ASA #101 Basic Keelboat Sailing

Learn to sail in the Caribbean and earn your ASA 101 Basic Keelboat Certificate. By the end of the ASA 101 Course, you will be able to skipper a sloop-rigged keelboat of approximately 20 to 27 feet in length. You will be able to do this by day in light to moderate winds (up to 15 knots) and sea conditions. Also, you will have the knowledge of basic sailing terminology, parts and functions, helm commands, basic sail trim, points of sail, buoyage, seamanship and safety including basic navigation rules to avoid collisions and hazards.

Firstly, before taking the ASA Basic Keelboat Course, it is recommended that you take the Online Sailing Course entitled “Your First Sail”. This is a light, interactive course where you will learn sailboat basics, including sailing terminology, commands used at the helm, and how the sails move the boat forward.

What You Will Receive

Upon completion you will receive the official ASA Logbook signed by your instructor, an ASA 101 Basic Keelboat Certification Sticker, and a one-year ASA Membership.

ASA Sailing School- Expectations

Every ASA certification level comprises of a written test and a skills test. Also, please make sure you have learned all the theory before your course 


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

Hull *Rudder *Winch *Deck* Standing Rigging* Cleat *Transom *Shroud *Fender *Keel *Spreader *Docklines *Mast* Chainplate *Block *Boom* Headstay / Forestay* Fairlead *Gooseneck *Backstay *Cockpit* Bow *Stanchion *Cabin *Stern *Lifeline* Helm / Tiller /Wheel* Pulpit.

2. Identify and describe the functions of the following:

Sails *Sail Parts and Sail Controls: Mainsail *Batten *Pocket* Cunningham *Jib / Genoa *Bolt *Rope* Traveler *Tack *Running Rigging *Hank Head* Halyard *Boom *Topping Lift *Clew *Mainsheet *Telltale* Luff *Jibsheets *Roller Furler *Foot Boom* Vang *Shackle *Leech *Outhaul *Batten *Downhaul

3. Define the following terms:

Port *Draft *Ahead* Starboard *Freeboard* Astern *Forward* Skipper* Abeam *Aft *Helmsman Windward* Beam *Crew *Leeward *Heel *Weather helm

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

No-Sail Zone *Closed Hauled *Sailing-by-the-Lee *In Irons *Close Reach *Stand-on *Luffing *Beam Reach *Give-way *Head-to-Wind *Broad Reach *Tacking *Port Tack *Run Jibing *Starboard Tack

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’)

6. Apply Rule 5 (Look-out) from the publication Navigation Rules, International – Inland. For items 7 through 12, describe and use diagrams to apply the Navigation Rules. Identify the “stand-on” and ‘give-way” vessel in each situation.

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.

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

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

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

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

18. Identify safe water, information and regulatory markers.

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

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


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

21. Figure-8 Knot

22. Square (Reef) Knot

23. Clove Hitch

24. Round Turn & 2 Half Hitches

25. Cleat Hitch

26. Bowline

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

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

28. Halyards and/or furling devices

29. Downhaul or Cunningham

30. Outhaul

31. Boom Vang

32. Mainsheet

33. Jib sheets

34. Winches

35. Traveler

36. Lower/furl/stow sails and coil/flake/stow lines properly Without coaching or assistance from the instructor, verbalize appropriate commands and demonstrate competence, safety and good seamanship in the role of Skipper / Helmsman during the maneuvers listed in items

37 – 50. 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.

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

38. Select and maintain a given tack and course

39. Demonstrate how to get out of “irons”

40. Head Up

41. Bear Away

42. Sail Close Hauled

43. Sail on a Close Reach

44. Sail on a Beam Reach

45. Sail on a Broad Reach

46. Sail on a Run

47. Tack

48. Jibe

49. Return to dock or mooring

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

51. As crew, give appropriate verbal responses and perform correct actions during the maneuvers listed in items 37 through 50.

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

You will have an interesting and varied week on the ASA Basic Keelboat Course  Also, you will be living in close quarters with your other crew members and instructor and learning how to become a skipper, and to work as a team. Over the course of a week when you learn to sail in Grenada, you will gain new knowledge and skills. It may kick start you onto your own boat ownership dreams and sailing adventures!

The objective is to enjoy an adventure, learning vacation; a holiday with a difference. Part activity, part relaxation, totally memorable. The emphasis is on learning how to sail safely, through plenty of practice. You will be working together, cooking together, eating together. Furthermore, you will be doing this in a beautiful part of the world.

It will be an early start in the mornings to learning new skills, with the help of your experienced instructor. In the afternoons you will set sail, heading off to a new destination for the evening. Along the way you will be practising and refining your newly learned skills. Finally, once anchored for the afternoon, there will be free time to spend exploring, snorkelling, fishing, and relaxing… and maybe a rum punch or two!

Find out about the next ASA Level, #103 here