top of page

Previous Class < ASA 106 >  Next Class

Sailing in the bay towards the Bay Bridge and San Francisco

ASA 106
Advanced Costal Cruising

​Sailing in open waters means being prepared to take care of your boat, your crew, and get them both from point A to B safely. Sail down the coast toward Monterey, or for as far as the crew feels good, then sail back up our challenging stretch of the Northern CA Pacific coastal waters over 5 days. This class gives you an amazing opportunity to see some amazing sea life. 


This is an ideal course for those interested in future cruising, sailing in open waters, or those who hold offshore goals or ocean dreams. It usually takes a day or two to get used to the way the ocean waves roll.

Note: ASA 105 is a pre-requisite to complete 106 and be qualified as a skipper, but anyone can participate in a progressive capacity and retake the course as; crew, 1st mate, navigator and finally skipper. There are cost breaks for repeat attendance to build skill confidence in each position!

5 Days (additional 'Sea Legs' day available and recommended)

Member: $2195

Non Member $2635

Ride-along only (No certification)

Member price: $1400

Non member price: $1650

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 106 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 five day course spent mostly on the boat on the water sailing. 

  • All crew will be emailed in advance to arrange provisioning. Similar to 104. 

  • The written exam is taken in an evening at anchor. 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 a 35+ ft blue water sailing boat, normally our comfortable 45ft Benateau, O'hana. 

What to wear:

  • Layers! Look up the weather for the trip and 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. Foulies are required for all off shore trips. 

  • 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. Waterproof, warm shoes are recommended. 

  • Headware: Recommend a brimmed hat with a keeper that will not blow off your head. Bring a second warm hat or perhaps a warm ear covering headband. A headtorch with a red light option is important for night sailing and night crew overboard exercises. 

  • Hands: Sailing gloves or garden gloves with rubberized palms and without finger tips are a plus. Warm gloves are important!

What else to bring:

  • Food plan is decided prior to departure but snacks, caffeine and a non-metalic water bottle are good ideas (Metal water bottles can interfere with the compass). 

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

Additional info:

In the months prior to the beginning of the offshore sailing season will be servicing and doing major prep for both of the offshore boats. The purpose for these 2 days is as a final check and to orient the students to the boat used to build confidence in sailing a 24 hr period with not more than 2 on deck.

Through the Sea Legs outing and we pick which boat is going - both a mono or multi-hull will be reserved till Sea Legs outings for the ASA 106 group.


On the chosen boat, will spend these days to go over everything aboard. Service check for sails, running rigging, standing rigging. If need replacement of running rigging get it done. If need to tune rig then tension and adjust as needed. Check standing rig cotter pins and chafe covers, use bronze 000 wool and as needed Fliz, 3m oil or rigging tape where needed. Might send someone up the mast to inspect the upper rigging, attenas and lights.


Engine service: ensure no leaks, verify oil change was done, check date on updated fuel filters, coolant. Make sure there are the right kind of spares for all engine fluids and any parts likely to foul or fail.  Check there is a complete tool and electrical repair kits with easy access, proper storage for all.


Pump out head then test, trace, clean and flush lines of the head system. Have a rebuild kit for the hand pump aboard.

Flush and refill the water tank. Load aboard back up water in gallon and pint bottles. If so equiped, verify the water heater is working. Check the foot pump for the galley or/and head. Have a back up rebuild kit for all manual bilge and hand/foot water pumps.


Check function of the windlass. Load offshore anchors (take 4 to 6 anchors). Check all anchor gear for chafe. Ensure there are, or install, ways to count shots of chain or lengths of line without having to pull out and measure. All must be in good working order with siezed shackles and 2 bitter ends tied..

Test dinghy engine for function. Load aboard choosen dinghy and engine,

Put aboard offshore safety equip including COB and storm gear. If a mono-hull load life raft.


Check electronics and look at the maintenance log to see if the nav lights are switched over to LED. Do a radio check and make sure the manuals are aboard for all electronic aids.


Wash down the boat. Check for leaks at the ports. Check all bilge pumps are function, where and how to use them including hand pumps.


Trace battery systems and learn how to check them. Make sure there is a good electrical cable with 25 to 30 and 30 to 50 amp converters aboard.


Make sure the CNG or propane tanks are full. Check how all function. Make sure you know how both stove/oven work. Load back up cooking option(s). Check all galley gear and inventory. Plan provisions for the trip and identify where to put those supplies.


Check the fridge system. Electric or dry ice.


Check electronics including scheduling a Diver to clean the bottom while checking that the knot-meter functions prior to the trip.


Offshore requires a much more comprehensive pre-cruise planning and preparation

than bay or benign coast sailing. Can spend a day or two of the 106 course going over the boat vs sailing south, but why? Best the crew is knowlegable of the boat and her systems for use in day or night. Ensure all is ready, weather check done, menus planned, provisions needed on a list and ready for purchase with awareness of where it can go when put aboard. All specialty offshore gear checked and loaded in advance to the day to cast off for offshore.


To prepare a boat for offshore sailing the first time can take 1 year to 6 months depending on it's prior purpose and use. We have all the toys but do not keep these on the offshore boats. Students of ASA 106 need to know how everything works on the boat in the daytime before going for an 18-24hr steady run offshore. What and where offshore gear is. Go over everything prior to offshore sailing. Learning what to do to prepare is part of the ASA 106 course.


You will work hard to participate in the preparation of the boat. Boat systems we go over and the kind of checks needed are on the essay portion of the 4hr, 200 point, ASA 106 test. These days help in many ways to eliminate undercurrents of worry that might cause nervousness (root of all sea sickness). Get comfortable with the boat. Work as a team so you can be comfortable with those you are sailing with and it can be a fantastic experience vs a trial. Worth it. Then have a weekday and the weekend to get any issues dealt with prior to the morning cast off. The actual ASA 106 start time is determined by group study of the currents. Tide waits for no one.

​When You Complete this Course:

You may use Afterguard boats anywhere in the navigable Bay Area. Trips beyond GG bridge need special permission from the Admiral. 

ASA 106 - Course Description

Able to safely act as skipper and crew of a sailing vessel about 30 to 50 feet in length in coastal and inland waters, in any conditions.

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) 

ASA 106 Syllabus


1. Describe true and apparent wind.
2. Describe sailing forces using diagrams. Graphically find the center of effort and center of resistance of sails and keel, respectively.
3. Describe with the aid of diagrams the causes of lee and weather helm and methods of correcting them. Include the reasons for preference of slight weather helm, sail selection (including full sails or reefed sails), mast position and mast rake.
4. Describe sail shapes and sail interactions as needed for different wind strengths and points of sail. Describe the effects on sail shape and sail interactions when adjusting the following:
   - Luff tension
   - Outhaul
   - Leech line
   - Boom vang
   - Backstay tension
   - Jib fairleads
   - Jib sheet tension
   - Mainsheet
   - Traveler
   - Downhaul / cunningham
5. Describe how to use a barometer and a thermometer independently and concurrently to assist in predicting weather.
6. Describe cirrus, cirrostratus, altocumulus, stratocumulus, cumulonimbus, and cumulus clouds and the weather expected to be associated with each.
7. Describe local weather in relation to thermal winds and prevailing winds.
8. Describe three sources of weather information available in the United States.
9. Describe the proper selection of sails on a given boat for all weather conditions and give reasons for the selection made.
10. Describe appropriate heavy weather precautions and describe how they are carried out, including:
    - Sail changes
    - Use of special equipment such as safety harness and sea anchor
    - Doubling up of gear
    - Special checks in areas liable to chafe
    - Stowage of equipment above and below decks
    - Additional checks on bilge condition
    - Special arrangements for towing dinghy/tender (if used)
    - Problems of fatigue
    - Selection of clothing
    - The need of at least two on deck at all times
11. Describe the steps to be taken by skipper and crew for “heaving to” and “lying a-hull.”
12. Describe the methods for rafting at anchor and the possible risks with day and night rafting.
13. Describe how to prevent the dinghy/tender from riding up and bumping the vessel’s hull while anchored at night.
14. Describe procedures for securing a boat overnight with one anchor and stern made fast to a dock or shoreline.
15. Describe two methods of using a second anchor to reduce swinging.
16. Describe four different methods of recovering an anchor that is fouled on the bottom.
17. Describe when and how to use a trip line and an anchor buoy.
18. Describe when and how to set an anchor watch and the responsibilities of the crew on watch.
19. Describe how to:
    - Prepare a towing bridle
    - Pass a tow to another boat
    - Get underway with a tow and which speeds to use
    - Avoid fouling the propeller
    - Avoid danger of towline parting under stress
    - Make proper lookout arrangements during towing
20. List 8 of the 16 International Distress Signals found in Rule 37 of the USCG Navigation Rules and Regulations Handbook.
21. Describe how the boat should be handled and what actions should be taken when the following emergencies occur while under sail:
    - The boat is dismasted
    - The boat runs aground on a lee shore
22. Describe how the boat should be handled and what remedial action should be taken when the following emergencies occur while under power:
    - The engine cooling water fails to flow
    - The engine fails in a crowded anchorage
    - The engine fails in a busy channel
23. State the fuel tank capacity and range of a typical 40-foot cruising sailboat and the factors that could affect its range.
24. State the water tank capacity of a typical 40-foot cruising sailboat and the minimum water requirement per person.
25. Describe the skipper’s responsibilities and action for the following common courtesies and customs:
    - Permission to board
    - Permission and entitlement to come alongside
    - Permission and entitlement to cross adjacent boats when rafted
    - Rights of first boat at an anchorage
    - Keep clear of boats racing
    - Offering assistance to yachtsmen in trouble.
    - Flag etiquette: National flag, Courtesy flag, Burgee/house flag, Dipping flag
    - Checking of boat’s appearance (shipshape & Bristol fashion, no lines or fenders dangling over side)
    - Duty to provide assistance at sea
26. List the documents required and the procedures followed when leaving and entering U.S. territorial waters.
27. Describe appropriate measures for the following common engine problems:
    - Stoppage in fuel line
    - Burned and defective points
    - Fouled spark plug/injector problems
    - Carburetor icing (spring and fall sailing)
    - Unserviceable starter
    - Electrolysis
28. Describe when and how to carry out an oil change.
29. Describe the minimum pre-season inspection and maintenance for the following:
    - Hull (including underwater fittings, electrical systems, painting, antifouling)
    - Spars and rigging (including electrolysis)
    - Sails
30. Describe recommended permanent and temporary installation methods of grounding for lightning.
31. List factors to be considered before allowing anyone to go swimming while the boat is at anchor.
32. Describe the danger of overhead power lines.
33. Describe the uses, capabilities, and limitations of a portable radar reflector.
Boat Handling Under Sail
34. Perform the duties of skipper and crew on a liveaboard coastal cruise of at least 48 hours, including night sailing.
35. As helmsman, demonstrate the proper techniques of beating, reaching, running, tacking, jibing, heading up, bearing away, and luffing in approximately 20 knots of wind.
36. Work to weather to best advantage accounting for wind shifts, tides, current, and local geography.
37. Sail a compass course within +/- 10 degrees with sails trimmed.
38. Demonstrate correct methods of towing a dinghy.
39. Demonstrate a person in water (Man Overboard or MOB) recovery maneuver while sailing at night.
40. Anchor, weigh anchor, pick up and cast off moorings while acting as helmsman and/or crew.
41. Demonstrate how to take a sounding using two different methods.
42. Stand a navigation watch during a passage of at least 20 miles by night and 20 miles by day and demonstrate all of the skills elements in ASA 105, Coastal Navigation.
43. (Optional) Demonstrate correct procedures for hoisting, setting, trimming, jibing, dousing, and packing a spinnaker.

bottom of page