Wind | No-Sail Zone | Closed Hauled | Close Reach | Beam Reach| Broad Reach | Run | Sailing-by-the-Lee | In Irons

  • Luffing | Port Tack | Starboard Tack | Tacking | Jibing | Stand-on | Give-way


5. Explain and utilize correctly the following helm commands and crew responses:


  • “Heading Up”

  • “Bearing Away”

  • “Ready About” —– “Ready” —– “Helms a-Lee” (or “Coming About” or “Tacking”)

  • “Prepare to Jibe” —– “Ready” —– “Jibe-Ho” (or “Jibing”)


Navigation Rules

For items 6 through 12, describe, using diagrams as appropriate, the applicable rules for a 25-foot recreational sailing vessel, as found in the USCG Navigation Rules and Regulations Handbook. Identify the “stand-on” and “give-way” vessel in each situation.


6. Look-out, Rule 5.

7. Sailing vessels with the wind on different sides (starboard / port), Rule 12(a)(i)

8. Sailing vessels with the wind on same side (leeward / windward), Rule 12(a)(ii)

9. Sailing vessel on port tack cannot determine windward sailing vessel’s tack, Rule 12(a)(iii)

10. Overtaking (Rule 13)

11. Power-driven vessels approaching each other head-on (Rule 14)

12. Power-driven vessel with another power-driven vessel on starboard side (Rule 15)

13. Describe appropriate actions to be taken when sailing in the vicinity of commercial traffic, including responding to a danger signal.

Aids to Navigation

14. Identify and state the purpose of lateral aids to navigation by color, shape & numbering, including preferred channel markers.

15. Identify safe water, information and regulatory markers.


Safety Gear & Procedures

16. List the federally required equipment for a recreational sailboat of 25-feet in length.

17. Identify the location and color of navigation lights used by a recreational vessel of 25-feet in length.

18. Describe the purpose of a Float Plan, give examples of information contained therein and to whom it should be submitted.

19. Describe when and to whom boating accidents must be reported.

20. State the Federal Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) limit for vessel operation.




Safety Equipment

21. Demonstrate the proper use of a lifejacket or personal flotation device (PFD).



A Certified Sailor has successfully demonstrated his or her ability to:


Rig/hoist/set sails safely and correctly to obtain proper sail trim using the following lines and controls, if available on the practice vessel

22. Halyards and/or furling devices

23. Downhaul or Cunningham

24. Outhaul

25. Boom Vang

26. Mainsheet

27. Jibsheets

28. Winches

29. Traveler

30. Lower/furl/stow sails and coil/flake/stow lines properly


Without coaching or assistance, verbalize appropriate commands and demonstrate competence, safety and good seamanship in the role of Skipper / Helmsman during the maneuvers listed in elements 31 – 42.  Honor all aids to navigation and use properly the basic Navigation Rules.  Ensure sails are trimmed correctly and the vessel is in control at all times.


31. Depart dock or mooring fully ready to get underway safely

32. Select and maintain a given tack and course

33. Demonstrate how to get out of “irons”

34. Head Up

35. Bear Away

36. Sail Close Hauled

37. Sail on a Close Reach

38. Sail on a Beam Reach

39. Sail on a Broad Reach

40. Sail on a Run

41. Tack

42. Jibe

43. As crew, give appropriate verbal responses and perform correct actions during the maneuvers listed above.


Crew Overboard

44. Describe and demonstrate the correct actions to be taken while under sail from the time a person falls overboard until safely recovered.


Return & Secure

45. Return to dock or mooring

46. Secure vessel, using appropriate mooring/dock lines, fenders, etc.



Describe the purpose of, and construct without assistance in a timely manner, each of the following knots and hitches:


47. Figure-8 Knot

48. Square (Reef) Knot

49. Clove Hitch

50. Round Turn & 2 Half Hitches

51. Cleat Hitch

52. Bowline

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